About the Institute
This 5-day Institute is designed to facilitate the understanding of biocomplexityand environmental sustainability. Participants will evaluate future energy choices using social science and environmental impact analysis tools and techniques. Life sciences, chemistry, engineering, technology, and social studies content expectations will be addressed. Michigan Technological University (MTU) brings together the expertise of university faculty, scientists, natural resource management professionals, and educators to conduct this Institute. The Institute provided participants with standards-based professional development, an opportunity to participate in real-world, inquiry-based investigations, and time to share teaching ideas with their peers. Through lecture, hands-on data collection and analysis, field trips, laboratory experiences, and discussions with research scientists, participants obtained new knowledge and skills that can be adapted to their work with students. Teachers received classroom resources and curriculum support materials.
Topics addressed at the Institute included:
- Assessing public attitudes towards changing their energy and resource consumption habits, the critical need for energy diversification, and the potential viability of alternative energy sources.
- Assessing potential changes in the local economy and community structure due to expanded timber harvests and sitingof a biomass plant.
- The technology needed for processing tree biomass to energy.
- Using avian populations to measure changes in ecosystem biodiversity due to increased timber harvest.
- Measuring changes in landscape ecology as a result of altering forest species distribution.
- Using GIS technology to inventory availability of timber supply and transportation routes for processing and marketing biofuelsfrom forests.
Participants enhanced their teaching skills—by sharing ideas and innovative approaches to curriculum development and delivery with other educators; and will be better able to guide their students’interest in science and engineering careers after interacting with a variety of scientists and natural resource professionals.