In the last decade, more than 90,000 kids have experienced the joys of scientific inquiry through LabVenture!. Students practice science in all its messiness, handling live lobsters, observing species in our benthic tank, peering through microscopes, analyzing the data they collect, and working together to draw conclusions. We often hear that the program is an irreplaceable educational opportunity for the students that come through our doors.
Take Miller Elementary School for example: their 5th grade classes have come to our lab every year since 2007. As an under-resourced school with nearly half of all students scoring below proficient on standardized science tests, LabVenture! provides a unique chance to spark student interest and motivation in science.
Carol Lariviere, their teacher, shared with us about how the program influenced her students following this year’s trip: “As I debriefed with my fifth grade students this morning, I was amazed with the variety of ways their thinking was changed by the information, scientific processes, and technology to which they were exposed. Their comments made me realize how a hands-on experience in science can shape their understanding of the marine system many of them take for granted.”
The thinking that Carol noticed in her students is pivotal to rigorous learning in science, technology, engineering, and math. Critical thinking and creative problem solving are essential 21st century skills that ripple throughout a student’s education. Reasoning with evidence gives students the ability to weigh many sources and varieties of information and build a logical conclusion. In fact, Carol’s students showed a 36% increase in their confidence in using data to answer a question. Miller Elementary students, and the thousands of other 5th and 6th graders that visit LabVenture! each year, are building a solid foundation of these skills through LabVenture!.
With our 100,000th student expected this year, we’re excited to have helped so many kids, from Miller Elementary and beyond, discover the power of scientific investigation.