April 16th, 2014 Bob
DATE CHANGE: Due to the inclement winter weather, we have decided to push back CSI for one week. The new dates are: Teachers: June 16 – 27
Applications still due by April 18 for priority consideration, however, as of now we have plenty of spots available. Applications will be considered as space is available.
CSI: Classroom Student Investigations is an excellent PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT opportunity for science teachers. Forensic cases will be developed in which teachers and students will engage in inquiry-based activities to solve the cases. A wide variety of science fields (life, chemical, physical, and technology) will be included in this program. All cases will incorporate “real-world” activities and teachers will be given information how to adapt to their own classrooms. The workshop will be held June 16-27, 2014 (preference will be given to grades 7-10, but others will be considered as space allows), and a limited amount of travel support may be available. Teachers will receive room/board and up to $2000 stipend for successful completion of summer and academic year activities.
Thirty science teachers will be selected to participate in the two week CSI: Classroom Student Investigations Institute, which takes place June 16-27, 2014 (dates have changed from June 9-20, due to inclement weather), at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas. One hundred and twenty students, ranging from students who have completed 6th grade to students in 10th grade,will be selected to participate in a two day workshop, which takes place on June 25-26,2014 (dates have changed from June 18-19, due to inclement weather), taught by the teacher participants. Meals and dorm rooms will be provided for teachers as well as stipends for teachers and students. Limited travel scholarships are available for teachers who participate. See application for further details.
This program is designed to provide educators a professional development opportunity to acquire knowledge in integrating science and technology concepts, lab skills, and their application. Using forensic science as the theme, teachers will acquire pedagogical strategies to promote student investigation and inquiry based on the new science frameworks. Teachers will be able to use these standards-based activities in their own classrooms.
Teachers and students will team up to investigate a rash of mysterious events. Can they assemble the evidence to solve the case? In addition to basic forensic techniques, investigations will include:
This project is funded by a grant given to Arkansas State University by the National Science Foundation (NSF 09-506 Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers-ITEST)
Karen L. Yanowitz, Ph.D., Project Director
Renee Carroll, M.A., Program Manager
Arkansas State University
PO Box 2785
State University, AR 72467
April 15th, 2014 Bob
The Oklahoma Science Teachers Association is looking for a few good… Teachers!
1st – It’s time to recognize the teacher’s in our midst who are doing exceptional things with students. The OSTA Science Teacher of the Year Awards. Each year we recognize an outstanding Elementary, Middle Level, High School, and College/University teacher with the special distinction of recognition as an outstanding teacher by their peers on OSTA. The nomination is online and found here.
2nd – It’s also not too early to identify the outstanding teacher/leaders who can contribute to the future of OSTA and Oklahoma Science Education through service on the OSTA Board of Directors. Any active Oklahoma science teacher who is a member is eligible to run and be elected to OSTA office. Nominations this year are for terms beginning in 2015 for the offices of OSTA President-Elect (to serve as President 2016 and past-President 2017), Middle Level Director, College/University Director, Director at Large, and Secretary/Historian. Self nominations are welcome. The OSTA Board of Director Nomination form is online and found here.
– Do you know a person or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to Science Education in Oklahoma? Please nominate that person or organization for recognition by way of OSTA’s highest honor, the Jack Renner Distinguished Service to Oklahoma Science Education Award. Past winner’s are a Who’s Who of science in this state. OU Professor Ed Marek, Past State Science Supervisor Jana Rowland, OU Professor Emeritus Vic Hutchinson, Mustang Science Coordinator Gaile Loving, OU Professor Gordon Uno, and the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board have all been honored with the Jack Renner Award. There are many others who have made contributions to Oklahoma that deserve the honor of the Jack Renner Award. Make your nomination here
Nominations close early this fall. It’s never to early, but soon enough it will be too late.
Act now while these good people and their contributions are fresh and still on your mind.
April 12th, 2014 Bob
A recent study by two Oklahoma researchers is causing a stir on the Internet and is setting records for the number of hits on the website for the journal Evolution Education Outreach. Dr. Ed Marek, Presidential Professor and Director of the John W. Renner Science Education Center at the University of Oklahoma and Dr. Tony Yates, Assistant Professor of Science at Oklahoma Baptist University recently published Teachers teaching misconceptions: a study of factors contributing to high school biology students’ acquisition of biological evolution-related misconceptions, the results of a study of Oklahoma teachers in Oklahoma classrooms during the 2010-11 school year.
