Santa Fe Institute

Education Outreach

Project GUTS: Growing Up Thinking Scientifically

For middle school students

Growing up thinking scientifically means learning to look at the world and ask questions, develop answers through scientific inquiry, and to extend this process to relevant real-world problems.  Project GUTS clubs are usually organized around specific school communities although some clubs draw more widely; after-school meetings take place for two hours once a week at schools and community centers.  Ten week programs are offered during the Fall and Spring semesters with special GUTS camps offered during the summer.

A month long introductory session is offered each term so that new students can get an in-depth look at complex systems, models and simulation. They engage in problem solving and mathematical thinking at each after-school club meeting.  The program uses a variety of activities to appeal to different kinds of learners: students work with agent-based models on the computer, they run participatory simulations with handheld computers, and are up and about collecting data and doing research. During the following after school units, students investigate a problem (say, traffic patterns in the neighborhood or the spread of flu virus at school), interview experts and community members, gather data and run experiments on their computer models to better understand the issues being studied.

Students are helped by Project GUTS facilitators and the high-school near-peer mentors in customizing existing modes to reflect local conditions.  These mentoring relationships between high school students, who usually have had experience with computational science projects through participation in New Mexico’s Supercomputing Challenge, and younger students develops a pipeline that supports sustained participation in Project GUTS, in the Supercomputing Challenge, and in scientific endeavors in general.

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Guts y Girls

GUTS y Girls is a science, technology, math and engineering (STEM) program for 6th-8th grade girls in New Mexico. GUTS y Girls was designed to engage “gutsy” girls in exciting technology-based learning experiences that expose them to and prepare them for future careers in STEM and information and communication technologies (ICT).

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High School Prize for Scientific Excellence

"It is important to encourage students in the community to pursue science as an academic pursuit in college and beyond. If this small award signifies anything, it signifies our commitment to the youth of today and to say how important we think their scientific achievements are" - Murray Gell-Mann 

The annual Santa Fe Institute Prize for Scientific Excellence and Prize for Outstanding Teacher awards recognizes those members of the local Santa Fe area high schools who best embody the spirit of scientific pursuit found at the Santa Fe Institute. Since 2008, the Santa Fe Alliance for Science has cosponsored the prize with the Santa Fe Institute.

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