• Five Careers in STEM that Range from a Certificate to a Doctorate

    Posted by Simone Stewart on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 ( 0 )
    There are many career opportunities that exist within the realm of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). One of the most common misconceptions about these career paths is that they require years in the classroom, highly advanced degrees, and a great amount of student debt. It doesn’t have to be this way! We have listed five STEM careers that range from a certificate to a doctorate. The best part is, many of them reside in the fastest growing job markets in the world and have excellent entry level pay. In fact, economic forecasts project a demand for more than one million additional professionals with a degree in STEM by 2018!   Check out these incredible careers that exist at all levels of STEM higher education! Biochemists and Biophysicists Research the effects of substances, like drugs, hormones, and food on tissues and biological processes. Use cutting edge technology, like lasers, to conduct experiments. Median annual wage: (2013): $84,320/$40.54/hour Degree required: Doctoral or professional degree Work experience: None How to Become One: Biochemists and biophysicists need a Ph.D. to work in independent research and development positions. However, bachelor’s and master’s degree holders are qualified for some entry-level positions.  

  • HISD Schools Revisit Strategic Plans

    Posted by Dana Bulba on Wednesday, April 09, 2014 ( 0 )
    In an effort to maintain momentum, 21 LASER i3 Phase 1 school teams from HISD took part in a two-day Implementation Institute (II), a follow-up to their 2012 II. The 64 administrators, teachers, and community members gathered together to revisit, reevaluate, and revise their five-year strategic science plans they developed roughly two years ago. A Phase 1 school team “An II brings those teams back to delve deeper into portions of the strategic plan,” said SSEC Houston Regional Coordinator Kim Ottoson. “What stood out to me was when schools would call me and ask, ‘When is the II scheduled?’ ‘We want to be sure to include it on our campus calendars.’ ‘We don’t want to miss it!’” Peck Elementary Assistant Principal Mario Cantu explained that the II addressed the issue of teacher mobility. “The [strategic plan] can assist and guide the new teachers to continue with the Laseri3.” Adding that even though the LASER i3 grant is ending, “science instruction must continue with inquiry based, hands-on, and meaningful lessons to ensure students’ academic achievement.”

  • Bring the Smithsonian Into Your Classroom

    Posted by Ashley Deese on Wednesday, April 02, 2014 ( 0 )
    Smithsonian Science How? is a fun and innovative web series, also known as webcasts, that delivers real-world science into classrooms. The series offers 25-minute programs that feature the research and personalities of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. This gives students the opportunity to get an in-depth, behind the scenes look at the exciting things our scientists are doing.   Theses webcasts air twice in one day, at 11am EDT and 2pm EDT. The live show allows for students to interact with the webcast. Students can join the show by submitting questions, participate in fun quizzes, and engage in polls in real time. The scientist answers student questions on air throughout the webcast. This gives students the opportunity to interact with these scientists without ever leaving the classroom. Explore the topics from the webcasts further with the provided classroom activities, lessons, and readings. Resources from our STCTM curriculum are also included.   

  • LASER i3 Teacher Spotlight: Ms. Rivera

    Posted by Dana Bulba on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 ( 0 )
    Doris Rivera has been a teacher for over 17 years, and she and her school are a part of the LASER i3 project. Ms. Rivera currently teaches 3rd grade at Tierra Amarilla Elementary, a school in rural Northern New Mexico with roughly 120 students. She has 12 students in her classroom. All of her students receive either free or reduced lunch, four are English Language Learners (ELL), and all fall within a wide range of academic ability. Tierra Amarilla is a pre-K through 6th grade school with one classroom per grade level. Thank you, Ms. Rivera, for giving us a glimpse into your classroom! What does “inquiry-based learning” mean for you and your students? Inquiry Based Science means hands on activities. My 3rd grade “scientists” know that it means we are not only going to read and write about science, but we are going to learn by doing observations and investigations with real materials and scientific tools. How do you teach science in your classroom? I am lucky to be able to teach science every day for 45 minutes. We are on a 4-day school week, so this totals about 3 hours a week. This is not nearly enough time. My planning comes right out of the STC teacher’s guide. It is scripted, so I pretty much follow it. I use my notebook I made at summer training on a daily basis – I don’t know what I would do without it. I keep track of tricks and things that I discover, so I can use them next time I teach. I set up materials on our science table before the lesson … this will pique the students’ curiosity every time.

  • North Carolina Students Show off their Science Knowledge

    Posted by Kayla Fuga on Wednesday, March 19, 2014 ( 0 )
    LASER i3 students had the chance to teach board members at McDowell County Board of Education’s December meeting. Using the knowledge they gained over the past school year, West Marion Elementary fifth-grade students led a Motion & Design STC Unit lesson, while Old Fort Elementary fifth-grade students focused on Microworlds. During the Motion & Design session, students and board members worked in pairs to build – and investigate – K’NEX model cars. Using blueprints as a guide, students and board members first assembled their vehicles and then investigated their cars’ movements. Students had an opportunity to explain kinetic energy, force and motion, and how their car’s rubber band propelled the car forward. A board member was the winner of the final race! During the Microworlds sessions, seven fifth-grade students shared different ecosystems they had created. Students also encouraged board members to examine their ecosystems with microscopes. “We put algae and duckweed in [our aquarium] because it needs new plants to survive [for oxygen]” said one student. “The other plants inside are there because the fish need them to live, water and gravel because they live in it.”

