Ed News: Insights Into Early STEM Learning

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This week in education news, Project Lead The Way unveils a new end-of-course assessment that will test students soft skills as well as their knowledge of STEM subjects; despite a relatively steady rise in per-pupil funding, real teacher salaries rose just 7 percent since 1970, and have been largely flat since 1990; Iowa allocated $1 million to train computer science teachers; evolution and climate change skeptics lose battle over science textbooks in Florida; four senators challenge funding for global warming education programs; California legislative committee approves a bill that would provide teaching candidates willing to commit to teaching science or math curriculum for four years a state grant of $10,000; and 82% of teachers believe technology enhances learning.

STEM-Focused Program Will Test High-Schoolers’ Soft Skills

Project Lead The Way announced its new End-of-Course Assessment, the first of its kind to measure high school students’ mastery of the skills most critical for college and career success — including problem solving, critical and creative thinking, collaboration, communication, and ethical reasoning and mindset — in addition to their knowledge of STEM subjects. Read the brief featured in Education DIVE.                                                                                           

Average Teacher Salary Is Below The Living Wage In Half The Country, Report Says

In more than half the states, the average teacher is not making a living wage, a new report says. In this report, researchers at the nonprofit Education Resource Strategies found that despite a relatively steady rise in per-pupil funding, real teacher salaries rose just 7 percent since 1970, and have been largely flat since 1990. Since the 2008 recession, per-pupil funding and real teacher salaries, both adjusted for inflation, have declined in most states. Read the article featured in Education Week.

‘It’s OK To Fail:’ How Indiana Teachers Are Rethinking STEM For The Real World

In Kraig Kitts’ biology classes, it’s OK to fail. “That’s science. That’s the nature of it,” said Kitts, a science teacher at Center Grove High School. “Sometimes we don’t know. As teachers, we have a lot of pressures that everything works, every time, 100 percent.” This is the message Kitts wants to send to his students. It’s also the message he wants to relay to other Indiana teachers. Kitts is the mastermind behind the Lilly Experience for Teachers in STEM, a two-day workshop for teachers of STEM designed to redefine the field by connecting math and science curriculum to real-world applications. Read the article featured in Chalkbeat.

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The power of phenomenon based learning

Guest blogger Anne Lowry teaches preschool in Reno, Nevada. She has been teaching for over twenty years, drawing on her undergraduate background in archeology and geology, and her masters in early childhood education, to create a classroom full of inquiry.

Welcome Anne!

This past school year has been an amazing example of the power of phenomenon based learning.  My preK class became interested in light due to learning about and observing the 2017 Solar Eclipse, and continued with light throughout the rest of the school year.  Their curiosity about light spread to other classes—light was chosen as the theme for our “summer camp”. 

But why has the phenomenon of light been so powerful?  I looked at this question from three different angles.  First, I looked at the writings on phenomenon based learning.  Second, I observed and documented my students’ work. Third, I talked with my students about their thinking.

Children painting with different colors to reflect changes in sunlight over time, backgrounds for a 3-D art project.

Painting backgrounds to show the passage of time (changes in light) for a 3-D art project.

To better understand this story, let me take you on a brief journey through this past school year.  After viewing the 2017 Solar Eclipse, the students  asked lots of questions about light.  They invited several people, including a research physicist and an eye doctor to visit and discuss their questions.  The discussions with these experts led to more questions and new investigations, where the students looked at the relationships between light and energy. They looked at light as a way of measuring time, focusing mostly on sunlight shadows and the shades of blue in the sky, and explored how artists use light to give time clues.

Two children using a "light tube" to “see” light  when a hand is inserted in the opening.

Using a light tube to look for the light, seeing it when an object is inserted in the opening.

