July is Disability Pride Month, an opportunity to celebrate people with disabilities, amplify their voices, and advance visibility in their communities. To highlight this important time, hear from the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC)’s lead graphic designer Sofia Elian, who develops illustrations and graphics across multiple platforms for digital projects such as apps, e-books, and games, on navigating this role as someone with an invisible disability.
I find starting new projects to be very difficult. Most times I end up with several false starts before making any progress. Chances are this blog would have gone through at least three false starts before ending up in Andre’s inbox (Andre is one of the Smithsonian’s Science Education Center Curriculum Developer and my supervisor). This used to annoy me. Somedays it still does, especially when I have deadlines to make. But, I have learned that false starts are all a part of the process. Thankfully I have found a very useful technique to help minimize false starts–brainstorming.
One of the best parts of my joint internship with J. Craig Venter (JCVI) and the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) is the hands-on learning experience I’m getting at JCVI. So far, I’ve learned several basic laboratory skills like volumetric measurements, proper use of balances including selecting the correct balance, record keeping using a lab notebook, and the ever-important laboratory safety and aseptic techniques.
Greetings to all!
My name is Francine Baker. I am a recent Public Health Science graduate from the University of Maryland, College Park School of Public Health. Currently, I am a joint intern at the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) and J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI). SSEC is part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., which focuses on reforming science education for preK-12 throughout the nation and the world. JCVI is a genomics-focused biological science research facility with laboratories in Rockville, MD and LaJolla, CA. This unique joint internship is a collaboration between both facilities to build upon the SSEC’s upcoming “Mosquito!” Curriculum module, free for all educators and youth ages 7-18, using real time data collection and feedback from scientists conducting mosquito related research at JCVI.
I recently attended an event sponsored by the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institute called the Girls Education Research and Policy Symposium: Reaching the Most Marginalized. Earlier in 2017, I had researched strategies to engage girls in STEM learning. So it was a natural fit that I was the person from SSEC to attend this event focused on girls’ education. To say that the day was eye opening would be an understatement.
Editor's Note: This post was written for Computer Science Education Week. Learn more about Computer Science Education Week and how you can get involved here.
Video games provide exciting and entertaining experiences for millions of people around the world. The production of video games is now bigger than those of film and music—and growing each year. If you’re interested in designing and developing your own games, there’s never been a better time to start learning! There are now many learning opportunities available for students and teachers online.
The video game development process begins with programming.
What has six legs, a body like an armored tank, and spent all summer in the Curriculum Development offices at the Smithsonian Science Education Center? If you answered roly polys, you would be correct! However, the roly polys weren’t the only new addition to the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) this summer. I also spent my summer as an intern at the SSEC, and it isn’t one I’m going to forget. My experience at the SSEC was unique. I learned a lot and spent time doing new things.
Earlier this summer, 21 teachers from across the country came together in Washington, DC, for this year’s Smithsonian Science Education Academy for Teachers (SSEAT) on Earth’s History and Global Change. The participants spent time behind the scenes at the National Museum of Natural History, the National Air and Space Museum, the Carnegie Institute of Washington, and NOAA Headquarters. Throughout the week, they learned about the origins of the solar system, about our footprint on Earth, and about the Smithsonian.
Editor's Note: This post was written with the assistance of Patti Marohn.
Earlier this summer, 19 teachers from across the country gathered in Washington, DC, to learn about biodiversity at this year’s Biodiversity Smithsonian Science Education Academy for Teachers, or SSEAT. The participants received the opportunity to go behind the scenes at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), spend time in the Q?rius lab space there, and travel up to Edgewater, MD, to visit the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC).
On Monday, May 16, 2016 the Smithsonian Institution and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem formally signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. The Smithsonian and Hebrew University will leverage this significant Einstein anniversary to collaborate on projects, produced by the Smithsonian Science Education Center, that employ the resources of the Smithsonian Institution and the Albert Einstein Archives to make science, technology, engineering and mathematic
Professional services has had a very busy year!
This year brought our Department of Education i3 (Investing In Innovation) grant to a close. While it was sad to say goodbye to such a huge long-term project, we certainly made some lasting memories and increased teaching and learning outcomes for schools in North Carolina, Northern New Mexico, and the Houston Independent School District. We held Implementation Institutes in both Houston and New Mexico that were tailored to the specific needs of the region. Then we brought leaders from all three regions together with individuals and organizations that had been involved in previous LASER programs to collaborate, share ideas, get to know one another, and of course celebrate the incredible investment that the three LASER i3 regions have made in education in their regions over the last five years.
This year was quite the year for the Smithsonian Science Education Center! We celebrated our 30th anniversary, released several digital products, held many professional and leadership development programs, and have been hard at work expanding our curricular offerings! We are excited to see what 2016 will bring! Until then, see what some of our staff have to say about their work in 2015!
Inspired by our friends at FableVision, we decided to highlight what we did for the summer.
