Hydro Program Highlighted in STEM Education Event

May 16, 2018

Missoula – A video co-produced by a science educator with the University of Montana’s spectrUM Discovery Area was included in the 2018 STEM for All Video Showcase funded by the National Science Foundation.

The video is available online at http://bit.ly/2IkKfTr. The NSF showcase event is being held May 14-21.

The presentation, titled “Comp Hydro: Engaging Students in Using Computational Thinking to Understand Local Water Problems,” looks at an innovative high school curriculum project to teach students about using computer models to understand local water problems such as groundwater contamination or flooding. The Comp Hydro project was funded by NSF.

“Current flooding events around the state of Montana provide vivid evidence that water issues such as contamination and flooding are ubiquitous,” said Beth Covitt, head of science education research and evaluation with spectrUM. “Everyone needs to be able to understand how and why problems arise and how scientists learn about, address and communicate about water issues.”

She said Comp Hydro prepares high school students to be able to use computational models to understand and respond to water problems in their local area.

Now in its fourth year, the annual showcase is featuring over 200 innovative projects aimed at improving STEM learning and teaching that have been funded by the NSF and other federal agencies. During the weeklong event, researchers, practitioners, policymakers and members of the public view the short videos, discuss them with the presenters online and vote for favorites.

The theme for this year’s event is “Transforming the Educational Landscape.” Video presentations cover a wide range of topics, including science, mathematics, computer science, engineering, cyberlearning, citizen science, maker spaces, mentoring, informal learning, professional development, research and evaluation, Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core.

The videos highlight initiatives for students of all ages – from kindergarten through graduate school – as well as those for adult learners. Last year’s STEM for All Video Showcase remains available and has received more than 51,000 unique visitors from over 189 countries.

Comp Hydro is a program of spectrUM, UM’s hands-on science center. Now in its 10th year, spectrUM serves more than 200,000 Montanans annually through in-museum and statewide mobile programming. SpectrUM is part of UM’s Broader Impacts Group, which harnesses the University’s research and creative scholarship to foster social mobility and a vibrant, homegrown workforce for Montana.

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Contact: Beth Covitt, head of science education research and evaluation, spectrUM Discovery Area, 406-243-4828, beth.covitt@umontana.edu.