Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Inspiring Middle School Literacy through Science and Social Studies" - new resources available through Teachers' Domain

These self-paced classroom lessons are designed to enhance the literacy skills of struggling readers in grades 5–8. Each uses videos, interactive activities, note-taking, reading, and writing to present students with an engaging science or history topic.

Each lesson addresses a range of specific literacy strategies, which are listed in the accompanying teacher's guide.

Content Areas
Science Topics
Social Studies Topics
Key Literacy Strategies
Asking Questions
Categorizing Basic Facts and Ideas
Comparing and Contrasting Ideas
Constructing Summaries
Determining Important Information
Establishing Cause and Effect
Identifying and Using Text Features
Making Inferences
Sequencing Events
Understanding Problem/Solution

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Justice Through Science -Lessons Learned from Famous Cases Dr. Henry Lee

This is not a NU Program. Contact information is below

NEACT Western Division Meeting

When: 10:00am-12:00pm (registration at 9:30am) January 8, 2011
Where: Notre Dame Catholic High School, 220 Jefferson St., Fairfield, CT

Program: Justice Through Science -Lessons Learned from Famous Cases Dr. Henry Lee

9:30 Registration & refreshments
10:00 Program
12:00 Lunch on your own

Massachusetts PDPs and Connecticut CEUs are available.
***RSVP to Robert DeSimone

Dr. Henry Lee Dr. Lee is a legendary investigator and a pioneer in the use of modern forensic evidence in the courtroom.
Justice through Science : Lessons Learned from High Profile Cases Dr. Henry C. Lee Commissioner (Ret.), Connecticut State Police, Department of Public Safety Distinguish Professor, Forensic Science, University of New Haven Director, Forensic Research & Training Center

The goals of this presentation are to describe; (1). The concepts of justice though science. (2). Recent advances in forensic sciences. (3).The importance of professional standards of forensic scientist. (4). Lessons learned from high profile cases

Over the last century, the crime rate has increased almost 200 % worldwide.
Both violent and property crime have increased consistently throughout the world. To date, almost 60 % of all households in the world were touched by crime. Each of these households was victimized by at least one burglary, larceny, fraud, or motor vehicle theft; or one of its family members were victims of a rape, robbery, assault, kidnap, physical or mentally abused, or murder. At the same time, the clearance rate of crime has remained relatively low. The contemporary criminal justice system is built on the trust of the public. Unless the crime was solved and the justice been carried out, otherwise the public will lost the trust and confidence on the system.

In recent years, Contemporary advances in molecular biology, chemistry, medicine, toxicology, electronics, instrumentation, micro circuitry, computer technology, data base management and artificial intelligence have virtually revolutionized the capability of forensic science laboratory.
Major efforts to systematically apply new forensic technologies to criminal investigation have been inaugurated though a variety of research and development activities in forensic science field. Hundreds of new methods and techniques are emerging while redefining the means and methods by which law enforcement conducts their criminal investigation.

In addition, continuing atrocities, terrorist acts, natural disasters, political assassinations, high profile cases and controversial death have also generated considerable media and public attentions. A review and analysis of many such instances will demonstrate the complexity and sensitivity of the investigations into these kinds of case. Most the police departments, judicial systems and even the public, start to realize the importance of the concept of Justice through Science.

Forensic science has emerged as a significant element in efforts to resolve civil, criminal and public safety issues. The court has also become increasingly dependent on scientific evidence in civil and criminal litigations. Therefore, the forensic scientists not only have to establish technical and ethical standards, but also have to maintain its objectivity and professionalism. There many lessons we can learned from high profile cases. We have to follow the scientific and legal standard, in the searching and document of crime scene to the examination and presentation of forensic evidence in court. Famous cases, such as Kennedy Assassination, wood chipper murder, the William Kennedy Smith case, O. J. Simpson case, Jon Benet Ramsey case, the Johnson series killer investigation, the White House Counsel Vincent Forsters death case, Elizabeth Smart kidnapping case, Taiwan President, Chen Sui Bain shooting case will be use to illustrate the importance of scientific and legal standards.

Brought to you by the New England Association of Chemistry Teachers

***RSVP to Robert DeSimone

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Educators' Summit at the 36th annual Building Energy Conference and Trade Show CONNECT. GET INVOLVED. BE PART OF THE DIALOGUE.

Educators' Summit at the 36th annual Building Energy Conference and Trade Show
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Seaport World Trade Center, Boston, MA

Hands-on STEM workshops with a focus on teaching energy efficiency and
renewable energy in the classroom. Check out the workshops
Keynote with David Orr of Oberlin College!

Workshops, BE Track Sessions, Trade Show, and NESEA Night with
networking opportunities and Hors d'oeuvres.

For more information and to register visit NESEA at or contact Education
Director Arianna Grindrod at 413-774-6051 x 21

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Course Registration Open - Northeastern University (GNSSP)

This is to announce the opening of priority registration for the Mathematics I and Energy II courses offered at Northeastern University and UMass-Boston by the Greater North Shore Science Partnership (GNSSP) and Boston Energy in Science Teaching (BEST) grants. These courses run one evening per week starting in January. Further details about each course are below. Priority registration for teachers from grant partner districts (Boston, Malden, Lynn) extends through December 10th. Teachers from these districts who have registered online AND submitted their registration checks before December 10th will receive priority enrollment status over teachers from other districts. However, interested teachers from all districts are encouraged to register and mail their $50 checks as soon as possible, to be processed on a first-come-first-served basis during the general registration period.


