BMCC Students Place 2nd In NASA Poster Contest

Nov 15th, 2004 | By | Category: 16-2: Tribal College Research, Tribal College News

SUPERIOR INTEGRATORS. (back row, left to right) Wanda Hoolsema, Lewis Stempke, Sheryl Sherber, and Sonya Killips; (front row) Susan Pierce, Billy Michell, and Laurie Jarvie. Photo by Maria Cantarero

Earlier this year, seven sophomore and junior teacher education students from Bay Mills Community College (BMCC, Brimley, MI) entered a lesson plan contest at NASA’s Pre-service Teacher’s Conference in Alexandria, VA.

Sixty-six colleges and universities from across the country participated, many of which had been coming to the conference for years. It was the first time that BMCC had been invited. “We did our best and figured the first time would be a learning experience,” said Wanda Hoolsema, a junior in the program.

When finalists were announced, however, BMCC’s students were stunned to learn they’d made it to the top 10. When the college’s name was called for second place, the group was speechless. (First place went to the University of Texas at Brownsville; third place to University of Oregon, and honorable mention to Prairie View A&M Texas University.)

The students are part of the 4-year teacher prep program offered by BMCC in consortium with Ferris State University. The lesson plan contest called for a poster demonstrating integration of science, math, and technology. The BMCC poster was an 8-week unit plan to guide 8th grade students through a series of scientific investigations to determine whether the Lake Superior shoreline is receding. The purpose was to teach students to “evaluate strengths and weaknesses of claims, arguments, or data” as specified in the Michigan Curriculum Framework.

In the process, students would learn NASA technology, Geographic Information Systems, and how the level of the water can be influenced by locks. The unit plan followed the 4MAT system of lesson development, which provides for a specific sequence of activities in a circular pattern and is considered one of the best designs for Native American learning styles.

The lesson plan contest called for a poster presentation. The BMCC students superimposed their poster on the Medicine Wheel and included components for learning Native teachings and prophesy about the water and global warming. The lesson plan also featured talks by community elders at the lake shore. The poster is available at the college’s library as a teaching tool for future classes.

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