Posts about teachers

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring

Project Exploration wins a presidential award for science education

This week, Project Exploration received one of 22 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, a prize that carries a $10,000 grant and an award ceremony this fall at the White House.

So Project Exploration started summer and after-school programs to expose students underrepresented in the sciences, primarily girls and minorities, to scientists and their real-life work. Students design research projects and test them in the field, or work summers at museums demonstrating science to young children.

One group of girls is currently tracking coyotes in Yellowstone National Park, Lyon said. “Over time, they find they’re making discoveries not just about science but about themselves,” she said.

Related: Presidential Award for Top Science and Math TeachersFund Teacher’s Science ProjectsNSF CAREER Award Winners 2008Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (2007)

SUNY Plattsburgh professor earns presidential honor

Her students have been working to unlock the mysteries of the past as they analyze the DNA from skeletons of ancient Maya. They are trying to answer questions like did the disorder Beta-Thalassemia, a type of anemia, really exist in the Americas before Columbus set sail? What accounts for differences in burial among some of the Maya? Were some from more aristocratic family lines? What route did the Maya take across the Bering Strait? And are there other Native American tribes that share a common ancestry?

Her students are also working to unlock mysteries of the present, studying a newly found gene that exists in paramecium (single-celled organisms) that may tell them more about evolution.

Others have just completed a joint project, working with Elwess, Adjunct Lecturer Sandra Latourelle and members of the college’s psychology department – SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor Jeanne Ryan and Professor William Tooke. They searched for links between an individual’s genes, aggressive behavior and the ratio of one finger to another. Their results will be released soon.

This sort of work has led to SUNY Plattsburgh undergraduates winning top honors for poster presentations at both the National Association of Biology Teachers and International Sigma Xi conferences four years in a row. In addition, many of Elwess’ students have also gone on to pursue higher degrees in the field, being accepted into schools like Yale and the University of Oregon.

President Obama today named more than 100 science, math, and engineering teachers and mentors as recipients of two prestigious Presidential Awards for Excellence. The educators will receive their awards in the Fall at a White House ceremony.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, awarded each year to individuals or organizations, recognizes the crucial role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science or engineering and who belong to minorities that are underrepresented in those fields. By offering their time, encouragement and expertise to these students, mentors help ensure that the next generation of scientists and engineers will better reflect the diversity of the United States.
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Teen diagnoses her own disease in science class

Teen diagnoses her own disease in science class

Her doctors, no matter how hard they tried, couldn’t figure out the cause of Jessica’s abdominal distress. Then one day in January, Terry, 18, figured it out on her own.

In her Advanced Placement high school science class, she was looking under the microscope at slides of her own intestinal tissue — slides her pathologist had said were completely normal — and spotted an area of inflamed tissue called a granuloma, a clear indication that she had Crohn’s disease.

“It’s weird I had to solve my own medical problem,” Terry told CNN affiliate KOMO in Seattle, Washington. “There were just no answers anywhere. … I was always sick.”

Crohn’s disease is often misdiagnosed or diagnosed very late, says Dr. Corey Siegel, director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire. “Granulomas are oftentimes very hard to find and not always even present at all,” Siegel said. “I commend Jessica for her meticulous work.”

Related: High School Student Isolates Microbe that Eats PlasticSiemens Westinghouse Competition WinnersHigh School Inventor Teams @ MIT

Hands-on Engineering Education

Hands-on programs convey engineering’s cool factor

For starters, we must inspire them by spreading awareness of programs like FIRST, the Infinity Project, Project Lead the Way and others that move learning from the traditional lecture-style, textbook-based environment to a more hands-on experience that actively involves students in their own learning process and promotes the creative thinking, teamwork and problem-solving skills essential in the 21st-century workplace. These hands-on programs help students see the real difference they can make through a career in engineering.

So what are you doing to address the engineering crisis? Today’s engineers can be the voice of change for tomorrow’s students. We challenge you to ask your school about implementing one of these programs in its math or science curriculum. Volunteer with your local FIRST team, or volunteer in the classroom to help teachers implement project-based curricula. Talk with your colleagues about the best way to educate engineers.

We also highly recommend that you personally mentor a student so a new generation will see firsthand how engineering really does help change our world on every level.