Winter & Spring 2011
• Mathematics I – Mathematics for Middle School Science Teachers (Northeastern University) – REGISTRATION OPEN NOW
Course Details & Registration:
• Energy II – Energy Concepts for Teaching Science (UMass-Boston) – REGISTRATION OPEN NOW
Course Details & Registration:
• Energy I – Integrating the Sciences through Energy (Northeastern University) – Priority Registration Opens in February 2011
Course Details:

Summer I 2011
• Physics I – Forces, Energy & Motion (Northeastern University) – Priority Registration Opens in May 2011
Course Details:

Summer II 2011
• Biology II – Ecology, Evolution & Diversity of Life (Northeastern University) – Priority Registration Opens in May 2011
Course Details:
• Earth Science I – Weather & Water (Northeastern University) – Priority Registration Opens in May 2011
Course Details:
• Chemistry III – Structure & Function (Northeastern University)
We are considering the possibility of offering a Chemistry III (Structure & Function) course at Northeastern University in Summer 2011 for high school teachers needing an additional chemistry course for licensure. This course would cover the topics of chemical equilibria, electrochemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry and would be targeted specifically towards high school chemistry teachers, covering both the content and pedagogy required to teach beginning and advanced chemistry on the high school level in Massachusetts. If you are interested in this course, please take a minute to complete the brief survey. If enough teachers are interested we may run the course. LINK TO BRIEF SURVEY:

Contextualized Content Course Model Overview
These Contextualized Content Courses were originally created by the Boston Science Partnership through funding provided by the NSF, to serve the needs of Boston’s science teachers and learners in grades 6-12 in order to immerse teachers in the science topics most relevant to their teaching practices. In these courses, teachers become students of science, developing their conceptual understandings through scientific inquiry. To ensure their relevance and high caliber of instruction, all courses are co-developed and co-taught by a combination of university faculty from University of Massachusetts-Boston and Northeastern University and teacher leaders from the Boston Public Schools and other partner districts. Each course provides contextual linkages between the science content and the standards-based curriculum of the Boston Public School district. The program is open to science educators at all stages of the professional continuum, from pre-service teachers up to the levels of master teacher and science administrator. The program welcomes all teachers who teach science at the middle or high school levels, including those who serve students with special needs or English language learners. If you teach or are preparing to teach any science at the middle or high school level, these courses are for you!

This course model has been adopted by the Greater North Shore Science Partnership, which receives funding from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education, to extend the reach and significant impact of these course to teachers from districts across Eastern Massachusetts.

Mathematics I – Mathematics for Middle School Science Teachers (sponsored by the Greater North Shore Science Partnership through the Massachusetts DESE)
Course Audience: Middle school science teachers
Course Description: The course will cover mathematical concepts using mostly examples from science. Its goal is to refresh and enhance the mathematical skills middle school science need to teach science more effectively. The course will cover the following topics: ratios and proportions, algebraic equations (linear and quadratic), systems of linear equations, functions (linear and quadratic, graphical representation and interpretation of graphs), basic statistical analysis of data (mean, range, standard deviation, curve fitting), basic geometry (area of triangles & circles, volume of solids, similar and congruent triangles) and basic trigonometry (sine, cosine, tangent and basic vector analysis into components). Furthermore, this is a required course for the completion of the Master of Education in Middle School Science at Northeastern University.
Session: Winter 2011
Dates: January 13, 20, 27; February 3, 5 (Saturday), 10, 17 (24 – NO CLASS); March 3, 5 (Saturday), 10, 17, 24, 31; April 2 (Saturday).
Times: 4:00 PM - 7:30 PM on Thursday dates, 3 Saturday all-day classes.
Location & Room: Northeastern University (Room Location TBA)
Parking: Parking passes will be available.
Instructional Team: Larry McGrail (RESEED), Malcolm Pringle (MIT), Ryan Keser (BPS).
Course Tuition Payment/Graduate Credit: Northeastern University will grant 4 quarter hours of graduate credit for satisfactory completion of this course (equivalent to 3 semester hours). Tuition for the course will be $600 for teachers from all school districts (with $18.25 in mandatory university fees). The total cost of the course will be $618.25. Teachers will be billed directly for the total cost of the course (the bill will be issued by Northeastern close to the end of the course). As such, teachers will not need to make a tuition payment on the first day of class. Teachers wishing to receive a stipend for the course MUST take the course for graduate credit.
Stipend Information: Teachers are eligible to earn stipends of $600 which will directly cover the cost of tuition (not university fees). Stipends will be issued to teachers once all required work has been submitted and a passing letter grade has been issued. NOTE: All students MUST take the course for graduate credit (teachers will receive up to 60 PDP’s as well, pro-rated based upon attendance).
Attendance Policy: In order to receive graduate credit for this course, participants may not miss in excess of 8 instructional hours over the duration of the course. Any hours missed up until this point must be cleared with the instructional team, and alternative arrangements must be made to make up the work if necessary.

Energy II – Energy Concepts for Teaching Science (sponsored by the Boston Science Partnership/BEST through the National Science Foundation)
Course Audience: K-12 science teachers ***NOTE: Energy I is a Pre-Requisite***
Course Description: This course is a graduate-level science content course designed for pre-service and in-service middle and elementary school science teachers. It focuses on increasing understanding the big ideas in science and how they can be used to cross traditional disciplinary boundaries. Through an energy theme, and dependent on basic understanding of energy across the disciplines and in the K-12 curriculum (Physics 572—Integrating the Sciences Through Energy is a pre-requisite), this course deepens teachers’ content knowledge of the big ideas in science and applies this new knowledge to teaching children. Open inquiry, research methods, and pedagogical content knowledge will be emphasized. Observations of teaching integrating ideas, conducting interdisciplinary activities, and asking complex scientific questions will help students increase their understanding of how people learn science as well as move students from novice to expert in their ability to teach science that transcends disciplinary boundaries.
Session: Winter/Spring 2011
Dates: January 31; February 7, 14, (21 - NO CLASS), 28; March 7, (14 - NO CLASS), 21, 28; April 4, 11, (18 - NO CLASS), 25; May 2, 9, 16.
Times: 4:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Location & Room: UMass-Boston (Science Building - 3rd Floor, Room 126)
Parking: Parking passes will be available.
Instructional Team: Bob Chen (UMB), Robert Stevenson (UMB), Bala Sundaram (UMB), Haven Ripley (BPS).
Course Tuition Payment/Graduate Credit: The University of Massachusetts-Boston will grant 3 semester hours of graduate credit for satisfactory completion of this course. Teachers wishing to receive a stipend for the course MUST take the course for graduate credit through UMass-Boston. Teachers from all districts may pay for this course with a check in the amount of $305 (made out to UMass-Boston) on the first day of class, or elect to be billed by the university directly.
Stipend Information: Under the new stipend policy in effect for Boston teachers, teachers from BPS will receive a stipend of $435 for satisfactory completion of this course for graduate credit. This stipend amount will be issued by BPS and placed directly into your paycheck as a line item once you have received a final grade in the course. Non-Boston teachers are eligible to earn stipends of $600. This stipend amount will be issued by the GNNSP grant sponsoring non-Boston teachers. NOTE: All students MUST take the course for graduate credit (Boston Public Schools teachers will receive up to 60 PDPs as well, pro-rated based upon attendance).
Attendance Policy: In order to receive graduate credit for this course, participants may not miss in excess of 8 instructional hours over the duration of the course. Any hours missed up until this point must be cleared with the instructional team, and alternative arrangements must be made to make up the work if necessary.

