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GK-12: Carbon Education and Research Together for Humanity (CarbonEARTH)

Funded By: NSF-GK12, $3,000,000
www.carbonearth.org


CarbonEARTH uses the interdisciplinary theme of carbon, broadly construed, as a unifying platform for investigation, discovery, training and education. Carbon is a ubiquitous element in our world, featured highly in a broad spectrum of basic and applied research areas, including materials science, energy science, geosciences, and life sciences.  Many challenges facing society today involve carbon, including global warming, waste disposal, renewable energy, and nanoelectronics and these issues are frequently addressed in the media, with varying degrees of scientific accuracy.  The majority of K-12 student achievement standards for science relate to these issues.

CarbonEARTH will provide teachers and students from a wide range of disciplines with science learning experiences that not only teach the concepts, but also develop the skills with scientific inquiry for approaching these problems scientifically.  Specifically, CarbonEARTH teams STEM graduate students with upper elementary and middle school science teachers from rural and urban school districts to teach PA standards-based science topics related to the themes of Energy, Matter & Materials, Earth Processes, and Ecosystems, focusing on inquiry-based teaching strategies.

Recent government reports describe the severity of our nation’s need to increase the STEM pipeline and the multitude of underlying problems, such as lack of interest and retention in STEM by women, minorities, and low socioeconomic populations.  CarbonEARTH aims to increase representation of women, minorities, and low-socioeconomic populations by promoting STEM education and careers of underrepresented groups at all levels; enhancing graduate students’ research and other non-research skills needed for successful careers, working with upper elementary and middle school teachers and students to promote deeper understanding of STEM concepts and skills in scientific inquiry, and providing experiences for upper elementary and middle school students that reflect the excitement and importance of STEM careers through interactions with graduate student role models. 

Collaborators

PI and Co-PI(s)
Renee Diehl - Physics (PI)
Angela Lueking - Energy and Mineral Engineering
Erica Smithwick - Geography
Elizabeth Boyer - Forest Hydrology
Annmarie Ward - Education (CoPIs)

Faculty and Departments:
Rachel Brennan (Environmental Engineering); Nicole Brown (Wood Chemistry); Craig Cameron (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology); Kristen Fichthorn (Chemical Engineering); Katherine Freeman (Geosciences); Heather Karsten (Crop Production and Ecology); Margot Kaye, (Forest Ecology); Jennifer Macalady (Geosciences); Erin Sheets (Chemistry); Jorge Sofo (Physics); Jun Zhu (Physics)