The students were interested in how light moved. They remembered exploring sounds using an oscilloscope which had reminded two children of waves at the beach. Another classmate was not originally convinced of the wave analogy, so they dropped pebbles in water at the water table to see the waves. Using these experiences as analogies they decided that light moves in waves which led to questions about wind and electricity, which then led to exploring plumbing and construction.  They were particularly interested in the visibility of light.  They spent considerable time using a “light tube” made of a dark non-reflective material while shining a flashlight down inside it.  Looking into the tube through a hole in the side, there didn’t seem to be any light.  But if an object such as a child’s hand interfered with the light, the object became visible.  This led to lots of questions about light we can and can’t see. As my school is in the high desert, the many of the students were already aware of ultraviolet light, primarily from the standpoint of why sunblock and sunglasses were important. 

Children using a UV flashlight to spot plastic prey in the water table.

Using a UV flashlight to spot plastic prey in the water table.

They drew upon their experiences with sunglasses making objects more visible and remembered what the visiting eye doctor had said about sunglasses blocking ultra violet (UV) light.  They compared sunglasses and colored filters with both LED and UV flashlights. (Do not let children shine lights directly into their eyes.) They became fascinated by the different wavelengths of light as they explored how UV and fluorescence are used to capture attention. They noticed which colors and color combinations they could see better from a distance.  They commented that several color combinations seem to blend together while others “hurt my eyes!”.   This developed into an ongoing discussion about visual literacy and meanings. This was a great example of the teacher co-learning with the students.  We all brought in different materials such as clothing, packaging material, advertising material, logos, old license plates, and similar items. The students tested these with both LED and UV flashlights, taking notes, and drawing conclusions. One of the most discussed was that their favorite restaurants all had red in the logos, which they could see from far away.  The students were surprised by how bright purple and white became, and concluded that those signs would be very visible at night or on stormy days.

Towards the end of the year the students were expanding investigation of light into explorations of plants and animals.  They created their own UV flowers for bees to find, and researched how animals use the UV range of vision to find prey and avoid dangers.  During the different investigations the students used a variety of resources:  personal observation, library books, family interviews, and the internet.  The last was also used for lessons of source reliability.  Some of the class favorites include:

Arizona State University: Ask a biologist. The Visible and Non-visible Light Spectrum

 NOVA Next, article about how animals perceive power lines

Arizona State University: Ask a biologist. How Do You Know If an Animal Can See Color?

Students working on one color test using a UV flashlight and a series of papers of different colors.

Students working on one color test using a UV flashlight.

This led to an action campaign on behalf of eagles, who can be damaged by both wind turbines and power lines as they fly.  One of the students remembered that by putting a purple filter in front of an LED flashlight, clothing color changed.  After reminding other classmates of this, especially how purple tennis shoes turned pink, the  students created color tests using construction paper, paints, and a UV flashlight.  

Once they had determined that purple showed the least change to their eyes, they composed and edited a letter which was sent to various local, state, and national organizations asking them to paint wind turbines purple, which would be visible but not distracting to an eagle.  These letters were sent, and the class received serious replies.

It was an amazing year.  But why?  This was a good group of average students at a supportive school. Why had this specific class kept the focus on light?

Was this due to starting with a phenomenon?  Everything in my notes came back to that:  beginning the year with the eclipse. I reviewed what I knew of phenomenon and phenomenon based learning, and found the NGSS brief on phenomena described my class’ experiences exactly.  My students had taken an observable event, extended the event, and spent the rest of the year figuring out the properties of light.

The description in the brief also matched what I had observed and documented throughout the year. To be sure, I reviewed discussions I had had with the students throughout the year, and then held several “year in review” reflections with my students.  

But there were additional factors in why the phenomena of the eclipse was so powerful:

The eclipse phenomena was theirs.  They had experienced it in person.  They thought as scientists do as they came with up with their own questions, made models, tested ideas and communicated the results.

The power of the phenomena went even further.  The students realized they could do research.  They had talked to “real scientists” and had their questions answered through in class visits Not only could they do research, but they could use their research to solve a problem they saw.  They had taken part in group scientific writing, and translated that into letters suggesting a specific course of action based on their research and had received serious responses.  

The investigations of phenomenon were powerful for my students because they allowed them to emulate scientists and take charge of their own scientific journey.  And that is the reason why one of this years’ students can’t wait to go to high school so, “I can do science there every day in a big lab!” and why the majority of my class now want to be scientists when they grow up.


