USD researcher mentors science teacher

USD researcher mentors science teacher
Kaia L. Kloster, a researcher at Avera Research Institute and The University of South Dakota's Sanford School of Medicine, is mentoring a high school teacher for a hands-on laboratory experience as part of the American Physiological Society (APS) Frontiers in Physiology program.

The program is part of the society's effort to promote excellence in kindergarten through 12th grade science education.

Kloster is currently serving as a research mentor to Ramona Lundberg of Deuel High School in Clear Lake. She is among 18 APS members working with recipients of the 2006 Frontiers in Physiology Professional Development Fellowships.

The APS awarded the research fellowships to 20 middle school and high school teachers in 12 states and the District of Columbia. The society funds each teacher to work in an APS member's laboratory for up to eight weeks.

The researchers continue to work with the teachers through the school year, visiting their classrooms or having the teachers and their students visit their labs.

"For many teachers, this summer experience marks the first time they have ever participated in scientific research," said Marsha Lakes Matys, APS director of education programs. "It gives them a new perspective on their teaching and the importance of hands-on, inquiry-based learning, which they carry back to their students. The mentoring relationship not only continues into the school year but sometimes lasts for years to follow."

The program gives teachers the opportunity to learn research techniques and follow the scientific process from start to finish. As a result, the teachers gain a greater understanding of science and can pass the knowledge on to their students.

The teachers also learn effective education strategies that help them translate their research and teaching techniques intended for application in the classroom.

The award provides each teacher with a stipend and travel expenses of up to $8,500 and includes a one week science teaching forum that will allow them to explore new and innovative research and teaching techniques intended for application in the classroom.

The Frontiers program is one of several grant-supported programs that APS administers to improve science education by building connections between teachers and researchers.

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