Educators in Phoenix and Panama are taking part in a yearlong science education program, Desert to Rainforest, which is supported by the Smithsonian.
Students and teachers in both locations will use interactive video technology to learn about the ways Arizona’s deserts and Panama’s rainforests are alike and different.
An overarching goal of the project is to help develop critical thinking skills, science know-how, and cultural awareness.
The video component will enable us to build connections between students in Panama and here in Phoenix. I think this is a great addition to the project because it enables middle school students to learn not only about biodiversity but cultural diversity as well.”
A collaborative initiative launched in 2010, the Desert to Rainforest project encompasses the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI); ASU’s School of Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Teachers College; Audubon Arizona; Phoenix Public School Districts; and the Ministry of Education in Panama. The project vision includes international education reform and global innovation.
Desert to Rainforest emphasizes the development of core curricula that celebrates life in these two rich ecosystems. The students living in each of these distinctively different environments will use their personal experiences to understand differences and similarities in the habitats in which they live, and they will bring new knowledge home to share with their families.”
—David Pearson, a research professor in ASU’s School of Life Sciences
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