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Project Highlights

KSTF Teaching Fellows and Senior Fellows are continually discovering new ways to get students interested in STEM subjects. Read on for highlights from our community of teaching professionals.

KSTF FELLOWS MEET WITH COLORADO GOVERNOR

On May 4, 2015, Colorado-based KSTF Fellows, KSTF Executive Director Nicole Gillespie and KSTF President William Rulon-Miller met with Governor John W. Hickenlooper of Colorado to discuss teacher leadership.

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2011 TEACHING FELLOW USES WEATHER PATTERNS TO TEACH EARTH MATH

2011 KSTF Teaching Fellow Sheila Orr teaches integrated Earth Math (Earth Science & Algebra 1). To encourage a deeper level of engagement and integration in the unit on severe weather and writing linear equations, she asked her students to make public service announcements (PSA) to be aired on the school’s closed television system. Each student picked a specific type of severe weather and produced a PSA to teach viewers important information, such as how the severe weather type impacts the community and how to stay safe during instances of severe weather. To bring in the mathematical modeling piece, Sheila’s students used high and low pressure data to write an equation that would predict when severe weather could strike in their area.

ORR CO-WROTE CHAPTER IN NEW BOOK

2011 KSTF Teaching Fellow Sheila Orr collaborated with Frances Harper, a Ph.D. student at Michigan State University, to write a chapter in Social Justice, the Common Core, and Closing the Instructional Gap. Their chapter, Algebra and Literacy: A Social Justice Pairing, describes how the two used literacy rates and representation of people in color in childrens’ books to teach Sheila’s students about variables. The book will be published in 2015.

MACWAY JOINS SCHOOL AP TASK FORCE

To study and increase participation of underrepresented students in Advanced Placement (AP) STEM classes, Mountain View High School formed an AP Task Force. Sarah Macway, 2010 KSTF Teaching Fellow and Mountain View teacher, is a member of the AP Task Force. In her role on the AP seminar subcommittee, she designs workshops for students enrolled in STEM AP courses for the first time. Macway delivered a workshop to help new AP students prepare for finals. In the future, she anticipates hosting a summer session and providing support to smaller cohorts of new AP students.

 

2014 TEACHING FELLOW DEVELOPS FACTORY SIMULATION PROJECT

Former engineer and 2014 KSTF Teaching Fellow Taylor Williams developed a factory simulation project to teach logistics and statistics to his engineering students. A summer internship at Proctor & Gamble inspired the project. After learning about the model factory, his students managed their simulations in groups via a web application. Read more about the project on Taylor’s blog.

GENETICS PROJECT PRESENTED AT GENETICS SOCIETY OF AMERICA CONFERENCE

2012 Teaching Fellow Camden Burton and his biology students at Olathe Northwest High School conducted a genetics project during winter 2013–2014. The primary investigator on the project presented their work at the Genetics Society of America‘s 55th Annual Drosophila Research Conference, which was held in San Diego from March 26–30, 2014. Read the abstract to learn more about the project.

 

ISHARE WITH GUEST AUTHOR KRISTIN GERMINARIO

2010 Teaching Fellow Kristin Germinario, a biology teacher at Randolph High School (Randolph, N.J.), wrote a piece that was featured in the April 7, 2014 issue of her school’s electronic newsletter. In the piece, she writes about her collaboration with the school’s instructional coaches to foster literacy in the science classroom. Read Kristin’s newsletter piece.

O’HARA PRESENTED AT 2014 MEETING OF CLINTON GLOBAL INITIATIVE UNIVERSITY

KSTF Senior Fellow Casey O’Hara attended the 2014 Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), which was held March 21–23 at Arizona State University. Commitments to Action, a unique feature of the Clinton Global Initiative, translate practical goals into meaningful and measurable results. CGI U commitments address specific challenges across CGI U’s five focus areas. While at the meeting, Casey spoke about his commitment to developing a network of appropriate technology experts to support STEM teachers in implementing project-based learning around appropriate technology development, which he defines as small-scale technologies—designed in collaboration with a local community in a developing nation or region—that are economically, culturally, and environmentally appropriate to a given community.

Casey (right) is shown in the photo with his brother Corey (left) and former President Bill Clinton.

LEE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS VISIT PORT ISOBEL

In fall 2013, Robert E. Lee High School Teacher and 2010 KSTF Teaching Fellow Rachel Clausen was awarded one of 75 Good Neighbor Student Achievement Grants, sponsored by State Farm in partnership with Youth Service America (YSA). As part of YSA’s Semester of Service program, the competitive grant is being used to support an extended service and learning framework that allows Rachel’s students to address real-world problems in their community through connecting service activities. From March 10–12, 2014, Rachel and 13 of her IB environmental systems and societies students visited a residential education center on Port Isobel, a 250-acre island east of Tangier Island. While at Port Isobel, the students participated in various field investigations designed to foster stewardship for the Chesapeake Bay. This experience will culminate with the students sharing their learnings with local elementary and middle school students at the school’s Community Science Day, which will take place on May 31, 2014. Read more about this adventure in an article written by Janelle Germanos of the Springfield Connection.

Photo provided by Rachel Clausen 

TEACHING FELLOW PENS OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett will visit Philadelphia’s Central High School—where KD Davenport teaches—on Friday, January 17, 2014, to congratulate the students on receiving the second highest test scores in the state. Outraged by the budget cuts and educational policies enacted by Governor Corbett, KD and other Central teachers wrote an open letter to the governor. Read the letter to learn more about their specific concerns.

KD is a 2009 KSTF Teaching Fellow.