The Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) takes very seriously its mission to “advance world-class science and inspire learning across generations," using both informal and formal education.
SURF's education impacts are most keenly felt through the efforts of its Education and Outreach (E&O) program. SURF's E&O team offers curriculum units, classroom presentations and field trips for K-12 students, leveraging the world-leading research hosted at SURF to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders.
The team reaches more than 17,000 K-12 students annually throughout South Dakota.
The E&O team also hosts professional development workshops for K-12 educatorrs that focus on how educators can incorporate the science happening at Sanford Lab into their classrooms.
“I like the big ideas—the connections to the lab, international research on a topic and the fundamental science ideas.”—Michelle Crane, Douglas High School science teacher.
SURF's E&O team reaches more than 17,000 K-12 children in South Dakotaa every year through curriculum modules, classroom presentations and field trips.
People attending events
South Dakota's students live across a large and sparsely populated region, including urban, rural and tribal schools. Equity of science education opportunities varies greatly. We are attempting to level the playing field—and increase equity in science education—by providing enriching activities for all student populations throughout our state and region.
“Our team believes that every student deserves high-quality science learning that gives them the opportunity to see themselves as having unlimited potential. In the large, often sparsely-populated region that encompasses South Dakota and surrounding states, providing equitable science learning opportunities for students is of highest priority.”—Deb Wolf, director of Outreach & Culture
The number of students reached since 2015
ThroughK-12 outreach efforts, SURF has touched the lives of thousands of students across the state of South Dakota and in surrounding states.
Teachers who receive professional development
The number of educators who have participated the E&O Department's on site and online teacher professional development programs since 2016.
Sanford Lab understands that children learn by doing. Every curriculum unit, every classroom presentation and every field trip to Sanford Lab provides ample opportunities for children to channel their inner scientist.
“The best way to learn about science is simple, you have to let kids be scientists,” said Becky Bundy, science education specialist at Sanford Lab. And the best way to do that is to let them wrestle with the same problems scientists are wrestling with and come up with their own solutions.