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Local Communities & K-12 Education

Graduate student Margaret Veitch describing a rock to a young visitor at the Exhibit Museum

Imagine Planet

Imagine Planet in Jackson Michigan, is a no-admission, non-profit, science enrichment, hands-on activity center, where adults and children can explore, create, learn, and play in an underserved community. The idea for Imagine Planet grew from the realization that access to science enrichment opportunities had attendance barriers including high admission fees and lack of transportation to  museums and science centers. By keeping overhead costs low, and choosing a location in the heart of the city of Jackson, we can offer free admission. Imagine Planet is a non-profit and welcomes contributions from those who can manage it (from material goods to corporate sponsors and monetary donations). For more information, contact Ingrid Hendy.

National Ocean Sciences Bowl

Many NOSB participants are interested in continuing their studies in the marine sciences after high school and eventually pursuing a career in ocean/coastal studies. Many resources exist for finding the right college or program. Deciding on the best path to your future can be a difficult decision, so learning about the wide variety of ocean and marine science undergraduate and graduate programs and numerous career opportunities can provide the tools to make an informed decision about how to take that next step.

Polar Trek program
Including K-12 teachers in our field work for 3-6 weeks creates a multiplicative effect by making their experiences as field scientists accessible to many more K-12 students and their parents than scientists could reach alone. Since 2013, our interactions with teachers have led to peer-reviewed curricula in earth and environmental science inspired by our research and grounded in core education principles. Two K-12 teachers have taught more than 600 high school students and over 400 K-12 teachers about climate change in the Arctic using their first-hand experiences. After working with us teachers feel empowered and confident to teach climate change science because they can show their students how rapidly the Arctic is changing, and provide a broad understanding of climate change (and the scientific process) that is not accessible to students in books, articles, and talks. For more information, contact Rose Cory.

Young Scientists’ Expo
We have sponsored the Association for Women in Science’s annual partnership with Forsythe Middle School in Ann Arbor to host the Young Scientists’ Expo, an annual community science event where Forsythe students develop and present science projects. At this event, graduate students also perform demos of other "mini science experiments" for students to watch/participate in (for e.g., a bismuth crystal growing demo).


University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

Many of our faculty and students participate in events run by the UMMNH such as:

Meet a Scientist: Meet University of Michigan scientists and learn more about their cutting-edge research in this series of short, interactive presentations.

Museum ID Days: Graduate students and faculty from the Department share their expertise for identifying rock, mineral, and fossil specimens that patrons bring in on Museum ID Day. This is an opportunity for the public to bring in their finds for experts in the fields of paleontology, anthropology, archaeology, botany, zoology, and geology to identify. The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences provides a team of researchers, faculty, and graduate and undergraduate students to talk about geology and identify specimens.

Museum to You
Bring a river into your school with the Museum’s 12-foot stream simulation table! The U-M Museum of Natural History offers three different workshops providing students hands-on opportunities to explore water flow, erosion, effects of flooding, the consequences of human activities on water quality, and much more. Students work in small groups and record their observations in accompanying student journals. All workshops are inquiry-based and meet state standards for social studies and the new Next Generation Science Standards.

Science for Tomorrow is a STEM career outreach program for middle school students in communities that are underrepresented in STEM fields and on college campuses. This event goes beyond emphasizing STEM as a generic catch-all phrase and instead shows students real world examples of who scientists are, the process of science and research, as well as providing students with practical tools for navigating high school, pursuing post-secondary education, and ultimately achieving their career-driven goals.

You can visit the Museum of Natural History's full website HERE.