Teresa B

In the summer of 2016, I brought a group of elementary teachers to Upham Woods to participate in varying inquiry-based and STEM activities, as well as create opportunities for literacy using experiential learning. The experience began with an training of the Digital Observation Technology Skills (DOTS) kits, where we worked directly with the Upham Woods staff. The groups combined to explore the tools, which included canoeing across the river to the island to participate in an exploration hike that was designed to allow teachers the opportunity to collect data from a natural site. The group was able to attend several professional development opportunities during our time at this location including: raptor recovery; wildlife care; and a round table conversation about working with urban youth. One of the most meaningful activities was the opportunity to join with a school group from Milwaukee Public Schools. The school group was a group of 5th graders who had been previously trained on DOTS. The students came to Upham Woods with research questions and the intent of answering those questions by using the kits while on site. Out teachers were able to shadow students and ask questions about their research. We were able to walk away from this location feeling like we were competent in data collection and place-based education. Here is a quote from one of our teachers I actually got to see different teaching experiences in action instead of someone just telling me about them. This made it easier for me to see how I can make this applicable in my classroom. The DOTS training at Upham and seeing students use this technology made me excited to use the technology in my own classroom next year.