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Science Teaching in Math and Technology

Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP, Curator

LPBI

2015 Best High Schools for STEM Rankings Methodology

U.S. News looked at 500 public high schools to identify the best in math and science education.

By Robert Morse May 11, 2015

U.S. News & World Report’s Best High Schools for STEM rankings methodology is based on the key principle that students at the Best High Schools for STEM must participate in and pass a robust curriculum of college-level math and science courses. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

To be included in the U.S. News Best High Schools for STEM rankings, a public high school first had to be listed as a gold medal winner in the 2015 U.S. News Best High Schools rankings. That meant that the top 500 nationally ranked high schools were eligible for the STEM rankings.

Those eligible schools were next judged nationally on their level of math and science participation and success, using Advanced Placement STEM test data for 2013 graduates as the benchmark to conduct the analysis. The U.S. News Best High Schools for STEM rankings methodology does not rely on any data from the U.S. Department of Education.

AP is a College Board program that offers college-level courses at high schools across the country. College Board defines STEM Math as AP courses in Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Computer Science A and Statistics; and STEM Science as AP courses in Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Physics B, Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism and Physics C: Mechanics.

Math and science success at the high school level was assessed by computing a STEM Achievement Index for each school that ranked in the top 500 of the 2015 Best High Schools. The index was based on the percentage of all the AP test-takers in a school’s 2013 graduating class who took and passed college-level AP STEM Math and AP STEM Science tests. The higher a high school scored on the STEM Achievement Index, the better it placed in the Best High Schools for STEM rankings.

The maximum STEM Achievement Index value is 100. No public high school evaluated achieved that top score. The highest index was 98.3.

The first step in the rankings process was to compute the STEM Math Achievement Index. It was derived from two variables. The first was the percentage of AP test-takers in the 2013 graduating class who took at least one AP STEM Math course during high school, which was weighted 25 percent. The second was the percentage of those AP STEM Math test-takers who passed at least one AP STEM Math test during high school, receiving an AP score of 3 or higher. This variable was weighted 75 percent.

The next step was to calculate a STEM Science Achievement Index. Much like the math index, it was derived from the percentage of AP test-takers in the 2013 graduating class who took at least one AP STEM Science course during high school – weighted 25 percent – and the percentage of those AP STEM Science test-takers who passed at least one AP STEM Science test during high school, receiving an AP score of 3 or higher – weighted 75 percent.

This means that the methodology weights students taking AP math and science STEM courses at the high school level at 25 percent and passing those same AP STEM courses at 75 percent. In other words, passing both AP math and science tests was three times as important in the rankings as simply taking AP math and science courses.

The final step in the rankings process was to calculate the overall STEM Achievement Index, a combination of the STEM Math Achievement Index and the STEM Science Achievement Index. Each index was weighted at 50 percent, and then added together to create a composite value that is the STEM Achievement Index score.

The STEM rankings were based on sorting the unrounded – to many decimal places – STEM Achievement Index in descending order, with the top-ranked schools having the highest index values. The STEM Achievement Index was then rounded to the nearest 10th for online publication.

The top 250 high schools that achieved a value of greater than or equal to 66.8 in their STEM Achievement Index scored high enough to be numerically ranked. That high index cutoff point was used since it meant that all the high schools in the STEM rankings had, on average, more than two-thirds of the AP test-takers in their 2013 graduating class take and pass at least one AP STEM Math and one AP STEM Science test.

AP® and Advanced Placement® are registered trademarks of the College Board. Used with permission.

Top 50 Science Teacher Blogs

Bringing the subject of science to life for students is the challenge shared by the teachers who author these 50 amazing and insightful science education blogs. Sharing narratives set within and beyond the classroom walls, these next generation educators embrace technology but are never so dazzled by it that they lose sight of their common goal.

Action-Reaction
Physics Teacher Frank Noschese discusses science education topics like whether Khan Academy is effective at teaching physics, applying Angry Birds in physics lessons, and the idea of pseudoteaching.

Teaching High School Psychology
Teaching High School Psychology is a joint collaboration that explores the deeper lesson of the Stanford Prison Experiment, Gamification and its implications as a behavioral motivator, and opportunities for teaching Operant Conditioning with TV’s Big Bang Theory.

