STORY continued

Find Researchers, Teachers and Schools

The key to Seeds of Change's success was finding researchers, teachers and schools who get “it”: an understanding that to engage fully, students need to observe phenomena and be encouraged to question and explore for themselves why things appear as they do and to discover for themselves how they work. Students need to have time to delve deeply, run into dead ends (fail), uncover ways to recover (grit and resilience), and use the power of multiple minds (collaborate) to put together a coherent and logical presentation of their work (communicate). The Seeds of Change immersion programs give them the opportunity to extricate themselves from their life’s logistical complexities and spend quality time focused on their research. Importantly, student motivation is also enhanced when they can see a direct connection between the work they are doing and “real life”. SOC provides this critical link by purposefully providing participants with essential microbial and genetic background information alongside the compelling leafcutter ant case study to demonstrate their relationship to the real-world issue of antimicrobial resistance.

Today more than 20 different schools and homeschool groups routinely send groups of 16 or more students and their teachers to participate in the 10-day science immersion programs. The current program incorporates the best of the original concept plus connections with the Leatherback Trust, the Horizontes Experimental Forest Research Station and University of Minnesota researcher Dr. Jennifer Powers to provide both marine biology and ecological components to the program.

In addition, Seeds of Change conceived of a 2nd Year program focused on bioinformatics (comparative genetics) which was launched in 2014. Gabriel Vargas (University of Chicago) leads this research program in the Monteverde cloud forest in Costa Rica. SOC partners with Equipo Tora Carey in El Jobo, Costa Rica to provide 2nd Year students the opportunity to swim with, catch (safely), collect research data and release multiple species of sting rays and sea turtles. This program also includes a three-night home stay with Costa Rican families that provides all with a treasured cultural connection.

Dr. Adrian Pinto, Director of Seeds of Change Science Curriculum

Build a Tropical Research Station for High Schoolers

Our vision will not be complete until the Seeds of Change Tropical Research Lab (SOC Lab) is complete. Seeds of Change currently partners with a superbly run, eco-lodge (Finca la Anita) to provide food, meeting space and housing for instructors, teachers and students. A new road from the eco-lodge leads to a promontory owned by Seeds of Change that has been cleared for construction of the main building and cabins. Team SOC is actively seeking foundation, educational and institutional partners to fund the construction. The SOC Lab facility will double the number of student groups that can participate in the existing 10-day summer programs and will provide year-round research and programming opportunities.

 “Changing the Landscape of Secondary Science Education” involves connecting labs in US high schools to the future research taking place at the SOC Lab in Costa Rica: An effort designed to involve students in scientific discovery much, much earlier than our current educational systems allow.

Seeds of Change Tropical Research Lab Building Project

Partner with Seeds of Change

Contact Seeds of Change (info@soc-cr.org) if you are interested in partnering with us on the laboratory building project in return for long-term, exclusive partner benefits. The goal is to establish a league of high schools that collaborates on scientific research at the first Tropical Research Lab built exclusively to benefit high school students and encourage them to pursue a science-related career. 

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