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Leading and Enabling Adolescent Futures in STEM (LEAFS)

View LEAFS Webpage

About LEAFS:

Mission Statement: "The goal of LEAFS is to help inspire youths with disabilities to find their passion by interacting with several STEM based activities. We aim to promote a more inclusive environment and develop diversity in thought for future engineers, as they tackle tomorrow’s most challenging technological problems."

Mentorship and Teaching:

In the Winter of 2019, I served as a mentor for LEAFS. Over the course of three months, I taught three undergraduate engineering students about concepts related to ocean acidification, the carbon cycle, and oyster ecology, and facilitated the creation of a four-hour camp program for students with disabilities in grades 6-12. In January 2020 the team implemented the lesson plan for a group of 8 students from around the state of Oregon.


Description of course content created:

The goal of the lesson was to get students thinking about the issues of climate change, both on a large and small scale. Specifically, the goals were to engage students with the issue of ocean acidification and the ways in which humans have driven changes in ocean chemistry. Learning objectives of the lesson were to:

  1. Define chemistry terms including pH, acidic, basic and buffer.

  2. Describe how pH relates to ocean acidification and why it negatively impacts some organisms.

  3. Explain why seawater resists changes in pH more than freshwater.

  4. Communicate why oysters are important organisms in the state of Oregon.


As part of the lesson students engaged with hands-on activities including examining and dissecting a Pacific Oyster. The purpose of this activity was to engage students with a real organism and discuss the impact of ocean acidification on the Pacific Northwest and the organisms that live there.

View Sample Teaching Materials:

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