This is the 4th poster in our series Biodiversity of Oklahoma. This FREE poster features a beautiful landscape photograph of the Canadian River by Kim Baker surrounded by portraits of species found in and along the prairie rivers of Oklahoma and other states of the Great Plains.
Sponsored by the Oklahoma Science Teachers Association, the Oklahoma Science Safety Summit is designed to focus on the topic of safety in science classrooms and will bring sharp focus to needs, practices, and responsibilities of teachers and schools. This is designed as a Trainer of Trainers workshop and will provide the tools and knowledge to enable participants to lead the yearly training required in every school district in Oklahoma.
Science Laboratory Safety: A Training of Trainers (Grades K–12)
A one-day session, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This session is designed to help teachers and administrators understand the Oklahoma science safety laws and requirements for Oklahoma public schools.
Participants will use a laboratory checklist to analyze safety conditions in their schools and receive materials designed to assess and support laboratory safety in elementary, middle, and high schools.
In this session, you will:
Analyze sample laboratory and classroom facilities.
Determine responses to common laboratory accidents.
Learn how to select and maintain appropriate science safety equipment and materials.
Engage in activities that lead to an understanding of current safety laws, rules, and regulations.
Analyze events that lead to common accidents and determine how to respond to them.
Presenter for the summit is Jim Collins of the Charles Dana Center at the University of Texas.
Jim’s extensive research in safety practices and procedures in Texas resulted in a recentstrengthening on the Texas state laws regulating school safety and safety practice in Texas. His work includes the Texas Safety Standards for Kindergarten–Grade 12 and An Analysis of Laboratory Safety in Texas.
Time: 9 am until 4: pm (8:30 Registration and continental breakfast)
Cost: $50 per person. Purchase orders to OSTA are accepted. Space is limited to a maximum of 30 participants. All participants receive a copy of a CD of Safety Kit resources, continental breakfast, lunch, and a 1 year complimentary new membership in OSTA (not good toward OSTA membership renewals).
Registration Deadline: July 23, 2010
Online Registration is Open NOW! Click on the Conferences Tab to register today.
Since the first Summer Leadership Institute in 1980, the National Science Education Leadership Association has worked to improve science education and foster the dissemination of best practices and research-based professional development throughout the United States. The Summer Leadership Institute (SLI) to be held in Flagstaff, Arizona from June 27 – July 1, 2010 is an intensive science preparation for leaders who are interested in the integration of literacy and science as well as effective practices for English Learners in science.
Planning Instruction That Will Result in Increased Proficiency In Science: A Framework for Understanding the Role That Academic Language, Critical Thinking and Language Play in Science Classrooms.
Participants will explore the efficient use of the language of science and academic literacy. Participating educators will be provided with a frame-work and practical activities that have been shown to increase students’ comprehension of science content. During the workshop participants will have an opportunity to experience this framework in action and be given time to consider revisions and adaptations to their current curriculum that can increase student comprehension and motivation. This part of the institute will also focus on the use of writing prompts as a means of promoting scientific thought and argumentation in writing. Also included will be sample lessons to show how specific strategies can support science learning and literacy achievement of English Learners. Participants will learn to:
· Use classroom-tested methods for meeting the science content standards while building stronger readers and writers
· Focus on the language of science to teach both science and academic literacy
· Develop active readers and critical thinkers
· More effectively incorporate text materials into science lessons
· Modify instruction and use research-based strategies to make science content accessible to EL students
· Understand the importance of teaching science to English Learners to promote educational equity
· Use written texts and oral discourse to enrich science instruction and how it can be organized
Rick McCallum, Ph.D. Science Literacy Specialist at UC Berkeley
Arthur Beauchamp, Ed.D Director, Sacramento Area Science Project
Jerry D. Valadez, Ed.D. Director, Central Valley Science Project
Ana G. Lopez Science Specialist—Central Valley Science Project
Guest Speaker Richard Duschl, Ph.D., Professor of Science Education, Penn State University
Whereas in 2005 the National Academy of Sciences published a report entitled ‘‘Rising Above the Gathering Storm’’, which estimated that in the United States innovations generated by the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields account for nearly half of the growth in gross domestic product;
