Field-based hands-on education programs increase marine, environmental science, STEM literacy
Field-based hands-on education programs can increase marine and environmental science and STEM literacy through active involvement in learning. Sea Grant’s goals include an environmentally literate public. Increased literacy will ensure that the public incorporates broad understandings of their actions on the environment into personal decisions.
In 2015, field-based hands-on learning experiences at three MASGC-supported environmental centers in Mississippi and Alabama enabled 11,614 students and teachers to develop a personal understanding of and relationship to coastal habitats (e.g., estuaries, wetlands, forests, barrier islands), their resident organisms and their ecological processes. All programs addressed specific science, ocean and climate literacy concepts while developing science, technology, engineering and math skills through authentic methods of data collection.
A total of 4,108 pre- and post-test assessments indicated significant improvement in student content knowledge at all three environmental education center locations with statistically significant content knowledge gains ranging from 19 percent to 37 percent. Evaluations indicated teachers considered the field-based professional development to be valuable or very valuable (n=92).
Almost 12,000 students and teachers increased their marine and environmental science and Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) literacy by participating in environmental field-based education experiences through MASGC supported programs at Discovery Hall Programs (Dauphin Island Sea Lab), the Environmental Studies Center (Mobile County Public School System) and the Marine Education Center (Gulf Coast Research Laboratory). (2015)