By Debra Shapiro
Leading the Implementation of Equitable 3-D Science Learning
This science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) Teaching Tool from the University of Washington’s Institute for Science and Math Education describes steps that districts and/or individual principals can take to effectively lead the implementation of three-dimensional (3-D) science learning in their schools. “Practice Brief 85: Principals! Here’s What You Can Do to Foster Equitable Three-Dimensional Science Learning” provides links and resources to help principals identify what 3-D science looks and sounds like in the classroom and how it differs from traditional science learning. One key recommendation is for principals to participate in 3-D science learning activities themselves (as professional development), so they can have direct experience with 3-D science learning. The hands-on experience can provide a foundation for what to look for as principals conduct “science learning walks” throughout the school and develop an action plan to support all science teachers’ professional learning.
Science Near Me
ScienceNearMe is a National Science Foundation–funded project that aims to get K–college learners more involved in community science. The project website features a database of community science projects, science conferences, speakers, competitions, and other happenings, including virtual events, occurring nationwide. Teachers can search for projects within an area of interest (e.g., Explore Earth and Space; Create and Build; Make a Difference; Celebrate Science; Listen, Learn, Discuss, and Inform; and For Kids), or scroll down to search “Find and Do Science” by Activity Type. With thousands of opportunities in the database, ScienceNearMe can be helpful whether you are looking to engage students in long-term projects studying data over time or short-term activities, such as those for day camps and classrooms.
Just in time for Earth Day, HughesNet and 4-H have an environmental science activity that teaches students in grades 3–5 about the importance of wetlands. With this hands-on experiment that uses materials easily found in the home, young scientists can make their own model coastline. The activity runs about 45–90 minutes and features reflection questions for students.
Science Connections: The Podcast
With Science Connections, a podcast for K–8 educators produced by Amplify Education, listeners will meet innovating educators and scientists passionate about inspiring kids to love learning science. Podcast guests will share their advice from the classroom for the classroom to help teachers prepare today’s students to be the next generation of 21st-century scientists. Hosted by Eric Cross—a middle level science/technology teacher and digital learning innovator for Albert Einstein Academies, International Baccalaureate schools, and adjunct professor of learning and technology at the University of San Diego—each approximately 45-minute episode features a conversation with an educator or scientist discussing ways to best support K–8 students in science classrooms.
In the first episode, listeners meet supply chain engineer Juan Vivas of SpaceX, who shares his experiences growing up as a Latino in STEM and what led him to a successful career in science. Other episodes explore key topics in science education, such as Integrating Literacy Skills in K–8 Science Classroom, featuring Lawrence Hall of Science education expert Rebecca Abbott.
Pathways: Vaccine Science
The Spring 2022 issue of Pathways is now available to educators. The National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences has produced Pathways, a series of virtual curriculum modules that aim to teach students about basic science and its importance to health while inspiring careers in research. Designed for grades 6–12, the latest unit explores the science behind vaccines. The materials highlight how COVID-19 vaccines work in the body and how researchers were equipped to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also included are shared insights from Vice President Kamala Harris on the importance of scientific collaboration.
The digital unit contains a student magazine, teaching guide, vocabulary list, and online quiz. Free print copies of the magazine and teaching guide are available to order.
Fostering Close Observations Through Scientific Illustrations of Bats
Looking for an activity to bolster high school learners’ close observation skills and spark interesting science discussion? Examining scientific illustrations of bats can get the conversation started. In this activity, which was published in the blog Teaching With the Library of Congress (LOC)—students work in groups examining cropped images from Ernest Haeckel’s series of illustrations on bat anatomy. Haeckel (1834–1919) was a German zoologist and embryologist who believed the study of the development of an organism was the key to understanding Darwinism and evolution.
