Ozarks STEM Outreach Program Increases Student Achievement

Rural Schools Partnership Grant Funds Science Outreach

August 25, 2017 |

Springfield, Missouri's Discovery Center is dedicated to enhancing science education throughout the Ozarks.

The Discovery Center of Springfield, Missouri received a $4,000 Coover place-based grant from the Community Foundation of the OzarksRural Schools Partnership program for the 2016-17 school year. The Rural Schools Partnership grant program is a key component of the Rural Schools Collaborative’s Grants in Place effort.

The Discovery Center (DCS) is dedicated to science education and outreach, and the Coover grant enabled Discovery Center staff to pilot a science outreach project in the rural Ozarks.

ScienceWorks on the Road (outreach program) consisted of a DCS educator going to a 3rd grade classroom once a week for 7 weeks, culminating in a field trip to DCS in the 8th week of the program.

Key features of the program included:

  • All content is aligned to Missouri Grade Level Expectations. Content also prepares students for the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP).
  • All lessons have been developed by DCS educators (which hold a bachelor’s degree in a science field), and incorporate both delivery of science content, and guided investigations for students to acquire depth of knowledge of the science content, with a core component being hands-on exploration of science concepts.
  • The ScienceWorks on the Road outreach program utilizes a pre and post assessment to determine whether the program impacts students’ gain of science content knowledge.

Purdy Elementary in Purdy, Missouri was chosen as the rural school to receive the grant funded program. The program was presented to 3 third grade classrooms, which totaled 66 students. Classes were one hour per classroom, delivered once a week for 7 weeks, followed by a culminating field trip in week 8. The DCS educator provided all materials and supplies needed for an interactive science lesson.

Description of Classes Provided:

Week 1—November 1, 2016 Electricity and Magnetism

Week 2—November 15, 2016 Simple Machines

Week 3—November 22, 2016 Weather

Week 4—November 29, 2016 Energy

Week 5—December 6, 2016 Matter

Week 6—December 13, 2016 Chemistry

Week 7—January 10, 2017 Astronomy

Week 8—January 17, 2017 Field trip to DCS and provided an in-house program on Owl Pellet Dissection

Pre and post-tests were conducted for each student. 90% of the third grade students had an average increase of 24% between pre and post assessment of science knowledge.

Teacher testimonial: “The students learned so much from the lessons, and they all had a wonderful time on the field trip! There are many of them who would have never had that opportunity without the generosity of the money from the grant.”

Editor's note: Thank you to the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and the Discovery Center of Springfield for providing this information.
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