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2021 Annual Report

  • Text
  • Science
  • Michigan
  • Education
This is the 2021 Annual Report for Van Andel Institute.

Creating classrooms

Creating classrooms where curiosity, creativity and critical thinking thrive (continued) FIELD TRIPS & MORE Classroom Field Trips: As each school year begins, Education offers more than two dozen field trip experiences for students and teachers. The Institute was thrilled to welcome students and teachers back to educational labs in-person in fall 2021, with appropriate safety measures in place. Topics include “Uncovering Our Past,” “Robots and Coding: The Basics” and “Engineering Design Challenge: Showering on Mars.” Curiosity on Wheels: VAI’s Curiosity on Wheels brings hands-on, inquiry-based STEM opportunities to all schools. Whether the schools are in a rural area or local, VAI’s team will come to them and bring the science, the materials, and the opportunity to create a memorable, educational experience. This program, designed for a minimum of 30 students, is ideal for science across the grades during the school day or for a lively afterschool event for students and their families. A variety of investigation stations are set up and customized for participants, and include topics such as “Power Up!”, “Amazing Animals,” “Seismic Shake Up,” and more. High School Journal Club: High School Journal Club is a process for scientific discourse that provides participants with the opportunity to hone scientific research and communication skills while reviewing current research. It brings Grand Rapids students, their teachers and VAI scientists together in a forum for scientific discourse. Emulating the practice of VAI scientists, participants learn to collaborate and read, analyze, present, and discuss scientific journal articles in a format that is easily applied in the classroom. FOR FAMILIES Summer Camps: In 2021, Education hosted 10 summer camps, including five new ones. All were sold out, with 240 students participating. Eight of the camps were geared toward elementary and middle school students, with two for high school students. Summer camp learning experiences included “Hogwarts in Grand Rapids,” “Can You Dig It?” and “Mission to Mars.” Afterschool Cohort: Afterschool Cohort inspires groups of students to think and act like scientists and engineers over the course of one semester. Through hands-on investigations in two categories — biodiversity, and human health and human innovation — students ask questions, investigate hypotheses and discover answers using scientific tools and resources. There is no cost to participate in this program; tuition is underwritten by VAI. 2021 HIGHLIGHTS VAI offers free project to educate students on vaccinations — As teachers continue to press forward through the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important that we equip our students with the knowledge and resources they need to stay informed. To that end, Van Andel Institute for Education launched VacciNation — a virtual Blue Apple project designed to teach students about the science and history of vaccines. VacciNation comprises five unique, inquiry-based lessons for teachers to utilize. Through a series of engaging activities that include captivating games, students are given a crash course on vaccines that will stretch their curiosity and critical thinking skills. VAI for Education serves more than 3,200 students and educators — During the 2020–2021 school year, VAI for Education served 1,566 students and 1,673 educators — the latter a 27% increase over the prior year. VAI for Education takes on the challenge of learning loss — To combat learning loss, VAI hosted several networking events for K–12 administrators to help address concerns related to the pandemic. More than 350 administrators from 20 states and two continents registered for Better Together events, and these events and high participation helped support the creation of “Beyond Learning Loss: 2020–2021 Education Recovery Plan,” a comprehensive suite of VAI services that help schools accelerate learning. All resources mentioned here can be found at vaei.org. 32 (AT RIGHT) STUDENTS LEARN TO COLLABORATE & THINK CREATIVELY & CRITICALLY THANKS TO PROJECTS FROM VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE FOR EDUCATION

EDUCATION 33

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