Angela Olivera and Stephanie Clarke-Brooks from Hambrick Middle School will head to the Caribbean in July. They will take part in a scientific expedition.
JASON Learning named them 2016 Argonauts. They will study with a team of prestigious scientists. The program is part of a hands-on science program in the Bahamas.
Olivera just finished her eighth grade year at Hambrick Middle School. Clarke-Brooks is a science teacher and is Chair of the Science Department at the campus. Both will spend a week exploring and taking part in research experiments. The Argonauts expedition is part of the JASON Learning Project. The curriculum engages students in scientific exploration through an active learning environment.
JASON Learning selected Olivera and Clarke-Brooks through a competitive application process. Each year, JASON Learning selects only a few teachers and students across the country. The work on the expedition will make learning relevant for students. They will learn how they can apply scientific research in real-world settings.
Every day of the expedition will be an adventure for student and teacher Argonauts. The selected Argos are divided into three groups. Each Argonaut group will take part this summer in one of three scientific expeditions. Some will head to the Bahamas, some to Maine and others will spend a week in Alaska.
The program includes Argonauts taking part in interactive field educational lessons. The Argos will also act as special ambassadors. They will feature their experiences through blogs, social media and photos. This will enable other students and the media to follow along on the adventure. Organizers encourage the Aldine community to keep an eye out for posts on JASON Learning’s Facebook and Twitter pages from Olivera and Clarke-Brooks between July 15-21.
JASON Learning and the Argonauts program form part of a collaborative public-private partnership. In the Houston area, the program is underwritten by Chevron. The energy corporation has made a financial commitment to STEM education. The acronym stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The goal is not only to connect students to real science and exploration. Both hope to also inspire and motivate them to pursue careers in STEM fields. Chevron has a vested interest in STEM education. The company hopes the program will excite students to pursue STEM. It is everyone’s dream to see a few drive Houston and the United State’s STEM economy someday.
“This program inspires students and teachers,” Williams-Earlie said. “Argonauts will become ambassadors of STEM in their school communities. Each of these students will bring home the idea that STEM is fun and exciting. And they will become role models for others. I hope that all students will aspire to be an Argonaut.”
Dr. Eleanor Smalley is proud of the program. She serves as president and CEO of JASON Learning. Smalley also lauds Chevron’s commitment to STEM education. Chevron funds the JASON Project in more than 10 Houston-area school districts. More than 1,000 teachers have received training. Approximately 135,000 students have benefited from the program. Chevron selected Aldine ISD in 2012 to take part in the JASON Learning program.
“The program connects students and educators with real scientists,” said Smalley. “They teach and cultivate a love of exploration and inquiry. The program also also promotes self-confidence, and develops leadership skills. Thanks to Chevron’s vision, the Houston area is developing new ways of teaching STEM. And JASON Learning is happy to be a part of that model.”
A study published in 2014 looked at the early impact of JASON Learning in Houston area schools. Aldine ISD implemented the program in the fall of 2012. The study compared state testing in 2012 and 2013. Early data from 2013 suggests emerging trends. Students have made gains since implementation of JASON Learning curriculum. AISD continuously works with JASON Learning and teachers to adapt to meet students’ needs.
Joni Baird and Karen Rawls attended a recent reception for the 2016 Houston area Argos. The event took place in Alief ISD. Both work in the public affairs office at Chevron Houston. Baird is manager and Rawls is a representative.
“Chevron‘s partnership with the JASON Learning shows our commitment to STEM education,” said Baird. “We want students, parents and teachers excited about STEM fields.”
Olivera and Clarke-Brooks’ expedition will take place at the Cape Eleuthera Institute. JASON Learning is working with the CEI to set activities. These include study sessions, research and hands-on learning activities.
Possible day-trips include exploring underwater ecosystems, caves and underground tunnels. Other activities include snorkeling and swimming. They will tour an aquaponics farming systems facility and learn about sustainability.
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