Related: posts on engineering educationTinker School: Engineering CampFun k-12 Science and Engineering LearningWhat Kids can Learn – Hands-on High School Engineering Education in MinnesotaQubits Construction Toy

Lunacy – FIRST Robotics Challenge 2009

The For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotic Challenge is a great way to get high school students involved in engineering. Lunacy is the 2009 competition which mimics the low friction environment on the moon (using a slick surface and slick wheels on the robots). For more information see the competition manual and related documents.

Related: FIRST Robotics in MinnesotaKids Fuse Legos and Robotics at CompetitionLa Vida RobotNorthwest FIRST Robotics Competition2006 FIRST Robotics Competition Regional Events

Educating Future Scientists and Engineers

Texas in danger of losing global race

American demand for scientists and engineers is expected to grow four times faster than all other professions over the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yet today, only 5 percent of U.S. college undergraduates earn degrees in science and engineering, whereas in China, 42 percent of students do.

Not only are highly qualified Texas science and math teachers in short supply today, but we’re losing literally thousands each year. In 2007 alone, approximately 4,000 math and science teachers left Texas classrooms, costing our state an estimated $27 million to replace them.

Fortunately, there are programs already proven successful in preventing the loss of highly qualified math and science teachers, such as UTeach, a teacher training and support program launched at The University of Texas at Austin in 1997.

The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas — made up of Texas’ Nobel Laureates and National Academies members — has proposed four practical, actionable recommendations for state leaders to adopt, putting Texas on the path to world-class math and science education for our children, and a prosperous future for our state.

Related: $12.5 Million NSF For Educating High School Engineering TeachersThe Importance of Science EducationFIRST Robotics in MinnesotaUSA Teens 29th in Science

Fund Teacher’s Science Projects

With teachers submit project proposals for materials or experiences their students need to learn. These ideas become classroom reality when concerned individuals, whom we call Citizen Philanthropists, choose projects to fund.

Such as: Budding Scientists Need Basics!!! – “My students need 9 hands-on science equipment such as graduated cylinders, magnifying glasses, and vivid photographic books about weather and life cycles so they can experience science first-hand. The cost of this proposal is $386”

Hands On Science! – “My students need a human body model, a skeleton model, a skull model, 2 microscopes, beakers and graduated cylinders. The cost of this proposal is $1,060”

Eyes On Observation! – “My students need 4 Brock Magiscopes. The cost of this proposal is $688”

Let’s Rock the Rocks – “My students needs 2 complete sets of classroom Rock, Fossil & Mineral Collections and a Rock & Soil Activity Tub for science. The cost of this proposal is $351”

You can target high poverty schools, if you wish. If you want to help make a difference in the science literacy of the USA go ahead and find a project you want to help fund and make a donation. Or if you are a teacher, add a project for others to fund.

Related: Hands-on High School Engineering Education in MinnesotaThe Economic Consequences of Investing in Science EducationBuilding minds by building robotsEducation Resources for Science and Engineering

High-School Social Skills Predict Better Earnings than Test Scores

High-School Social Skills Predict Better Earnings than Test Scores

Ten years after graduation, high-school students who had been rated as conscientious and cooperative by their teachers were earning more than classmates who had similar test scores but fewer social skills, said a new University of Illinois study.

The study’s findings challenge the idea that racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic gaps in educational attainment and earnings can be narrowed solely by emphasizing cognitive skills, said Christy Lleras, a University of Illinois assistant professor of human and community development.

“It’s important to note that good schools do more than teach reading, writing, and math. They socialize students and provide the kinds of learning opportunities that help them to become good citizens and to be successful in the labor market,” she said.

“Unless we address the differences in school climates and curriculum that foster good work habits and other social skills, we’re doing a huge disservice to low-income kids who may be entering the labor market right after high school, especially in our increasingly service-oriented economy,” Lleras added.

The University of Illinois study analyzed data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study, which followed a diverse group of 11,000 tenth graders for 10 years, tracking not only their scores on standard achievement tests but teacher appraisals of such qualities as the students’ work habits, their ability to relate well to peers, and their participation in extracurricular activities, a proxy for the ability to interact well with both students and adults.

The teachers’ assessments were then compared with the students’ self-reported educational attainments and earnings 10 years after high-school graduation. Even after controlling for students’ achievement test scores, family socioeconomic status, and educational attainment, Lleras found that such social skills as conscientiousness, cooperativeness, and motivation were as important as test scores for success in the workplace.

