Category Archives: STEM

Great Picture Book: Cece Loves Science

Screen Shot 2018-08-05 at 6.59.01 PMOVERVIEW: My daughter Cece is 9 years old and last fall we were walking through a Barnes & Noble (yes they still have those!) and we saw a display for a picture book titled Cece Loves Science. My daughter saw the display and shouted, “I DO love science!”

I’ve been using science and engineering related picture books for two decades- both with children and adult learners. I look forward to thinking about how I will use Cece Loves Science (by Kimberly Derting and Shelli R. Johannes, illustrated by Vashti Harrison) with the preservice and inservice teachers I support.

The picture book tells the story of a young girl of color, Cece, who loves to ask questions and figure things out. In the story, Cece and her best friend Isaac, are trying to figure out the best way to conduct an investigation involving her dog, Einstein.

This book has been out for over a year and I’m interested to hear how folks have used this picture book with students. I’d love to hear some stories.

PURPOSE: In the last few years we have seen a much-needed increase in the number of STEM-focused picture books with main characters representing populations who have traditionally been marginalized in STEM- females and people of color. Cece Loves Science is another resource to add to our toolbox that highlights the exceptional thinking of young ladies and positions them as the determined problem-solvers  that they are.

AUDIENCE: children, adults, educators, teacher educators, librarians, informal science educators

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

2018 National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education

screen shot 2019-01-14 at 3.16.42 pmHorizon Research, Inc recently released their findings from the 2018 National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education (NSSME+). The plus sign signifies the inclusion of some computer science in the survey. This project surveyed over 7k teachers of science, math, and computer science across the US.

This report provides some excellent evidence for future research, district implementation, teacher education, professional development, curriculum development and much more. The survey itself might be of interest to many and provides a strong model for developing surveys.

 

Click HERE to visit the NSSME+ site

Click HERE to download the report

Fostering Change: Ideas and Best Practices for Diversity in STEM Teaching in K-12 Classrooms

Screen Shot 2018-03-17 at 7.55.25 PMOVERVIEW: The Smithsonian Science Education Center and the Shell Oil Company have collaborated to compose a document titled- Fostering Change: Ideas and Best Practices for Diversity in STEM Teaching in K-12 Classrooms. This playbook provides support in trying to diversify the STEM teaching ranks.

PURPOSE: Here is some wording directly from the playbook that describes the purpose of the document.

The nation faces challenges to achieve excellence in its science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workforce; and, the importance of fostering diversity in STEM teaching is fundamental to this success. Several theories support the importance of having educators in the classroom who reflect the background and experiences of the students in their schools. Across the nation, there are programs that aim to increase the number of STEM teachers or programs to increase the number of teachers from diverse communities at large, but very few programs aim to do both at the same time. In 2015, an effort was launched by Shell and the Smithsonian Science Education Center to bring together individuals and organizations with the unique ability to foster change through a series of activities designed to assist school districts in implementing systemic reform to increase diversity in their STEM teaching community.

Together, these experts identified several opportunities that can impact a school district’s path toward increasing the diversity of STEM teachers in the classroom, while preparing these same STEM teachers for science leadership opportunities. One identified need was a playbook of recommended discussions, practices, and tools that a school district could use to foster change. This playbook will provide school district decision makers and change makers with a starting point to begin their efforts. The playbook is designed to be responsive to district needs and will be revised as we collect feedback from school districts and individuals who offer best practices for success.

I recommend skimming the Table of Contents to get a clear overview of the playbook.

This is a thoughtfully designed resource to add to your toolbox of equity-focused science resources.

AUDIENCE: school district leaders, human resource departments, college of education administrators and recruiters, supporters of equity and diversity in STEM teaching and learning

LINK: https://ssec.si.edu/sites/default/files/Fostering%20Change%20Playbook%20FINAL.pdf

WA Only: LASER Workshop 11-29-17 Next Gen Science & Engineering for Equity

Hi all,

This is a very affordable opportunity for upper elementary and middle school science teachers in the Puget Sound Region to dig into STEM education and equity.

Here is the link if you are interested in signing up:

http://tinyurl.com/Nov29Registration

Below is information copied from the registration site…

DATE AND TIME

Wed, November 29, 2017

8:30 AM – 4:00 PM PST

LOCATION

Microsoft Conference Center

16070 NE 36th Way

Redmond, WA 98052

DESCRIPTION

This full-day workshop for upper elementary and middle school teachers will give participants tools to engage their students in science and engineering practices aligned with the NGSS. From building low-cost sensors, to iterating design challenges to writing across the STEM disciplines, teachers will add to their toolkit of effective and engaging teacher practices. Professor Jose Rios’ keynote will challenge participants to develop their ideas about educating for equity and access in STEM.

Six STEM clock hours will available for an extra fee, pending approval.

Tenative Agenda

  • 8:30-8:45 am – Opening
  • 8:45:- 10:30 am – Hacking STEM
  • 10:30 – 10: 45 am – Break
  • 10:45 – 12:30 pm – Science/Engineering Notebooks
  • 12:30 – 1:15 pm – Lunch
  • 1:15 – 2:00 pm – Equity Presentation
  • 2:00 – 3:45 pm – Engineering Fellow Program
  • 3:45 – 4:00 pm – Closing

Video Case: Powerful Engineering Example

I’m always looking for powerful examples of engineering to share with teachers and students. This is one of my current favorites- the story of designing an elegantly simple microscope and centrifuge that can save countless lives around the world. Enjoy!

Learning Targets in a NGSS Classroom

OVERVIEW: I have had several conversations with teachers and administrators about how learning targets, objectives, and success criteria should look different in science learning than they might in other content areas. Some of these conversations have been greeted with skepticism (to say the least) so it will be nice to have a resource to help guide this topic in the future. The latest STEM Teaching Tool #46 is titled: How to define meaningful daily learning objectives for science investigations… and it looks like a brilliant overview of this important topic.

PURPOSE: This STEM Teaching tool provides clarity and examples for how learning targets in science can be public, helpful, constructed with students, and designed in a way to not “give away” the concept being learned.

AUDIENCE: district and building administrators, teachers of science, PD providers, teacher educators, curriculum writers

LINK: http://stemteachingtools.org/brief/46

 

What do Pre-service Teachers Need to Know About NGSS? A Twitter Essay

OVERVIEW: Dr. Phil Bell at the University of Washington was recently asked what pre-service teachers should know about the Next Generation Science Standards. He responded with a series of Tweets or a Twitter Essay. (As an instructor of multiple science methods courses I’m considering making this a part of my syllabus.)

AUDIENCE: Any teacher educators of K-12 teachers of science (I think this list also applies to practicing teachers of science and those who provide science professional development.)

PURPOSE: This Twitter essay provides specific resources and reminders about how the teaching of science is much more than just putting a bunch of content into the heads of learners. My personal favorite is recommendation #3:

Make equity & social justice a central, daily focus of your science teaching practice —not an add-on 

LINK: https://twitter.com/philiplbell/status/805927250210144259

I also highly recommend following Dr. Bell on Twitter if you don’t already:

https://twitter.com/philiplbell

Here is a short video of Dr. Bell discussing the role of play and personal engagement in science learning.