Department of Biology Science Outreach

Science Outreach connects the resources of Washington University to K-12 teachers, students, and families. Our goal is to improve learning in math and science through hands-on, investigative teaching methods. We place priority on working with neighboring school districts in underserved communities. Many of our programs are national models for teacher professional development. Science Outreach programs are supported by grants and private donations.

Each Science Outreach program incorporates one or more of these priority goals:

• Partnerships between universities, informal institutions, and schools. Partnerships expand learning opportunities and pool expertise. Science Outreach programs connect K-12 teachers and districts with WU faculty and educators at the St. Louis Science Center, Saint Louis Zoo, and Missouri Botanical Garden.

• Improving teaching and learning through investigation. Science Outreach supports teachers in efforts to use investigation and inquiry — research proven teaching methods that helps students develop their own understanding of math and science concepts. We provide and refurbish curriculum kits and laboratory materials for classroom use.

• Achievement for all students. The scientists of tomorrow are the students of today. Beginning at the earliest grades, every child must be encouraged to learn at his or her highest potential in order to achieve. Our future workforce in science, engineering, and health care depends on quality teaching and learning in all schools.

Programs and Impact

Science Outreach programs reached more than 1,700 teachers and 24,700 students in 2004-05. Funding support from the sources listed totaled more than $3 million.

Victoria May, director of Science Outreach
Victoria May, director of Science Outreach

Education 6000 Hands-On Science K-8. This series of graduate courses for teachers covers physical science, life science, earth science, and chemistry, and includes investigative, standards-based teaching strategies. Educators taking the courses receive free and loan classroom materials. Howard Hughes Medical Institute

St. Louis Math and Science Partnership. Five school districts plus the St. Louis Science Center and Saint Louis Zoo share the goals of improving learning and closing achievement gaps in math and science. This district- and data-driven systemic partnership provides teacher professional development through learning communities and graduate courses, materials support, and student programs. National Science Foundation

Modern Genetics for All Students. Since 1991, this program has helped over 39,000 high school students learn genetics through hands-on experiments. Program includes graduate summer course and lab materials support to 60 teachers and 5,100 students each year. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Dana Brown Charitable Trust, Monsanto Fund

MySci hands on science for elementary students. Innovative roving science vehicles called Investigation Stations are the centerpieces of a science inquiry program for teachers and students. Monsanto Fund

Research experiences. Teachers and students learn about scientific advances through various internship programs. Faculty-mentored experiences also encourage teacher and student interest in research and science careers. National Science Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Graduate Certificate in Science Education. Courses in Education 6000 and in the undergraduate natural sciences qualify. Fellowship support makes WU study accessible to teachers. Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Outreach Partnership. Innovative curriculum developed as a joint effort between Washington University, informal science institutions, and K-12 teachers links hands-on classroom investigations with informal resources. National Institutes of Health

After-school programs. Washington University student volunteers and dedicated staff at the St. Louis Science Center share interactive hands-on science activities with K-12 students. Programs help young people build enthusiasm for science and prepare them for university study. National Science Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Tyson Field Science Program. Through field trips to Tyson Research Center, preK-12 students can explore natural areas and develop a sense of environmental awareness and responsibility.