Utilizing the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) as an impetus to teach others about science is a natural connection for Black Hills State University, which is already recognized as a leader in math and science education. BHSU will combine its premier teacher preparation program with cutting-edge research at SURF to create an atmosphere rich with possibilities to identify and refine new ways to teach math and science. University students working to earn their teaching degrees will have the opportunity to work with scientists at SURF and collaborate on educational initiatives at the science education center.
Developing the Sanford Center for Science Education
BHSU is taking the lead in development of the Sanford Center for Science Education, which will include hands-on science activities for visitors and tourists, classrooms for visiting high school and university groups, and ways to view underground science in action. Dr. Ben Sayler, who is leading the planning efforts for the science education center, notes that the center may also include an exhibit hall, interpretative nature trails, an auditorium, and a satellite education facility at an underground portal. The Sanford Center for Science Education, due to its uniqueness, will draw visitors from around the world and offer educational activities for audiences of all ages.
The designated QuarkNet site
BHSU’s proximity to SURF and its faculty members’ involvement in experiments led to BHSU being designated as a QuarkNet site. BHSU is now part of a national outreach program for high school science teachers. BHSU has begun participation this summer and in three years will have 12 high school teachers doing research at the Sanford Underground Research Facility. According to Keeter, a science faculty member at BHSU who has been actively involved with QuarkNet at other university sites, the program helps develop America’s technical workforce by getting students and teachers excited about science and involved in classroom science investigations. The program brings scientists and teachers together to work on experiments. BHSU joins other prestigious universities, including Notre Dame, John Hopkins, Purdue, and Boston University, as a QuarkNet site. BHSU is the only designated QuarkNet site in an eight-state region. Learn more about QuarkNet at BHSU.