Jodi Rave: Project integrates science and culture
"Linda Briggeman is among a handful of elementary teachers in the United States participating in a National Science Foundation program aimed at integrating science with an understanding of Native people.

The Big Sky Science Partnership is helping Briggeman learn the finer points of college-level geology this year. She'll tackle astronomy and physics over the next two years, during the course of two-week summer sessions and quarterly meetings for which she will receive college credit.

In turn, she will take her new skills to the grade-school classroom where she will help Native students relate to geologic formations in their own backyards or tribal histories.

“It makes teachers aware of the importance of the whole student, not just the academic student,” said Briggeman, a fourth-grade teacher at DeSmet Elementary in Missoula. She joined more than 50 people, including teachers, tribal community members and college students on the Flathead Reservation this past week for a culture camp.

The Big Sky Science Partnership is a five-year, $5 million grant project of the National Science Foundation. This is the inaugural year of the program, which unites science education leaders at Salish Kootenai College, the University of Montana, Montana State University and tribal consultants from the Flathead, Northern Cheyenne and Crow reservations. All these groups have joined in a partnership with K-8 schools and the Montana State Office of Public Instruction.

The project seeks to establish long-term relationships among all participating groups as they strengthen their own knowledge of science, integrate it with culture, and in turn increase science achievement of all students from the third to eighth grade. Salish Kootenai College on the Flathead Reservation is the lead institution in the partnership, and the only tribal college in the country that has such a lead as part of the NSF project."

Get the Story:
Project teaches Native culture (The Missoulian 8/11)

Relevant Links:
Jodi Rave - http://www.missoulian.com/jodirave

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