Background: Research has revealed that high school students matriculate to college holding misconceptions related to biological evolution. These misconceptions interfere with students’ abilities to grasp accurate scientific explanations and serve as fundamental barriers to understanding evolution. Because the scientific community regards evolution as a vital part of science education, it is imperative that students’ misconceptions are identified and their sources revealed. The purpose of this study was to identify the types and prevalence of biological evolution-related misconceptions held by high school biology teachers and their students, and to identify those factors that contribute to student acquisition of such misconceptions, with particular emphasis given to the role of the teacher.
Methods: Thirty-five teachers who taught at least one section of Biology I during the 2010 to 2011 academic year in one of32 Oklahoma public high schools and their respective 536 students served as this study’s unit of analysis. The Biological Evolution Literacy Survey, which possesses 23 biological evolution misconception statements grouped into five categories, served as the research tool for identifying teachers’ misconceptions prior to student instruction and students’ misconceptions both prior to and following instruction in biological evolution concepts, calculating conception index scores, and collecting demographic data. Multiple statistical analyses were performed to identify statistically significant (p < .05) relationships between variables related to student’s acquisition of biological evolution-related misconceptions.
Results: Analyses revealed that students typically exit the Biology I classroom more confident in their biological evolution knowledge but holding greater numbers of misconceptions than they initially possessed upon entering the course. Significant relationships between student acquisition of misconceptions and teachers’ bachelor’s degree field, terminal degree, and hours dedicated to evolution instruction were also revealed. In addition, the probabilities that specific biological evolution-related misconceptions were being transmitted from teachers to their students were also identified.
Conclusions: This study reveals some problematic issues concerning the teaching of biological evolution in Oklahoma’s public high school introductory biology course. No doubt, multiple factors contribute in varying degrees to the acquisition and retention of student misconceptions of biological evolution. However, based on this study’s results, there is little doubt that teachers may serve as sources of biological evolution-related misconceptions or, at the very least, propagators of existing misconceptions. It is imperative that we as educators identify sources of student biological evolution-related misconceptions, identify or develop strategies to reduce or eliminate such misconceptions, and implement these strategies at the appropriate junctures in students’ cognitive development.
Did you catch first line in the Results? Let’s look at it again: Analyses revealed that students typically exit the Biology I classroom more confident in their biological evolution knowledge but holding greater numbers of misconceptions than they initially possessed upon entering the course.
What? How does this happen? Marek and Yates cite previous research that found ” … instruction in evolutionary biology at the high school level has been absent, cursory, or fraught with misinformation ’ (Rutledge and Mitchell 2002 p. 21) and ‘about one-fourth of Oklahoma public school life-science teachers place moderate or strong emphasis on creationism ’ (Weld and McNew 1999, p. 52).”
- 40.8 percent of the surveyed Oklahoma teachers strongly or somewhat agree with the statement, “‘Survival of the fittest’ means basically that ‘only the strong survive’.”
- 36.8 percent of the teachers disagreed with the statement, “Complex structures such as the eye could have been formed by evolution.”
- 25 percent of the teachers agreed with the statement, “Scientific evidence indicates that dinosaurs and humans lived at the same time in the past.”
- 31 percent disagreed with the statement, “There exists a large amount of evidence supporting the theory of evolution.”
- When these same teachers were asked to assess their knowledge of evolution, only 67 percent felt that their grasp was “good” or “excellent.”
One of the internet reviews of these research findings (which I posted on the OSTA Twitter feed) cite these findings as a contributing factor in the ongoing struggle to rid the public of long-debunked, yet stubbornly persistent, misconceptions about evolution. The debate has centered on textbooks and whether they should be allowed to teach creationism or its cousin, Intelligent Design, but these findings suggest that it may be a problem with the teachers themselves. You can’t teach what you don’t understand, and in many Oklahoma classrooms, the teachers clearly don’t understand.
Marek and Yates conclude the paper by writing, “These (Oklahoma) graduates deserve a high school biology teacher who functions not as a source of students’ misconceptions but rather as a resource for their identification and elimination. Yet, students’ knowledge structures have been found to approximate those of their teachers (Rutledge and Mitchell 2002), and currently substantial numbers of biology students become biology teachers while still retaining major misconceptions (Nehm et al . 2008). We must work diligently to disrupt this cycle.”
