Editor’s Note: This post was written about the National Week of Making. This year’s event in Washington, D.C. was hosted by the Nation of Makers and the U.S. Office of Educational Technology. Learn more about how you can get involved here.
Summer vacation is often filled with fun activities but did you know that, on average, students lose two months worth of academic progress over the break? This is referred to as the “Summer Slide,” or the tendency for students to lose some of the achievement gains they made during the previous school year. In order to combat this, we have provided a list of free educational games to keep your student engaged and excited about learning all summer long!
Have you had a chance to check out Showbiz Safari in the SSEC Game Center? In this life science game, students take on the role of assistant casting director for Walrus! He has three kinds of movies to cast – but different roles require different kinds of organisms! Using their knowledge of diverse plant and animal life, students must make sure that Walrus casts the prefect character for each of his movies. Keep reading to learn more about some of the super cool organisms from the game!
The following blog was written by Dr. Reagan Flowers. Dr. Flowers is CEO of C-STEM and a member of the "Steering Committee" of experts on minority participation in teaching careers. She both presented at and helped to recruit teams of educators for the 2017 Teacher Leadership Summit sponsored by Shell Oil Company and hosted at Howard University in February.
The following blog was written by DCPS teacher Jonte Lee. Mr. Lee teaches at Woodrow Wilson Senior High School in the District of Columbia and brought a team of fellow educators to the 2017 Teacher Leadership Summit sponsored by Shell Oil Company and hosted at Howard University in February. The summit guided teams in creating logic models for attracting, retaining, and developing a diverse STEM teaching workforce.
More than 300 educators from across Central New York converged on Nov. 8 for a "Lesson Study Elementary Science Conference"--perhaps the first of its kind in the US--that offered four “live” research lessons based on SSEC units in which students and teachers engaged in practices aligned with New York's State new science standards while participants observed and took notes.
The Director of the Smithsonian Science Education Center, Dr. Carol O’Donnell, and the Director of Professional Services, Amy D'Amico, PhD held a seminar in Mexico City November 16 and 17, 2016. This seminar, hosted by INNOVEC, was a transcendent event in many ways.
The Smithsonian Science Education Center is excited to host guest bloggers Sharon Dotger, Associate Professor of Science Education in the School of Education at Syracuse University, and Jessica Whisher-Hehl, Science Coordinator for OCM BOCES’ Center for Innovative Science Education!
Fall 2016 National Advisoary Board Meeting
The Smithsonian Science Education Center held its fall national advisory board events which included a materials center tour, board dinner and board meeting in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, one of the states where SSEC tested the efficacy of its Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform (LASER) model. The tour was held on Monday, October 17th at the Johnston county industries materials center (JCI) in Selma, NC.
The Neville-Pribram Mid-Career Educators Awards allow mid-career educators to be in residence and utilize the Smithsonian Libraries distinctive collections, focusing on science, history, culture and arts. The awards are open to middle & high school teachers, college teachers, and museum educators working on curriculum development or publications in print or electronic form. The Library offers excellent resources for developing curricula relating to Common Core, Core Arts Standards, and Advanced Placement curricula.
The Smithsonian Libraries is pleased to offer a call for applicants for the 2017 Neville-Pribram Mid-Career Educators Award. The National Museum of Natural History Library is the host library for the selected 2017 Educator. The National Museum of Natural History Libraries consists of the main location (on the 1st floor and basement of the NMNH's East Court) and 11 specialized collections throughout the NMNH building totaling more than 500,000 volumes. These collections are located within the NMNH Entomology, Invertebrate Zoology, Botany, Vertebrate Zoology, Mineral Sciences and Paleobiology departments.
The Smithsonian Science Education Center teamed up with the South Carolina Coalition for Mathematics and Science and the South Carolina Afterschool Alliance to host the 2016 Next Steps Institute in Charleston, SC on September 26-28th. Close to 300 individuals and teams from across the country came together to gain advanced leadership training in one of seven different Pathway topics. Dr.