Whereas in 2006 only 4.5 percent of college graduates in the United States received a diploma in engineering, compared with 25.4 percent in South Korea, 33.3 percent in China, and 39.1 percent in Singapore;
Whereas increasing the number of students pursuing careers in STEM fields is vital to the global competitiveness of the United States;
Whereas many STEM occupations do not have representation of women and underrepresented minorities proportional to these groups in the population or their enrollment in higher education;
Whereas strengthening partnerships between the Federal and State governments, the private sector, nonprofit organizations, professional societies, and the education community will improve STEM education in our Nation’s schools;
Whereas the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that science and engineering occupations are projected to grow by 21.4 percent from 2004 to 2014, compared to a projected growth of 13 percent in all occupations during the same time period;
Whereas an understanding of science and mathematics is necessary not only for those who will enter STEM fields as majors but for all citizens to understand scientific and technical issues that affect their lives;
Whereas scientific and technical skills are a requirement for an increasingly wide range of occupations and hands-on inquiry-based learning in the STEM fields is an essential element of a well-rounded education;
Whereas the President has launched an ‘‘Educate to Innovate campaign’’ which aims to increase STEM literacy so that all students can learn deeply and think critically in STEM, to move American students from the middle of the pack to the top in the next decade, and to expand STEM education and career opportunities for underrepresented groups, including women and girls;
Whereas National Lab Day is a nationwide initiative to foster community-based collaborations between educators and STEM professionals and other volunteers across the country to support high-quality, hands-on, discoverybased laboratory experiences for students;
Whereas more than 200 business, science and technology, and education organizations have declared their support for National Lab Day; and
Whereas schools and educators across the country will celebrate the first National Lab Day during the first week of May at a time of their own choosing: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives—
(1) supports the ideals of National Lab Day;
(2) calls upon the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation to continue fostering partnerships such as those involved in National Lab Day; and
(3) encourages scientists, volunteers, and educators to participate in National Lab Day.
Commentary from Education Week, May 5, 2010, by NSTA Executive Director Francis Eberle
In January, an article in The Washington Post told the story of a group of Maryland science teachers who are learning how to replicate their DNA. Their school system’s DNA Resource Center, funded by six-figure annual grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has developed nine lab experiments that teach biotechnology concepts, according to the Post. The whole enterprise, it said, is “managed by a handful of part-time staff members and housed at Thomas S. Wootton High School in a supply room filled with pipettes and flasks. … The center staff trains teachers to use the lab activities in their classrooms and delivers all of the equipment and consumable materials that the exercises require.”
Last year, the center trained 70 teachers and provided more than 13,000 lab kits. School officials anticipate the budget for the center—about $280,000 in grant funds last year—will rise to about $350,000 this year, when the program expands to middle schools.
Kudos to the Montgomery County, Md., school system for implementing this initiative. But we have to ask: Why is this news? It shouldn’t be. Lab experiences and centers like this one should be commonplace in every high school building nationwide. Yet far too many school science labs are dismal at best. In fact, many students are selecting not to participate in science after high school because of the subpar facilities and instruction.
A few years ago, the National Research Council conducted a survey to assess the state of the nation’s high school science laboratories. Its conclusions were distressing. There was no consensus in the field on what, exactly, the high school lab experience should be. The survey also disclosed that most laboratory exercises do not have clear learning outcomes, do not integrate the learning of science content with processes of science, and tend to be isolated from the classroom science instruction.
Shortly after the NRC report was issued, the organization I direct, the National Science Teachers Association, surveyed its members and asked teachers about the lab experiences at their schools. These responses reflect what many teachers told us:
“In my urban inner-city school, I teach a lab science in an old business room. There are no tables, benches, water or gas service, sinks, fire extinguishers, eyewash stations, fire blankets, or other equipment. In addition, while there is a high rate of attrition towards the end of the year, each September starts with 50 students in each class.”
