Category Archives: STEM

The Case for Early Education about STEM Careers

The Case for Early Education about STEM Careers (10 Science Facts & Fictions) was shared with me today at a meeting. This short document summarizes some interesting research on our knowledge and beliefs about scientists and science careers. This could be a useful piece for advocating for elementary science instruction or for use in science education professional development. Enjoy!

NGSS for Today’s Students and Tomorrow’s Workforce

Screen Shot 2013-06-12 at 4.02.08 PMThe UW Institute for Science & Math Education recently posted a video of Dr. Philip Bell presenting at the 2013 UW Summit on K-12 Science Education.

The presentation is a clear 20 minute overview of the Three Dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards from a contributing author of the Framework for K-12 Science Education.  This could be a great addition to your summer reading (watching) list. I recommend spending some extra time thinking about the slides at:

  • 9:07 (2 major goals of Framework)
  • 9:40 (Attending to Diversity and Equity)
  • 13:00 (Why Focus on Disciplinary Practices?)
  • 17:17 (Cascade of Practices)
  • 19:10 (Synergy across Standards)
  • 19:40 (What you can do to support implementation)

Click HERE if you cannot see the embedded video below.

STEM Practices

Screen Shot 2013-06-11 at 11.10.24 AMYesterday I recommended the book STEM Lesson Essentials Grades 3-8 as a wonderful resource for any K-8 teacher looking to dig deeper into understanding STEM education. One of my favorite parts of the book is a simple (yet powerful) page that organizes the Practices of Science, Engineering, Technology, and Mathematics in a way that helps us to make connections between these practices. I’ve adapted it into a one page document with some hyperlinks to source documents. This might be a useful resource of those of you who are building leaders, professional development providers, or teachers looking to design integrated STEM lessons. Enjoy!

STEM Practices 1 pager


Summer Reading: STEM Lesson Essentials Grades 3-8

Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 2.36.32 PMWell, it’s that time of year where the ongoing countdown of number of days to the end of the school year is reaching single digits for most of us. As such I’ll be posting some recommendations for professional summer reading related to science education in the coming weeks.

My first recommendation is a new book titled- STEM Lesson Essentials Grades 3-8 by Jo Anne Vasquez, Cary Sneider, and Michael Comer. STEM Lesson Essentials is a timely, readable, and usable guide to STEM literacy that won’t weigh down your beach bag. (At 178 pages it is slim but packs a punch.) See some specifics below.


  • The Front Matter (chapters 1-5) are essential reading for anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of STEM literacy and what it means- Every K-8 principal should read this book!
  • Contains authentic and engaging standards-based STEM activities that a teacher might use in a classroom or that a professional development provider might use in a workshop
  • Chapters are well-written, engaging, and short… perfect for summer reading
  • Makes the case for technology and engineering as central aspects of STEM education
  • Uses the STEM Practices as a central storyline (see p. 38)
  • Includes support on PBL, assessment, and STEM lesson resources


  • K-2 examples would be appreciated (as would High School)
  • Clearer connections on how to obtain some of the materials in sample lessons
  • No e-book version?
  • Easy connection to some online supports- video, links, website, etc

Let me know if you would like to join me in a virtual book study over the summer. I’ve only touched the surface on this great resource.

Intro to NGSS Materials from Michigan State University

Screen Shot 2013-05-30 at 12.51.38 PMOver 800 educators and administrators in Michigan met this week to learn about the Next Generation Science Standards. The CREATE for STEM Institute at MSU is generously sharing all of the materials that were used for the variety of breakout sessions. Could be some useful tools, slides, protocols to harvest as we all consider our transition plans toward the NGSS.

Click HERE to access the materials.

Washington Post- Special Supplement on STEM Education

Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 9.27.19 AMThe Washington Post recently included an insert on STEM Education. This supplement could be a useful addition for use in high school STEM courses and/or in professional development activities with teachers and administrators.

The STEM Education insert includes:

  • a feature on Mayim Bialik
  • careers in IT
  • Robotics
  • much more

Seeking Feedback: Is it Technology? Probe

Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 1.44.55 PMAs a fan of Page Keeley’s formative assessment probes for uncovering student ideas in science, I often create my own versions of probes to use with teachers, pre-service teachers, and K-12 students. I’m currently working on a probe about technology titled- Is it Technology? This is a Justified List flavor of probe and it is intended to uncover preconceptions about what things are considered technology. I have used the definition and thinking about technology and engineering in the Next Generation Science Standards as a foundation for the probe.

Click link to the right to download the is it technology FA probe

This formative assessment probe is very drafty and I’m looking for some individuals who might provide some feedback on the draft. Key targets for feedback:

– The existing choices (What might be removed? modified? What might be added?)

– The Facilitation Guide (What could be more clear?)

– The explanation section (How do you feel about the Explanation provided? Suggestions for improvement)

– Try it out on some students/teachers- How did leaners define technology? What items did they struggle with?

– Other feedback…

Thanks for considering and for helping me to be able to keep offering FREE tools and resources on Science for All