We’re sure that you’ve played (and can’t stop playing) our physical science game BumperDucks. In case you haven’t, here’s the gist: in BumperDucks your job is to help a wayward band of ducks reach their final destinations – tasty treats! With the help of collisions and rebounding you can slingshot these ducks to victory. BumperDucks is all about the laws of motion and how we can utilize their effects once we figure out how they work!
Dr. Carol O’Donnell welcoming NC educators to the Smithsonian Image: Sarah Wells/Smithsonian Science Education Center
Editor’s Note: The following is a transcript of an interview conducted with Kim Van Eaton. Some answers have been lightly edited for clarity.
Here at the Smithsonian Science Education Center, we’re passionate about science communication and creating an infectious love of science. As part of this mission, our director, Dr. Carol O’Donnell, met with science teachers in Washington State this June to talk about the importance of science education. While there she meet 6th grade teacher Kim Van Eaton from Marie Curie STEM Elementary School. Kim had nothing but kind words to say about STCTM and how the kit had changed her teaching of science! It’s always heartwarming to hear that your work has impacted someone’s life in a positive way. We wanted to know a little more about how Kim has been affected by STC and SSEC, so we got in touch to hear more of her thoughts.
International Conference on Improving the Learning of Biology
During April 13th through 16th Dr. Carol O’Donnell and the Director of Professional Services Dr. Amy D’Amico attended an International Conference on Improving the Learning of Biology and Other Related Science in the K-12 School Year in Santiago, Chile. The conference focused on inquiry based science education, and Dr. O’Donnell presented the results of the Smithsonian Science Education Center’S 5-year research trial of the LASER model.
Lindsey Nickerson, science teacher at Eaton Middle School and one of SSEC’s Colorado LASER site coordinators, was selected as the Denver Broncos Tackle STEM Coach of the month for January. This award provided an opportunity of a lifetime: a STEM-based tour of the Broncos’ stadium for her and her students. After nominating Lindsey for this award, I was thrilled to be included as a chaperone on the trip to the stadium.
Do you want to teach engineering in your classroom? Go for it; it’s not as hard as you might think. This is just the subject that Pamela Lottero-Purdue and I presented at the 2015 Smithsonian Science Education Forum. Throughout the day, attendees from all education backgrounds were able to see and participate in activities that bring engineering to life in any educational setting.
Metacognition is one of those terms thrown around education circles like tryptophan during Thanksgiving. It sounds good, and makes us seem smart, but we aren’t really sure what’s happening below the surface.
I’ve always believed that one of the best ways to understand something is to compare it with something it’s not. Turkey is NOT chicken. Hitting the snooze button is NOT getting out of bed. Metacognition is NOT cognition.
Cognition is the way we organize and store new information. It’s how we think and process information.
Lab Out Loud started as an experiment. Could we bring a conversation about science education to a wider audience by delivering it through a new medium? After eight years, our audio podcast has developed into a passion that we've been fortunate to share with our listeners; every episode continues to teach us new things.
According to scientists, you’re probably neither.
Many of us have asked ourselves this question at least once. The idea that people are either “left brained” (more concrete and analytical), or “right brained” (more abstract and creative), has been circulating in popular culture for decades. The lasting influence of this concept may be due to the natural human inclination to categorize everything —including the people around us.
The world of Good Thinking! is full of interesting characters, each of whom bring their own brand of humor and information to the series. None are as vital to the show's mission, however, as its main protagonist and star--science teacher Isabella Reyes. Ms. Reyes is the only character who appears in every Good Thinking! episode, and much of the series takes place either in her classroom or in her imagination.
The second Smithsonian Science Education Academy for Teachers (SSEAT) of the summer came to a successful close once again in the middle of July. The focus of this academy was Energy's Innovations and Implications. The participants heard from a diverse set of speakers on past, current, and future renewable sources of energy as well as how energy has transformed the world we live in for the past 200 years.
Findings from science education research rarely make their way into classroom practice. As I've discussed before on the PLOS Sci-Ed blog, there are a lot of entrenched barriers that continue to separate these efforts. For one, most science education research is still primarily published in journal articles that are often difficult to access -- and always dense, lengthy reads.
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