K-12 Schoolyard Program

The Coral Reefs of Moorea website is an educational resource of the MCR LTER program. The online encyclopedia can be used in various program components, including public outreach, education materials development, teacher professional development, and undergraduate research programs. This website offers information and video about individual organisms and research associated with the MCR LTER, and inquiry-based, standards-aligned curricula as a part of the lesson plan library. An Activty Library is also available, featuring a coloring book and other creative craft projects for kids of all ages.

To go along with this curriculum, students can now visit the new Coral Reef Exhibit at the REEF.  This aquarium offers a hands-on approach for educators to teach science, and has been integrated into curriculum developed by the MCR LTER.  It has also been an excellent venue to inform people about coral reef research and the status of coral reefs worldwide.

The Moorea Coral Reef LTER collaborates with successful K-12 programs at UCSB and CSUN to offer a Schoolyard Program, with a focus on teacher professional development.  A residential summer institute model, which has proven effective and provides a way to recruit teachers from more distant school districts, is used.  The goal is to recruit teachers from the 5 counties that bridge UCSB and CSUN, with a particular focus on teachers from underserved and low-performing schools.  Workshops are designed with the following findings in mind:

  • Sustained experiences are most likely to have the greatest impact.
  • A focus on pedagogical content knowledge -- teaching practices in specific content domains -- active learning by participants, and integration into the daily life of the school are more likely to produce enhanced knowledge and skills.
  • Collective participation (e.g., teachers from a similar discipline, grade, or school) and coherent professional development activities support real change in teaching practices.

Teacher professional development has also been incorporated into the Schoolyard Program through the Research Experience for Teachers (RET) Program. The National Science Foundation (NSF) funded RET Program offers K-12 teachers from across the country the opportunity to participate in real scientific research at the MCR LTER field site in Moorea, French Polynesia, and develop curricula based on their research findings.

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