Little Miss Hypothesis
Inspiring Kindergarten scientists and giving a too-often neglected subject its due is the aim of Little Miss Hypothesis, where Mrs. Coe chronicles activities with growing brains, harvesting Spirit Garden salads and the development of science centers in a classroom that is home to Bluebonnet the Betta fish and the crab shack’s resident hermits.

Science for Kids
Sue Cahalane shares her passion for teaching science to elementary students in grades PK-4 on Science for Kids with ideas for classroom experiments, tutorials for science lessons, updates on science education news, and photos of students engaged in science activities.

Science Education on the Edge
Chris Ludwig, a high school science teacher from Colorado, writes about improving assessment and instruction in science and education technology.

Teach Science for All
Kirk Robbins shares helpful resources and tools for science teachers including reports, useful websites, and online tools.

Teaching | chemistry
Ellena Bethea, a high school chemistry teacher, writes about grading practices, online tools, and lab activities.

Adventures with the Lower Level
Tracie Schroeder shares her experiences teaching science, teaching methods, and thoughts on learning.

Physics in Flux
Dan Fullerton provides a resource for teachers with details of his successes and failures, technology guides, and physics book reviews.

Think Thank Thunk
On his blog, Think Thank Thunk, Shawn Cornally celebrates the Merlin within every teacher, the need for repackaging education, the debate surrounding Standards Based Grading and the dread of being dull as he chronicles his plight as an educator.

nashworld
Marine biology teacher Sean Nash gets inspired by WordFoto and invites educators to appreciate and aim for “Whoa” moments on his blog, nashworld.

Science Teacher
A science teacher and former pediatrican finds an exemplary model in Dr. Seuss, challenges technophiles to understand deeply, and explains why he has made a tradition of culminating each school year with a field trip to watch horseshoe crabs in the throes of romance.

Teach Science
At Teach Science, Ed Hitchcock muses on the DNA shared by Socrates and explains why science’s greatest appeal is the unexpected.

Quantum Progress
At Quantum Progress, 9th grade Atlanta physics teacher John Burk relives a childhood tradition at Physics Teacher Camp, promotes blogging as a tool for professional development, and ponders why physics buildings never win campus beauty contests.

Pedagogue Padawan
At Pedagogue Padawan, Geoff Schmit shares innovative ideas for using Sudoku to teach Circuit Analysis, Angry Birds as a lesson in holography, and wikispaces as a tool for science projects.

Re:thinking
Re:thinking blends personal reflection with a challenge to rethink school culture and policy as 9th grade teacher Ben Wildeboer finds teachable moments in events like the Japanese quake and explains the importance of “hard fun” for students.

Journey in Technology
At Journey in Technology a Dallas Physics teacher discusses implementing Khan Academy, discovering community and deep connections at Educon, and transforming the pseudoteaching of “cookbook” lab projects into real learning in the classroom.

Always Formative
Jason Buell is a middle school science teacher from California who writes about standards-based grading, education conferences, education books and more.

Stretching Forward
At Stretching Forward, Earth science teacher Janelle Wilson shares experiences from the Space Academy for Educators, discusses class blogging, and shares thoughts on engaging students and parents in science.

Tearing Down Walls
Derrick Willard teaches AP Environmental Science and discusses using social media and online tools to extend lessons outside the walls of the physical classroom.

Teaching Computer Science
Alfred Thompson is a former high school computer science teacher who currently works at Microsoft and writes about computer science education and resources.

A+ Computer Science Blog
High school computer science teacher Stacey Armstrong discusses why computer science is cool, game programming, career options in computer science, and computer science resources.

Teaching CS in Dallas
Kathleen Weaver writes about teaching robotics, Android development, and computer science education topics on her blog.

In Need of a Base Case
This blog discusses the need for change in computer science education, computer science project ideas, and the value of learning computer science.

Hélène Martin
Hélène Martin muses on the power of childhood playthings to fuel tech career ambitions and describes how lost airport luggage is a reminder to look for ways to leverage computing to solve real-life problems in this blog from the perspective of a computer science teacher.

Garth’s CS Education Blog
A computer science and programming teacher at a private school writes about teaching fun and important concepts and preparing students for computer science careers.

