1. Tyeen Taylor
  2. http://ttphilos.org
  3. NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  4. Testing the role of isoprene in tropical forest responses to climate change: a study linking biological collections to field data
  5. http://biotech.dadeschools.net
  6. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, BioTech High School, University of Miami
  1. Amy Padolf
  2. Director of Education, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
  3. Testing the role of isoprene in tropical forest responses to climate change: a study linking biological collections to field data
  4. http://biotech.dadeschools.net
  5. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, BioTech High School
  1. Jolynne Woodmansee
  2. Botany, Research, and Experimental Design Instructor
  3. Testing the role of isoprene in tropical forest responses to climate change: a study linking biological collections to field data
  4. http://biotech.dadeschools.net
  5. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, BioTech High School, Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Facilitators’
Choice
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Miyoko Chu

    Miyoko Chu

    Senior Director of Communications
    May 13, 2018 | 09:47 p.m.

    I wish I had an opportunity like that when I was in high school! What a great way to involve students in research. What are some of the most effective ways that you've found to encourage the students' collaboration in the research?

     
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    Amy Padolf
  • Icon for: Tyeen Taylor

    Tyeen Taylor

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 01:50 p.m.

    Good question. I've been trying to encourage a sense of curiosity in the project. The data is complex (multivariate), and that is a challenge, but it does engender good discussions as we reason through our own results figures. I assign related scientific papers and we draw that into our discussions. They've been impressively analytical. I also like to join them for measurements periodically so we can all just have fun outside, which is part of the point of field ecology!

  • Icon for: Miyoko Chu

    Miyoko Chu

    Senior Director of Communications
    May 14, 2018 | 05:31 p.m.

    Nice idea to join them in the field for data collection!

  • Icon for: Jolynne Woodmansee

    Jolynne Woodmansee

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2018 | 11:18 a.m.

    I also require weekly summaries and documentation of their work on a team google+ site and frequent team meetings which facilitates more consistent feedback and interactions (both in writing and in a small group setting); and a platform in which both myself and Dr. Taylor can collaborate. After several months invested in the project, students began to transform curiosity into a greater sense of independence and ownership over their research.  They continued to build skill sets working with various equipment, troubleshooting technical complications, working more efficiently together as a team, and ultimately being better able to communicate their science with each other and with Dr. Taylor.   With the ongoing nature of this project, students continue to grow both in their competency and confidence in research.  

  • Icon for: George Hein

    George Hein

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 10:06 a.m.

    A great opportunity for the fortunate students who work with you. Does the school allow them to use school time for this research activity?

  • Icon for: Tyeen Taylor

    Tyeen Taylor

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 01:56 p.m.

    Good question, the time balance is a challenge. The project is mostly limited to 2hrs per day, 2-3 days per week. I can moderately add assignments, but their other school time is devoted to classes. Anyone planning a project like this must carefully acknowledge the time constraints.

  • Icon for: George Hein

    George Hein

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 07:55 a.m.

     I'm impressed by the advanced technology that provides tools that can be used confidently (and, I assume accurately) by high school students to collect relevant data.  That factor seems a key component to making this a rewarding experience for both the students and the instructor.

  • Icon for: Tyeen Taylor

    Tyeen Taylor

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 10:25 a.m.

    Certainly! There are some good, easy tools out there for field measurements. And there are some really hard ones of course. The challenge is finding the combination of tools, study system, and question that fit the time constraints and can be carried out by students. That requires a lot of thought. We did ok on this project, but I'm learning from it and I think we'll do even better next year when I take on a couple more students for a complementary project. I'd recommend to anyone doing this: talk to people who have done this kind of project before to help you plan realistically.

  • Icon for: Jolynne Woodmansee

    Jolynne Woodmansee

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2018 | 11:23 a.m.

    I think it also helps that the BioTECH Juniors involved with this project have been taking research electives since their Freshman year and are somewhat familiar with field monitoring techniques as well as have a basic background in Botany from their Sophmore year.  I was very excited for my students to have the chance to participate in such rigorous and relevant plant science research!