If you are interested in taking either of these courses, please register online and send in your $50 registration fee (per course) as soon as possible. The $50 registration check is nonrefundable if you cancel less than 2 weeks prior to the start of the course. Confirmed receipt of your registration check will hold your position in the class, on a first come, first served basis. Once we receive your registration check, you will be sent a brief e-mail confirming your spot in the course. Two weeks prior to the start of class, you will receive a more detailed e-mail with building and room location and other important information.

We are anticipating a high level of interest in these courses, so please take the time to register (and mail your check) as soon as possible to ensure your spot.

Registration Check Information:
FOR ENERGY II: Please make the registration check in the amount of $50 (per course) payable to: UMass-Boston(include the course name and your preferred e-mail address in the memo line)
FOR MATHEMATICS I: Please make the registration check in the amount of $50 (per course) payable to: Northeastern University (include the course name and your preferred e-mail address in the memo line)

Send the checks for BOTH COURSES to:

Nick Smetana
Center for STEM Education
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue, 520 INV
Boston, MA 02115

Feel free to contact me with any questions that you may have.

Nick Smetana
phone: (617) 373-3706

Summer Professional Development Opportunities

" Monday to Friday, July 11 - July 15 at UMass Amherst
" Funded by the National Science Foundation
" Sponsored by the STEM Education Institute and the Center for
Hierarchical Manufacturing
" Middle and High School Science, Math, and Technology Teachers
" $75/day stipends ($375 total), materials, parking, lunches
" Housing (new air conditioned dorms) those outside the
commuting radius
" 3 graduate credits available at reduced cost; free PDP's
(Professional Development Points)
" Ongoing partnerships with UMass Faculty

Nanotechnology deals with materials on the scale of nanometers. A nanometer is one-millionth of a millimeter, or about 10 atomic diameters. Such materials can have surprising and useful behaviors and properties.
Applications of this rapidly growing field include regenerative medicine, fabrics and construction materials of unprecedented strength, ultra-high performance computers and data storage, more efficient solar photovoltaic cells, and much more. Activity in this field cuts across the traditional disciplinary boundaries, and involves chemistry, physics, biology, and engineering.

The UMass Nanotechnology Summer Institute will explore the basic science and engineering concepts of this exciting new field, and will illustrate how they may be integrated into the usual math, science and technology courses in middle schools and high schools. The content and pedagogy will be aligned with the Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Framework.
During the institute, participants will begin to develop curriculum units for their own classes. They will complete and implement these in the fall and report on their progress and results online. Three graduate credits will be available for the institute and curriculum unit; the cost will be $300 plus a $45 registration fee. PDP's will be available at no cost.

Application process: An application form and additional information are available at Teachers should also prepare a narrative statement of how they intend to use the institute materials in their classroom, and include in their application package a recent resume and a letter of support from their school principal or superintendent. The application package can be submitted by email, fax, or US mail. Applications are due April 1, 2011. Late applications will be accepted on a space available basis.

STEM Ed Institute:,
413-545-0734, fax: 413-545-3697 Center for Hierarchical Manufacturing:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Student and Teacher Fellowship Opportunities

You might find the following site of interest -
and -

A few of the current listings - Fellowships

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program
2,000 fellowships were awarded with value of $41,500 in 2010.

Includes full tuition and all required fees for three years, as well as a stipend of $30,000 a year, a $10,500 cost of education allowance, and a one time International Research Travel Allowance of $1,000. Awarded annually.

Other fellowship pages:Science and Engineering Faculty Fellowships- Faculty Fellowships -University Based Fellowships -Funding for Working Scientists and Engineers- Fellowships with Special Applicant Requirements
Science, Mathematics, And Research for Transformation Defense Scholarship for Research Program (SMART)

300 scholarships with full tuition and related fees, health insurance, book allowance, an annual cash award rate between $25,000 and $41,000 (depending on prior educational experience), and post-graduation employment

Includes all university tuition and required fees as well as stipends depending on educational experience. Stipends start at $25,000 and go up to $41,000. It also offers paid summer internships, a medical insurance reimbursement allowance up to $1,200 per calendar year, and a $1,000 book allowance.

SMART Scholarship for Service Program is an opportunity for students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Graduate Student Researchers Program (GSRP)

300 awards with value of $30,000 awarded annually

$30,000 per year, renewable up to three years, divided as follows: $21,000 student stipend, $6,000 student allowance, and $3,000 university allowance. Approximately 300 graduate students are supported annually.

National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship

200 fellowships with a minimum value of $30,500 awarded annually

Includes full tuition and all required fees for three years as well as a stipend, as follows: $30,500 for first year, $31,000 for second year, and $31,500 for third year; also includes up to $1,000 for health insurance. Approximately 200 fellowships are awarded each year.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Fellowship

Approximately 120 awards – $37,000 per year per fellowship

Benefits of an EPA STAR Fellowship include: Up to $37,000 per year of support, including $12,000 per year for tuition and fees, $20,000 per year in a monthly stipend, and an annual expense allowance of $5,000. Master’s level students can receive support for a maximum of two years. Doctoral students can be supported for a maximum of three years with funding available, under certain circumstances, over a period of four years.

Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship

Approximately 78 awards with stipends between $20,000 and $ 40,000 annual

Ford Foundation Fellowship awards are offered at the Predoctoral, Dissertation and Postdoctoral levels.

Predoctoral Fellowship:
Ford Fellowship program will award approximately 40 predoctoral fellowships. The predoctoral fellowships provide three years of support for individuals engaged in graduate study leading to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) degree.

Annual stipend: $20,000
Award to the institution in lieu of tuition and fees: $2,000
Expenses paid to attend at least one Conference of Ford Fellows
Dissertation Fellowship:
The program will award approximately 20 dissertation fellowships. The dissertation fellowships provide one year of support for individuals working to complete a dissertation leading to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) degree.

One-year stipend: $21,000
Expenses paid to attend one Conference of Ford Fellows
Postdoctoral Fellowship:
The program will award approximately 18 postdoctoral fellowships. The postdoctoral fellowships provide one year of support for individuals engaged in postdoctoral study after the attainment of the Ph.D. or Sc.D. degree.

One-year Stipend: $40,000
The stipend may be supplemented by sabbatical leave pay or other sources of support that do not carry with them teaching or other responsibilities.. No dependency allowance is available.
Employing Institution Allowance: $1,500
Expenses paid to attend one Conference of Ford Fellows
US Department of Energy – The Office of Science Graduate Fellowship Program

Approximately 80 graduate fellowships with a yearly stipend of $35,000 for general living expenses

This program is to support outstanding students to pursue graduate training in basic research in areas of physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, computational sciences, and environmental sciences. Graduate programs not eligible for the DOE SCGF fellowship include: joint BS/MS degree programs, DVM, MBA, MD, joint MD/PhD, JD, or joint JD/PhD degree programs. Each fellow is eligible to receive the following benefits for each of the three years of the fellowship.

Goldwater Science Scholarships

Approximately 300 scholarships with a maximum value of $7,500 awarded annually

Each scholarship covers eligible expenses for undergraduate tuition, fees, books, and room and board, up to a maximum of $7,500 annually.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Program was created to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering and to foster excellence in those fields.

Jacob K. Javits Fellowship US Department of Education

Approximately 27 fellowships with an average value of $43,755 awarded annually

A fellow receives the Javits fellowship annually for up to the lesser of 48 months or the completion of their degree. For fiscal year 2010, the maximum stipend will be $30,000, and the institutional payment is estimated to be $13,755.

Eligibility is limited to individuals who at the time of application (1) will be entering a doctoral program in academic year 2010-2011 and/or who, at the time of application, have not yet completed their first full year of study in the doctoral program for which they are seeking support; (2) will be entering a Master of Fine Arts program in academic year 2010-2011 where the master’s is the terminal highest degree awarded in the selected field of study.

Monday, November 8, 2010

AP Biology Callbacks - Harvard Medical School - Please RSVP

AP Biology Callbacks

Dear colleagues,
The goal of the program is to enhance dialogue in science education and engage education professionals in Advanced Placement professional development throughout the academic year. Professional Development Points (PDPs) can be earned by attending AP Biology Callbacks and logging onto “” This is an opportunity to meet other instructors and share your experiences and ideas. Please RSVP and parking at 200 Longwood Ave. is available upon request.

AP Biology Callbacks is open to everyone, not just AP Biology teachers, and will be held at Harvard Medical School on the following dates below and in enclosed invitation:

November 10, 2010:
Managing and Implementing an AP Biology Curriculum by David Barry, Boston Latin Academy
Location: TMEC Room 250, 260 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA
Time: 3:30-6:00pm

December 13, 2010:
How to Effectively Teach Critical Thinking by Dr. Daniel Willingham, author of
“Why Don’t Students Like School?”
Location: Cannon Room, Building C, 240 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA
Time: 3:30-6:00pm

January 27, 2011:
AP Biology Best Practices, by various AP Biology teachers
Location: TBD
Time: 3:30-6:00pm

March 22, 2011:
Genomic Sequencing: Medical, Personal and Social Implications, by Dr. Ting Wu, Harvard Genetics
Location: TBD
Time: 3:30-6:00pm

Please reply to:
Anne Marie Clarke -
If you are interested in attending.

Friday, November 5, 2010



November 10, 2010: 12:30 - 1:45 pm (EST)

This free event is a Webinar and takes place ONLINE. Registration required.

A report being released on November 10 provides new information on the percentage of high-achieving students in the U.S. high school graduating class of 2009 in each of the 50 states, as compared to the percentage of high-achieving students in 56 other countries.

This study will become available on November 10, 2010 at 12:00 AM EST. It has been prepared under the auspices of Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance & Education Next in the Taubman Center for State and Local Government at the Harvard Kennedy School.

For an online copy of the report, see:

For an abbreviated version, with a map that provides specific information for each state, see:

In concurrence with this release, this Webinar will feature two of the report’s authors who will present a summary of the findings and take questions from the audience for discussion. Ample time will be allocated for this Q&A session.
The report authors are:

*ERIC A. HANUSHEK – Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution and Stanford University

*PAUL E. PETERSON – Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government, Harvard University

LUDGER WOESSMANN – Professor of Economics, University of Munich

*Presenting at Webinar

REGISTER NOW – Please fill out some basic information if you are interested in attending.

INSTRUCTIONS – Review these instructions and practice logging in ahead of time (Try it now!). id=2480

RESOURCES – Links to resources related to this event (this list will be updated periodically).

QUESTIONS? Contact us:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

RET Networking Meeting at NSTA - Travel Awards Available

RET Networking Meeting at NSTA
San Francisco 2011

Travel awards are available for current and former RET's to participate in the annual RET Networking Meeting and Poster Session at NSTA on March, 9th 2011.

