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Educational Services Division

COE Joins Forces With University of Florida To Engage Students in 3D Digitization & Printing

iDigFossils classroom

Students at local middle and high schools will now have access to 3D technologies to explore fossil specimens and to engage in inquiry-based lessons that address evolution, biology, and climate change.

The Santa Cruz County Office of Education is a stakeholder lead on a new $1.2 Million National Science Foundation ITEST Grant through the University of Florida, called iDigFossils. The grant is focused on integrating 3D Digitization and Printing into science & engineering instruction at the middle school and high school level. This will be a 3-year grant that involves 8 teachers from 3 local middle schools and 3 local high schools. The Santa Cruz COE will assist with the professional development and ongoing support for these teachers and will work with the University of Florida on the overall implementation.

"The goal for this project is to help teachers motivate students and get them interested in STEM fields," said Claudia Grant, project coordinator and graduate assistant of vertebrate paleontology at the Florida Museum of Natural History. "Our hope is students will study whatever math topics they would normally be learning, but also learn how to apply that in science, and vice versa."

Teachers trained in professional development courses this summer will design and execute activities that will allow student to engage with and explore fossils in terms of evolution, biology and climate change combined with math and science topics. iDigFossils researchers are also developing computer applications that will run statistical analyses on specimens and allow students to view and enhance 3-D images in layers.

iDigFossils 3D scanner

iDigFossils - images of fossils

From 3D scanning to printing, iDigFossils will enable researchers to study the impact of integrating hands-on STEM activities using technology and paleontology.

iDigFossils: Engaging K-12 Students in Integrated STEM via 3D Digitization, Printing and Exploration of Fossils (pdf)

Florida Museum of Natural History press release.

National Science Foundation: Award Abstract #1510410

Santa Cruz County Office of Education  |  400 Encinal Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060  |  831.466.5600  |  Fax: 831.466.5607
The Santa Cruz County Office of Education provides quality educational programs and services to a diverse community.