  • May 15, 2018 | 09:17 a.m.

    Sounds like a great project—the experience in gathering data and interpreting it is so valuable. Is there any aspect of the project that empowers students to ask their own questions (even on small scales) and devise methods, etc., in consultation with you or their peers? Thanks for sharing.

     

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Amy Padolf
  • Icon for: Tyeen Taylor

    Tyeen Taylor

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 11:13 a.m.

    I agree that giving students the chance to ask their own questions is key to generating ownership, increasing motivation, and making the knowledge stick. There's a balance to strike between ensuring that I get the data I need for the questions I want to answer, and letting them follow their own curiosity. Being a postdoc who needs data, I've mainly controlled the project. But for balance, I've assigned them to generate their own questions based on readings and our data. We have discussion sessions and I ask them how they think we should prioritize our next sampling efforts. I may veto their suggestions in favor of the kind of data I want to get, but they know the sampling challenges unique to each tree (stem water potential is easier on some trees than others, for example) so I defer to their experience for logistics. I think it's worked well and they feel included and invested. I only wish they could give the project more time, including allowing for more assigned readings, and I could get them even more involved!

  • Icon for: Rachel Shefner

    Rachel Shefner

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 02:09 p.m.

    Such a great model of a school-informal education partnership. Since the students who work with you are just a selection of students in the high school, where they all choose whether to work with the botanic garden or the zoo, do you select the students who work with you specifically? Such a great project for them to work on! It is clear that the students are impacted by working with you, and the video discusses the success of these student in moving on to college, but how has the opportunity to work with high school students impacted you? You mention that they compare favorably with undergrads, but I am wondering if there are any other impacts on you in addition to getting very capable extra hands to help gather data.  I am not sure if you can answer this question, but I am also wondering about the scale of the work that your project is part of. If all students in the school get to choose which institution they work with, how are the other student projects funded?

     
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    Amy Padolf
  • Icon for: Sarah Hampton

    Sarah Hampton

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 10:44 p.m.

    This makes me want to go back to high school! I think we have untapped social capital in our communities, so I like how you are tapping in by creating a win-win situation for the researchers and students. In my experience as a middle school educator, students are capable of more than we generally give them credit for, and they demonstrate that when they are given meaningful work as the context for learning and practicing science.

     

    I am so glad these five students have this opportunity with Fairchild, but I am also wondering about the scale of the project. It seems like this could deepen the divide between those who have access to outstanding STEM opportunities and those who don't. Do you have any thoughts on that?

     

    After watching your video, I'm excited to look at organizations in my own community in new ways to see how a partnership could be formed to benefit my students. Any advice on how to approach organizations and get started? Thanks for sharing!

     
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    Amy Padolf
  • Icon for: Tyeen Taylor

    Tyeen Taylor

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 12:12 p.m.

    You make some great points.

    Tapping into the win-win deal: I have to thank BioTech and Fairchild for the program they put together. I was looking for 'Broader Impacts' projects for my NSF grant, and this program was simply available to me. I haven't had to do any organization besides project management. That makes this project perfect for people in the postdoc phase like me: we have the flexibility and early-career energy to participate really effectively, but not the time to create it on our own.

    Student capability: I've found these students to be both very capable of critical thinking, and at the same time lacking in experience with it. This kind of project gives them practice in critically evaluating an uncertain world through evidence-based reasoning. They aren't used to not having a single right answer immediately available. But this is more like the real world. Science is a process and not a list of facts, and so is being a constructive citizen of the world.

    Access: Tough topic. My understanding of this program is that kids self-select into it; their participation is based more on personal desire than past performance. I like that aspect as it gives a chance to those who might not have been inspired in other school systems. From the perspective of national demographics, the kids are largely from 'underrepresented groups', particularly Hispanic communities. But even if selection is egalitarian, the program may result in a competitive advantage to those who are lucky enough to be in proximity to it, compared to kids in other regions that lack such a program. I feel that this kind of education is so needed, and so positive, that it shouldn't be scrapped in favor of nation-wide equality. But it does conflict with the virtue of equal opportunity for all. Perhaps the only solution is national government funding for advanced education programs. Given the constant need for teaching-assistantship funding for graduate students, there could be plenty of potential to link research with high school education. The most likely path to government funding may be to make more local projects like this one to serve as case studies.

