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Teachers participate in STEM-Based Project

A group of Colleton County teachers are being led on in-field field trips to learn more about the local environment and the county’s ecology.
The hands-on learning project for local teachers is funded through a Math and Science Partnership grant sponsored by the S.C. Department of Education. It is an ongoing STEM-based project that will go into the month of July.
The 17 chosen teachers for the project were selected from Colleton County Middle School and from Colleton County High School. They were led in June on two research excursions.
According to Eran Kilpatrick, a science partner with the Institute of Higher Education who is leading the group of local teachers on the trips, the first excursion with the teachers focused on “plant ecology in forest openings” that were recently created by Hurricane Matthew. Hurricane Matthew impacted the Lowcountry in 2016, changing the forest landscape of much of the coastal counties, including Colleton.
The second field trip, or excursion, that teachers went on in June focused on the importance of “isolated wetlands for amphibians,” according to information provided by Kilpatrick, who has served as a science partner with the Institute of Higher Education since 2015. Kilpatrick is working with the Colleton County teachers on this project, with the ultimate goal of having local students use science and math to know more about Colleton County’s landscape and ecosystem.
“Teachers, participating on both excursions, brainstormed experimental ideas, explored the study sites, and collected data,” he said, in a written statement. “Our teamwork will continue during the Summer Institute at USC Salkehatchie in July.”
During the July events, local teachers will use the same information they collected during the two June excursions to “generate teaching tools,” he said. These ideas will then go back into the teacher’s classrooms as subject matter for their students in the fall. Kilpatrick says the idea of teaching students about what is happening in the local environment is to show “regional relevance” to Colleton youth.

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