Our emphasis on experiential learning and original research means that SASSAk12 operates both in and out of the classroom. We currently offer four volunteer-based programs:
Standards-based approaches can often lead to test-focused education where students are regurgitating facts but not necessarily developing critical thinking skills and inquiry-based methods. Given time constraints, teachers are reluctant to allocate time to activities that deviate from the focus on standards. Subjects are compartmentalized at the K-12 level and oftentimes students lack engagement because they do not understand how subjects are connected and how they have real-world applications that are relevant to them.
Additionally, college students and researchers often lack training in science communication and have few guided opportunities to bridge the divide between academia and the broader public.
Underpinning all of these issues is a lack of diversity and thus diverse perspectives. Women and individuals of color are underrepresented in the sciences. Socioeconomically challenged individuals frequently are left without a voice. Students struggling in mainstream learning environments are often trying to overcome other stressors that impede their access to education.
Science and Social Studies Adventures (SASSAk12) brings together college students, universities, and community resources, as well as K-12 students, parents, teachers, and schools, to provide hands-on learning experiences designed to supplement K-12 state standards and learning objectives for core curricula while simultaneously elucidating interdisciplinary connections and real-world applications of content areas.
Because we are focused on showing the connection between science and public interest, it is also important to us to make sure our efforts reach a diverse array of students, and we make every effort to incorporate an inclusive mindset in all that we do. We endeavor to cultivate respect for, and an understanding of, our collective human history and to inspire future researchers. In this way we serve the needs of our community.
Each of our endeavors are collaborative projects and welcome all invested parties. Invested parties include educators, K-12 students, college students, researchers, parents, experts, institutions, and community members that may be affected by our actions. Making connections within the community means welcoming diverse perspectives and expertise and we work hard to consider the impacts of our efforts. One of our strengths is our ability to find connections that will help meet the needs of the people we serve. We listen to the teachers with whom we collaborate and engage in long-term relationships during which we learn, grow, and improve our approach to optimize the benefits we can offer their students.
We emphasize experiential learning and advocate K-12 participation in original research meaning that SASSAk12 operates both in and out of the classroom. We currently offer four volunteer-led programs: SASSA in the Classroom, Preparing Researchers for Engaging the Public (PREP), Youth Engaging in Research Program (YERP), and SASSA in the Field (program beginning in 2020).