“I have no specific, safe area in which to conduct labs. My yearly budget is the same as it was 12 years ago. I must purchase all my own equipment and supplies. I have no safety equipment other than a portable eyewash station and a fire extinguisher. My district claims labs are ‘extracurricular.’”
“While I do not teach high school science currently, but do teach in a two-year community college, I see many students entering with virtually no lab experience. While some students come quite prepared, it’s very frustrating for me to have students coming into a college biology class with no knowledge of basic lab equipment and techniques, such as using beakers, graduated cylinders, pipettes, or even basic microscopy skills.”
“I have not learned how to facilitate real thinking and essential planning for authentic lab experiences. I don’t know what students really need in an introductory chemistry experience at the high school level, and I cannot figure out how to teach logical thinking and sequencing to 20-plus students in lab at the same time.”
“Many teachers in my district, which is well-funded and well-equipped, lack the confidence to conduct lab experiences. They most often have poor classroom management, and therefore believe that the students would not practice safety, and that someone could be injured.”
These survey results tell us that many schools do not see science facilities as a necessary part of science instruction, and many teachers simply cannot conduct high-quality science labs. Administrators need to be adequately trained to recognize high-quality science and technology education and must work with their science departments and teacher leaders to support educators to maintain the high-level programs that are needed. Each school needs a lab budget, and should not be dependent on the pockets of the struggling teacher.
One of the most important and powerful tools in science education is providing students with the opportunity to interact directly with natural phenomena or with data collected by others. Good teachers know that high-quality laboratory and field experiences are an essential part of inquiry—the process of observing, asking questions, and forming hypotheses. They also know that for science to be taught well, labs must be an integral part of the science curriculum. This is why thousands of science educators nationwide have embraced National Lab Day.
National Lab Day, scheduled for the first week of May 2010, is more than just a day—it’s a new five-year, nationwide initiative to support science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM, education in schools by connecting teachers with professionals in these fields (think Match.com), to bring more hands-on, inquiry-based lab experiences to students.
National Lab Day is one of the public-private partnerships that make up President Barack Obama’s “Educate to Innovate” initiative. More than 200 scientific societies and associations, representing six million STEM professionals, have pledged to support National Lab Day, or NLD. At the NLD website, teachers can post projects or request funding for equipment and other resources, ask for expert help with hands-on projects or lesson plans, and much more. The teachers are matched with STEM professionals, college students, or volunteers who have also registered on the site, and can assist with the expertise, resources, and/or funding needed. Projects can also center on computer labs or outdoor labs—anywhere students can observe, explore, record, and experiment, and get their hands dirty and their minds engaged, and where projects and lessons in the STEM subjects can come alive.
Is National Lab Day a silver bullet for STEM education? Probably not. But this movement can address a problem that has long been ignored by far too many schools. Building ongoing, long-term collaborations between STEM professionals and schools and teachers will help improve school facilities and provide discovery-based science experiences for all students.
If America is serious about educating its children in science, then all of us need to help provide better-quality lab experiences and equipment. Montgomery County’s DNA Resource Center is a model effort designed to bring together community experts, facilities, training, and equipment. And it should be replicated in every district in the country. National Lab Day can and should be an ongoing part of providing teachers everywhere with the tools and community resources that will give their students a high-quality lab experience.
Francis Eberle is the executive director of the National Science Teachers Association, in Arlington, Va. The NSTA is a co-sponsor of National Lab
From the 4/26/2010 – NSTA Reports—Henry Kepner, Jr.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative adds a new twist in American education: the creation of common core state standards in mathematics and English/language arts, which each state may choose to adopt. The National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) launched the initiative in March 2009 after the nation’s governors agreed in concept to adopt a uniform set of standards. To date, 48 states have signed on to the effort. Subsequently, the Department of Education applied increased leverage for implementing these standards by linking some funding to the adoption of the standards. In contrast to previous federal attempts, state leaders are driving this movement toward “national standards” with accountability consequences.