Please complete the on-line application if you are interested in attending either meeting. Travel awards in the amount of $1,000 will be distributed at the meeting. Registration costs will also be covered for those invited to participate. Both sessions will be held at the Hilton at Union Square.

NSF Research Experiences for Teachers Network Meeting
1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

This informal session provides an opportunity for networking among former RET participants and program administrators representative of a variety of programs and geographic locations across the country. Session participants will share information regarding their RET experience, classroom connections, successes, and obstacles "back in the classroom"; and discusses useful professional development and other programmatic strong points.

Research Experience for Teachers (RET) Poster Session
3/19/2009 3:45 – 5:00 PM

Teacher Research Programs, found at many universities throughout the country, are changing the face of science education in the United States and abroad. Please join in the discussion regarding this powerful professional development program and share your story with the RET community.

Please visit to register for conference details.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Next Great Science Exhibition

The Next Great Science Exhibition - Museum of Science

TAGS: Public Good, Business/Entrepreneurship, Ideation
AWARD: $8,000 USD | DEADLINE: 10/27/10 | ACTIVE SOLVERS: 410 | POSTED: 9/27/10
The Museum of Science, Boston is looking for creative concepts for the next great large-scale science and/or technology exhibition. This is an Ideation Challenge with a guaranteed award for at least one submitted solution.

Source: InnoCentive Challenge ID: 9719645

Challenge Overview
The Museum of Science, Boston is looking for creative concepts for the next great large-scale science and/or technology exhibition that will debut in Boston and then travel to science museums both in the U.S. and around the world.

This is an Ideation Challenge, which has the following specific features:

There is a guaranteed award. The awards will be paid to the best submissions as solely determined by the Seeker. The total payout may reach $8,000, of which $5,000 will be paid to the best submission and $2,000 and $1,000 may be paid to two additional submissions.

The Solvers are not required to transfer exclusive intellectual property rights to the Seeker. Rather, by submitting a proposal, the Solvers grants to the Seeker a royalty-free, perpetual, non-exclusive license to practice the idea submitted for this Challenge.

The Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision after the Challenge deadline. All Solvers that provide a submission will be notified about the status of their submission; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided.

What is InnoCentive?
InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world's most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.

What is InnoCentive IdeationTM Challenge?

An InnoCentive Ideation™ Challenge is a broad question formulated to obtain access to new ideas, similar to a global brainstorm for producing a breakthrough idea or market survey which may include ideas for a new product line, a new commercial application for a current product, or even a viral marketing idea to recruit new customers. Ideation™ Challenge submissions are typically about two written pages, and Seekers receive a non-exclusive, perpetual license to use all submissions.

In an Ideation™ Challenge, Solvers may:

Submit ideas of their own
Submit third party information that they have the right to use and further the authority to convey that right and the right to use and develop derivative works to Seekers
Submit information considered in the public domain without any limitations on use.

Solvers should not reveal any confidential information in their submissions. Often the Ideation™ Challenge will be followed by one or more of the other three Challenge types to further develop the ideas and gain Intellectual Property protection when the concept has been well-defined.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Skills for America's Future

Today, President Obama announced the launch of a new initiative Skills for America’s Future - an effort to improve industry partnerships with community colleges to ensure that America’s community college students are gaining the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in the workforce.

In his remarks before the start of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB) meeting today, President Obama laid the vision for Skills for America's Future program:

The idea here is simple: we want to make it easier to connect students looking for jobs with businesses looking to hire. We want to help community colleges and employers create programs that match curricula in the classroom with the needs of the boardroom.

We’ve already seen cases where this can work. Cisco, for example, has been working directly with community colleges to prepare students and workers for jobs ranging from work in broadband to health IT. And all over the country, we know that the most successful community colleges are those that partner with the private sector. So Skills for America’s Future would help build on these success stories by connecting more employers, schools, and other job training providers, and helping them share knowledge about what practices work best. The goal is to ensure that every state in the country has at least one strong partnership between a growing industry and a community college. Already, companies from UTC to Accenture to the GAP have announced their support for this initiative, as well as business leaders like my friend Penny Pritzker and the Aspen Institute’s Walter Isaacson. I hope other business leaders will follow suit, and I’m also setting up a taskforce to work directly with the business community on this effort.

The President also emphasized the importance investing in education as a means of investing in our long-term economic growth.

But what I won’t do is cut back on investments like education that are directly related to our long term economic performance. Now is not the time to sacrifice our competitive edge in the global economy. And that’s why I disagree so strongly with the proposal from some on the other side of the aisle to cut education by 20% in next year’s budget. It’s a cut that would eliminate 200,000 children from Head Start programs; a cut that would reduce financial aid for eight million college students; a cut that would leave community colleges without the resources they need to meet the goals we’ve talked about today. That just doesn’t make sense to me.

President Obama understands that the education and skills of the American workforce is crucial to our ability to compete in the global economy. That’s why the President has set a goal of having an additional 5 million community college degrees and certificates by 2020, and called on PERAB to develop new steps to ensure that those degrees and certificates will provide graduates with the skills they need to get ahead in their careers.

To respond to the President’s call, PERAB reached out to private sector employers, labor leaders, philanthropy organizations, and policy leaders within the Administration solicit their views on the workplace development challenges of the 21st century. Many employers identified public-private partnerships as one of the most effective ways to ensure that college graduates and certificate earners have the skills they need to be successful in the workforce.

The Skills for America’s Future initiative will match up the employers like PG&E, United Technologies, McDonald’s, Accenture and Gap Inc. with community colleges in every state to develop curricula and programs that will prepare graduates to excel in the workforce. To learn more about this initiative visit

Tomorrow, Dr. Jill Biden will host the first ever White House Summit on Community Colleges, an effort to bring together bring together community colleges, business, philanthropy, federal and state policy leaders, faculty and students to discuss how community colleges can help meet the job training and education needs of the nation’s evolving workforce. Leaders from the Skills for America’s Future will be leading a breakout session during the summit to discuss best practices for building robust, successful partnerships.

