NEMCHONOK, E.*; BENO, C.; GILCHRIST, S.; New College of Florida; New College of Florida; New College of Florida: The Marine Lab Outreach Project: Combining formal and informal marine education
The Marine Lab Outreach Project (MLOP) provides the opportunity for undergraduates to plan and implement public science education activities using the facilities of a local marine lab. Students participate in formal seminars to learn small group dynamics, leadership skills, and teaching methodologies as well as about marine organisms and marine ecosystems. Participants must work in a team to plan two events either for the public at large or for teacher workshops. The latest event was used to test an assessment instrument for guests to provide feedback on effectiveness of different aspects of the educational activities offered. While it was clear that family members who spent time engaged frequently in outdoor activities were more likely to spend longer time with interactive marine exhibits, the assessment instrument was not sensitive enough to determine clear trends in learner modes, stimulation of interest, and other important indicators of teaching effectiveness. Two additional teacher workshops and public events this year have revealed how activities developed in the student seminars have been integrated into local school and homeschool curricula. Student participants in the seminars do self-evaluations, evaluations of their peers, and make suggestions for new seminar topics for future exploration.