STEM Education News
June 2, 2011
Volume 17, Number 21
This Week’s Topics:
- JETS NAMES NATIONAL 2011 TEAMS COMPETITION HIGH SCHOOL WINNERS
- ASEE’S EIGHTH ANNUAL WORKSHOP ON K-12 ENGINEERING EDUCATION
- BIOGEN IDEC FOUNDATION AWARDS TRANSFORMATIONAL GRANTS IN SCIENCE EDUCATION
- NATIONAL MATH AND SCIENCE INITIATIVE NAMES WINNERS OF ALL AMERICAN TEACHER OF THE YEAR AWARDS
- STUDENT EXPERIMENT MICROGRAVITY KIT WINS NASA-MAKE TECH CONTEST
- NSTA SHELL SCIENCE LAB CHALLENGE ANNOUNCES 2011 NATIONAL FINALISTS AND GRAND PRIZE WINNER
- DEPARTMENT OF ED ISSUES GUIDANCE ON RIGHTS OF STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES WHEN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS USE TECHNOLOGY
Triangle Coalition member, the Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS) has announced this year’s high school winners in the annual national TEAMS engineering competition, including a four-way tie in the 11/12th grade category. Using engineering to solve the global energy “supply and demand” problem, the winning 11/12th grade students are from Boise High School (Boise, ID), Saratoga High School (Saratoga, CA), Terre Haute South Vigo High School (Terre Haute, IN), and Clayton High School (Clayton, MO). Students from Ladue Horton Watkins High School (St. Louis, MO) took the top national honor for the 9/10th grade level. As the highest ranking teams in the country, the students receive for their schools $2,500 and a trophy, plus medals and certificates of excellence. The 11/12th grade level schools will split the $2,500 prize. The 2011 winners competed against more than 10,000 ninth- through 12-grade students from 43 states and the District of Columbia.
Like the other signature JETS programs, the purpose of TEAMS is to encourage more American students to pursue engineering by showing them how engineering impacts everyday life and how engineers help solve social and community problems. JETS is a national non-profit education organization dedicated to promoting engineering and helping students discover their potential for the profession. A solid framework of high school educators, corporations, professional organizations, and universities incorporate JETS pre-college engineering programs in local communities throughout the United States. JETS programs touch more than 40,000 students and 10,000 educators from 6,000 high schools across the country. JETS participants are a diverse group – more than 50 percent are from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in engineering and technology fields, including one-third who are female. For more information, please visit, www.JETS.org.
– ASEE’S EIGHTH ANNUAL WORKSHOP ON K-12 ENGINEERING EDUCATION
The American Society for Engineering Education’s (ASEE) eighth annual Workshop on K-12 Engineering Education will be held June 25, in Vancouver, Canada, one day before the opening of the ASEE annual conference. This daylong program for teachers and engineering educators from both Canada and the United States will provide a fast-paced, interactive, results-oriented overview of engineering education for the K-12 classroom. Attendees will discover valuable best practices, new contacts for collaboration, and the latest take-away tools for effective teaching about engineering education. More details are online.
Triangle Coalition member, the American Society for Engineering Education, is a nonprofit organization of individuals and institutions committed to furthering education in engineering and engineering technology. It accomplishes this mission by promoting excellence in instruction, research, public service, and practice; exercising worldwide leadership; fostering the technological education of society; and providing quality products and services to members.
In pursuit of academic excellence, ASEE develops policies and programs that enhance professional opportunities for engineering faculty members, and promotes activities that support increased student enrollments in engineering and engineering technology colleges and universities. ASEE’s 12,000+ members include deans, department heads, faculty members, students, and government and industry representatives who hail from all disciplines of engineering and engineering technology. Find out more at www.asee.org.
– BIOGEN IDEC FOUNDATION AWARDS TRANSFORMATIONAL GRANTS IN SCIENCE EDUCATION
About 2,700 students in Greater Boston, MA and North Carolina will benefit from $275,000 in science education grants from the Biogen Idec Foundation. The Foundation’s Transformational Grants in Science Education program was created to support organizations that are strengthening efforts to develop effective science teachers and to encourage youth to pursue science careers. Government, business, and academic leaders all have identified strengthening K-12 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education as a critical component of keeping the U.S. competitive in the global economy. The Biogen Idec Foundation has awarded $11 million in grants to science education and community-based programs in Biogen Idec’s U.S. operating areas since its incorporation in 2003. This year, the Foundation awarded Transformational Grants to the following organizations:
* East End House in Cambridge, MA – $100,000 to expand its GENASAS (Generating and Evaluating New Adventures in Science After School) program, which teaches young people to think, question, hypothesize, test, and observe like scientists.
* Science Club for Girls in Cambridge, MA – $50,000 to pilot the “From A to Zebrafish” program, in which approximately 70 middle and high school girls will learn about zebrafish as a tool to understand biology and human disease.
* Contemporary Science Center in RTP, NC – $50,000 for planning and development of an innovative public STEM school that will model and scale to diverse parts of North Carolina new ways to educate, using the entrepreneurism, talent, and resources of the Research Triangle.
* Boston University School of Medicine’s CityLab – $50,000 to connect a select group of teachers and 18 students from Bertie County, NC with 80 Greater Boston area students through the school’s 2011 SummerLab program and to continue the partnership during the academic year virtually through monthly lab challenges.
* North Carolina New Schools Project – $25,000 from the Foundation for its Modeling Biology Instruction program, an intensive 10-day summer program in which teachers will learn new, more-effective methods of teaching biology.