  • Share Fair: Transforming Science Education One Event at a Time

    Posted by Ashley Deese on Wednesday, March 12, 2014 ( 0 )
    It is important for STEM educators to get together and share their ideas with the community. As an organization, we find it valuable to communicate with educators to let them know about all of the resources that are available to them. This is why we were ecstatic to co-sponsor the first ever DC Share Fair. In case you missed it, the first DC Share Fair occurred on Saturday, March 8. "Share Fair provides an opportunity for educators, students, and the community to come together with the leaders in K-12 innovation to experience hands-on, mind-on education methods helping to transform education and propel schools across the country toward the best 21st Century learning opportunities." Share Fair, Facebook This event included Classroom Intensives and the STEMosphere. Classroom Intensives "are thought provoking professional development workshops for educators" (Share Fair, Facebook). We had our very own Director of Professional Services, Amy D’Amico, and Educational Program Specialist, Juliet Crowell, led Classroom Intensives throughout the day.

  • Why are the seas named Black, Red, White, and Yellow?

    Posted by Irina Dreyvitser on Wednesday, March 05, 2014 ( 0 )
      Why is the Black Sea black? The sea was first named by the ancient Greeks who called it “Inhospitable Sea.” The sea got this reputation because it was difficult to navigate, and hostile tribes inhabited its shores. Later, after the successful development of the coast by Greek colonists, the sea was renamed “Hospitable Sea.”  The Black Sea has a depth of over 150 meters, and its waters are filled with hydrogen sulfide for almost two kilometers. Therefore, in the deepest layers of its water there are no living things except sulfur bacteria. There are a number of hypotheses for why it was eventually called the Black Sea: Metal objects from ships, dead plants, and animal matter that sunk deeper than 150 meters for a long period of time became covered with a black sludge due to the high concentration of hydrogen sulfide in the sea. From the perspective of sailors, the sea was black due to severe storms in the winter, during which the water is so dark it looks black. Click here to learn more about the Black Sea    

  • Houston Phase 2 Schools Plan Science

    Posted by Dana Bulba on Tuesday, March 04, 2014 ( 0 )
    At the end of January, 82 administrators, teachers, and community members, representing 21 Houston Independent School District (HISD) schools participated in a five-day Strategic Planning Institute (SPI). As part of the LASER i3 project, participating Phase 1 & Phase 2 schools and districts have the opportunity to attend SPIs that are tailored to meet the unique needs of their regions.

  • Inside a LASER i3 Classroom

    Posted by Dana Bulba on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 ( 0 )
    Renata Crawley is a LASER i3 teacher at West Marion Elementary School in North Carolina’s McDowell County Schools School District. Ms. Crawley has been a teacher for 23 years! Prior to her current position as a science lab instructor, Ms. Crawley taught fifth grade science for four years. The SSEC thanks Ms. Crawley for providing a glimpse into her classroom and school: Ms. Crawley, could you tell us a little about yourself and your classroom? "I teach in a lab setting where students learn about science through hands on, inquiry based lessons. I believe in the “doing” of science. Students work cooperatively in a group setting. When the weather is nice, you will find my students outside in many of our outdoor classrooms, which include a community garden, a nature trail, a stream, an animal tracking box, and a butterfly garden. I am also the director of GOAL (Get Outside And Learn). GOAL is an after school science club that involves students in grades k-6th. Students meet once a week to learn about the outdoors."

  • Early Science Education and Inquiry

    Posted by Abeni Crooms on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 ( 0 )
    For our most recent journal club meeting, the Professional Services team read Process-Oriented Inquiry—A Constructivist Approach to Early Science Education: Teaching Teachers to Do Science by David Jerner Martin, Raynice Jean-Sigur, and Emily Schmidt, which was published in the Journal of Elementary Science Education in Fall 2005. The article asserts that “the best way for teachers to become comfortable in teaching science is to explore for themselves some activities intended for the children they teach.” With hands-on experience, they will have the tools to support inquiry-based science education among their students. A large portion of the reading is devoted to exploring the processes that are the foundations of an early childhood science program. We had a robust discussion about these processes (i.e., observing, communicating, measuring, interpreting data, and constructing models) and felt their descriptions closely mirror the Science and Technology ConceptsTM curriculum. We also talked about the different ways that teachers of inquiry science might use some of these same processes to assess their students’ progress in the classroom, such as observing and communicating. Some of us have seen teachers (and even parents) who employ innovative assessment strategies (such as scrapbooking) that can be very valuable in capturing the time line of progress for very young learners. Our conversation also touched on things that might inspire teachers to develop brand new activities, such as allowing student questions to drive the lesson employing learning-as-play. We’re very aware that with so many competing priorities in each district, it’s sometimes challenging for educators to feel like they’re meeting their goals in the classroom. But by taking time to observe, to allow students to formulate new hypotheses, and enjoy their “aha!” moments, teachers can truly strengthen inquiry skills among their students.