A Scientist's Guide to Achieving Broader Impacts through K–12 STEM Collaboration
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AbstractThe National Science Foundation and other funding agencies are increasingly requiring broader impacts in grant applications to encourage US scientists to contribute to science education and society. Concurrently, national science education standards are using more inquiry-based learning (IBL) to increase students’ capacity for abstract, conceptual thinking applicable to real-world problems. Scientists are particularly well suited to engage in broader impacts via science inquiry outreach, because scientific research is inherently an inquiry-based process. We provide a practical guide to help scientists overcome obstacles that inhibit their engagement in K–12 IBL outreach and to attain the accrued benefits. Strategies to overcome these challenges include scaling outreach projects to the time available, building collaborations in which scientists’ research overlaps with curriculum, employing backward planning to target specific learning objectives, encouraging scientists to share their passion, as well as their expertise with students, and transforming institutional incentives to support scientists engaging in educational outreach.