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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.

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.

GRAVES LEADS STUDENTS IN AIR QUALITY MONITORING PROJECT

2012 Teaching Fellow Ben Graves and his Advanced Placement environmental science students at Paonia High School (Paonia, Colo.) are working with the University of Colorado Boulder (CU-Boulder) and the Western Slope Conservation Center on a year-long project (2013–2014 school year) designed to evaluate air quality in North Fork Valley. Situated in an area with sparse air quality monitoring, low-cost air quality monitoring stations have been installed on the roof of the school to asses the impact of recent oil and gas development development. Throughout the year, the students will analyze the collected data. Additionally, they will study a unit on air quality monitoring developed by Graves.

The project is being conducted as part of a five-year, $12 million study funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and led by CU-Boulder, with involvement from other organizations, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo. The study aims to find ways to maximize oil and gas development, while minimizing the impact on the environment and health. It is focused on concerns such as air and water quality and the use of hydraulic fracturing.

Photo provided by The Daily Sentinel

THREE FELLOWS JOIN FORCES TO PRESENT AT NSTA CONFERENCE

2009 Teaching Fellows Tracy Schloemer, Stephen Traphagen and Kirstin Milks presented at the National Science Teachers Association’s (NSTA) 2013 National Conference, which took place in San Antonio in April. Their session, How Do You Explain the Explanation? Incorporating Claim Evidence Reasoning (CER) into Your Classroom, focused on how to teach students the difference between evidence and reasoning.

TWO KSTF TEACHER DEVELOPERS PRESENTED AT NARST 2013 ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

Chris Bogiages and Zora Wolfe presented sessions at the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) 2013 Annual International Conference held in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico in April. Bogiages’ session, Investigating How Teachers Implement Model-Based Teaching, touched on how teachers implement model-based teaching in secondary science classrooms. Wolfe’s session, The Relationships Between Teacher Practice and Teacher Leadership Skills in Beginning Teachers, explored characteristics and skills important for beginning teachers to become both effective teachers to students in their classrooms and effective teacher leaders in their schools. 

HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS GET ATTENTION OF NATIONAL POLICY ADVISORS

Under the leadership of Dr. Michael Town, students in his Technology, Engineering and Communications High School (TEC) physics class garnered the attention of national policy advisors. The students reviewed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Summary for Policy Makers, a document which gathers current research, and is used by decision makers at local, regional, national, and international levels in business and government as they consider changes to policies related to climate change. As initially written, they felt that most readers without expertise in climate science would be unable to understand the document. Their insightful comments were included in the feedback given to the report authors by the state. Read more about their impact.

Town is a 2011 Teaching fellow.

CASEY O’HARA PRODUCES DOCUMENTARY ON SCIENCE EDUCATION

O’Hara, a physics teacher and KSTF Senior Fellow, produced a short documentary which highlights excellent educators inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers through creativity, ingenuity and passion. The documentary was created for the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Environmental Filmmaking program.