Summer is a very busy time for the Smithsonian Science Education Center. This summer, we brought you Good Thinking!, BumperDucks, Showbiz Safari, Explore Smithsonian, and ten leadership development and professional development programs. Yes, TEN! Somehow, a few of us managed to take a vacation.
Katya Vines, Science Curriculum Developer
Whenever I'm engaged in small talk at a conference, soiree, or any other miscellaneous function where people talk about what they do (in Washington DC, that happens to be all functions, everywhere), someone invariably responds to my description of my vitae with a well-meaning, "It's so great that you are showing kids that science can be fun!" Of course I appreciate people's enthusiasm in what I do; I firmly believe that science education is the most interesting thing a person can do.
On April 29, 2015, the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) had the honor and pleasure to host 14 visiting educators from Japan as part of the 2015 Japan-U.S. Teacher Exchange Program for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). The program, sponsored by Fulbright Japan, is an exchange between Japanese and U.S. K--12 teachers aimed at strengthening ESD curricula in both countries. Now in its sixth year, the program sponsors 14 educators from Japan to travel to the United States in late April and 14 educators from the U.S. to travel to Japan in June.
Visualizing Weather Formed by Ocean Currents and Air Masses
On April 18, the National Math Festival comes to Washington, D.C., inspiring people of all ages with activities that demonstrate the beauty, fun, and importance of math.
Two days before the fun starts--on April 16--educators and policymakers will gather on Capitol Hill for the National Math Festival's Policy Day, which includes timely conversations about what it takes to build a world-class corps of math teachers in America.
After graduating from Duke University cum laude in May 2014, Cathy Wang took a summer internship with the SSEC's Professional Services Division. During her time at Duke, Cathy became interested in the pedagogy behind STEM education In K-8 classrooms while volunteering at Durham Public Schools with the American Red Cross. What follows is the first installment in a blog series detailing Cathy's experiences at the 2014 International K-12 Science Education Institute for Leadership Development and Strategic Planning (SPI).
"Everything happens for a reason..." I am a firm believer that everything--good or not--does happen to help us through life. I have been very fortunate in my life, but it has not been without some very difficult times. It may not be apparent at the time, but there is meaning behind all that happens to us in life. My becoming involved with the SSEC (NSRC back in the day) was one of these extraordinary events.
Back in the early 2000s, one of television's most popular shows was Fear Factor. This show pitted contestants against each other and their fears for prizes and the glory that comes from reality show exposure. Contestants typically submitted to close encounters with God's less cuddly creatures, were challenged to eat items not typically found in restaurants or grocery stores, and were submerged in liquids of dubious origin.
So, what does Fear Factor have to do with LASER?
The STEAM movement has been making big waves since 2010, but what is it exactly? The answer to this question is simple: STEAM is a movement mounted by advocates for including the arts in an education system that heavily emphasizes STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields. This heavy focus on STEM derives from a world economy driven by the growing science and technology sectors.
With less the one week remaining, anticipation is rising for the 2014 4-H National Youth Science Day, taking place October 8, 2014. The seventh annual science event explores the ins and outs of aerospace engineering with the 2014 National Science Experiment, Rockets to the Rescue!
To get you prepped for this exciting 4-H event, here is what you need to know about this year's 4-H NYSD!
The following blog was written by LASER i3 New Mexico teacher and Site Coordinator Chrissy Romero. Ms. Romero teaches at Gonzales Community School in Santa Fe, New Mexico and has been an immeasurable asset to the LASER i3 project since the first summer of training in 2011. Ms. Romero has demonstrated exceptional commitment to the program; she has supported and trained her fellow teachers, and she has been involved as both participant and faculty member at leadership development institutes. The SSEC would like to thank Ms.
Some professionals may be a little bit jealous that teachers get the summer off. Well, teachers don't necessarily get the whole summer off. Laser i3 school districts in North Carolina, Texas, and New Mexico are currently undergoing summer professional development that brings the teachers back into the classroom and puts them on the other side of the desk.
Tim Coffer is a museum specialist in the Department of Invertebrate Zoology at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Coffer has a B.S. in Marine Biology from the Florida Institute of Technology.
As the newest member of the SSEC team, I bring a unique perspective to our curriculum and publications department--that of informal science education. I've taught in informal science and environmental education programs for over twelve years, including managing park naturalist programs in Delaware, and starting up and running the Education and Outreach Program at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC).
I spent the spring of 2012 like most soon-to-be college graduates-- trying to evaluate what life after college lectures and late night study groups actually entailed. A full-time "grown-up" job? Getting a Master's Degree (in who knows what, it's just the thing to do nowadays, right)? Or, what was rapidly becoming more of a reality, being unemployed with a liberal arts degree in my back pocket. As the question, "what do you plan on doing after you graduate?" became a daily inquiry from friends and family, I was frantically searching for anything that sparked my interest.
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