Amen, Ed and Tony, Amen
Download a copy of the paper here.
April 1st, 2014 Bob
Please join the fight to save gorillas by gathering discarded phones and donating them to the Give for Gorillas Cell Phone Challenge. The group or individual collecting the most cell phones will win the ultimate “Zoo Prize Package” of one complimentary education program, a gift basket from the Zoo’s Safari Gift Shop, an animal painting and a plaque to show off their contribution to conservation! Cell phones have become an integral part of the American lifestyle but the production of cell phones can have a costly impact on the environment. Coltan, a substance commonly found in small electronics, is mined in areas that are home to gorillas and the process of removing it often results in the loss of that important habitat. Phones donated to the Zoo will be dismantled and disposed of following strict environmental guidelines by our partners at the Eco-Cell Recycling Program with old parts being used to refurbish new cell phones to be sold in developing countries. Not only will this decrease the need to mine for more substances like coltan, but also 100 percent of the Zoo’s proceeds from the challenge will be donated to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGFI). The Oklahoma City Zoo is member of the DFGFI Gorilla Council for Conservation Action. For more information: http://bit.ly/1ll5T4U
March 30th, 2014 Bob
Modeling Workshops in high school physics, chemistry, biology, and junior high physical science will be offered this summer in many states. Most workshops are two or three weeks long. Modeling Instruction is designated as an Exemplary K-12 science program by the U.S. Department of Education. Modeling Workshops thoroughly address most aspects of high school science teaching, including integration of teaching methods with course content. Workshops incorporate up-to-date results of physics and science education research, best high school curriculum materials, use of technology, and experience in collaborative learning and guidance.
Participants are introduced to the Modeling Method as a systematic approach to design of curriculum and instruction. The name Modeling Instruction expresses an emphasis on making and using conceptual models of physical, chemical, and biological phenomena as central to learning and doing science. Mathematics instruction is integrated seamlessly throughout each course by an emphasis on mathematical modeling.
In each workshop, content for an entire semester course is reorganized around models to increase its structural coherence. Participants are supplied with a complete set of course materials and work through activities alternately in roles of student or teacher. Teachers use computers as scientific tools to collect, organize, analyze, visualize, and model real data.
Website: http://modelinginstruction.org/teachers/workshops and Workshop descriptions: http://www.phystec.org/pd/?set=Modeling
MODELING WORKSHOPS have these features:
* aligned with Common Core Math Standards and ELA.
* includes all 8 scientific practices of NRC Framework for K-12 Science Education.
* addresses multiple learning styles.
* addresses naive student conceptions.
* collaboration, creativity, communication, and critical thinking.
* systems, models, modeling.
* coherent curriculum framework, but not a curriculum; thus flexible.
* compatible with Socratic methods & project-based instruction.
* science & math literacy.
* authentic assessments.
* high-tech and low-tech options for labs.
Models and theories are the purpose and the outcomes of scientific practices. They are the tools for engineering design and problem solving. As such, modeling guides all other practices.
American Modeling Teachers Association
March 28th, 2014 Bob
Chemical Educational Foundation® Earth Day Challenge– $1,000 Prize!
The Chemical Educational Foundation® (CEF) Earth Day Challenge is a video contest for grade K-8 classes that seeks to spark student interest in chemistry. To enter, educators must submit a short video about their students’ experience conducting water-related activities from the You Be The Chemist® Activity Guides. The school of the educator who submits the winning entry will receive $1,000 for the school’s science education programs, as well as a commemorative plaque. The winning educator will receive a $200 gift card to the Discovery Channel Store. The winner will be announced on Earth Day!
To enter, review the competition guidelines and submit your video by April 15. If you have questions, please e-mail CEF (email@example.com) or call 703/ 527-6223.
You Be The Chemist® Activity Guides
The You Be The Chemist® Activity Guides provide teachers with FREE hands-on science activities for grade K-8 students. The Activity Guides are divided into two manuals by grade level (K-4 and 5-8), and each contain 30+ lesson plans for activities educators can do with students—using materials found at most grocery or big-box stores—to build their understanding of chemistry and general science. Each lesson plan contains supplemental science content to help educators feel comfortable presenting the material. Beyond inquiry-based activities, the guides contain activity sheets with answer keys, vocabulary, and more!