Related: Hands-on High School Engineering Education in Minnesotabuilding on students natural curiouslyFun k-12 Science and Engineering Learning
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$12.5 Million NSF For Educating High School Engineering Teachers

$12.5 Million National Science Foundation Grant

The University of Texas at Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering, College of Natural Sciences and College of Education have been awarded $12.5 million by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to prepare educators to teach engineering to Texas high-school students.

The UTeachEngineering program targets future and current teachers, providing multiple avenues to prepare them to teach high school engineering. University faculty will use half of the five-year grant funding for course development, lab development and salaries. The other half of the grant will provide stipends, scholarships and fellowships to students and teachers working toward engineering teaching certification.

Current teachers will benefit from two curricula developed through the grant: a six-week Engineering Summer Institute for Teachers and a UTeach Master of Arts in Science and Engineering Education, which takes place over three summers. The curriculum for prospective teachers will target undergraduate students in engineering and the natural sciences, and lead to a bachelor’s degree in a scientific or engineering field as well as dual teaching certification in science and engineering. Addressing the need for trained engineering teachers is especially crucial in Texas because of a new law that requires high school graduates starting in 2011 to complete four years of science. One year can be a course in engineering.

Related: Engineering Resources for K-12 TeachersLeadership Initiatives for Teaching and TechnologyEducation Resources for Science and EngineeringIoannis Miaoulis on k-12 Engineering EducationAlumni Return to Redesign High School Engineering Classes

MythBuster: 3 Ways to Fix USA Science Education

MythBuster Adam Savage: 3 Ways to Fix U.S. Science Education

Let students get their hands dirty.
It’s really difficult to absorb things just by being told about them—I know I don’t learn well that way. If students could get their hands dirty in science class they’d be more likely to internalize information. You can lecture about the surface tension of water, but it’s not as effective as conducting an experiment with a needle and a single beam balance. Jamie and I are in touch with a lot of teachers from industrial engineering programs, and one of them told us he thinks our show has helped shift the emphasis from the strictly theoretical to a more hands-on approach.

2. Yes, spend more money on science.

3. Celebrate mistakes.
A good scientist will tell you that being wrong can be just as interesting as being right. The same holds for our show. We love hearing from fans who challenge our conclusions—especially kids.

Related: Report on K-12 Science Education in USA (2006)posts on science educationThe Economic Consequences of Investing in Science EducationMiddle School EngineersLego LearningThe Importance of Science Education – Science Toys You Can Make With Your Kids

Engaging the YouTube Generation in Hands-on Science

Engaging the YouTube Generation in Hands-on Science

Cherlyn Anderson is one of eight Einstein Fellows spending this academic year at NSF. In her other life, Anderson is an eighth-grade science teacher in South Carolina. She has used an experiment involving Mentos candy and Diet Coke as a teaching tool. The accompanying video offers a demonstration of the experiment, and discusses its benefits for eighth-grade science students.

Follow the link for a webcast. Somewhat ironically the NSF headline mentions YouTube but fails to take advantage of one of the things that has made YouTube (and others sharing videos: TED…) so successful. The ability to embed the videos on web sites, blog posts… The technical quality of the video is very nice (more pixels than YouTube videos).

Related: Einstein Fellowship for TeachersExcellence in K-12 Mathematics and Science TeachingNSF Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 EducationMinistry of Silly Walksmore posts tagged: kids

Presidential Award for Top Science and Math Teachers

Top Science and Math Teachers Receive Presidential Award

For the 2007 awards, 99 middle school and high school math and science teachers are receiving this recognition. In the citation from the president, winners are commended “for embodying excellence in teaching, for devotion to the learning needs of the students, and for upholding the high standards that exemplify American education at its finest.”

Each winner receives a $10,000 award from NSF, as well as a trip for two to Washington, D.C., for a week of celebratory events and professional development activities.

Among the activities during that week are a day with scientists and science educators at NSF; meetings with members of Congress and federal agency leadership; and a reception and dinner at the U.S. Department of State featuring guest speaker Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, a NASA Astronaut-Mission Specialist.

Related: Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science TeachingEinstein Fellowship for TeachersNSF Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 EducationThe Importance of Science EducationEducation Resources Directory for Science and Engineering