    How to get started: I'll ask my co-presenters to respond to this one. But I can offer a couple ideas. Collections institutions like botanic gardens, zoos, museums, and herbaria, always need money. To generate funding, they need to demonstrate their continued relevance to the world. I think partnerships like this are of indisputable mutual value, so that angle should be recognizable to representatives of collections organizations, as long as you can get past the inertia of old institutions. A separate avenue is the NSF "BIO-ME" program, a fellowship program for graduate students to teach in high schools. I am not sure if that is still running, but check it out.

     
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    Jolynne Woodmansee
    Rachel Shefner
    Sarah Hampton
  • Icon for: Amy Padolf

    Amy Padolf

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 01:37 p.m.

    Hi Sarah~

    Thank you for your kind words.  This project is a part of an intricate and innovative education system at Fairchild that allows us to engage not only the students at BioTECH High School but thousands of students in authentic research that has real-world implications and have it be integrated into the formal education system. These projects provide opportunities to pull together our research community to have students actively contribute to ongoing new research. 

    I would more than happy to chat about it offline if you would like. Feel free to email me at apadolf@fairchildgarden.org so we can schedule some time. 

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Tyeen Taylor
    Sarah Hampton
  • Icon for: Sarah Hampton

    Sarah Hampton

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2018 | 01:47 p.m.

    Thank you! I look forward to it!

     
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    Tyeen Taylor
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    Eliana Mendoza

    Parent
    May 16, 2018 | 10:17 a.m.

    I am a proud mother of a Biotech student / Fairchild Volunteer. It has been an outstanding opportunity form him to develop a strong set of investigative skills from this young age. What a future generation of scientists we'll have!!!  

     
    1
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    Amy Padolf
  • Icon for: Tyeen Taylor

    Tyeen Taylor

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 12:18 p.m.

    Thanks for supporting the program with your involvement! I agree. And even if they don't all go on to be scientists, the scientific method of thinking that they learn is widely applicable, and will benefit them and the world.

  • Icon for: Rachel Shefner

    Rachel Shefner

    Facilitator
    May 18, 2018 | 10:52 a.m.

    Tyeen, thanks for your thoughtful responses. I like the model of harnessing the energy of post-docs. It seems that your enthusiasm is infectious for the lucky students who work with you, and getting at broader impacts this way is definitely a win-win. I appreciate how you express the struggle with regard to access. I do agree that providing opportunities for engagement of high school students with grad students and post-docs is worthy of more attention and more funding. 

  • Icon for: Jolynne Woodmansee

    Jolynne Woodmansee

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2018 | 03:30 p.m.

    Hi Rachel,

    I teach Research and Experimental Design classes for the plant track portion of BioTECH Highschool students and had the lucky fortune to get to collaborate with Dr. Taylor on his project.  You asked earlier about the student selection process, and I can chime in on that one!   Dr. Taylor presented his work to my entire class allowing them an introduction into the field of forest ecology and physiology.  Following this, I also spoke with my students about research expectations and mindsets; that preliminary studies are challenging and often require the ability to shift directions. I believe it is very important that before I allowed intellectually capable students to work on this project that they also had the necessary mindset to succeed with a project of this nature. By knowing what they were  'signing up for' I believe the students kept more positive outlook towards the experience and were better adept at the inherent frustrations of unknown and unexpected outcomes and challenges along the way.  In addition, as the project became more intellectual and their data began to accumulate, the team was ready to invest the time and required 'thinking' that Dr. Taylor required of them!   Finding and maintaining a good fit between student, project, and mentor definitely contributed to the ultimate success of the research! 

    I can also share that Dr. Taylors access to his team was highly enhanced through the use of a Google+ team site shared among team members, myself, Fairchild support staff and Dr. Taylor.  

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.