Students enjoy participating in Squirrel-Net research. Students from Colorado Mesa University and California State University Monterey Bay participate in Squirrel-Net Teaching Modules (A) Squirreling Around for Science, (B) Sorry to Eat and Run, (C) How Many Squirrels Are in the Shrubs, and (D) Squirrels in Space.
The CourseSource authors of the Squirrel-Net teaching modules are recruiting instructors to join their educational research team! Below is their announcement.
Are you looking for a simple way to bring authentic research experiences into your classroom? Are you searching for activities that are easily adaptable to remote learning? We can help! Squirrel-Net (http://squirrel-net.org) is a group of mammalogists working to broaden access to field-based CUREs (Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences) with a focus on sciurid rodents (e.g., squirrels, chipmunks, marmots, prairie dogs, etc.). By incorporating research directly into course activities, CUREs provide research opportunities to a wider range of students. We are funded by NSF to support instructors in using our modules in their classrooms and then evaluating the modules’ impacts on student learning!
Each of our four CURE modules uses a different methodology to study squirrel behavior. All modules have been field-tested, and are easily implemented and adaptable for different courses, habitats, and focal species. In each module, students develop their own research questions and collect data on squirrels around their own institution or home on squirrels at or near their own institution using standardized protocols. Students then contribute their data to a national database, building a comparative dataset that includes a wider variety of squirrel species and environmental conditions than could be collected in a single course. The national network also allows students to connect with each other across the country. Our modules can be used on their own or in combination to provide authentic research experiences to your students. All teaching materials, including background information, slide presentations, and student handouts, are now publicly available through our CourseSource publications, linked on our website (http://squirrel-net.org).
By participating in this project, you will be joining a research team to assess the effectiveness of networked CUREs in helping students build knowledge, develop scientific skills, and strengthen their identity as scientists.
To participate in our project we request that you:
- Use one of our modules in one of your courses between Spring 2021 and Spring 2023.
- Forward emails with pre- and post-assessment survey links to your students (~10 minutes to complete with optional entry into an Amazon gift card drawing).
- After running the module, take a single 15-minute instructor survey to share your experiences with the material.
Please click on Request Access on our website (http://squirrel-net.org) with any questions or to join our team. Thank you!
Patrice Kurnath Connors
Liesl Petrson Erb