EarthLab Investigators in San Diego

Grantee: Groundwork San Diego Chollas Creek – San Diego, CA

Project Title: EarthLab Investigators

Grant Description: EarthLab Investigators is a nature-based STEM program that increases the scientific literacy of southeast San Diego students from Chollas Mead Elementary School. Participating students visited the EarthLab two days each week for five weeks, during which time naturalist educators engaged students in nature-based STEM activities.

Using proven field monitoring protocols established by AECOM and Groundwork San Diego, students collected plant and animal data using iPads (provided by Groundwork San Diego Chollas Creek) and the iNaturalist application in the riparian and/ or chaparral habitat. This is a citizen science project, meaning that all data collected will be made public through the iNaturalist application. Activities are facilitated by two (2) Groundwork naturalist instructors and the classroom teacher. The student data collected by students is used to create a baseline profile of plants and animals at the EarthLab. Scientific literacy notebooks are kept by students to measure learning outcomes.

The EarthLab Investigators Program drew upon a number of partners, including: the San Diego Science Project; the University of California San Diego Center on Research in Educational Equity, Assessment, and Teaching Excellence; and the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation.

Students’ family members joined them for some of the outdoor activities to reinforce learning.

Program Impact: An EarthLab Investigation Lesson Plan Module was developed, and will be used in future summer programs.

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