The Blog of Phyz
The Blog of Phyz is California teacher Dean Baird’s platform for debunking “Magnet Boys” and magic wristbands, and touting a 75 cent investment guaranteed to wow even the most cynical student.

Mr. Gonzalez’s Classroom
An Olympic Odyssey customarily culminates the academic year for middle school teacher Alfonso Gonzalez, who explores the challenge of giving terms like “on-task” and “structured learning” 21st century relevance on his blog, Mr. Gonzalez’s Classroom.

Free/Libre Open Source Science Education
Pseudoteaching and trends like the “reverse lecture” are hot topics on Free/Libre Open Source Science Education, where Steve Dickie shares his own innovative methods, including cartooning with GoAnimate and creating his own textbooks.

The Science Classroom
Oklahoma physics teacher Jody Bowie reports on the thrill of seeing students connect classroom lessons in everyday life, explains why everyone needs a whetstone to hone their thinking and divulges his identification with the Wizard in Wicked on The Science Classroom blog.

Jacobs Physics
On his blog Greg Jacobs calls course evaluations brutal but vital and bucks a few trends by advocating daily work and disparaging summer assignments in favor of starting each year “from the ground up”.

New Physics Modeler
Bryan Battaglia explains the appeal of professional conferences, the career changing power of blogging, and reflects that teachers gain as many lessons by year’s end as their students.

Just Call Me Ms Frizzle
Becky offers a distinctive first-year teacher perspective on Just Call Me Ms Frizzle, contrasting the low of leaving the room in frustration with the high of a Friday classroom on its best behavior, along with the challenge of teaching a non-traditional class.

And Yet it Moves
On his blog, And Yet it Moves, Ben Chun explains why problem-solving skills trump smarts, tackles the debate over doing away with honors classes, and challenges the AP curriculum.

Reflections of a Science Teacher
Sandra McCarron dismisses the notion of a rubric for thinking, believes that a successful classroom starts out with a vision and ponders the merits of science fairs that have been sacrificed to make way for education reforms on her blog, Reflections of a Science Teacher.

Hurricane Maine
A veteran teacher discusses ideas in education and technology, interesting articles, and how to make school more like play rather than work.

The Physics of Learning
Doug Smith authors this physics education blog that discusses topics like whether to use iPads in the classroom, the myths of merit pay, and scientific literacy.

Room 611
Mr. Young teaches Earth science and other subjects in Canada and provides insights into class by outlining what is covered in class almost every school day.

Using Blogs in Science Education
Stacey Baker is a high school biology teacher and writes about how to use classroom blogs to help students learn science.

Physics! Blog!
Physics! Blog! shares results of The No Homework Experiment and discusses standards based grading, the goal of testing, and teaching students how to learn from mistakes.

Ideas for Teaching Computer Technology to Kids
A blog sharing ideas and resources for teaching computer technology including robots for computer science education, programming resources, and computer science teaching tools.

MrReid.org
A physics teacher shares interesting science articles like Nobel prize winning sentences, things from movies that cannot exist, and cool science videos.

Teach. Brian. Teach.
Brian discusses what makes for a good science conversation, reflects on teaching, shares observations of students, and explains why it is important to point out when students are having fun doing science.

The Skeptical Teacher
A high school physics teacher discusses science education and promotes critical thinking on his blog.

Physics & Physical Science Demos, Labs, & Projects for High School Teachers
A physics teacher provides a resource for science teachers to share ideas for labs and demonstrations and commentary on what works.

The Art of Teaching Science
Jack Hassard is a professor of science education and explores issues in teaching science, shares resources for science teachers, and discusses why teaching science is important.

SuperFly Physics
At SuperFly Physics, Andy Rundquist shares ideas for teaching physics, fun science experiments, and interesting physics problems.

Newton’s Minions
A physics blog sharing student work, anecdotes from the classroom, thoughts on student assessment, and ideas for teaching complex physics lessons.

Mr. Barlow’s Blog
Mr. Barlow is a high school science teacher and podcaster from Melbourne, Australia who shares interesting science studies, cool science news, and optical illusions at his blog.

http://www.teachercertificationdegrees.com/top-blogs/science-teacher/

What is JASON?