You can join the conversation as well, by submitting your ideas and comments in our online dialogue on community colleges. Visit to get started.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Harvard HSSP Program - Please share with your students

We at MIT ESP would like to introduce you to our sister program, Harvard HSSP. The program will run on Saturdays from October 2 to November 13 on the Harvard Campus.

Online registration for grades 7-12 is now open. The first round of registration closes on September 25th. So register SOON at

Further details are below:

Harvard ESP is proud to announce that their second annual High School Studies Program (HSSP)is taking place this fall! This year, HSSP will be open to middle school and high school students in grades 7-12.

HSSP is a perfect opportunity for students with diverse interests and a passion for learning to explore their passions through fun and helpful classes. Our classes are mostly taught by our very own undergraduates, all of whom have a genuine interest in the subject they're teaching. With classes that include "Theoretical Linear Algebra," "Hamlet: An Overview," and "Digital Art," students will be sure to find classes that they enjoy and that will help nurture their love of learning.

Two-hour classes begin on Saturday, October 2nd and run on seven consecutive Saturdays until November 13th. All classes will be held on the Harvard University campus. Online registration is now open at Students may register for up to three classes. The registration fee is $30 per student and is waived for any student on the free or reduced lunch program. Financial aid is also available to all students who apply and demonstrate necessity.

We look forward to seeing you this fall at HSSP!

MIT and Harvard ESP

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

FAB@School - worth a look

FableVision, U.Va, & Cornell Celebrate Big Win in MacArthur Foundation/HASTAC's
Digital Media & Learning Competition - Fab@School Project Named Winner of
“21st Century Learning Lab Designers” Award
Facing stiff competition from over 800 entries, the Fab@School initiative has been selected as one of only ten "Learning Lab Designer" winners in the MacArthur Foundation/HASTAC's Digital Media and Learning Competition. FableVision's CEO Paul Reynolds was in Washington, DC at the awards presentation with partner Dr. Glen Bull of the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education.
The Fab@School initiative, which starts at the elementary school level, features an inquiry and project-based curriculum/toolset which allows students to create three-dimensional objects - everything from model skyscrapers and bridges to pop-ups, gears, and working mechanisms - using a digital fabricator. Students design the objects on a computer and then send it to the fabricator to "print." When finished, a student has in physical form what they created on the screen. The FableVision team, led by Dr. Peggy Healy Stearns (who co-created FableVision Learning's award-winning Stationery Studio K-5 writing software with Peter H. Reynolds), will be producing and publishing the classroom software with long-time ed tech partner MacKiev Software, under the leadership of Jack Minsky.
Along with lead partner Dr. Glen Bull of the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education, some of Fab@School's other project partners include Cornell University Computational Synthesis Laboratory, Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education (SITE), Hofstra University, and the International Technology and Engineering Education Association (ITEEA).
Watch the short video below to learn more about how Fab@School is aiming to revolutionize elementary STEM learning with its engaging constructivist/constructionist approach. For more information, check out the Fab@School Project on the Digital Media and Learning Competition website

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

West Point Bridge Design Contest

Welcome to the 2011 West Point Bridge Design Contest

Download and install the West Point Bridge Designer 2011 software.
Use the software to design and test a virtual bridge.
Register your team.
Log in and submit as many designs as you like.
It's absolutely FREE!

Who: U.S. students age 13 through grade 12 are eligible for prizes. Anyone else may enter our Open Competition. More about eligibility...

When: The 2011 contest will begin on January 10, 2011, and the Qualifying Round will end on February 25. More about the contest schedule...
Prizes: Each member of the first-place team earns a $10,000 scholarship. Each finalist wins a notebook computer. More about prizes...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

PCAST (President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology) STEM Report

PCAST Releases Major Report on STEM—Today the White House Office of Science and Technology will release the Presidents Council of Advisors on Science and Technology long-awaited final report on actions the federal government can take to strengthen STEM education. The report goes directly to President Obama and is sure to have an impact on future policy and funding decisions.

Link to full report

You might want to take a look at some of the recent reports. Please post your comments.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010



The development of our nation's human capital through our education system is an essential building block for future innovation. Currently, the abilities of far too many of America's young men and women go unrecognized and underdeveloped, and, thus, they fail to reach their full potential. This represents a loss for both the individual and society. There are students with high potential from every demographic and from every part of our country, who with hard work and the proper educational opportunities, will form the next generation of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) innovators. The National Science Board (Board) believes that the recommendations set forth in this report will help ensure a legacy of continued prosperity and a renewed aspiration towards equity and excellence in U.S. STEM education.

Background for the STEM Innovators Project
To produce this report, in August 2008, the Board charged the Committee on Education and Human Resources to form an ad hoc Task Group on STEM Innovators. The Task Group was directed to identify strategies for increasing the number of future STEM innovators and synthesize recommendations for how the National Science Foundation (NSF), and possibly other Federal entities, might engage in fostering the development of these individuals. This report and the recommendations set forth herein are based on the findings from an expert panel discussion held on August 23-25, 2009, and a 2-year examination of the issue by the ad hoc Task Group.

Preparing the Next Generation of STEM Innovators: Identifying and Developing Our Nation's Human Capital (Full Report; PDF)
National STEM Action Plan
A National Action Plan for Addressing the Critical Needs of the U.S. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education System
Download A National Action Plan for Addressing the Critical Needs of the U.S. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education System.

Paper copies of the action plan can be ordered by submitting a Web-based order form at:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Grand Challenges for Engineering

Great site to introduce engineering challenges we face to your students.