– NATIONAL MATH AND SCIENCE INITIATIVE NAMES WINNERS OF ALL AMERICAN TEACHER OF THE YEAR AWARDS
The National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) has announced the winners of its second annual All American Teacher of the Year Awards competition. The awards recognize outstanding math, science, and English teachers in NMSI’s Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program (APTIP) for their contributions to their students and to the teaching profession. The 23 award winners received a cash award, and were recognized at a special awards luncheon in Washington, D.C. on May 26. “These teachers have demonstrated a total commitment to their students’ academic growth,” said Tom Luce, CEO of NMSI. “Their efforts will help more of our nation’s young people succeed in school, work, and life.”
The awards were given to one teacher each in Advanced Placement math, science, and English from seven states that participate in APTIP, along with two new awards this year: a teacher from a school participating in the Initiative for Military Families, which provides APTIP for students in schools that support military families, and a teacher from NMSI’s virtual AP program, Learning Power, in South Dakota. Teachers were able to nominate themselves or be nominated for the All American Teacher of the Year Awards by program content directors, board members from each state AP organization, school leaders, or colleagues. Nominations were reviewed by a NMSI judging committee of educators. More details and a list of the 2011 winners are online. NMSI was launched in 2007 by top leaders in business, education, and science to reverse the United States’ troubling decline in math and science education.
– STUDENT EXPERIMENT MICROGRAVITY KIT WINS NASA-MAKE TECH CONTEST
“Bring It Back,” a small and inexpensive microgravity spaceflight kit, has won the do-it-yourself technology and education space competition sponsored by NASA and MAKE Magazine. The competition challenged participants to design experiments that could be built for under $200 by high school students to eventually fly on a suborbital flight. In addition to being low cost, the winning entry also had to illustrate sound science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) principles. The competition was designed to inspire curiosity and create interest in STEM among classroom teachers and students. The “Bring It Back” concept, created by Houston engineers Prashant Rao and Subra Sankaran, outlines three experiments using molten wax to demonstrate important principles of science and engineering. Each experiment can be performed using the same equipment, making the kit versatile. The students will use wax to understand the dominance of surface tension, wetting effects, and the impact of a lack of buoyancy in the absence of gravity. Other science concepts include simulated boiling, fluid flow behavior, and bubble movements induced by temperature changes, natural convection, and wake flow.
Sponsored by Teachers in Space, a project of the Space Frontier Foundation in Nyack, N.Y, the first “Bring It Back” kits will fly aboard the Excelsior STEM mission scheduled to fly on a Masten Aerospace unmanned suborbital mission later this year. Teachers and students will assemble the experiment kits at a Suborbital Flight Experiment Workshop at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center’s AERO Institute in Palmdale, CA, in early August. “At this stage of their lives, we think it is particularly important to provide an experience that will get students excited about science and engineering in general, and space in particular, all in an artistic and imaginative way,” Sankaran said. He is a senior thermal specialist at MEI Technologies and Jacobs/ESCG in Houston. Rao is a principal engineer at Barrios Technology and Jacobs/ESCG in Houston. For more information about the NASA MAKE Challenge, visit http://makezine.com/space.
– NSTA SHELL SCIENCE LAB CHALLENGE ANNOUNCES 2011 NATIONAL FINALISTS AND GRAND PRIZE WINNER
Triangle Coalition member, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), in partnership with Shell Oil Company (Shell), has announced the four national finalists and grand prize winner in the first-ever NSTA Shell Science Lab Challenge. The competition encouraged teachers (grades 6-12) in the U.S. and Canada, who have found innovative ways to deliver quality lab experiences with limited school and laboratory resources, to share their approaches for a chance to win a school science lab makeover valued at $20,000. The Grand Prize Winner is Andrew Goodin of Soldan International Studies High School (St. Louis, MO). National Finalists are Michael Barker, Newport High School (Newport, KY); Jason Crean, Lyons Township High School (Western Springs, IL); Corey Dornack, Lincoln K-8 Choice School (Rochester, MN); and John Munro, Highroad Academy (Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada).
“These science teachers have implemented truly remarkable science programs, providing quality lab experiences for their students with very little resources,” said Dr. Francis Eberle, Executive Director, NSTA. “We commend the winners of the NSTA Shell Science Lab Challenge for their creativity, resourcefulness, and commitment to their students.” To enter the NSTA Shell Science Lab Challenge, science teachers of grades 6-12 in the U.S. and Canada were asked to describe their school’s current laboratory resources, explain why the school’s laboratory facilities might be classified as “limited” resources, and describe their approach to science education instruction utilizing their school’s current lab facilities. A panel of science educators then reviewed the entries and selected the winners. Recognizing that the laboratory experience is integral to science education and that many schools, especially schools in urban and rural areas, do not have the resources to invest in quality lab equipment, NSTA and Shell partnered on the NSTA Shell Science Lab Challenge to bring much needed lab materials and resources to school districts nationwide and in Canada. For more information, visit www.nsta.org/shellsciencelab.
– DEPARTMENT OF ED ISSUES GUIDANCE ON RIGHTS OF STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES WHEN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS USE TECHNOLOGY
On May 26, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued guidance through Dear Colleague Letters to elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education along with a Frequently Asked Questions document on the legal obligation to provide students with disabilities an equal opportunity to enjoy the benefits of technology. This guidance is a critical step in the Department’s ongoing efforts to ensure that students with disabilities receive equal access to the educational benefits and services provided by their schools, colleges, and universities. All students, including those with disabilities, must have the tools needed to obtain a world-class education that prepares them for success in college and careers.
The guidance provides information to schools about their responsibilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The guidance supplements a June 2010 letter issued jointly by OCR and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. The June letter explains that technological devices must be accessible to students with disabilities, including students who are blind or have low vision, unless the benefits of the technology are provided equally through other means. The new guidance highlights what educational institutions need to know and take into consideration in order to ensure that students with disabilities enjoy equal access when information and resources are provided through technology. More details are online.
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