Initially, students do not know the species they are examining and are encouraged to discuss the similarities and differences they observe to predict what species they are seeing. After their initial observation, show students the full bat images and encourage students to make a scientific illustration of their own. To extend learning, students can compare Haeckel’s illustrations of bat anatomy to bat illustrations from Georges Cuvier (1769–1832), a scientific illustrator from an earlier point in history. Using drawings from both illustrators and their own observation skills, students can discuss attributes such as wings, hair, and large ears to determine where bats should fall on the phylogenetic tree and which species they are more closely related to. Students can also investigate how bat ear size relates to their navigation technique, echolocation.
Multimedia Learning Objects
This collection of interactive multimedia learning objects (MLO)s and animations can be used to enhance courses and bring abstractions to life. Most appropriate for advanced high school and university settings, the learning objects have been developed in collaboration with faculty on campus at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and can be shared across multiple disciplines and institutions. The multimedia learning objects explore various topics and disciplines. Science-related MLOs explore topics such as Building Lattices (crystallography); Cellular Signaling; Atomic Electron Configurations; Thin Layer Chromatography; Periodic Table of Elements; and other themes, while engineering-related MLOs address concepts such as Differential Leveling and Constructing Mohr’s Circles. MLOs of interest from the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences include a simulation exploring Equinoxes and Solstices, as well as a simulation exploring the relationships among altitude, temperature, dewpoint, relative humidity, and precipitation in the orographic process.
Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN) Webinars
Enhance your teaching about climate and energy. Learn more and register for these webinars.
Voya Unsung Heroes Awards Program
The program helps K–12 educators and their schools fund innovative classroom projects through awards totaling nearly $5 million. First place will receive $25,000; second place will receive $10,000; and the third place winner will receive $5,000. Full-time educators, teachers, principals, paraprofessionals, or classified staff of public or private schools located in the United States may apply if they have effective projects that improve student learning. Apply by April 30.
Liberatory STEM Pedagogy Workshops
Upper-elementary, middle level, and high school teachers and college instructors: Are you interested in integrating social learning into your STEM courses, but want to learn how? Do you want to help your students fight inequity, but not sure how your “facts-and-figures” course can support doing that? Liberatory STEM Pedagogy Workshops provide examples of how that kind of teaching can be done in STEM courses. These hour-long online workshops are being offered at no cost. Participants will receive practical examples and inspirational ideas and join a network of like-minded Liberatory Educators in STEM.
These workshops will be held at various times in late April to late June. To register, access this public Google Spreadsheet and select your Time Zone on the bottom tab to decide when to attend. When you’ve chosen your session, put it on your calendar with the following information:
Webex Room: https://bit.ly/liberatorySTEM
Meeting number: 2620 915 3879
Knowles Academy’s Free Short Courses
Knowles Academy is offering the following free online short courses, held via Zoom, for science and math teachers.
BRAIN Initiative Challenge: Ethical Considerations of Brain Technologies
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) BRAIN Initiative is a collective effort by NIH aimed at revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain. By accelerating the development and application of innovative technologies, researchers will be able to produce a revolutionary new dynamic picture of the brain in action. To enter the BRAIN Initiative Challenge, currently enrolled U.S. high school students from all backgrounds are invited to submit an essay or video envisioning current and/or near-future states of brain technologies and the ethical dilemmas they may bring. Total cash prizes of $20,000 will be awarded to the winners. (Deadline April 25)
Lt Chemistry Flagship Account Sponsorship
ADInstruments has partnered with Vernier Software & Technology to create the Lt Chemistry Collection. Lt is a cloud-based, active-learning platform that integrates with Vernier’s Go Direct® Sensors to sample data directly into Lt and create engaging, hands-on chemistry experiments. It allows educators who teach introductory undergraduate chemistry courses to simplify their curriculum with inbuilt course management, analytics, and grading tools. Chemistry instructors can apply to be a Flagship Account and win a free one-year Lt subscription and up to 10 Go Direct® Chemistry Sensor Packages (valued at more than $8,000). Apply by May 1.
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