2002 Annual

Sunday, 13 January 2002
Undergraduates as Researchers, the Classroom Experience
Kenneth F. Dewey, Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE
We developed a software program called "Climprob" for free use by educators in the classroom. The data set in Climprob contains several hundred U.S. locations with some records dating back into the 1800's. Educators can create their own in-class or homework exercises using local data or data from any region in the U.S. It allowed us to give the students an opportunity to have a hands-on experience with climate data and to explore how research questions can be answered using real data.

Students often indicted that they were interested in going beyond pre-packaged classroom exercises and that they wanted to conduct real research as an undergraduate experience. In Spring 2001, 12 undergraduate students were invited to participate in a semester-long climate research project, an experience typically limited only to graduate students. It was a calculated gamble assuming that undergraduates could conduct high quality publishable research, however there was the benefit of developing their research skills for future graduate school or employment.

This poster presentation will illustrate how these 12 undergraduate students, separated into two research teams during the spring 2001 semester, were capable of producing publishable quality research results on two different climate variation research topics.

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