Sand Creek’s Sebert Participates in Summer SWARM Project

group of teachers

Stacey Sebert, New York State Master Teacher and 7th and 8th grade Science teacher at Sand Creek Middle School, collaborated in a new NSF funded project called SWARM in August.

SWARM involves working with doctors Josh Kohut (Rutgers University), Matt Oliver (University of Delaware), Kim Bernard (Oregon State University), Mike Dinniman (Old Dominion), Hank Statscewich (University of Alaska – Fairbanks), and PhD student Katherine Hudson (University of Delaware). Along with research scientists, SWARM involves science education specialists – such as professors Janice McDonnell, Carrie Ferraro, and Liesl Hotaling (Rutgers University) and David Christopher (University of Delaware) as well as middle and high school teachers, creating lessons based on the data that is being collected at Palmer Station in Antarctica where some of the research scientists currently are or are going to in the next few months. 

The SWARM Project is a model program designed to provide middle and high school students with an authentic experience developing testable scientific questions. This collaborative program between scientists, teachers, and students focuses on the process of developing good questioning techniques and using online professionally collected data from Palmer Station, Antarctica to address the students’ question(s). The overall goals of the SWARM Project are to increase teachers’ and students’::

  • understanding of the process of science
  • confidence in designing, conducting, and presenting science investigations
  • identity as a scientist
  • awareness of what it means to be a scientist

This four year-long collaborative program between university scientists and K-12 schools is designed to represent the realistic and sometimes nonlinear practices of scientists involved in authentic research. We  are utilizing Palmer Station Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) data as our model data source to explore the development of this teaching model. Scientists are using gliders, HF radar, echo sounders, and tags to collect data on phytoplankton, zooplankton, and penguins in the Palmer Deep Canyon area to see what controls biological hot spots in Antarctica.