This educational collaboration between Washington University's Tyson Research Center and the Missouri Botanical Garden's Shaw Nature Reserve is designed to engage St. Louis area high school students in scientifically-based exploration of the natural world. Linked programs of field training (SIFT) and field research (TERF) provide teenagers with experiences that realistically reflect research in environmental biology. Participating teens learn a variety of field investigation skills and then have the opportunity to put those new skills to work assisting career scientists with real research projects.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

SIFT Session 2 Day 1

Wow, what a different group of teens! Where the first group was fairly quiet and contemplative on Day 1, this group of 22 has verbally engaged with the SIFT instructors and each other from the moment they met at the various bus stops. Very different group dynamic...

The activities for Session 2 Day 1 followed the same schedule as during Session 1 Day 1. However there was the addition of more information on ticks (and ticks in viewing boxes!) during the morning outdoor safety session (Tim) and the addition of whole group GPS unit training and practice (Tim/Lydia) before the afternoon "challenge."

There was also a change in teaching strategy with the use of concept maps during the introduction to field biology (James) and during the afternoon wrap up (Lydia).


GPS practice


Something about putting Red in the Shed???


Learning the Shaw Nature Reserve map


Finding their way...


Checking in with Lydia on the radio


Group listening/communication puzzle challenge


Interestingly, the afternoon navigational challenge from the Dana Brown Center to the Trail House was particularly challenging for these SIFTers. One group became lost early in the trek, retraced their route, and then went off their assigned route to make it to the Trail House in time. Two groups had to abandon their field exploration tasks to make it in on time. And Tim had to go out to lead another group in. There were many lessons learned about collaboration and navigation skills, but all agreed that it was fun.