Universal Eighth-Grade Algebra

September 29, 2008

An article recently released by the Brookings Institution, The Misplaced Math Student: Lost in Eighth-Grade Algebra, reports trends in middle school mathematics enrollment. Over the last two decades, the United States has pushed for increased enrollment of 8th grade students in Algebra courses. This push, stemming from growing global competition, sets students on a more structured path towards enrollment in high school calculus classes. The theory set forth by these studies describe remedial and general math classes as “curricular dead-ends, leading to more courses with the same title and no real progression in mathematical content”.

The article describes 8th grade enrollment in Algebra as an argument for equity. How does this article compare with your own philosophies of Mathematics instruction in the United States? Does this push strengthen students’ mathematical understandings, or does it leave them unaware of the reasoning behind the equations?  Perhaps it does neither, or both. We would like to hear from you: teachers… students…  practitioners of mathematics; what do you think?

Science & Math at the Collaboration Event

September 23, 2008

RAC-CEMS’ Collaboration Event is next week!  As a Graduate Assistant for the Center, I am excited to hear all the ideas people are coming together to share.

Flying WILD will be sharing their goals, as well as presenting examples of community resources and a sample activity.  These resources should be especially handy for teachers who take part in problem and community-based learning units.

Also, as I am part of Nazareth’s Hybrid program, I am interested to see what Christine Richter says about Professional Learning Communities.  Teachers, as a community of learners, have much to share with one another… which is exactly what the Collaboration Event is all about!

Visit this link to learn about all of the workshops at the RAC-CEMS Collaboration event.

You are sure to be inspired.

Grants for Science Teachers – Deadlines Approaching

September 22, 2008

Teachers Network has an excellent list of grants for Science Teachers. However, many of the deadlines for these grants are fast approaching.

Rochester Area Excellence in STEM Teaching Award Finalists

September 18, 2008

The Rochester Area Colleges’ Center for Excellence in Math and Science is pleased to announce the three finalists of the Rochester Area Excellence in STEM Teaching Award finalist. The award is designed to recognize excellence and innovation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teaching, and to create a forum for collaboration and sharing of activities, instructional strategies, and best practices.

Award finalist were selected by a jury of local teachers and will receive a travel scholarship of up to $2,000 to attend a STEM learning conference of their choice. The winner will receive a $10,000 classroom upgrade. These prizes have been made possible though a generous donation from Wards Natural Science of Henrietta, NY. All award finalists will be formally recognized and the winner will be announced at an special recognition dinner at the 2008 Collaboration Event on October 1st. Finalists will also present their innovative classroom activities on October 2nd.

Who are the finalists? Click here to find out!

Museums Are Going Digital

September 17, 2008

According to CNN.com, the Smithsonian Institution will soon be going digital. Millions of objects will be documented from its’ 19 museums located in Washington DC.  The project’s intention is to make collections more interesting and accessible to classrooms around the world. In doing so, they will also be utilizing state-of-the art technologies and the advice of video gaming experts -among others- to design new and creative ways to present exhibits.

What do you think of the trend of museums transitioning to a digital world?  How might you use these online resources in the classroom?  Do you think the transition changes the cultural and/or historic value of exhibits? Let us know what you think.

Welcome back to the STEM Blog

September 15, 2008


The STEM Blog officially resumes today! The past months have been busy for everyone, and we want to know what you have been up to.  Let us know about any STEM-related summer activities you attended so we can spread the word about the opportunities abounding in our area.  Your responses will serve as a springboard for upcoming blog entries. 


As many of you know, the RAC-CEMS sponsored six STEM Teaching Institutes this summer.  The feedback has been positive from both site administrators, and attending teachers. The professional development will continue into the fall with follow-up sessions.


Currently, the Center has been busy preparing for the Second Annual Educator’s Collaboration Event.  We are excited to present a diverse and engaging roster that is sure to energize your curriculum. Please click on the link below for more information about this quickly approaching event.

2008 Collaboration Event

We are looking forward to another year of Excellence in our community!