Using Phenomena in NGSS-Designed Lessons and Units

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Tech Talk

I was wondering how other teachers implement technology in the classroom? I think that simulations have the ability to encourage student inquiry, but often their presence seems to distract students from the learning. What are your thoughts?
—K., Wisconsin

There are many different kinds of technology in addition to laptops and tablets. Smartphone apps, sensors, meters, and cameras can have great impact on learning. Spreadsheet programs, video-editing, photo-manipulation, and desktop publishing all have a place in the science classroom. The big thing to remember is that it is not the technology that is important but how you use it in science education.

When using any technology there has to be a purpose. With simulations, I also planned a debriefing and a review assignment. Make sure you know what you want the students to learn from the simulation.

I have used technology many ways, including:

  • graphing lab data using spreadsheets;
  • video analysis of moving objects using cell phones;
  • measuring the heat of flames, beakers and boiling water using infrared thermometers;
  • using electronic probes to measure distance, velocity, temperature, oxygen, carbon dioxide, light, magnetic fields, and more;
  • photographing specimens through a microscope or telescope;
  • scripting, filming and editing public service announcements, mini-documentaries or science shows;
  • creating websites and wikis to highlight and discuss issues;
  • creating brochures, pamphlets and posters;
  • programming microprocessors such as Arduino technology to use various electronic sensors ; and
  • video conferencing with scientists.

Hope this helps!


Photo Credit: U.S. Navy

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Ed News: Inspiring STEM Education & Life Skills Via Robotics

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This week in education news, a recent study found that on average, students’ achievement scores declined over summer vacation by one month’s worth of school year learning; new study suggests that specific types of preservice training and professional development may be less related to student achievement than the content and priorities of these programs; in the age of online learning, parents and students have more access than ever before to educational resources; 76% of current and former K-3 teachers favor a more integrated early education system; new report details how sexual harassment of women permeates academic institutions, scientific societies, and federal agencies; ISTE is creating new computer science standards for educators; and the Colorado State Board of Education adopts new science standards.

More Than Robots: Inspiring STEM Education And Life Skills Via Robotics

Nearly 70,000 people cheering for their favorite teams, bleachers filled with signs and costumes, and fans gushing over game highlights and strategic execution. This was the scene in Houston and Detroit in late April—not for a football game or rally, but rather the premier sport for the mind: the world’s largest youth robotics competition, FIRST® Championship. Read the article featured in eSchool News.

What’s In ESSA’s Big Flexible-Spending Pot

The Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants—better known as Title IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act—is one of the most flexible federal programs around. And it just got a huge increase, from $400 million in the 2017-18 school year to $1.1 billion for the 2018-19 school year. The program is closely watched by advocates and district officials alike, in part because the dollars can cover such a wide array of needs—from school safety training to drama clubs to science programs to suicide prevention. Read the article featured in Education Week.

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Let it go! Let it go!


I’m a pre-service teacher who is a little scared about teaching inquiry-based science in the classroom! What are some things you wish you knew before teaching elementary school science?
—K., New Mexico


I understand your anxieties about inquiry-based learning but think of it as the most natural thing a child does! Adults just tend to get in the way of inquiry by insisting that children do it our way or that they need to learn a bunch of facts and fill in some worksheets before they can unleash their curiosity. Let go of the idea that you need to be the expert, and you may be surprised by the direction your class goes and the kind of questions students may have—simple but very thought-provoking questions, like “What color are bacteria?” “Why do we fart?”

One of the bravest things a teacher can say is, “I don’t know!” followed up with “Let’s figure that out!” Your job is to provide the opportunity for students to ask questions and explore them scientifically. So, teach them about designing fair tests, controlling variables, making objective observations, measuring and recording accurately, and presenting their findings. You can teach these things as you and your students explore their questions as partners.

I wish I had learned more about letting go and trusting in young minds to come up with interesting questions. Instead, I was a typical “stand and deliver“ teacher until I had the confidence to let go.

