The education-field-research model developed by Stuart Perlmeter and Pat Greenlee for high school science classes has the potential to effect change in the way science is taught and to encourage students to pursue careers in biology. They have prepared the following tips to help others interested in establishing such programs in their own schools.
Establishing Cooperative Relationships
1.Identify a teacher and wildlife agency official with the dedication to commit and follow through with such a project.
2.Establish clear objectives for both parties in the partnership. Include provisions for how responsibilities will be delegated and how much financial support will be provided by the school district and other agency.
3.Involve school administrators in planning and developing the project. A supportive administrator can help you clear unforeseen hurdles.
4.Establish a good working relationship with parents of the students involved in your project. They can be powerful allies if school administrators or board members question the value of the project.
Selecting Students as Research Assistants
1.Have a clear set of criteria for selecting students. Keep the number small enough to ensure that each student will be kept busy with work (this number will vary depending on the nature of the research).
2.Student participation in the project should be contingent on approval from all their teachers and an understanding that they must maintain good grades in all their classes.
Being Prepared for Field Research Trips
1.All students who will handle bats must be vaccinated against rabies. Approach the local medical society or a public health clinic to help defray the cost.
2.Conduct pre-trip visits to field sites to locate adequate living arrangements and to identify safety concerns. Make sure students are clear about safety procedures and how to respond if an emergency should arise.
3.Make checklists to ensure that all food items and equipment are brought. Establish a chore schedule for the students.
Educating the Public
1.Contact the local press and television about the project. News stories are a great way to demonstrate to the public that cost-effective and innovative programs are taking place in education.
2.Whenever possible, have the students conduct talks or workshops in schools or for the public at large.