We are a non-profit organization that connects students, in the classroom and out, to real science and exploration to inspire and motivate them to study and pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

We embed exciting STEM professionals and cutting-edge research into award-winning, standards-aligned in and out-of-school curricula. Live webcasts connect students with inspirational STEM role models. Student materials include reading selections with read-to-me functionality, inquiry-based labs, videos, and online games. For teachers and informal educators, we provide lesson plans, assessments, and comprehensive professional development programs.

http://www.jason.org/sites/default/files/images/rotators/website%20klein%20feature.jpg

Ten Websites for Science Teachers

Originally Published: February 7, 2012 | Updated: October 10, 2014

www.nsta.org/about/awards.aspx

http://www.edutopia.org/sites/default/files/styles/feature_image_breakpoints_theme_edutopia_desktop_1x/public/slates/Science_Teachers_0.jpg?itok=i6yFGrRK

We all know that the web is full of excellent web resources for science teachers and students. However, unless you live on the web, finding the best websites can become quite a challenge. This isn’t a “Top Ten” list — instead, it is a list of websites that I either use on a regular basis or just find interesting. From teaching resources for the nature of science and authentic field journals to wacky videos about numbers, I am sure that you will find something in the following list the works for you!

1) Understanding Science

UC Berkeley’s Understanding Science website is a “must use” for all science teachers. It is a great resource for learning more about the process of science. The resource goes much deeper than the standard “PHEOC” model of the scientific method by emphasizing peer review, the testing of ideas, a science flowchart and “what is science?” checklist. Understanding Science also provides a variety of teaching resources including case studies of scientific discoveries and lesson plans for every grade level.

2) Field Research Journals

The Field Book Project from the National Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Institution Archives intends to create a “one stop” archive for field research journals and other documentation. You can find plenty of examples from actual field research journals for your classes.

3) Evolution

Berkeley’s Understanding Evolution website is the precursor to their Understanding Science efforts. The Understanding Evolution website provides a plethora of resources, news items and lessons for teaching about evolution. Lessons provide appropriate “building blocks” to help students at any grade level work towards a deeper understanding of evolution. The Evo 101 tutorial provides a great overview of the science behind evolution and the multiple lines of evidence that support the theory.

4) PhET Simulations

PhET from the University of Colorado provides dozens of fantastic simulations for physics, chemistry and biology. The website also includes a collection of teacher contributed activities, lab experiences, homework assignments and conceptual questions that can be used with the simulations.

5) Earth Exploration

The Earth Exploration Toolbook provides a series of activities, tools and case studies for using data sets with your students.

6) EdHead Interactives

Edheads is an organization that provides engaging web simulations and activities for kids. Current activities focus on simulated surgical procedures, cell phone design (with market research), simple and compound machines, and weather prediction.

7) Plant Mentors

Do you teach about plants? Check out Planting Science to connect your middle or high school students to science mentors and a collaborative inquiry project. From the project:

Planting Science is a learning and research resource, bringing together students, plant scientists, and teachers from across the nation. Students engage in hands-on plant investigations, working with peers and scientist mentors to build collaborations and to improve their understanding of science.

8) Periodic Table of Videos

Check out The Periodic Table of Videos for a wide array of videos about the elements and other chemistry topics.

9) More Videos!

Students can read and watch video about 21 Smithsonian scientistsincluding a volcano watcher, fossil hunter, art scientist, germinator and zoo vet.

10) Even More Videos!

How many videos were watched on YouTube in 2010? If you said 22 billion, you are sort of correct… Those 22 billion views only represent the number of times education videos were watched! In addition to this list of science and math YouTube channels, here are two of my favorites:

  • SciShow is all about teaching scientific concepts in an accessible and easy-to-understand manner. This channel includes a variety of short (3 minute) and long (10 minute) videos. New videos are released weekly.
  • Former BBC journalist Brady Haran is crazy about math and science. If you love numbers, you will love his Numberphile channel, dedicated to exploring the stories behind numbers.
  • And let’s close with a particularly good SciShow on Climate Change:

https://youtu.be/M2Jxs7lR8ZI

Best High Schools

http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/national-rankings

 School for the Talented and Gifted

1201 EAST EIGHTH ST

DALLAS, TX 75203

Dallas Independent School District

GOLD Medal

15:1

Near National Avg

253 Students

17 Teachers

100.0

Above National Avg

100% Tested (AP®)

100% Passed (AP®)

#2 BASIS Scottsdale

11440 NORTH 136TH ST

SCOTTSDALE, AZ 85259

BASIS Schools Inc.

