Using the urban environment to engage youths in urban ecology field studies

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Recent science education reform proponents explicitly put forward the idea that all students, regardless of culture, gender, race, or socioeconomic status, are capable of understanding and doing science. To address this need, the authors have developed and implemented a field-based urban ecology science program to engage traditionally underrepresented groups, such as minorities and women in real-world science. The authors describe the components of the program and discuss why the program has been successful in providing opportunities for all students to engage in and learn science. Using mixed methods to evaluate the program, they found that it improves student interest in science, supports students in developing a better understanding of scientific methodologies, and improves students' sense of environmental stewardship when compared with students experiencing traditional science instruction over the course of an academic year.


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Michael Barnett, Charles Lord, Eric Strauss, Camelia Rosca, Heather Langford, Dawn Chavez & Leah Deni (2006) Using the Urban Environment to Engage Youths in Urban Ecology Field Studies, The Journal of Environmental Education,37:2, 3-11, DOI: 10.3200/JOEE.37.2.3-11