Youth Scientific Literacy
Projects place a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary curriculum development that includes applied research, evaluation, and program dissemination. They emphasize effective professional development for science educators, with a focus on contemporary, community of practice-based models that are grounded in constructivism, data-driven, and occur over extended periods of time.
Recent projects include: the UC-ANR-funded Mitigating Zoonotic and Animal Disease Risks in 4-H Animal Science Projects through Coordinated Education and Research project, a statewide effort that involved collaborators in 11 California counties; and the Enhancing 4-H Common Measures: Developing a Transformational, Sustainable Professional Development Model project, a national effort funded by the S. D. Bechtel Foundation through National 4-H Council.
Animal Ambassadors UC Davis Student Curriculum Development Internship
The Animal Ambassadors UC Davis Student Curriculum Development Internship involves developing and pilot-testing inquiry-based curriculum activities to be used as part of the overall program. Students work in teams of 3-4 individuals to accomplish these tasks.
Most of the internship is independent study; teams organize themselves outside of our regular meetings. Students meet on Fridays from 1-3 for a seminar that includes hands-on presentations by different faculty and staff on effective science education outreach practices. An additional one-hour weekly group meeting to discuss team progress and outcomes.
The feedback from students who have taken part in this internship is that it is fun, educational, and beneficial to their professional goals. They are able to bring their creativity and knowledge together with others to develop activities that kids learn from and enjoy doing.
Animal Ambassadors School/University Partnerships Outreach Internship Project
The Animal Ambassadors School/University Partnerships Outreach Internship Project involves UC Davis undergraduates and teens from Grant High School working together to implement hands-on, inquiry-based science curriculum activities at Fairbanks Elementary School in Sacramento. The UC Davis students serve as mentors for the high school students, providing them with a comprehensive exposure to campus. The UC Davis and Grant High School students, in turn, serve as mentors for the students at Fairbanks Elementary. The Animal Ambassadors activities help the elementary school students to develop an interest in science and foster critical thinking and life skills. This project is being funded by the UC Davis School/University Partnerships Program.
Animal Ambassadors Cooperative Research Project
The Animal Ambassadors Program is being designed for use in both formal and nonformal education settings. The Animal Ambassadors School/University Outreach Internship Project provides the opportunity to pilot test Animal Ambassadors in school classrooms. Support from the UC Davis Division of Education's Center for Cooperative Research and Extension Services for Schools (CRESS) allows program staff and collaborating teachers to research evaluation ideas and methods on specific aspects of science literacy. Specifically, tools that can be used to measure the impact of Animal Ambassadors curriculum activities on science literacy in school-based settings are being investigated.
Animal Ambassadors A Science Education Outreach Model
This effort is a collaboration with the University of California Cooperative Extension's (UCCE) San Luis Obispo County 4-H Youth Development Program to develop an effective outreach model for statewide and national implementation and dissemination of the Animal Ambassadors Program. Funded by the American Honda Foundation, this project will use the existing 4-H infrastructure, which is national in scope and enjoys a time-honored tradition of excellence in youth development programming, as a primary mode of delivery, both in the pilot project phase and throughout the dissemination process.
4-H After School Activity Program (ASAP) Outreach Project
The Los Angeles County 4-H Youth Development Program helps meet the needs of children who live in public housing communities through their After School Activity Program (ASAP). A large part of the 4-H ASAP experience for children is their involvement in hands-on activities.
During 1999, the Animal Ambassadors Program trained 25 site facilitators to implement activities at 14 ASAP locations. Over 750 children participated in the program.