GOLD Medal

N/A

N/A

698 Students

N/A Teachers

100.0

Above National Avg

100% Tested (AP®)

100% Passed (AP®)

#3 Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

6560 BRADDOCK RD

ALEXANDRIA, VA 22312

Fairfax County Public Schools

GOLD Medal

17:1

Near National Avg

1,846 Students

111 Teachers

100.0

Above National Avg

100% Tested (AP®)

100% Passed (AP®)

#4 Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology

970 MCELVANEY LN

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA 30044

Gwinnett County Public Schools

GOLD Medal

18:1

Near National Avg

851 Students

48 Teachers

100.0

Above National Avg

100% Tested (AP®)

100% Passed (AP®)

 

School of Science and Engineering Magnet

1201 EAST EIGHTH ST

DALLAS, TX 75203

Dallas Independent School District

GOLD Medal

 

 

16:1

Near National Avg

386 Students

24 Teachers

 

100.0

Above National Avg

100% Tested (AP®)

100% Passed (AP®)

#6 Carnegie Vanguard High School

1501 TAFT

HOUSTON, TX 77019

Houston Independent School District

GOLD Medal

17:1

Near National Avg

590 Students

34 Teachers

100.0

Above National Avg

100% Tested (AP®)

100% Passed (AP®)

#7 Academic Magnet High School

5109A WEST ENTERPRISE ST

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC 29405

Charleston County School District

GOLD Medal

14:1

Near National Avg

610 Students

44 Teachers

100.0

Above National Avg

100% Tested (AP®)

100% Passed (AP®)

#8 University High School

9419 WEST VAN BUREN ST

TOLLESON, AZ 85353

Tolleson Union High School District

GOLD Medal

34:1

Larger than National Avg

460 Students

14 Teachers

100.0

Above National Avg

100% Tested (AP®)

100% Passed (AP®)

#9 Lamar Academy

1009 NORTH 10TH ST

MCALLEN, TX 78501

Mcallen Independent School District

GOLD Medal

6:1

Smaller than National Avg

106 Students

19 Teachers

100.0

Above National Avg

100% Tested (IB)

100% Passed (IB)

#10 Gilbert Classical Academy High School

55 NORTH GREENFIELD RD

GILBERT, AZ 85234

Gilbert Unified District

GOLD Medal

11:1

Smaller than National Avg

220 Students

20 Teachers

100.0

Above National Avg

100% Tested (AP®)

100% Passed (AP®)

#11 The High School of American Studies at Lehman College

2925 GOULDEN AVE

BRONX, NY 10468

New York City Public Schools

GOLD Medal

16:1

Near National Avg

393 Students

25 Teachers

100.0

Above National Avg

100% Tested (AP®)

100% Passed (AP®)

#12 American Indian Public High School

3637 MAGEE AVE

OAKLAND, CA 94619

Oakland Unf

GOLD Medal

19:1

Larger than National Avg

243 Students

13 Teachers

100.0

Above National Avg

100% Tested (AP®)

100% Passed (AP®)

#13 International Studies Charter High School

2480 SW 8TH ST

MIAMI, FL 33135

Miami-Dade County Public Schools

GOLD Medal

13:1

Near National Avg

359 Students

27 Teachers

100.0

Above National Avg

100% Tested (AP®)

100% Passed (AP®)

#14 High School for Dual Language and Asian Studies

350 GRAND ST

NEW YORK, NY 10002

New York City Public Schools

GOLD Medal

16:1

Near National Avg

392 Students

25 Teachers

100.0

Above National Avg

100% Tested (AP®)

100% Passed (AP®)

#15 Northside College Preparatory High School

5501 NORTH KEDZIE AVE

CHICAGO, IL 60625

Chicago Public Schools

GOLD Medal

14:1

Near National Avg

1,069 Students

74 Teachers

99.7

Above National Avg

100% Tested (AP®)

100% Passed (AP®)