Hope this helps!


Photo credit: Department of Defense Education Activity via Flickr

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Look – Up in the Sky!

Each month in NSTA’s Science Scope journal, Bob Riddle writes Scope on the Skies, an informational article on topics related to astronomy. Bob is a science educator in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and also authors the website Bob’s Spaces in which he frequently posts additional articles, updates, and resources. You can also read more about his background and experiences on this website.

The Scope on the Skies “background boosters” present content information in an easy-to-read format with many illustrations, resources, and applications for the classroom. The articles also include a monthly calendar of astronomical events.

Although this is published in NSTA’s middle school journal, teachers of other grade levels can access and read these articles in Science Scope as NSTA members. These articles could also be shared with secondary students as a supplement to other readings and as an example of how to communicate science concepts in terms that everyone can understand.

Here are the Scope on the Skies articles that appeared within the last two years:

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folder icon  Safety

The Safety Component in Lab Renovations and New Construction


As states continue to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards and STEM curricula programs, science teachers will be asked to engage students in a way that requires specific lab facilities. The demands of three-dimensional teaching could mean that you will need to renovate your existing lab, or construct new facilities. Science teachers and their supervisors must work with administrators to ensure that the facilities meet the needs of current teaching and learning, future curriculum endeavors, and safety concerns.

The following list summarizes the phases of lab construction/renovation and discusses the role of the staff in the construction process.

1. Getting started: Architects first need to understand how the lab facility will meet the needs of a curriculum. The teaching staff must therefore develop educational specifications based on their curricular needs (such as laboratory size, lab furniture layout, and engineering controls) to help the architects understand the type of teaching and learning that will take place in the lab. Note: This phase needs to be finalized before the school applies for a bond for the laboratory because the teacher’s instructional needs will inform the building plans and specifications.

2. Visiting another lab: Science teachers and their supervisors should visit other schools that have completed new construction or made renovations to labs within the last five years. This way staff can learn what works and what doesn’t in their facility design.

3. Planning: It’s important to establish a planning committee consisting of teachers, the administration, architects, engineers, and more. The planning process not only involves the physical structure but also furnishings, equipment, and labware. Equally important are the engineering controls for safety such as proper ventilation, an eyewash station, showers, sinks, fire extinguishers, and goggle sanitizers. Occupancy load issues should also be addressed based on the NFPA Life Safety Code 101. Ideally, the lab’s maximum student occupancy should not exceed 24 students. Finally, it is important that labs address the Americans with Disabilities Act and Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act. The lab, for instance, must follow certain height and width dimensions that allow students with special needs to access eyewash controls, lab desks, and other means.

4. Construction: After finalizing a building plan, put together a construction team involving administrators, teachers, architects, contractors, and a fire marshal. This team should meet weekly to make decisions on issues as they develop, often involving a change in work orders specified on the original contract. Yet, the change in a work order might not alter the original contract amount or completion date. For example, if a chemical storeroom turns out to be too small to meet the needs of its inventory, a change order could require altering the dimensions of the floor plan. Science teachers and their supervisors should also visit the site during this phase to make sure things such as locations of fume hoods, eyewashes, storage cabinets, and sinks are where they need to be.

5. Final inspections: A Certificate of Occupancy is the final approval stage by which the town allows the school to take over the new construction or renovated facility. Prior to its issuance, teachers and their supervisors should tour the new facility. This allows teachers to make any corrections to the building design. Once the Certificate of Occupancy is approved, it is very difficult to make changes and can be cost prohibitive. So it’s important to get it right the first time!

Final thought

For further recommendations on constructing, renovating, and addressing safety in school science labs, check out Safer Makerspaces, Science Laboratory Safety Manual, Third Edition, and NSTA Guide to Planning School Facilities, Second Edition.

Submit questions regarding safety in K–12 to Ken Roy at safesci@sbcglobal.net or leave him a comment below. Follow Ken Roy on Twitter: @drroysafersci.
NSTA resources and safety issue papers
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Ed News: Is STEM Getting ‘IT’ Right For Female Students?

