Nominations for 2009 Excellence in STEM Teaching Award

December 17, 2008
Nominate a teacher today!

Nominate a teacher today!

We are excited to announce that nominations for the 2009 Rochester Area Excellence in STEM Teaching Award are now being accepted.

Last year was the first time the RAC Center for Excellence in Math and Science offered the STEM Teaching Award. We received nominations from many outstanding teachers, and in October, we narrowed our search down to three finalists. The Award Winner, Jennie Peck, was announced at the 2008 Collaboration Event.

The purpose of the award is to recognize effective, engaging, and innovative Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) teaching in grades K-12.

To learn more, or to nominate a teacher you know, please visit the Excellence in STEM Teaching web page.

Originally published by Allison on 12/2/2008.

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How did US students do in Math and Science compared to previous years and to other countries?

December 12, 2008

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The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) was administered in the US in Spring 2007 to 4th and 8th graders.  It evaluates how well students have learned science and mathematics.  The results are compared to previous years and to other participating countries.  The National Center for Education Statistics released the results of the report last week.

Summary

The average score in math and science of US fourth and eight graders was higher than the average TIMSS scale average.  It was also higher than the results of the 1995 testing.  For this, I think math and science teachers deserve our thanks and deep appreciation!

In math, fourth graders scored higher than those of 23 of the 35 countries that participated in the 2007 study.  Eight graders scored higher than those of 37 of the 47 countries that participated.

In science, fourth graders scored higher than 25 of the 35 countries.  Eight graders scored higher than 35 of the 47 countries.

The difference in the scores of the countries that scored higher than the US and the US is not always significant.  For more details about this report check out the summary given by Stuart Kerachsky, the Acting Commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics or the highlights.
To learn more about math and science teacher trainings, fellowships, grants, how to keep up with best practices, etc visit our web page: www.raccems.org.


Keep Your Kids Interest in Science with Holiday Gifts

December 8, 2008

Do you have a kid that is interested in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM)? Do you want to get your kid interested in these subjects?

When I was a child, I always had an interest in putting things together. I still do! I don’t know if it is a learned behavior or not. I loved puzzles. I wanted to help my dad put the bike (or anything) together. I saw my older brother putting together his toy model car and I wanted to do that! But that was a boy toy. I couldn’t play with it or get one for myself! Now, when I buy or someone gives me something that needs to be put together, I don’t go to sleep until it is. Just in case you’re wondering, I got BS in Computer Science and now I’m studying to be a High School Math Teacher.

I also collected bugs. Yes, I was a girl who collected bugs! I don’t remember why I started doing this. It may have been for a school science project and then I made it a habit. But, whenever I saw dead bugs around my house or on my way home, I picked them up and put them in a yogurt cup in the kitchen closet. They may even still be in my mom’s house! After a while, I was able to see the bones or interior structure of some of them. Even though it’s not what I studied, I love biology, the Discovery channels, all doctor’s programs on TV and nature.

My older niece got her first camera when she was in Kindergarten. It was a Polaroid. She kept on getting upgrades often, until she got a video camera, taped it to a remote control car, turned the camera on and off it went to record. We’re hoping she gets an engineering or a science related education. She still has a couple of years to think about it.

What are your kids into? What are you doing to keep them interested in STEM subjects?

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One way to keep your kids interested in STEM subjects is by giving them games related in the STEM subjects they like. To find STEM related games, go into your favorite toy store web site. Look in the learning category and then in science and discovery. Then, it’s probably going to be divided into specific science categories. It may also have an option to select by gender but I don’t think it’s necessary to use this selection by gender with science “toys”.

Here are MY PICKS of toys that may get your kids interested in science at an early age or encourage them to pursue a science related career, if they’re already interested in science.

Subject

Ages

Toys

STEM

Babies & Toddlers

Blocks, Shape Sorters, Stacking Shapes, Farm Animals, Counting/Number Games

STEM

Preschoolers

Mazes, Puzzles, Towers, Legos, Counting/Number Games

Dinosaurs

4 to 10

Big Bucket of Dinosaurs

Nature, Physics, Chemistry, Air and Water

5 to 9

Little Labs: Stepping into Science

Geology

5 and up

The Young Scientists Set #2: Weather Station – Solids, Liquids, Gases – Volcano

Astronomy

7 and up

Planet Quest

Dinosaurs

8 and up

Dinoworks: Cast & Paint – 19″ Tyrannosaurus Rex Casting Kit

Anatomy & Biology

8 and up

Edu Science Human Body Learning Game with Bonus Stethoscope

Bug Science

8 and up

Backyard Safari Night & Day Bug Habitat

Chemistry & Physics

8 and up

Edu Science Junior Scientist Kit

Microscopes

8 and up

Edu Science Quick-Switch Microscope (comes in different colors)

Electricity

10 and up

Electronic Playground and Learning Center

Can you share with us how you got interested in science, technology, engineering or math or some of the related things you did as a kid?


Nominations for 2009 Excellence in STEM Teaching Award

December 2, 2008

Nominate a teacher today!

Nominate a teacher today!

We are excited to announce that nominations for the 2009 Rochester Area Excellence in STEM Teaching Award are now being accepted.

Last year was the first time the RAC Center for Excellence in Math and Science offered the STEM Teaching Award. We received nominations from many outstanding teachers, and in October, we narrowed our search down to three finalists. The Award Winner, Jennie Peck, was announced at the 2008 Collaboration Event.

The purpose of the award is to recognize effective, engaging, and innovative Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) teaching in grades K-12.

To learn more, or to nominate a teacher you know, please visit the Excellence in STEM Teaching web page.


What’s in Store for Education Under President-Elect Obama?

December 1, 2008

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The NSTA recently published a report detailing what President-elect BarackObama will bring to education, listing, “expanded federal preschool programs, scholarships to college students and to professionals from other fields who promise to pursue careers in teaching, more funding for charter schools, an expanded federal role in teacher pay, and changes to No Child Left Behind” among his top priorities. How do these goals fit in with what you are doing in education?

A November 12th article from Education Week cites growing economic concern as a challenge Obama will have to overcome in order to gain support for his reforms in education -which could allocate nearly $30 billion-, but the way he sees it, education is a long-term investment that will help the American economy bounce back. The president-elect plans to renew NCLB, and separately, to increase funding for pre-K programs. He has also made public his support of connecting teacher’s salaries to their ‘years of experience and levels of educational achievement’.

A week earlier, an article in the New York Times blog Dot Earth was published entitled, “Science Advice for the Next President”. This article focuses on the importance of assigning a White House science adviser (belonging to the Office of Science and Technology Policy; OSTP) as soon as possible. This president-appointed position has been served by Dr. John H. Marburger over the last eight years, and will likely change with the new president. The New York Times has published a letter to Obama that calls for an immediate appointal to assure a smooth transition for the future of science and technology in the new administration; now, more than ever, the article asserts, technical advise is needed.

To date, no news of a new appointee has been heard, although, Barack Obama is scheduled to formally announce some new members of his cabinet later this morning. What advise would you give to the new appointee? In what direction do you see Science and Technology moving in the future?