#16 Oxford Academy

5172 ORANGE AVE

CYPRESS, CA 90630

Anaheim Union High

GOLD Medal

30:1

Larger than National Avg

1,152 Students

38 Teachers

99.5

Above National Avg

100% Tested (AP®)

99% Passed (AP®)

#17 University High School

421 NORTH ARCADIA BLVD

TUCSON, AZ 85711

Tucson Unified School District

GOLD Medal

21:1

Larger than National Avg

934 Students

44 Teachers

99.3

Above National Avg

100% Tested (AP®)

99% Passed (AP®)

#18 Pacific Collegiate School

255 SWIFT ST

SANTA CRUZ, CA 95060

Santa Cruz County Office Of Education

GOLD Medal

19:1

Larger than National Avg

515 Students

28 Teachers

99.1

Above National Avg

100% Tested (AP®)

99% Passed (AP®)

#19 Biotechnology High School

5000 KOZLOSKI RD

FREEHOLD, NJ 07728

Monmouth County Vocational School District

GOLD Medal

14:1

Near National Avg

311 Students

23 Teachers

99.1

Above National Avg

100% Tested (IB)

99% Passed (IB)

#20 High Technology High School

765 NEWMAN SPRINGS RD

LINCROFT, NJ 07738

Monmouth County Vocational School District

GOLD Medal

13:1

Near National Avg

280 Students

22 Teachers

98.5

Above National Avg

99% Tested (AP®)

99% Passed (AP®)

The United States has developed as a global leader, in large part, through the genius and hard work of its scientists, engineers, and innovators. In a world that’s becoming increasingly complex, where success is driven not only by what you know, but by what youcan do with what you know, it’s more important than ever for our youth to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of information. These are the types of skills that students learn by studying science, technology, engineering, and math—subjects collectively known as STEM.

Yet today, few American students pursue expertise in STEM fields—and we have an inadequate pipeline of teachers skilled in those subjects. That’s why President Obama has set a priority of increasing the number of students and teachers who are proficient in these vital fields.

stem-infographic

http://www.ed.gov/sites/default/files/stem-infographic.jpg

The need

All young people should be prepared to think deeply and to think well so that they have the chance to become the innovators, educators, researchers, and leaders who can solve the most pressing challenges facing our nation and our world, both today and tomorrow. But, right now, not enough of our youth have access to quality STEM learning opportunities and too few students see these disciplines as springboards for their careers.expand/collapse

The goals

President Obama has articulated a clear priority for STEM education: within a decade, American students must “move from the middle to the top of the pack in science and math.” The Obama Administration also is working toward the goal of fairness between places, where an equitable distribution of quality STEM learning opportunities and talented teachers can ensure that all students have the chance to study and be inspired by science, technology, engineering, and math—and have the chance to reach their full potential.expand/collapse

The plan

The Committee on STEM Education (CoSTEM), comprised of 13 agencies—including all of the mission-science agencies and the Department of Education—are facilitating a cohesive national strategy, with new and repurposed funds, to increase the impact of federal investments in five areas: 1.) improving STEM instruction in preschool through 12th grade; 2.) increasing and sustaining public and youth engagement with STEM; 3.) improving the STEM experience for undergraduate students; 4.) better serving groups historically underrepresented in STEM fields; and 5.) designing graduate education for tomorrow’s STEM workforce.expand/collapse

Supporting Teachers and Students in STEM

At the Department of Education, we share the President’s commitment to supporting and improving STEM education. Ensuring that all students have access to high-quality learning opportunities in STEM subjects is a priority, demonstrated by the fact that dozens of federal programs have made teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering, and math a critical component of competitiveness for grant funding. Just this year, for the very first time, the Department announced that its Ready-to-Learn Television grant competition would include a priority to promote the development of television and digital media focused on science.

The Department’s Race to the Top-District program supports educators in providing students with more personalized learning—in which the pace of and approach to instruction are uniquely tailored to meet students’ individual needs and interests—often supported by innovative technologies. STEM teachers across the country also are receiving resources, support, training, and development through programs like Investing in Innovation (i3), the Teacher Incentive Fund, the Math and Science Partnershipsprogram, Teachers for a Competitive Tomorrow, and the Teacher Quality Partnerships program.

