Arkansas/Missouri (2012)

Team Arkansas/Missouri consisted of Dr. Craig McLain (NESCent Assistant Director of Science, and a veteran of the 2011 Roadshow) and Dr. Clint Francis (NESCent Postdoc).

This leg of the 2012 Darwin Day Roadshow had three stops:

McDonald County High School (Anderson, MO) — The team received a warm welcome from host teacher Joelle Stark and several other McDonald County High School science teachers. The day started with presentations to 100-200 students in the cafeteria. Clint began by talking about how natural selection shapes bird beaks and acoustic communication in birds and poison dart frogs and Craig followed up with his examples of how energy availability drives body size evolution in the deep sea. At lunch, the school’s science teachers treated Craig and Clint with home-cooked chili and a chocolate cake. After lunch they met with smaller groups of students and discussed science careers and had some great conversations about common misconceptions about evolution.

Lincoln New Tech High School (Lincoln, AR) — Here the team was hosted by NESCent Darwin Day Scholar Teresa Gregory.  Similar to the previous day at McDonald County High School, they started the day by presenting to a large audience then spent the rest of the day fielding questions about science careers and evolution with individual classes. For lunch they were told they had to try a Lincoln classic, the American Drive In just a few blocks from the school. It met expectations — great fried okra, burgers and shakes! In the afternoon, students at Lincoln were especially interested in knowing about how science has allowed Craig and Clint to travel to interesting places around the world.  They left with several new aspiring marine biologists in the audience!

Farmington Middle School (Farmington, AR) — The host in Farmington was Shawn Bell.  In Farmington, the team had a chance to interact with a younger group of students and they presented in a slightly different format than at the previous stops. Craig and Clint alternated presenting to individual classes and both fielded questions about science careers at the end of each. Students here enjoyed hearing from Clint about how the Túngara frog changes its call so it isn’t eaten by predatory bats, and were impressed by Craig’s stories about the elusive giant squid.