The guides are produced by the Chemical Educational Foundation® (CEF), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting youth science education. The Activity Guides are FREE to download (as a whole or as individual lessons) and you may also order a flash drive with all of the content pre-loaded for $10 (cost of production/shipping). The guides recently won aTeachers’ Choice Award from Learning Magazine® – the only awards program that is exclusively judged by teachers in the classroom. With over 1,000 pages of material, educators can select a few of the activities – or try them all! If you have questions, please e-mail CEF (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call 703/ 527-6223.
Teacher Education, Professional Development, and Grant and Award Opportunities
You Be The Chemist® Essential Elements
You Be The Chemist® Essential Elements is a professional development opportunity designed to help K–8 educators— the “essential elements” in education—teach chemistry concepts through engaging, hands-on activities. Essential Elements is based on the 5E constructivist learning cycle methodology. This cycle allows students to build their own understanding of new concepts from both old ideas and their own experiences. During an Essential Elements workshop, the instructor will lead educators through a full 5E learning cycle utilizing a lesson from the You Be The Chemist® Activity Guides. Following the lesson, educators will have an opportunity to discuss the lesson further and ask questions. This professional development workshop is coordinated by the Chemical Educational Foundation® (CEF), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting youth science education. Please e-mail CEF (email@example.com) or call 703/ 527-6223 if you have questions.
March 26th, 2014 Bob
Science Standards Update:
I am happy to announce that the new Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science were adopted at the Oklahoma State Board of Education meeting yesterday! The next step will be for the standards to go through legislative consideration. You can find a link to the Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science on the OSDE science webpage: http://www.ok.gov/sde/science
I would like to take the time to thank each and every OKSci educator who participated in the revision process. On top of the everyday efforts you make to ensure our students are engaged in learning about and discovering the science, you spent countless hours assisting with the revision of the Oklahoma science standards. Many of you participated in the Writing Team, Draft Team and Focus groups. Your expertise and experience was vital to the revision of the science standards. I also know many of you took the time to submit comments through the public draft. The Writing Team addressed the comments that were received and made several changes based on the feedback.
I was honored to represent such an outstanding group of educators at the board meeting yesterday. I know many of you have e-mailed asking what the next steps are. I’ve outlined a few of them below:
- The Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science still have to go through legislative consideration. I encourage everyone to contact your legislators about the new science standards. They do listen to the public concerning educational issues and who better to provide them with information about the new science standards than the educators who have devoted their lives to science education. Here is a quick link to help you find contact information for your legislators:http://www.oklegislature.gov/FindMyLegislature.aspx
- Many educators have already begun making comparisons between the PASS (2011) standards and the Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science that were in draft form.
- Please make sure you now utilize the final version of the standards on the OSDE science webpage.
- Share how you and your district are becoming acquainted with the new standards on the OKSci Facebook page or through twitter #OKSci.
3. We are currently working with groups of educators to develop the following resources that will be available by the end of the school year.
- Recommended Implementation Plan – The implementation plan will provide educators and districts with information and options to assist them in developing their own implementation plans for the Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science.
- PD on Your Plan Modules – A series of PD on Your Plan modules will be developed to assist educators and districts with analyzing and implementing the new Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science.
4. As a reminder the science assessments will continue to be aligned with the PASS 2011 standards in 2013-2014, 2014-2015, 2015-2016. The science assessments will be aligned to the new Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science in 2016-2017.
5. Professional Development – Look for announcements for professional development opportunities throughout the state this summer.
6. The OSDE Vision 2020 Conference will be a great opportunity to attend professional development sessions targeting support with the new Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science. http://www.okvision2020.ok.gov/
O-A-S-Science FAQ Survey: In an effort to develop an FAQ document to address questions of OKSci educators around the new Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science, please link to complete the FAQ survey. Your questions and comments are greatly appreciated.
Science Assessment Spring 2014 Update:
Based upon feedback and recommendations from the Content Bias Review Committee, Biology Formula Reference Sheets will be included for the Spring 2014 Biology EOI for ALL students. The reference sheet will be provided by CTB as a separate sheet of paper for both online testers and paper/pencil testers. The reference sheet is based upon page 48 of the Biology Test & Item Specifications. The provided formulas for calculating averages, population growth rates, probabilities, etc. are representative of formulas frequently encountered in biology instruction.
