An Integrative STEM Experience Onboard a Research Vessel
Abstract: The Grand Valley State University Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI) operates a unique outreach program onboard its research and education vessels that provides STEM experiences for K-12 students. Since 1986, over 144,000 students and others have experienced Lake Michigan and adjoining waters through AWRI’s Water Resources Outreach Education Program. Offered aboard two research and education vessels, the program mainly serves school groups. Trips can be customized for all ages from fourth grade through adults. Onboard the vessel, students conduct hands-on water quality testing for a variety of parameters. Data from individual trips is aggregated with data collected by other groups and it is available for classroom use. Since 1996, the AWRI has hosted middle school students from a local school district that has 47.1% minority population. The majority of these students have never been out on the water on a boat until this trip. As “scientists” during their trip, they are able to have an authentic STEM experience that helps to spark their interest in STEM fields.
Keywords: STEM - Conference Proceedings - K-12 Outreach