Because we know that learning happens everywhere—both inside and outside of formal school settings—the Department’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers program is collaborating with NASA, the National Park Service, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services to bring high-quality STEM content and experiences to students from low-income, high-need schools. This initiative has made a commitment to Native-American students, providing about 350 young people at 11 sites across six states with out-of-school STEM courses focused on science and the environment.

And in higher education, the Hispanic-Serving Institutions-STEM program is helping to increase the number of Hispanic students attaining degrees in STEM subjects.

This sampling of programs represents some of the ways in which federal resources are helping to assist educators in implementing effective approaches for improving STEM teaching and learning; facilitating the dissemination and adoption of effective STEM instructional practices nationwide; and promoting STEM education experiences that prioritize hands-on learning to increase student engagement and achievement.

Learn more

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seri_scores

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A new ranking of how well the United States’ schools are preparing students for science and engineering careers shows that although there’s a small number of high performers, most states are doing a poor job of educating students in these subjects.

According to the ranking of schools teaching kindergarten through 12th grade, Massachusetts leads the pack with a score of 4.82 on a scale of 1 to 5, while Mississippi trails behind as “worst in the United States” with a 1.11 score. Twenty-one states in total, including California, earned what the ranking classified as “below average” or “far below average” scores, and only 10 states earned scores above the national average of 2.82.

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Mobilizing Scientific Societies: Editorial by Science Editor-in-Chief Dr. Bruce Alberts

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D

In a weekly editorial, Dr. Bruce Alberts, Editor-in –Chief of the journal Science discussed issues pertaining to science education in the United States[1].  He suggests the US science education system may need to be more flexible in its approach to science education in grade and high school.  He considers the one major problem is the “broad coverage of each subject, which kills student interest and makes genuine comprehension impossible.  Dr. Alberts suggest that state-based textbooks and the inability of the scientific community to understand teacher’s needs is driving this inadvertent problem.  The current textbooks used for scientific education focus more on memorization of a multitude of scientific terms than on concept development, experimentation and inquisition, and conclusion.  Materials are desperately needed for teachers to guide students to confront the overall concept, and working in teams, design potential methods to further explore these concepts.  He suggest this style of teaching would require close partnerships between top-notch teachers , educational  experts and scientific societies in order to research the effect of current curriculum materials but also develop  new Web-based  curriculum.

In a recent interview in the March 2013 issue of Wired magazine with Clayton Christensen, Ph.D. the author of the famed book The innovator’s Dilemma,  Dr. Christensen forwqarns the impending changes in higher education due to increased availability of online learning.  As he states, universities are on the precipice of a collapse in the future and those which survive will evolve hybrid models of education, part online and part classroom but will provide more specialized offerings to fit current needs.  Indeed, as listed below these changes and suggestions in science education may well be underway.  Below is a brief listing of scientific societies who have undertaken these challenges and formed extensive programs in STEM education.

FASEB (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) programs such as:

Resources for Faculty and K-12 Teachers

APS Frontiers in Physiology Program – Provides professional development for middle and high school teachers by providing them with tools and resources and connecting them with researchers on-line and through workshops.

APS Physiology Understanding Week – Fosters relationships among teachers, students, and physiologists. PhUn Week encourages member physiologists across the nation to volunteer and work with teachers in their local community to visit a classroom during the first week in November.

Leap to the Top in Science Classes  from AAAS found at:

http://news.aaas.org/2013_annual_meeting/0214leap-to-the-top-in-science-classes.shtml

A progress report from the 2013 AAAS meeting follows:

Often, in the daily grind of slogging through a difficult science class, students see fully formed scientists and their discoveries as a distant blur. Remote men and women somehow make advanced science happen.

New efforts aim to bring students face to face with creative, imaginative scientists right in their classroom.

With a lifetime of scientific contributions at their back, many retired scientists, engineers, and physicians are returning to school, not as pupils or as instructors, but as classroom volunteers in public elementary, middle, and high schools.

This week over 400 teachers and scientists gathered in Boston for the first International Teacher-Scientist Partnership Conference, organized by AAAS Education and Human Resources and the University of California, San Francisco Science & Health Education Partnership, sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Presenters are scheduled to share a range of partnership models over three days, from scientists generating digital education tools, to teachers participating in research.

Throughout the first day of the conference, the conversation turned to the idea of bringing scientists into the classroom to work directly with the students.