Biology Formula Sheet: http://ok.gov/sde/sites/ok.gov.sde/files/documents/files/Biology_Formula_Sheet.pdf
Science Assessment FAQ:
- Science assessments will continue to be aligned to the current Oklahoma Academic Standards (2011) in 2013-2014, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016.
- Assessments aligned to the new science standards are expected in 2016-2017.
- Science assessments will continue to be given for grades/subjects 5, 8, and Biology 1.
- Students might have a passage and questions on their Reading test (grades 6-8) or English II/III test in 2014-2015 that requires them to respond to an informational text about science. The literacy assessed on the English exam in 2014-2015 will only assess students’ literacy skills associated with informational text in science. The students will not be assessed on science content on the Reading/ English state assessments.
For more information, contact the Office of Accountability and Assessments at (405) 521-3341.
Professional Development Opportunities:
2014 National Lab Day: May 13th at Oklahoma State University
National Lab Day (NLD) has received high praise from high school students, teachers, administrators, and OSU STEM Faculty who have participated in the past. Participants attending NLD will visit STEM labs on the OSU campus, engage in hands-on activities, learn about current research, and visit with STEM faculty about career paths. Teachers wanting to participate in the 2014 OSU-NLD event can bring up to 7 students currently in their sophomore or junior year in high school. There is no cost to attend and lunch is provided by participating Oklahoma State University colleges. Registration will be on a first come first serve basis, so secure your spot soon!
- Teachers can register at the College of Education website: education.okstate.edu
- For more information, please contact: Julie Angle: 405-744-8147
- See attached flyer for details.
Ag in the Classroom
Ag in the Classroom is offering two one-day rolling workshops to put teachers up close and personal with the agriculture industry featuring beef. These workshops will incorporate Ag in the Classroom lessons and resources aligned to Oklahoma Academic Standards as the bus rolls through the country. Light breakfast and lunch will be provided. We also have our 3-day Summer Road Trip to the Panhandle as well.
- See attached documents to register.
K20 and Oklahoma EPSCoR Present: Authentic Research Experiences for Teachers
Who: Oklahoma science teachers in grades 6-12
What: 4-Day Authentic Research Experience for Teachers with Follow-up
Lodging and Stipend included.
Where: Participants will either be on-site working with Research Scientists at:
- Kiamichi Forest Research Station near Idabel or
- Integrated Grassland Observation Sites (iGOS) near El Reno
Areas of Study:
- Kiamichi: Ecological response of plants and animals to drought iGOS: Land cover and land use changes or
- Fluxes in ecosystems and atmosphere
When: Monday-Thursday, June 9 – 12, 2014
To register, go to: https://k20.wufoo.com/forms/summer-authentic-research-experience-for-teachers/
- See attached flyer for details.
North Canadian River Watershed Workshop
The Oklahoma Conservation Commission, Oklahoma Blue Thumb, and Oklahoma Project WET invite you to attend a three-day summer workshop to explore the North Canadian River Watershed. This workshop is a great opportunity for educators to get out of the classroom and explore one of Oklahoma’s big rivers. Participants will receive the Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide along with a binder full of materials about the North Canadian River and its watershed. Plus 36 hours of professional development credit!!
- See the attached flyer for details.
Contact Karla B. Beatty for questions 405.521.6788 (phone) firstname.lastname@example.org
Opportunities for Students:
Summer College STEM Academy June 9-12: Murray State College
The STEM Academy is for 8th and 9th Grade students. Students can stay on campus at MSC-Tishomingo and experience dorm life.
- Cost of Camp – Free!
- See attached documents:
- Teacher recommendation form
- Student Registration form
Follow me on Twitter: @tiffanyneill
Hashtags: #oksde #OKSci #OKSTEM
Sign Up for a Twitter account: https://twitter.com/
Classroom Strategies: http://www.scoop.it/t/oksci-classroom-strategies
Website Resources Elementary: http://bit.ly/OSDE-SciElemLinks
Website Resources Secondary: http://bit.ly/OSDE-SecScienceLinks
Accessing Archived Science Messages:
You can access Archived Science Messages I’ve sent out since March via the Oklahoma Science Teachers Association (OSTA) website. Scroll down to see previous posts.
Please encourage others to register for the science listserv and pass along the following registration link:
Register for Science Listserv
As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have!
Tiffany Neill, M.Ed.
Director of Science Education
Office of Instruction
Oklahoma State Department of Education
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