Science for All Ages: New College’s MSOI Program to Welcome 125 Fruitville Elementary Students this Weekend

September 23, 2009 – New College of Florida science students will become teachers this weekend, as the College’s Marine Science Outreach Initiative (MSOI) welcomes more than 100 Fruitville Elementary School students and their parents to campus for a day of scientific exploration and learning about Sarasota’s marine environment.

The program, which was developed by New College biology professor Sandra Gilchrist in collaboration with Fruitville Elementary science teacher Andrew Jaffee, is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. at New College’s Pritzker Marine Biology Research Center.  While on campus the elementary school students, led by their New College student-teachers, will collect and examine marine life from Sarasota Bay, learn about plants that grow along the coastline, tour the Pritzker Marine Center and its dozens of aquaria, get a hands-on demonstration using the Center’s microscopes and engage in a special educational activity on red tide involving the use of origami.

“This is a terrific opportunity for our students to spark excitement about the marine environment among these young kids while honing their teaching skills as well,” said Gilchrist, who is also the director of the Pritzker Marine Center. “These types of events are critical in fostering stewardship of the environment across all age groups.”

Gilchrist and Jaffee developed the idea for this weekend’s program after Jaffee attended a series of teacher workshops sponsored by the College and funded in part by the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program.  Those workshops, which the MSOI has been running for several years now, are aimed at K-12 science teachers and involve programming designed to help the teachers learn about and explore new ideas for teaching science to young learners.

While this Saturday’s event will not be the first time that New College has brought elementary school students to campus for a day of scientific exploration, it is expected to be the largest.  Up to 125 students and their parents are expected to attend.

For more information on this Saturday’s event or to learn more about New College’s MSOI program and its educational programming for teachers and K-12 students, contact the Pritzker Marine Biology Research Center at (941) 487-4453 or email pritzker@ncf.edu.

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