NYSERDA Energy Smart Workshops

December 16, 2009

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has created four new free workshops for teachers to help integrate energy education into their lesson plans and create energy smart students. These workshops are for K-12 Teachers, educators in not-for-profit agencies, pre-service educators, college professors, and other educational professionals. These workshops have been specialized base on grade level. The ABCs of Energy is aimed at grades K-3 and is a hands-on workshop that lays the groundwork for energy education. The 4 Es of Energy for grades 4-6 uses hands on activities to explore energy forms and sources. Focus on Solar is a workshop is specialized for 5-8 or 9-12 and teachers solar energy applications. Energy trilogy for grades 7-12 explores how economics, efficiency and environment relate to the energy challenges before us.

These workshops will be held in the finger lakes region. The first, Energy Trilogy, will be held on Jan. 28, 2010 at Genesee County Community College and again on April 28 at Monroe 2 BOCES. Monroe 2 BOCES will also host Focus on Solar for both grade levels on April 29, the ABCs of Energy and the 4 Es of Energy on April 30. More information about these workshops including location and registration information can be found Here at the NYSERDA website. The Workshop Flyer also gives a more in-depth look at the four workshops.

Understanding Elementary Teacher’s Use of Science Teaching TIme: Lessons From The Big Sky Science Partnership

December 8, 2009

The Big Sky Science Partnership (BSSP) serves grades K-8 science teachers in schools near three American Indian reservations in Montana. The BSSP is led by Salish Kootenai College, in partnership with Montana State University of Montana, and numerous school districts. The main idea of this project is to know how much time teachers in the Partnership had available to teach science, and how the time was distributed and used.

This project showed the first full year of professional development activities in the Partnership, 2007-2008, it was apparent that some teachers in the program allocated little time to science instruction. How could teachers who diligently attended science workshops and many of them joined master’s program reported having very limited tijme for science instruction? Speculation abounded, and the issues such as the imbalance that has increased since the federal No Child Left Behind legislation took effect in 2002, lack of resources to teach science in certain Partnership schools has affected teachers’ level of preparation and confidence to teach science.

This project reflects on the key influences on teachers’ decisions regarding science teaching time.

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Dr. Yong Zhao’s View on American Education

December 7, 2009


Dr. Yong Zhao is University Distinguished Professor at the College of Education, Michigan State University. He serves as the founding director of the Center for Teaching and Technology as well as the US-China Center for Research on Educational Excellence. Dr. Yong Zhao’s research interests include computer gaming and education.

Kappan published Dr. Yong Zhao’s interview with Joan Richardson. In the interview, Dr. Yong Zhao talked about his views on American Education in comparison with the Education system in China. Dr. Yong Zhao shared his educational background during the interview. He also shared his views on standardized tests in both China and America. It is valuable to see an outsider’s perspective on American Education.

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Passionate STEM Teachers Make All The Difference

December 3, 2009

Everyone knows that an enthusiastic teacher can make all the difference in STEM teaching. Students who in the past may have disliked science can find themselves loving the subject. As I look fondly back on my high school experience one such teacher stands out as one who embodies wonderful STEM teaching. Dick Hendrick has been teaching science at Nazareth Academy High School since 1977. I had the privilege of taking physics and AP physics with him and the passion for the subject came through in every class. Behind the chalk board in his classroom was an assortment of plain looking items that he would use to explain the phenomena’s we were studying in class. Every year you could tell who was taking physics because the notorious toothpick towers would start appearing in their lockers. Not only did these towers have to meet a height and weight requirement, but they had to be strong enough to hold a softball for a certain period of time. His many projects throughout the academic year, though stress inducing, were a helpful tool in teaching physics. Many students believe that physics is one of the harder sciences to take but Dick Hendrick shows such a love for it that he makes every class fun and interesting, and even the most cynical student can’t help learning something. Rochester is privileged to have such a passionate STEM teacher and I hope that he keeps teaching for many years to come!

Carol Turo

Student Assistant