My first experiences at Olathe North

It’s been a while – but I’m back in the game! I was a GK12er two years ago, working at Rosedale Middle School with Ralph, and am super ecstatic to be able to participate again this year with the geosciences program at Olathe North High School. I am working with Marsha Skoczek (aka Ms. Sko), who is super fantabulous and I can already tell I will be learning a lot from her!

My first day at Olathe North was very interesting – it is a HUGE change from my experience at Rosedale Middle School. The resources available at Olathe North are mindblowing – in the geosciences program they have half a dinosaur that they have been taking out of matrix up for display alone! Marsha teaches 3 sections of marine biology, a junior geosciences class, and a senior level geoscience research class. My main emphasis and goal this year will be helping the seniors with their research projects – it’s more of a one on one research methods class at the high school level class and I am excited for this opportunity to be a mentor to them – this will certainly help me if I become an advisor to students one day 🙂 I am also really excited about working with the juniors, because I will be able to come in and help teach lessons about a variety of different geoscience topics. The marine biology  class is a whole new experience – I have never taken a marine bio class so its a whole new thing and I LOVE it. This is what we did last week –Image



Squid dissection! SO COOL.


More to come later 🙂

About benson3

I am in my second year as a PhD student at the University of Kansas. My degree is in geophysics with a focus on near-surface geoarcheology applications.
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2 Responses to My first experiences at Olathe North

  1. maschmidt87 says:


    Interesting projects, especially the dinosaur scale up. I am curious about your thoughts on how the intentions of the science projects for the student from an adviser’s perspective. Do you guide students to explore topic areas in which they are interested, or is the focus to develop students’ general capacity for scientific inquiry?

    • benson3 says:

      Good question! At this point, the students have already formed general ideas of what types of projects they would like to do and are completing a literature review. They are not all specifically geology related which I wasn’t expecting either. So my focus is more to help guide them on how to conduct a project. For example, one girl is interested in figuring out which plants are best for filtering to produce clean water but didn’t know where to start, so I recommended she read up on wetlands and what types of plants they would find there to give her a start. Another student needed more variables in their project, so I worked with them on alternatives. Most of it was getting the students to broaden their topics, overall they were all very narrow ideas (which I would have expected).

      At the end they will present their research, maybe we can even get them involved in a local scientific poster competition or something!

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