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.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Half Way There

TERFers have now finished up their second week of the SIFT program. The week flew by as everyone was off working with their teams. It's amazing to see just how embedded TERFers now are in these projects. TERFers on the Glade Team as well as the Turtle team are all currently working on posters and lesson plans about their projects for K-12 students. So it was fun during the group discussion to hear how everyone was doing after their second week at Tyson.

Jackie, Tyler, Nithya, Jacqueline, and Tom discuss their projects 
with one another.

We began the TERF discussion on Thursday by talking about daily routines with the various teams and how comfortable they were working with mentors. An important point that was brought up was making sure that there was a layer of professionalism while also having a good time working. All in all, the TERFers seem to be working well with their research teams while enjoying themselves at the same time.

Alex Duchild talks about his daily routine with the Forest Team.

During the discussion, everyone wrote down one area that they need some personal growth in. Once everyone wrote something down, random cards were chosen and the topics were discussed. Some of the topics brought up were:
  • Don't keep ideas and suggestions to myself,
  • Be more independent when working on a project,
  • Listen and pay attention to plant names and details from my mentors, and
  • Develop better communication skills and talk more with my team members.
Tyler, Jackie, Meredith, Maddie, and Julia discuss what their 
past week has been like.

This week's scientific paper discussion was led by post-doctoral researcher and former TERF T.A., Dr. Amber Burgett. She taught the students what is means to design a research project. As a way to get their minds wrapped around much work their is in designing research projects, she had each TERF team go through the numerous variables there are in their projects. This excerise helped the students see how much thought process must go into a project before data can even be collected.

Amber Stout and Nithya John talk about he variables that the 
Fire Ecology Team and the Turtle Team encounter.

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