The CoreKids K-12 Outreach Program is directly affiliated with the Michigan Geological Repository for Research and Education in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Western Michigan University. The relationships between CoreKids, MGRRE, the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, WMU, and, additionally, the Michigan Geological Survey, are crucial to its success since the program can take advantage of the multitude of resources and educational facilities each offers. For example, classes that schedule a WMU geology tour will explore MGRRE, but they may also/instead elect to visit the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences on WMU’s main campus in Kalamazoo. There, they will tour the department’s Schmaltz Geology and Mineral Museum, view the Kelley Collection of Fossil and Modern Shark Teeth and take a stroll through our educational rock garden (weather permitting). One of the most important resources yielded by this collaboration, however, is our CoreKids student educators who are actively enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences. As a result, our educators are not only highly informed, they are also very enthusiastic about the subject matter that they are discussing, which is one of the largest contributing factors to the program’s success.
CoreKids serves students and teachers in all of the southern Lower Peninsula of Michigan, including the Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Lansing and Detroit Metro regions. Our modules are designed to be fun, educational and to coincide with the Michigan Department of Education’s Science Standards. CoreKids outreach efforts have thus far been met with an overwhelmingly positive response from students, teachers and industry partners. It is our hope that we can continue this initiative and, in future years, expand our program to include additional modules, online portals and workshops for Michigan teachers, open houses at MGRRE, a travelling classroom and partnerships with other colleges and universities.
The mission of the CoreKids K-12 Earth Science Outreach Program is to increase awareness and understanding of the Earth, its processes and its natural resources among Michigan’s students, teachers and citizenry. The program utilizes a mixture of presentations and hands-on activities to promote the understanding of Earth science as well as to increase interest in science, technology, engineering and math fields, with special focus on communicating the Earth sciences to K-12 students. The majority of our contact with southern Michigan students has been with middle school and high school students who are making decisions about their future. With the CoreKids program, we hope that we can inspire and encourage some of these students to pursue careers in the Earth sciences. A basic tenet of the organization is to provide programming to schools and non-profit organizations without charge, though donations are certainly accepted.