Project WetKids: An Interdisciplinary Investigation of Integrated Science and Cultural Arts Learning Along the Mississippi Gulf Coast

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The US National Science Foundation (NSF) strives “to ensure that there will always be plenty of skilled people available to work in new and emerging scientific, engineering and technological fields, and plenty of capable teachers to educate the next generation,” and, as such, continually seeks innovative ways to meet its mission. Awarded as one of only sixteen projects in the NSF Academies of Young Scientists, Project WetKids provides a fully replicable model through its integrated sciences and arts content and interdisciplinary research approach led by a multi-discipline investigative team at The University of Southern Mississippi in collaboration with the Pascagoula School District and the Mississippi Audubon. This project links science, mathematics, and cultural arts into a fluid evolution of students’ understanding, appreciation, and interest of science in their surrounding environment, their growing community, and the nearby growing industries of Chevron and Northup Grumman. We will share the first year of progress and empirical investigation of student and teacher learning, changing attitudes, parental involvement, and the continued evolution of our large interdisciplinary partnership. Our report will reveal middle school students’ understanding of science relevant to becoming citizen scientists who can be expressive, active, and informed with improved opportunities to pursue scientific fields needed to sustain global economies.

Keywords: Out-of-School Time, Science Learning, Teacher Education, Arts Integration
Stream: Natural, Environmental and Health Sciences
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , Project WetKids

Dr. Anita Davis

Associate Professor, School of Music
Center for Research in Creative Learning, The University of Southern Mississippi

Hattiesburg, MS, USA

Anita Davis is an Associate Professor of Music Education at The University of Southern Mississippi where she coordinates the Center for Research in Creative Learning. Her research is focused on the impact of arts learning through study of school organizational behaviors, teacher efficacy, and student learning

Dr. Julie Cwikla

Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics, The University of Southern Mississippi
Ocean Springs, MS, USA

Julie Cwikla is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast. Her research interests focus on mathematics education, teacher learning, professional development embedded in practice, and the evolution of communities of professional practice.

Dr. Christopher Barry

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, The University of Southern Mississippi
Hattiesburg, MS, USA

Chris Barry is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at The University of
Southern Mississippi and is a licensed clinical psychologist in the State of
Mississippi. His research is focused on investigations of risk and
protective factors related to youth behavioral problems and the impact of
project-based school curricula on students' attitudes, conduct, and

Ref: I08P0249