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CSU Channel Islands Student Generated Science Experiments to Engage the Local Community dr. Safa Khan, CSU Channel Islands - Chemistry Department

Introduction to the Project

Students from CSU Channel Islands have created an open learning database of science experiment lesson plans, videos, educational creatives and webpages using Adobe. This pipeline project is designed for PreK-8th grade students to perform STEM science experiments in their own homes or classrooms with common materials purchased with funding from Adobe, IRA and Small Faculty Grants; thereby bridging the gap between pre-college and college students. By using a “junior to senior” collaboration model, CSUCI undergraduate students will directly build projects for PreK-8th grade students focusing on basic scientific principles such as the scientific method.

Website (in progress) with the experiments: science.cikeys.com

Goals

  • Increase success, participation and diversity in STEM.
  • Create an open learning database of student generated science experiments.
  • Develop students knowledge and skills in digital storytelling, visual design and video production.
  • Enable teachers and families to make STEM activities in their own classrooms and homes.
  • Cultivate student intrinsic motivation in learning science and discover ways to positively impact their local communities.
  • Create a legacy down the pipeline of education.

CSUCI Student Projects

75 CSUCI students have created 75 projects from Chem 100 and Chem 344 classes. Topics covered included: plants, seed dispersal, animal adaptations, food chemistry, climate, rivers and soil erosion. A student research assistant, Natalie Olivares, is in the process of building a database of all the experiments and will analyze survey information from the elementary school faculty.

Student Comments

"My favorite part of this class was creating a science lesson plan and video for the elementary students to participate in. Many young students throughout this pandemic have not been able to do many fun activities at home and I was very happy that my classmates and I were able to provide a fun learning environment in the safety of the students’ homes." - Erika Valencia

"In truth my favorite aspect of this class was actually having the opportunity to share with the community ways to express the knowledge displayed to us from energy and society. I believe that if we can influence the younger generations about the field of STEM, we can help guide them about how to make the world a better place." - Jason Mesa

Example CSUCI Student Created Video on Adobe Spark

Example Student Graphic

CSUCI students made graphics to explain the science behind their experiments. One example made in Adobe Post, is an image comparing the size of a yeast cell to a pencil dot.

Collaboration with Elementary School Faculty

CSUCI students collaborated with 18 faculty from Rio Del Sol Elementary School in Oxnard, CA. CSUCI students purchased supplies to model the experiment and for the elementary students to complete the experiments in the virtual classrooms. 577 elementary school students from K-8th grades participated in this project.

Faculty Comments

"The lessons were excellent due to the great lesson plans, materials list, having the supplies you ordered ready to go and the outstanding videos! Thank you so much for these resources." - Jo Anna Mendoza, 4th Grade Teacher

"This collaboration between 2nd grade at Rio Del Sol and the university students from CSUCI was a beaming light during this pandemic! As we navigated the river this year, these projects provided the 'engine' we needed to swim upstream - to overcome the current ... Teacher dreams really do come true!" - Rickey Koga, 2nd Grade Teacher

"Receiving the materials and lessons from your students was a treat, not only for my students but for myself as well. I truly appreciate all of the time, energy, and money that went into getting us the lessons and experiments. My 8th graders had a blast and can't wait to be university students now!" - Savannah Romp, 8th Grade Teacher

Virtual Experiments During the Pandemic

Experiments were designed and supplies were purchased with the mindset that many of the projects would be performed by kids alone at home with virtual teacher support.

Reopening of Schools

As the schools reopened into a hybrid model, projects were performed at homes and at the school.

Elementary School Student Thank You Letters

Projects Showcased at the Virtual Science Carnival of 2021

25 of these projects were showcased at an annual Science Carnival led by Dr. Phil Hampton, Associate Dean at CSUCI. The event was held virtually this year.

Virtual Carnival Participation Data:

  • Total – 5,191
  • Students – 3,924
  • Educators – 1,219
  • Other – 48

Dissemination of the Database

The database will be provided to local schools and families and will increase equity and sustainability within the community. This project enables teachers and families to make STEM activities in their own classrooms and homes. There will also be a targeted effort to create a larger partnership with the network of schools throughout the county and beyond. The dissemination of this project will not be limited to the end of this study, but will hopefully continue to grow and provide a strong foundation that will hopefully inspire teachers and students in STEM subjects.

Conclusions and Future Implications

  • Multicontexted learning, communal work and nonlinear learning can increase success, participation and diversity in STEM (Weismman et al., 2019).
  • Increase equity and sustainability within the community.
  • Inspire teachers, students and community members in STEM subjects.
  • CI students will have gained insight on how science and digital knowledge can be used as tools to improve the community.

Acknowledgments

Many thanks to those who supported and made this project possible. Funding has been provided by:

  • Adobe
  • IRA (instructionally related activities fund)
  • Faculty Small Grants Program

Media Appearances

  • CSUCI’s Virtual Science Carnival will bring more than 50 hands-on science activities to kids and families. Amigos 805. April 5, 2021. http://amigos805.com/csucis-virtual-science-carnival-will-bring-more-than-50-hands-on-science-activities-to-kids-and-families/
  • Gregory, Kim. Virtual Science Carnival will bring more than 50 hands-on science activities to kids and families. CI News Center. https://www.csuci.edu/news/releases/2021-science-carnival.htm

References

Weissmann, Gary S, Ibarra, Roberto A, Howland-davis, Michael, & Lammey, Machienvee V. (2019). The Multicontext Path To Redefining How We Access And Think About Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion In STEM. Journal Of Geoscience Education, 67(4), 320-329.