Jayma Moore, laboratory manager of the Electron Microscopy Center, was an invited instructor for the Math and Science Partnership Grant Institute at Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates, N.D., held June 9-10.
The Institute was formed to improve mathematics and science proficiency at Native American schools in North Dakota. Built on a partnership between Valley City State University, Sitting Bull College and five state K-12 schools, it is funded by a 2010 grant from the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction. The summer professional-development institute was intended to equip K-12 teachers at Native American schools with the latest trends and research in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
Moore presented “Seeing is Believing,” engaging 53 teachers of Native American students in Internet operation of the Microscopy Center’s JEOL JSM-6490LV scanning electron microscope. The microscope can be used remotely in any Internet-equipped classroom worldwide to stimulate student interest or support curriculum. Workshop participants investigated 19 samples, ranging from insects to computer chips, including culturally relevant items like a feather (Lakota, wiyaka) and wing scales from a butterfly (kimi mila).
According to Linda Difference Cloud-Jones, education instructor at Sitting Bull College, “This ‘participation with the natural world’ aspect is one essential difference between Native and Western science ... the mere act of choosing to observe a particular occurrence or object over another is subjective.” Native science traditionally has been known for its qualitative methods, in contrast to the strict quantitative analysis of today’s Western science.
Other workshop presenters were from the departments of STEM Education and Elementary Education at Valley City State University; the Great Plains STEM Education Center; the Prairie Waters Education and Research Center; Sitting Bull College math, science and elementary education; the North Dakota State College of Science nanoscience program; and private corporations with expertise in Geographic Information Systems and Global Positioning Systems instruction.
The Electron Microscopy Center is an NDSU service facility that annually provides comprehensive imaging and analysis services to more than 100 faculty and student researchers from more than 20 departments and industry.