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This week in education news, New Jersey governor announces new measures to help keep STEM college graduates in the state; more must be do in U.S. schools to increase the number of women represented in STEM careers; teachers need to set professional boundaries; California lawmakers approve bills to increase STEM funding in the state; new research shows that the UTeach teacher prep program is actually working; the Quality Teacher Incentive Program has been a game changer in Utah’s San Juan School District; driven by dislike for federal and state-based education policy, teachers across the country are running for office in unprecedented numbers; and first-generation, college-bound Hispanic students in California don’t often see a clear pathway to a high-tech career.

Murphy Proposes State Help For STEM Tuition

Gov. Phil Murphy has unveiled a pair of measures aimed at keeping science, tech, engineering and math college graduates in the state. His proposed loan forgiveness program would mean anyone who’s worked in a STEM-related job in New Jersey for at least four years would receive $8,000 in tuition assistance. Employers and the state would split the covered amount 50/50. Read the article featured on NJBiz.com.

Is STEM Getting ‘IT’ Right For Female Students?

March 8th was memorable for many reasons. Not only was it International Women’s Day, but Meghan Markle made one of her first official public appearances with her future husband, Prince Harry, at an event in Birmingham, England. Significantly, the event was organized by the STEMettes, an award-winning social enterprise working across the U.K. and Ireland to inspire young women to pursue STEM careers. Read the article featured in eSchool News.

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New Committee Members Get Ready to Contribute Their Voice and Join Dedicated NSTA Members in Service

On June 1, 2018, new committee, advisory board, and panel members begin their term of office in service to NSTA over the next three years. As they do so, I would like to welcome each of them on behalf of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) leadership, staff, and members, for their willingness to step forward, serve, and advocate for science education. Each of them will bring unique and needed perspectives to committee work at a time where promoting the importance of science education is both needed and necessary.

As these new volunteers step into their new roles, other members who have served on committees and boards just finished their terms on May 31, 2018. To them, I say thank you for your service; NSTA and the entire science teaching community has been made stronger by your participation.

(Please see the chart below for the names of those newly joining committees and those who are rotating off.)

Together, We Advocate for Science Education

In April 2017, the nation joined together in a collective and symbolic movement to March for Science.  Knowing the value of science for our future and the need for science education to help get there, NSTA joined this movement as an official partner in both 2017 and again this year.  With this official position, science teachers who prepare students to study science became vocal advocates and part of the one million people worldwide who gathered together with the understanding that “I Stand for Students, I Stand for Science”.

Recognizing the need and desiring to continue to promote the importance of science education, the theme I selected is “Together, We Advocate for Science Education” and will be the focus of efforts over the next year.

By combining our efforts and voices, we as a community of science educators will be able to better voice both the accomplishments and needs of our students, the importance of science education as a pathway to future scientific discoveries, and the importance of teaching with a three-dimensional approach that enables students to utilize real world strategies.  By advocating together, we can express a clear message.

image saying "Stand for Students, Stand for Science"

Speaking Out for Science Education

Efforts to pursue this initiative are well underway. The National Congress on Science Education which will be held in Little Rock, AR will bring together state and chapter leaders along with other advocates for science education as we spend three days working on the theme: Speaking Out for Science Education.  Topics that will drive discussion within focus groups and become the work of state chapters and/or NSTA in the coming year are:  Developing Leaders and Advocates for Science Education, Building Collaborative Relationships to Further Science Education, and Elevating the Status of Science Education.

Advocacy takes many forms and that is demonstrated during our upcoming regional conferences. Our fall regional conference planning committee members have been hard at work throughout the past year and have incorporated the need to be advocates into either a strand at each conference or the conference theme.  