Web site


Grand Challenges for Engineering

Throughout human history, engineering has driven the advance of civilization.
From the metallurgists who ended the Stone Age to the shipbuilders who united the world’s peoples through travel and trade, the past witnessed many marvels of engineering prowess. As civilization grew, it was nourished and enhanced with the help of increasingly sophisticated tools for agriculture, technologies for producing textiles, and inventions transforming human interaction and communication. Inventions such as the mechanical clock and the printing press irrevocably changed civilization.
In the modern era, the Industrial Revolution brought engineering’s influence to every niche of life, as machines supplemented and replaced human labor for countless tasks, improved systems for sanitation enhanced health, and the steam engine facilitated mining, powered trains and ships, and provided energy for factories.
In the century just ended, engineering recorded its grandest accomplishments. The widespread development and distribution of electricity and clean water, automobiles and airplanes, radio and television, spacecraft and lasers, antibiotics and medical imaging, and computers and the Internet are just some of the highlights from a century in which engineering revolutionized and improved virtually every aspect of human life. Find out more about the great engineering achievements of the 20th century from a separate NAE website.
For all of these advances, though, the century ahead poses challenges as formidable as any from millennia past. As the population grows and its needs and desires expand, the problem of sustaining civilization’s continuing advancement, while still improving the quality of life, looms more immediate. Old and new threats to personal and public health demand more effective and more readily available treatments. Vulnerabilities to pandemic diseases, terrorist violence, and natural disasters require serious searches for new methods of protection and prevention. And products and processes that enhance the joy of living remain a top priority of engineering innovation, as they have been since the taming of fire and the invention of the wheel.
In each of these broad realms of human concern — sustainability, health, vulnerability, and joy of living — specific grand challenges await engineering solutions. The world’s cadre of engineers will seek ways to put knowledge into practice to meet these grand challenges. Applying the rules of reason, the findings of science, the aesthetics of art, and the spark of creative imagination, engineers will continue the tradition of forging a better future.
Foremost among the challenges are those that must be met to ensure the future itself. The Earth is a planet of finite resources, and its growing population currently consumes them at a rate that cannot be sustained. Widely reported warnings have emphasized the need to develop new sources of energy, at the same time as preventing or reversing the degradation of the environment.
Sunshine has long offered a tantalizing source of environmentally friendly power, bathing the Earth with more energy each hour than the planet’s population consumes in a year. But capturing that power, converting it into useful forms, and especially storing it for a rainy day, poses provocative engineering challenges.
Another popular proposal for long-term energy supplies is nuclear fusion, the artificial re-creation of the sun’s source of power on Earth. The quest for fusion has stretched the limits of engineering ingenuity, but hopeful developments suggest the goal of practical fusion power may yet be attainable.
Engineering solutions for both solar power and nuclear fusion must be feasible not only technologically but also economically when compared with the ongoing use of fossil fuels. Even with success, however, it remains unlikely that fossil fuels will be eliminated from the planet’s energy-source budget anytime soon, leaving their environment-associated issues for engineers to address. Most notoriously, evidence is mounting that the carbon dioxide pumped into the air by the burning of fossil fuels is increasing the planet’s temperature and threatens disruptive effects on climate. Anticipating the continued use of fossil fuels, engineers have explored technological methods of capturing the carbon dioxide produced from fuel burning and sequestering it underground.
A further but less publicized environmental concern involves the atmosphere’s dominant component, the element nitrogen. The biogeochemical cycle that extracts nitrogen from the air for its incorporation into plants — and hence food — has become altered by human activity. With widespread use of fertilizers and high-temperature industrial combustion, humans have doubled the rate at which nitrogen is removed from the air relative to pre-industrial times, contributing to smog and acid rain, polluting drinking water, and even worsening global warming. Engineers must design countermeasures for nitrogen cycle problems, while maintaining the ability of agriculture to produce adequate food supplies.
Chief among concerns in this regard is the quality and quantity of water, which is in seriously short supply in many regions of the world. Both for personal use — drinking, cleaning, cooking, and removal of waste — and large-scale use such as irrigation for agriculture, water must be available and sustainably provided to maintain quality of life. New technologies for desalinating sea water may be helpful, but small-scale technologies for local water purification may be even more effective for personal needs.
Naturally, water quality and many other environmental concerns are closely related to questions of human health. While many of the health scourges of the past have been controlled and even eliminated by modern medicine, other old ones such as malaria remain deadly, and newer problems have remained resistant to medical advances, requiring new medical technologies and methods.
One goal of biomedical engineering today is fulfilling the promise of personalized medicine. Doctors have long recognized that individuals differ in their susceptibility to disease and their response to treatments, but medical technologies have generally been offered as "one size fits all." Recent cataloging of the human genetic endowment, and deeper understanding of the body’s complement of proteins and their biochemical interactions, offer the prospect of identifying the specific factors that determine sickness and wellness in any individual.
An important way of exploiting such information would be the development of methods that allow doctors to forecast the benefits and side effects of potential treatments or cures. “Reverse-engineering” the brain, to determine how it performs its magic, should offer the dual benefits of helping treat diseases while providing clues for new approaches to computerized artificial intelligence. Advanced computer intelligence, in turn, should enable automated diagnosis and prescriptions for treatment. And computerized catalogs of health information should enhance the medical system’s ability to track the spread of disease and analyze the comparative effectiveness of different approaches to prevention and therapy.
Another reason to develop new medicines is the growing danger of attacks from novel disease-causing agents. Certain deadly bacteria, for instance, have repeatedly evolved new properties, conferring resistance against even the most powerful antibiotics. New viruses arise with the power to kill and spread more rapidly than disease-prevention systems are designed to counteract.
As a consequence, vulnerability to biological disaster ranks high on the list of unmet challenges for biomedical engineers — just as engineering solutions are badly needed to counter the violence of terrorists and the destructiveness of earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural dangers. Technologies for early detection of such threats and rapid deployment of countermeasures (such as vaccines and antiviral drugs) rank among the most urgent of today’s engineering challenges.
Even as terrorist attacks, medical epidemics, and natural disasters represent acute threats to the quality of life, more general concerns pose challenges for the continued enhancement of living. Engineers face the grand challenge of renewing and sustaining the aging infrastructures of cities and services, while preserving ecological balances and enhancing the aesthetic appeal of living spaces.
And the external world is not the only place where engineering matters; the inner world of the mind should benefit from improved methods of instruction and learning, including ways to tailor the mind’s growth to its owner’s propensities and abilities. Some new methods of instruction, such as computer-created virtual realities, will no doubt also be adopted for entertainment and leisure, furthering engineering’s contributions to the joy of living.
The spirit of curiosity in individual minds and in society as a whole can be further promoted through engineering endeavors enhancing exploration at the frontiers of reality and knowledge, by providing new tools for investigating the vastness of the cosmos or the inner intricacy of life and atoms.
All of these examples merely scratch the surface of the challenges that engineers will face in the 21st century. The problems described here merely illustrate the magnitude and complexity of the tasks that must be mastered to ensure the sustainability of civilization and the health of its citizens, while reducing individual and societal vulnerabilities and enhancing the joy of living in the modern world.
None of these challenges will be met, however, without finding ways to overcome the barriers that block their accomplishment. Most obviously, engineering solutions must always be designed with economic considerations in mind — for instance, despite environmental regulations, cheaper polluting technologies often remain preferred over more expensive, clean technologies.
Engineers must also face formidable political obstacles. In many parts of the world, entrenched groups benefiting from old systems wield political power that blocks new enterprises. Even where no one group stands in the way of progress, the expense of new engineering projects can deter action, and meeting many of the century’s challenges will require unprecedented levels of public funding. Current government budgets for U.S. infrastructure improvement alone falls hundreds of billions of dollars short of estimated needs. Securing the funds necessary to meet all the great challenges will require both popular and political support. Engineers must join with scientists, educators, and others to encourage and promote improved science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in the schools and enhanced flow of technical information to the public at large — conveying not just the facts of science and engineering, but also an appreciation of the ways that scientists and engineers acquire the knowledge and tools required to meet society’s needs.
Public understanding of engineering and its underlying science will be important to support the calls for funding, as well as to enhance the prospect for successful adoption of new technologies. The ultimate users of engineering’s products are people with individual and personal concerns, and in many cases, resistance to new ways of doing things will have to be overcome. Teachers must revamp their curricula and teaching styles to benefit from electronic methods of personalized learning. Doctors and hospital personnel will have to alter their methods to make use of health informatics systems and implement personalized medicine. New systems for drug regulation and approval will be needed when medicines are designed for small numbers of individuals rather than patient populations as a whole.
A prime example where such a barrier exists is in the challenge of reducing vulnerability to assaults on cyberspace, such as identity theft and computer viruses designed to disrupt Internet traffic. Systems for keeping cyberspace secure must be designed to be compatible with human users — cumbersome methods that have to be rigorously observed don’t work, because people find them inconvenient. Part of the engineering task will be discovering which approaches work best at ensuring user cooperation with new technologies.
In sum, governmental and institutional, political and economic, and personal and social barriers will repeatedly arise to impede the pursuit of solutions to problems. As they have throughout history, engineers will have to integrate their methods and solutions with the goals and desires of all society’s members.
And “all society’s members” must be interpreted literally. Perhaps the most difficult challenge of all will be to disperse the fruits of engineering widely around the globe, to rich and poor alike.
In the world today, many of engineering’s gifts to civilization are distributed unevenly. At least a billion people do not have access to adequate supplies of clean water. Countless millions have virtually no medical care available, let alone personalized diagnosis and treatment. Solving computer security problems has little meaning for the majority of the world’s population on the wrong side of the digital divide. Sustainable supplies of food, water, and energy; protection from human violence, natural disaster, and disease; full access to the joys of learning, exploration, communication, and entertainment — these are goals for all of the world’s people.
So in pursuing the century's great challenges, engineers must frame their work with the ultimate goal of universal accessibility in mind. Just as Abraham Lincoln noted that a house divided against itself cannot stand, a world divided by wealth and poverty, health and sickness, food and hunger, cannot long remain a stable place for civilization to thrive.
Through the engineering accomplishments of the past, the world has become smaller, more inclusive, and more connected. The challenges facing engineering today are not those of isolated locales, but of the planet as a whole and all the planet’s people. Meeting all those challenges must make the world not only a more technologically advanced and connected place, but also a more sustainable, safe, healthy, and joyous — in other words, better — place.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Common Core Learning Standards

