Toolbox and K-12

November 25, 2014 at 4:26 am

toolbox_logoLast Friday Michael O’Rourke and Brian Robinson presented the Toolbox Project to the Kellogg Biological Station’s GK-12 Bioenergy Sustainability Project. This project is Michigan State’s program (funded by the National Science Foundation) that puts Graduate STEM students in K-12 classrooms. We got to hear about some of the exciting experiments on bioenergy sustainability that they are doing with the kids to help teach how science is done (as opposed to just conveying scientific findings).

gk126Michael and Brian presented the Toolbox methodology and ran the grad students through an abbreviated Toolbox Workshop. Since the graduate students come from a variety of STEM fields, what their doing is a kind of interdisciplinary endeavor, albeit pedagogical instead of research. We had them complete Toolbox modules on the purpose of science and confirmation and then dialogue on those topics. As we hoped, a variety of views were expressed. As they talked, several of them verbally expressed that articulating their assumptions about science grew harder as the dialogue proceeded. This was precisely our goal, as we believe it will help them as science communicators.

After the presentation and workshop, we discussed with the grad students the possibility of using the Toolbox method for facilitated dialogues in the classroom (with modified, easier prompts) or for training K-12 science teachers. Both ideas were well received and the grad students gave some great feedback and ideas. Both of these would be exciting new avenues to expand the Toolbox into and we may have updates next term on our efforts.

cross-posted on Brian Robinson’s site: Ceteris Paribus

Toolbox @ The West Michigan Climate Resiliency Conference

October 1, 2014 at 7:36 pm

Next week in Grand Rapids, the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum is hosting The West Michigan Climate Resiliency Conference. We at the Toolbox Project are excited about this conference since they have invited us to be a significant part of the event. We will conduct a large-scale deployment of a unique Toolbox instrument during the conference.

Over the past year and in conjunction with the Rock Ethics Institute, we have interviewed a large number of individuals associated with the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum to assess what topics and issues regarding climate resiliency in West Michigan. We’ve taken this data and created a unique Toolbox instrument specifically for this audience. We will conduct both facilitated and non-facilitated workshops will all of the conference participants.

If you’re already coming the conference, we look forward to seeing you there. If not and you’re in the Grand Rapids area, you can show up that morning to register, so come.