MSU News: Program boosts science education on reservations
"After Dora Hugs enrolled in a program designed to strengthen science education for Native American students, the science teacher at St. Charles Mission School in Pryor and member of the Crow tribe decided to invite Crow elders into her classroom to tell science-related stories.

"One elder related a story about how our ancestors knew about the stars," she said. "Another elder showed how she was taught to tell the longest day of the year and the shortest day of the year."

Hugs invited the elders into her classroom because the classes offered through the Big Sky Science Partnership emphasized the importance of making science lessons culturally relevant, she said. The approach was successful, she added, because "the students saw that (science) wasn't just the teacher's point of view."

Hugs is just one example of a teacher who believes she -- and her students -- have benefited from the Big Sky Science Partnership, which aims to improve science education on and near American Indian reservations in Montana.

The program is a collaboration of Montana State University, the University of Montana and Salish-Kootenai College, the lead collaborator. It trains science teachers on or near reservations in the state and is funded by a five-year, $4.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation. In addition to the original NSF grant, which was awarded in the fall of 2006, the program received a total of $900,000 in supplementary funding from the NSF Math and Science Partnership in 2008 and 2009."

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Program aims to strengthen science education on and near Indian reservations in Montana (Montana State University 11/16)