Hannah Cotten

Unido: 17.sep.2017 Última actividad: 11.ago.2020

I love to learn and grow through travel and experiences with others and nature. I am currently researching tardigrades as a citizen scientist. Dr. Miller has taken me under his wing and is teaching me how to identify species. Tardigrades are microscopic animals that live in lichen and moss and are the essence of survival- and I have fallen in love with those little critters!

Additionally, I am a fifth grade science teacher at Hill Elementary in Austin, Texas. Each year, my students work on a variety of biodiversity surveys in and around Austin and our school campus. My students are also my co-researchers and they have helped me search for tardigrades and answer questions like:
1) Are there more tardigrades in lichen or moss? 2) Is the diversity and density of tardigrades, rotifers and nematodes the same or different? 3) Are there more tardigrades, rotifers, and nematodes living in the canopy or at the base of trees? 4) What lives here? Anything new?

I recently received a variety of teacher travel research grants that have allowed me to travel abroad and conduct biodiversity surveys and learn more about our world. In 2018, I received a grant from Fund For Teachers, funding my research, study and survey of tardigrades in a variety of rainforests around the world. I was also recently awarded the Texas Medical Association Science Educator Excellence award. This award not only granted me personal money, but also gave funds towards my classroom to help fund future projects. In 2017, I was nominated and selected as a JASON Argonaut, where I traveled to the Amazon rainforest with Dr. Lowman and JASON Learning to study herbivory, the eating of plants, in the canopy compared to the forest floor. Later that year, I collaborated with JASON Learning and WWF in Malaysia at Penang Hill, working with and teaching students from Hong Kong and the United States. These students were able to observe and learn from scientists around the world and the California Academy of Sciences. It is in Malaysia that I was able to learn about iNaturalist. It is a fantastic tool that creates community and encourages citizen science, while also acting as a catalogue and aid to biodiversity surveys, furthering both personal, professional, local and global scientific exploration and discovery.

For more information about me or my science class, also known as The Discovery Den, you can visit our class website: https://thediscoveryden.weebly.com/
Follow our class instagram account to see more of the work I did this summer with Fund for Teachers and the upcoming work my students will be doing this year: https://www.instagram.com/mrs.cotten/
There's also our class Twitter account: https://twitter.com/HannahCotten1

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