Category Archives: STEM

Tech Boy

I don’t talk about it much on this site but I’m not only a huge science education nerd, I’m also a huge everyday nerd. I read and collect graphic novels and comic books. I watch anything Marvel, DC or Star Wars related and I definitely enjoy playing video games.

So when I recently stumbled on a STEM-focused comic book that was authored by a young person- I was intrigued and knew that I had to share it here.

Thirteen year-old DeJuan Strickland also enjoys video games and comics. He noticed that there were only a few superheroes that looked like him. He noticed that there weren’t many comics that explicitly connected to STEM…so he created his own superhero comic and character- Tech Boy!

You can hear DeJuan talk about his vision and his project in the news clip embedded below. You can order your own copy (or even a classroom set) of Tech Boy HERE. It also sounds like DeJuan has been hard at work and has another comic coming soon…so keep your eyes open for more from DeJuan.

Have You Seen the Latest STEM Teaching Tools?

If you are someone who follows this blog then you most likely are already a fan of the brilliant STEM Teaching Tools site. If it’s been awhile since you’ve visited stemteachingtools.org then I highly recommend heading there now. The last several Practice Briefs are powerful (not that the previous ones were not) and tackle some important topics in equity-focused science instruction. Here are a few of my favorites to get you started:

WA STATE: FREE K-5 OSPI Science At-Home Workshop

OSPI is providing a FREE workshop on the K-5 Science Essential Question Units and Resources. This workshop will provide an overview of the existing science resources that are aligned to NGSS and are modified to support students and teachers in science learning during distance learning. You also get 1.5 to 6 STEM clock hours depending on whether you want to engage students in some of the learning experiences you will experience. Sounds like a great way to learn about some free aligned science resources and get some free STEM clock hours too. Hope to see lots of you on the Zoom on Jan. 12th.

When: Tuesday, January 12th from 4-5:30pm (other asynchronous hours optional)

Where: Zoom workshop

How: Register on PD Enroller HERE

You can preview the elementary science resources below:

My Top 10 Science Videos of 2020

It is challenging to determine the Top Videos in any category because there is just so much great content in every genre online. Having said that- here are my personal Top 10 Science Videos of 2020. There are examples here of several different content creators and entities along with a variety of kinds of science videos. There are explanatory videos, music videos, short videos, long videos, important videos, and just cool science videos. Let me know in the comments of any other science videos from 2020 that you would nominate. Enjoy!

Veritasium: These are the asteroids to worry about

Science with Tom: CRISPR (“7 Rings” Parody) – Science Rap Academy

SciShow-Bugs Aren’t Brainless! | Great Minds: Charles Henry Turner

minutephysics: Why Masks Work Better Than You’d Think

ASAP Science: What the COVID vaccine Does to Your Body

Mark Rober: World’s Largest Devil’s Toothpaste Explosion

NOVA PBS: Can We Cool the Planet?

Real Science: The Insane Biology of The Octopus

UW: Worn Tires Contribute to Chemical that Kills Coho Salmon

NOVA PBS: Signs of Life Found on Venus

Indigenous Education Tools

Indigenous Education Tools is a growing site (check back for new resources often) that offers teaching tools and resources that address the “root causes of inequities for Native children and families, and by supporting the development of innovative successful educational pathways.”

A few highlights of the current resources on the site include:

  • A set of short briefs in the style of STEM Teaching Tools that dig into topics in education of Indigenous peoples:
  • A set of videos led by leaders in Indigenous education. See interview with Michael Tulee below as an example:

  • A set of Learning Materials (from ISTEAM) based around Water, Food, Birds and Plants. Everything on this site is powerful but I find these materials to be the highlight for me personally. These materials highlight well-crafted activities and also provide models of what well-designed learning activities might look like when designed for Indigenous learners. See the set on Water below:
  • Online workshops to engage in asynchronously

I also highly recommend adding @IndigenousSTEAM to your Twitter feed so that you can stay on top of the latest from this group.

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!