  • At the fall conference in Reno, NV one strand will focus on Developing Persistence: The Power of Experience where participants are encouraged to learn from your peers’ experiences in persisting as they negotiate the terrain of facilitating science learning for the next generation. 
  • According to the Framework, “Arguably, the most pressing challenge facing U.S. education is to provide all students with a fair opportunity to learn” (p. 282). Those participants heading to National Harbor, MD will be reminded of this in many ways from the overarching conference theme that Science Education: A National Priority to a strand theme that identifies the need for Monumental Challenge: STEM Equity, Diversity, and Advocacy via
  • And to round out the conferences for the fall, the theme for Charlotte, NC is Energize Science: Educate and Engage all of which help to move the field of science education forward.

Turning to the National Conference on Science Education in April 2019, those that head to St. Louis, MO will be reminded that advocates continually have Science on My Mind.

These are but a few examples of how the theme of Together, We Advocate for Science Education will be featured in NSTA events and initiatives over the next year.

I invite each and every one of our members to join the new committee members, existing committee members and all of the NSTA leadership in advocating for science education and using your teacher’s voice to identify both the accomplishment and needs of our students and also to inform schools, districts, states, and our nation about the importance of science education for our future.

NSTA President Christine RoyceNSTA President Christine Royce is a professor in the teacher education department and co-director for the MAT in STEM Education program at Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. Follow Royce on Twitter @caroyce.

The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.

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Members Leaving –  5/31/2018

Members Starting –  6/1/2018

Standing Committees

Standing Committees



Cindy Birkner

Robert Cohen

Sarah Lang

Brian Ogle

John Wiginton

Esperanza Zenon



Linda Schoen-Giddings

Crystal Ferris

David Johnson

Steve Wood

Andria Stammen

Tonya Woolfolk

High School:

High School:

Lauren Case

Daniel Delcher

Courtney Leifert

Christina O’Malley

Steve Wood

Demetrice Smith-Mutegi



Ed Barker

Claire Lannoye-Hall

Jay Kubarck

Andy Micciche


Tony Perry

Middle Level:

Middle Level:

Justin Brosnahan

Kayla Heimann

Melanie Canaday

Shauneen Giudice

Tiauna Washington

Heather Anglin



Lisa Ernst

Sabriya Dempsey

Sandra Osorio

Joel Truesdell

Darrell Walker

Alton Lee



Patricia Paulson

Zulay Joa

Stephanie Selznick

Debra Ericksen

Danae Ellen Wirth

Karen Parrino



Bianca Deliberto

Ray Scolavino

Carolyn Mohr

Robbie Higdon

Susan Nicholson-Dykstra

Leigh Hester

Joe Milliano,  preservice teacher rep

Elizabeth Morrison, preservice teacher rep

NSTA Teacher Accreditation:

NSTA Teacher Accreditation:

Carole Lee

Deb Hemler

Prof Development:

Prof Development:

Cherry Brewton

Lior Schenck

Brittany Head

Kate Solberg

Catherine Shelton

Cheryl Manning



Victor Sampson

Gita Perkins

Kristen Sumrall

Holly Schaeffer

Kathy Wissehr

Laura Cotter



Members Leaving –  5/31/2018

Members Starting –  6/1/2018

Standing Committees

Standing Committees



Bill Badders

Elizabeth Kirman



Mary Maddox

Eric Pyle

Sheila Smith

Zipporah Miller

Pam Vaughan

Brandi Stroecker



Ken Heydrick

Linda Froschauer



Michael Lowry

Rene Corrales

Matthew McKenzie

Landon Bell

Jennifer Pritchard

Monica Dennis

Pat Shane

Kristin Rearden

Joyce Tugel

Rick Rutland



Advisory Boards

Advisory Boards



Kathy Biernat

Lisa Brown

Jacqueline Pfeiffer

Marci Ward

Taylor Planz

Becky Kamas



Camille Stegman

Becky Ashe



Susan Koba

Dwight Sieggreen



Antoinette Schlobohm

Donald Carpenetti

Walter Smith

Aletha Cherry


Faiza Qayyum



Patricia Simmons

John Penick



Issam Abi-El-Mona

Sarah Haines

Julie Luft

Susan Meabh Kelly

David Wojnowski

David Wolfe



Ella Bowling

Melissa DeLaurentia

Patti Schaefer

Dawn O’Connor


Joe Krajcik

NSTA Reports:

NSTA Reports:

Aaron Eling

Debra Hanuscin

Derenda Marshall

Joyce Gleason

Kattie Morrison

Loubna Elhelu





Members Leaving –  5/31/2018

Members Starting –  6/1/2018

Advisory Boards

Advisory Boards



Lloyd Barrow

Chuck Cohen

Lori Lancaster

Howard Dimmick


Diane Johnson

Rural Science Education:

Rural Science Education:

New Advisory Board

Bev DeVore-Wedding


Anna Detlefsen


Richard Gilbert


Ruth Hutson


Lynn Larsen


Shane Perdue


Ron Schaffner


Camille Stegman


Jerry Valadez

Science and Children:

Science and Children:

Judy Clephane Ray

Karen Clementi

Laura Maricle

Jennifer Fine


Shannon Skoff


Fred Estes


Stephanie Coy

Science Matters:

Science Matters:

Ann Huber

Richard Bacolor

Susan Tate

Bea Donohue

Jeni Williams

Linda Sinclair


Marsha Winegarner


Walt Woolbaugh

Science Safety:

Science Safety:

Rick Rutland

Mary Loesing


Kathleen Brooks


Patricia Hillyer

Science Scope:

Science Scope:

Heather Janes

Chelsea Powers

Mary Elizabeth McKnight

Cathleen Tinder

Mary Anne Pella-Donnelly

Allison Bogart

Special Needs:

Special Needs:

Carol Cao

Dennis Kogan

Maribeth Lowe

Mary Ellen O’Donnell

Sheryl Sotelo

Lisha Goldberg



Donna Cole

Jennifer O’Sullivan

Kristen Kohli

Merrick Watchorn

Mijana Lockard

Debra Knight





Members Leaving –  5/31/2018

Members Starting –  6/1/2018

Advisory Boards

Advisory Boards

The Science Teacher:

The Science Teacher:

Brian Bollone

Jessica Mulhern

Geri Granger

Michael Shupe

Traci Richardson

Scott Spector

Urban Science:

Urban Science:

Brandon Gillette

Chavala Hardy

Alton Lee

Pat Shane

EllaJay Parfitt

Rabiah Harris



Best STEM Books:

Best STEM Books:

New panel

Kelly Chaney


Carla Billups


Peggy Carlisle


Marcy Doyle


Mary Hedenstrom


Carrie Launius


Ivan Ochoa


Laura Robertson


Juliana Texley



Genet Mehari

Meghan Aydelott

Len Sharp

Rhonda Kerr

Trupti Vora

Rebecca Kurson



Peggy Carlisle

Wendy DeMers

Kristen Poindexter

Melissa Collins


Sheila Smith




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Be My Guest!

Treasurer Rios Guest Teaching Personal Finance

I’ve read about inviting guests into the classrooms for a day. Would you recommend that for a new teacher or would it be best for students to see me as the expert initially? Also, how can we get experts into the classroom?
—A., North Carolina



I loved bringing guests into my classrooms! I think it is perfectly fine for a teacher to act as facilitator and guide to help students learn rather than be seen as the expert in everything. This approach is very conducive to inquiry and questioning.

Professional organizations in many fields often have outreach programs and volunteers who visit classrooms. Agricultural groups may offer speakers and demonstrations. Zoos, animal hospitals, animal shelters, and conservation organizations might have an educational “roadshow.” Don’t be too shy to ask friends, acquaintances, and your former professors to share their expertise with your class! Videoconferencing can open up amazing opportunities to connect with scientists in the field.

Check with your administration on the protocol for inviting guests. Talk with your guests about what they will bring (literally and figuratively) into the classroom. Help them modify anything that might not fit with your curriculum and your students. Also, have students submit written questions to you the day before so you can vet them and don’t have the awkward silences when you ask, “Does anyone have any questions?”

I always had some kind of gift for guests. Ask the principal if there is some school-related bling you can hand out.

Hope this helps!

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of the Treasury via Wikimedia Commons

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