Establishing common standards across the country is an important, but minor piece of the action for U.S. educators and students. Greater challenges lie ahead before the standards will have impact. Until accountability measures are completely revised, it is foolish to expect educational focus to change at the school or classroom level. Similarly, substantive reworking of curriculum materials and instructional practices—along with the placement of topics—is needed before implementation by teachers. Finally, comprehensive professional development will be necessary to support teachers in preparing their students.
In the Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics (1989), NCTM made a clear statement: This is the mathematics we value for all K–12 students. The NGA-CCSSO standards take on a heightened position: This is the basis for educational accountability through state and federal assessment initiatives. Initially, the NGA-CCSSO effort omitted connections with and input from the professional education organizations, as well as classroom teacher representation. The current mathematics document has core mathematics standards for understanding and skills at each grade, K–8, and standards for mathematical categories at the high school level (Algebra, Functions, Geometry, Statistics and Probability, and Modeling). The draft standards are consistent with NCTM’s recommendations over the decades. Many reviewing populations have expressed strong concerns about specific topics, uneven levels of detail, and the use of what is known about student learning progressions in making grade placements.
Standards for Mathematical Practice (pages 4–5), which I view as an extremely important and potentially powerful component, support much of the NCTM Process Standards history. These standards require students to
- make sense of problems and persevere in solving them;
- reason abstractly and quantitatively;
- construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others;
- model with mathematics;
- use appropriate tools strategically;
- attend to precision;
- look for and make use of structure; and
- look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
From the NCTM perspective, these Standards for Mathematical Practice form a basis of student learning and must be applied consistently to the implementation and classroom instruction of the remaining two sets of standards focused on what students should understand and be able to do. I see the greatest challenge and responsibility of NCTM and our sister professional organizations as providing guidance in professional development, materials creation, and assessment that support building these mathematical practices in our students.
For the mathematics-science connections, there is recognition of the importance of experiencing mathematical connections—both within mathematics, such as algebraic-geometric and numerical-algebraic-data representations, and beyond. The Mathematical Practice of modeling with mathematics recognizes an opportunity to build and use mathematical models that fit experimental data and provide ways to describe natural phenomena. Our collaborative role is to ensure curricular and instructional opportunities—along with assessments—are tied to specific understanding and skills standards.
Students’ strategic use of appropriate technology in solving problems is a standard for mathematical practice. This standard is not well connected to grade-level or content-area standards for understanding and skills in the remainder of the document. We are concerned this omission will limit use of technology in instruction and assessment. Collaboration with science teachers is necessary to ensure all students are prepared to use technology strategically in settings where real data, messy numbers, and complex relationships are involved. We seek your help in identifying assessments and instructional settings where students demonstrate competence in doing mathematics in real-world scenarios.
The Common State Standards Initiative builds on a current public acceptance of a lockstep standards/curriculum at each grade level. While compelling politically, the result will minimize curricular innovations and sequencing that have been a positive influence in building varied curricula in this country. If this set of standards is widely adopted, it is likely each grade, K–8, will have the same content focus and outcomes. This national approach does not address the responsibilities of dealing with student diversity.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative has generated provocative discussion within the mathematics education community and beyond. However, the development process for these standards unfortunately has produced something that falls short of the best this country could have produced for its students. There must be a well-developed process for rapid and repeated standards revision based on findings and critical review of professional development efforts and student assessments in each state.
The anticipated adoption process is yet to unfold in each state, and the subsequent consequences—especially the unanticipated ones—will provide us with many challenges!
Drafts of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies and Science are available online at www.corestandards.org/Standards/K12.
While we run projects throughout the year, NLD is a time we can recognize the achievement of the students and teachers involved in the program.
Are you running a event on or around National Lab Day? If so, please let us know at email@example.com so that we can feature it. If you need help setting up a project or event please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org as well.