Veterinary Students Connect K-12 Students and Teachers to the STEM of Veterinary Science
Posted February 28, 2017
by Torri Whitaker
Voelcker Biosciences Teacher Academy
Teachers play the PEER developed board game
"Adaptation Island" at the VBTA Conference.
Veterinary medical students Katie Crites, Zach Dielmann, and
Jessica Haynes accompanied Dr. Larry Johnson, from the Texas
A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
(CVM), to represent the Partnership for Environmental Education and
Rural Health (PEER) program as presenters at the Voelcker
Biosciences Teacher Academy (VBTA) Spring Conference at The
University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, on Feb. 4,
2017. One of the missions of VBTA is to improve math, science, and
health education through professional development opportunities.
PEER hosted three sessions featuring its veterinary medical and
STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) K-12
Johnson presented “Cells in Animals and Plants,” during which
teachers examined the differences in plant and animal cell
organelles, structure, and function through vivid microscopic
images of plant cells and animal cells—including blood, muscle, and
epithelium. They also discussed the interaction of cell structure
Crites and Haynes presented “Animal Behavior,” a lesson that
demonstrated how traits enhance the ability of a species to survive
and distinguish between inherited traits and learned behaviors.
Teachers had the opportunity to distinguish between adaptations and
mutations and describe how adaptations change over generations
through the PEER developed board game “Adaptation Island.”
Deilmann presented “Healthy Pet, Healthy You–Physical Exams,”
during which teachers were shown the application of the scientific
method in the real world through physical exams. Teachers stepped
into the role of doctors to understand the relationship between the
veterinarian’s use of medical history (gathering information),
diagnosing patients, and scientific processes standards (making
observations and inferences, collecting data, forming hypotheses,
and drawing conclusions).
Providing meaningful connections between the science standards
required in classrooms and real-world science is essential in
engaging and motivating students to pursue science careers.
Teachers who participated in the PEER sessions will now have
additional resources in their toolkits to provide these
Girl Scout STEMfest
Veterinary medical students Jade Haberman and Danielle Garnier
hosted a PEER booth at the Girl Scout STEMfest on Feb. 4, 2017.
Haberman and Garnier spoke with elementary- to high school-aged
girls about anatomy, including the similarities and differences in
anatomical structure and function between animals and humans.
Veterinary students were able to further enhance their knowledge of
anatomy in a fun and beneficial way through their interactions with
the Girl Scouts. Events like this allow CVM students to give back
to the community while inspiring others to follow in their
For more information about the PEER program, visit peer.tamu.edu.
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