This project is expanding the hands-on, investigative approach to science education, an approach that this department has successfully used with preservice elementary teachers as well as K-12 students and teachers. This successful model for science education is now being extended to include the upper-division science instruction and undergraduate research at this university. The newly acquired, advanced equipment is being used aboard the new 65-foot floating laboratory and classroom, G. JACKSON. This new vessel is being constructed and equipped with basic science and safety equipment. Its principal focus is science instruction and research for undergraduate science majors and prospective teachers. The new equipment is providing greater opportunities for these students to experience an investigative approach to science in numerous courses as well as through faculty supervised research. This equipment also provides an introduction to current technology in several areas of science and enhances student opportunities for higher level experience in experimental design, data collection and analysis, and computer modeling. The university is making the vessel and its inventory of science equipment available as a regional science education resource. The vessel offers educational programs in various port cities around Lake Michigan. Additionally, it is expected to be used by other colleges and universities including Hope College, Western Michigan University, DePaul University, Cornerstone College, and the following community colleges: West Shore, Muskegon, Lansing, and Petoskey. The impact of the project is to convey scientific principles and techniques with greater effectiveness; enhance student understanding of how scientific data is collected, processed, and applied to environmental questions; and introduce new content into the students' aquatic science experience through working with advanced equipment.
Scientific Equipment to Improve Science Education Aboard the Vessel W.G. Jackson