A Scientist’s Guide to Achieving Broader Impacts through K-12 STEM Collaboration

March 1st, 2015 | RESEARCH

The National Science Foundation and other funding agencies are increasingly requiring broader impacts in grant applications to encourage US scientists to contribute to science education and society. Concurrently, national science education standards are using more inquiry-based learning (IBL) to increase students’ capacity for abstract, conceptual thinking applicable to real-world problems. Scientists are particularly well suited to engage in broader impacts via science inquiry outreach, because scientific research is inherently an inquiry-based process. We provide a practical guide to help scientists overcome obstacles that inhibit their engagement in K–12 IBL outreach and to attain the accrued benefits. Strategies to overcome these challenges include scaling outreach projects to the time available, building collaborations in which scientists’ research overlaps with curriculum, employing backward planning to target specific learning objectives, encouraging scientists to share their passion, as well as their expertise with students, and transforming institutional incentives to support scientists engaging in educational outreach.


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Team Members

Lisa Komoroske, Author, NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center
Sarah Hameed, Author, University of California, Davis
Amber Szoboszlai, Author, Farallon Institute for Advanced Ecosystem Research
Amanda Newsom, Author, Washington Department of Fish and Game
Susan Williams, Author, University of California, Davis


Identifier Type: doi
Identifier: 10.1093/biosci/biu222

Publication: BioScience
Volume: 65
Number: 3
Page(s): 313

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Audience: Educators | Teachers | Elementary School Children (6-10) | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals | Scientists | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Education and learning science | General STEM
Resource Type: Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: Afterschool Programs | Informal | Formal Connections | K-12 Programs | Public Programs | Summer and Extended Camps