Program participants are assigned to a Leadership Group. Leadership Groups give students the opportunity to develop friendships with other students, analyze speakers' remarks, discuss important issues, reflect on program activities, prepare for upcoming events and form a strong relationship with their facilitator. One program facilitator (a Texas educator) is assigned to each Leadership Group (up to 10 students). Facilitators lead Leadership Group meetings, guide participants through program activities and work directly with students to make their week a rich and rewarding experience.
Each participant receives a Leadership Notebook containing a detailed program schedule, speakers' biographies, site information and special interest stories. Leadership Notebooks include materials to enhance the educational value of sites visited and are used to facilitate discussions and individual and group activities. Leadership Notebooks are also designed to be used as a reference in participants' school classes.
Learning objectives are extended through simulations relating to each day's topic. Simulations promote reasoning skills and teach critical thinking by allowing students to ask their own questions. Studies demonstrate that students involved in a hands-on learning environment retain a higher percentage of information than those learning through one methodology, such as rote memorization. The purpose of simulations is to motivate and promote students' abilities to participate as informed citizens in a democratic society.
During the program, participants have the opportunity to learn about a variety of careers related to science, history and the environment. Presenters discuss education requirements, a typical day and the pros and cons of their professions. Students have the opportunity to ask questions and explore future career options.