From Hoax to Educational Opportunity

A Classroom Study on the Management of the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus

GK-12: A National Science Foundation Funded Endeavor
to Support Education from Kindergarten to College

The Graduate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) is a National Science Foundation program that places graduate students specializing in STEM fields into K-12 classrooms. The objectives of the program are to improve teaching and communication skills for graduate students and to enrich the STEM content taught in the classroom. Tyler Hicks, a Master's student at WSU-Vancouver, is partnering with 7th grade life science teacher Ms. Mueller at Liberty Middle School in Camas, Washington as part of this program. His research interests are in natural resource management, namely wildlife, and he is incorporating his research into the classroom through presentations and discussion, hands-on-experimentation, and quantitative modeling. Working together Ms. Mueller and Tyler developed a lesson plan revolving around the management of fictional forest reserve for the fictional Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus.

Basic Outline of Methods

This lesson revolved around the management of a fictional forest reserve on the east side of the Olympic Peninsula for the fictional Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus. Students worked to balance wildlife management decisions on the forest reserve such as hunting and habitat management needs with needs people such as logging and recreation. Each class was divided up into one decision maker group and four stakeholder groups including: a recreation, a hunting, a logging, and a conservation group. First, each stakeholder group had the opportunity to make decisions on managing the forest reserve and to see the effects of those decisions on the tree octopus population, public perception, and financial cost. Next stakeholders made recommendations to the decision making group on how to manage the forest reserve. Decision makers then developed a final management plan for the forest reserve. Afterwards stakeholders had the opportunity to respond to the final decisions made by the decision maker group to express their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the final management plan.

Student Generated Best Management Plans


Click Here to See an Example of A Best Management Plan for the Tree Octopus Forest Reserve Developed by Students

Creativity in the Context of Science
Student Pacific Northwest Octopus Art: Stakeholder Buttons and Conservation Posters


Each student created their own buttons representing their stakeholder groups.



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For More Information on the GK-12 Program "Partners in Discovery" at WSU-Vancouver and Nationwide Click on the Icons Below