Virginia Shepherd from Vanderbilt University shared a comprehensive analysis of the university’s nearly 20-year-old Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education program. Presentation attendees duly applauded the success of the program but said that they had trouble establishing similar programs in their state for lack of funding.

A handful of organizations represented at the conference have found that an affordable way to bring scientists into the classroom is to recruit retired scientists.

Volunteers at Northeastern University’s Retirees Enhancing Science Education through Experiments and Demonstrations program, or RE-SEED, spend at least one day a week in an elementary, middle, or high school classroom in Massachusetts helping students conduct experiments as part of the existing curriculum.

“Retired scientists and engineers have a lot of experience from a lifetime of working in laboratories. They can make what the students are learning relevant,” said Christos Zahopoulos, a professor of education and engineering at Northeastern University.

Since founding RE-SEED in 1991, Zahopoulos has helped to start similar programs in 15 states, conducting on-site trainings for volunteers. While such programs start out strong, many of them have since faded, with only a handful remaining, he said.

Even though retirees are offering a free service to the schools, getting them trained and placed takes a certain amount of funding, Zahopoulos says. He has been fortunate to fund RE-SEED with private donations. Many programs were not so lucky.

AAAS’ Senior Scientists and Engineers (SSE), a service-oriented organization for retired scientists and engineers, has managed to sustain a similar program for seven years. In 2005, Zahopoulos helped SSE establish its own volunteer program.

Donald Rea, a former research chemist for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and SSE volunteer coordinator for Virginia, hopes that helping to reinforce science education will enhance the public understanding of science in years to come.

“If you want to have an influence on science literacy, you want to get [kids] while they are young. So we work in classrooms as young as second grade,” Rea said.

This kind of investment takes many years to fully mature. So, how do Rea and Zahopoulos measure success? They look to their teachers, volunteers, and students.

Rea said he measures success by the eagerness of schools and teachers to participate year after year.

For Zahopoulos, hints of success sometimes come in the mail. He says one student wrote in to RE-SEED upon graduating from high school, several years after any contact with a RE-SEED volunteer, to say that she had decided to major in biology and had enrolled in a pre-medicine program.

Both Rea and Zahopoulos said they have been amazed at the dedication and eagerness of volunteers.

“When we first started, we asked volunteers to commit to one day a week for one year. Now we have volunteers who have been with us for 18 years and some volunteer as many as 4 times per week,” Zahopoulos said.

Ron McKnight, a former Department of Energy physicists and SSE volunteer has recently taken on the task of coordinating volunteers living in Montgomery County, Md. He still volunteers in middle school science classrooms and is considering taking on another assignment.

When asked what he loves about volunteering, he replied, “Whenever a kid I’m working with asks a really good question, that’s when I have a really good day.”

National Science Foundation (NSF) Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL)

Information can be found at http://www.nsf.gov/div/index.jsp?div=DRL

DRL invests in projects to improve the effectiveness of STEM learning for people of all ages. Its mission includes promoting innovative research, development, and evaluation of learning and teaching across all STEM disciplines by advancing cutting-edge knowledge and practices in both formal and informal learning settings. DRL also promotes the broadening and deepening of capacity and impact in the educational sciences by encouraging the participation of scientists, engineers, and educators from the range of disciplines represented at NSF. Therefore, DRL’s role in the larger context of Federal support for education research and evaluation is to be a catalyst for change—advancing theory, method, measurement, development, and application in STEM education. The Division seeks to advance both early, promising innovations as well as larger-scale adoptions of proven educational innovations. In doing so, it challenges the field to create the ideas, resources, and human capacity to bring about the needed transformation of STEM education for the 21st century.

Society of Toxicology K-12 Educational Outreach for Scientists

http://www.toxicology.org/ai/k12o/k-12scientists.asp

This sites contains multiple .pdf  files on volunteering and mentoring topics including

  • Scientist Mentor Ideas
  • Links to Other Mentoring Sites
  • Resources for toxicologists to use in K-12 Outreach
  • Regional Chapter K-12 Outreach

References:

1.         Alberts B: Mobilizing scientific societies. Science 2012, 338(6113):1396.

for high school teachers please see https://www.teachercertificationdegrees.com/top-blogs/science-teacher/

 

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