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Desert to Rainforest global classroom links future teachers, classrooms in Phoenix and Panama
Date:4/16/2012

For Lauren Coffey and Whitney Clem, the opportunity to travel to Panama and spend a week learning about rainforest ecosystems was too tempting to pass up. The two student teachers in Arizona State University's Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College were selected for a scholarship enabling them to learn about similarities and differences of biodiversity in Arizona's deserts and Panama's rainforests, and to pass this knowledge along to their students in elementary and middle school classrooms.

In earning the Mary Lou Fulton Science Exchange Scholarship, Clem and Coffey are joining eight K-8 teachers from schools in central Phoenix in a yearlong science education program, Desert to Rainforest. There are an additional 10 in-service teachers who have been selected to participate; those individuals live and teach in Panama.

The participating educators share a passion for helping children develop critical thinking skills, science know-how and cultural awareness. Desert to Rainforest will enable them to use powerful new interactive video technology to make connections among middle school students in Phoenix and Panama.

The project is a collaborative initiative of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI), ASU's School of Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Teachers College, as well as Audubon Arizona, in collaboration with Phoenix Public School Districts and the Ministry of Education in Panama. Support comes through a Youth Access Grant from the Smithsonian Institution.

The trip to Panama will take place in July. In late March, the Arizona educators spent a day at the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center in central Phoenix. They worked with ASU scientists and Audubon Arizona staff on topics including identification of local desert flora and fauna. They also began their training with the Vidyo videoconferencing technology, using the video interface to interact and work through a lesson pla
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Contact: Matt Crum
MATTHEW.CRUM@asu.edu
602-543-5209
Arizona State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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