FSU Biology - OSTA K-12 Student Outreach Programs
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K-12 Student Outreach Programs

Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS)

The Office of STEM Teaching Activities is a National Network Center for Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS). GEMS units are activity-based science and mathematics curricula developed at the University of California by Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science. Through our GEMS Center, professional development experiences are offered for K - 8 teachers to enhance the teaching and learning of science and mathematics in the classroom. As well, our GEMS Center director supports classroom teachers through classroom visits to help them engage their students in GEMS activities.

The Young Scholars Program

The Young Scholars Program is a six-week, residential summer program for high-potential high-school juniors and seniors who are interested in science and mathematics. The program, begun in 1983, is award-winning and was commended through a Florida Cabinet Resolution for advancing Science and Mathematics education. Students live and study at Florida State University engaging in individual research experiences with a science or mathematics faculty mentor and participating in science, math, and computer science courses designed specifically for the program. Weekend activities round out the program. Applications are available for rising juniors and seniors from Florida high schools beginning in January of each year.

Saturday-at-the-Sea is an award-winning program (Governor's Environmental Education Award; Coastal America Award) in marine science for regional middle-school students that operates from March through November. On a day at Saturday-at-the-Sea, students from Florida panhandle area schools and programs spend the day at the FSU Marine Laboratory studying the rich variety of marine creatures of the Gulf of Mexico through hands-on experience and inquiry. The program aims to initiate an understanding of the biological relationships these sea creatures have to each other and to the physical environment and engage students in the practices of science. Moreover, it endeavors to awaken an awareness of the interdependency of the people in this region and the sea life in our estuaries and bays. It is our special goal to stimulate young minds to become interested in science at a critical time in their educational development. Originally developed in 1985 by renowned marine ecologist Bill Herrnkind, the program has expanded from its original Saturday-only offerings into weekday offerings; however, its well-known name was retained.

Saturday-at-the-Sea Summer Camp
Saturday-at-the-Sea Summer Camp is a week-long immersion in research and exploration of the marine habitats of north Florida for rising seventh, eighth and ninth graders. The camps are designed to educate students about Florida's coastal resources and stimulate their interest in environmental and marine sciences. This successful program is modeled on recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences for inquiry experiences for K-12 students. Throughout the week students are deeply engaged in the practices of science and in exploration of crosscutting concepts in science.


The Sea-to-See program takes hardy marine invertebrates to local elementary schools and provides student-centered instruction to K-6 grade classrooms using touch tanks. Through the driving questions that this popular program employs, students discover the marine world in a way that many have never thought about before.

Science on the Move
Science on the Move brings all of the resources needed to conduct high-tech physical science lessons directly to regional K - 12 classrooms. The program was designed in partnership with the Physics Department at Florida State University. It is a full-service science truck program bringing physical science equipment, supplies, and expertise to public schools in the Florida panhandle region. The program's goal is to aid these schools in providing their K-12 science classrooms with the ever-changing technology for teaching physics. Each school visit is from one to three days in length and lessons are designed to engage students in the practices of science as they explore disciplinary core ideas. Another important aspect of Science on the Move is teacher professional development in physical science, thus the program coordinator works closely with teachers in the classroom and is a leader in the summer physical science content workshops available for teachers (see Professional Development-Focused STEM Content Workshops).

Capital Regional Science and Engineering Fair
The Capital Regional Science and Engineering Fair is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences each February for regional middle and high school students. Florida State University has been a major sponsor of the Fair since its inception more than 30 years ago. About 135 College faculty and graduate students serve as judges for the Fair annually. Each year students compete in categories from botany to health and medicine, as well as mathematics and computer science. The winners advance to the state science fair. The Capital Regional Science & Engineering Fair is affiliated with the International Science Fair.

Create with Code! Summer Camp
Create with Code! is a week-long, half-day summer camp designed for Florida high-school students interested in science and programming. This program will introduce students to coding in Python and explore data visualization & machine learning. This program is co-sponsored by the Department of Scientific Computing & the Office of STEM Teaching Activities at Florida State University. NO PROGRAMMING EXPERIENCE NECESSARY!