Just curious what changes you are making in your districts this year in response to the adoption of the Common Core State Standards?

(from the MA Dept. of Education Web site)

Curriculum and Instruction
Common Core State Standards Initiative
The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to adopt the Common Core State Standards at its meeting on July 21, 2010. You can read more about the development of these standards at Commissioner Mitchell Chester's July memorandum to the Board recommending the Common Core State Standards is accompanied by reports analyzing the standards.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

2010 RET Survey

If you are a current RET partipant being funded by Northeastern Unversity's Center for STEM Education, you can fill in the following survey.  Click on the link and fill in the information. Thank you.

2010 Survey

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ten Cool Sites - Monthly Exploratorium

Website: Ten Cool Sites, Monthly
Posted on July 20th, 2010 by ASEE
Check out the Ten Cool Sites page of San Francisco’s Exploratorium Museum, posted each month to showcase “a collection of cool, interactive sites from the Web,” focusing on science subjects.

The site provides an archive of past editions, those that have been most recommended, a “random cool” selection, and an alphabetized list of categories.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Adopting the New National Standards in MA - Debate

Keep the Old or Change for New?

"Chi lascia la strada vecchia per la nuova, sa quel che lascia ma non sa quel che trova!" goes the old Italian adage, (similar to the English version 'do not change the horse in half stream'.) It is true, that he who quits the old way for a new one, knows what he leaves, but does not know what he finds. So, it seems to be the case of MA legislators in adopting the New NAtional Standards for teaching Matha nd Science in EL/MS levels. However, I am tryingto work as devil's advocate with the following reflection, invited to the discussion by Rocco, Rob, Rick.

As an outsider, I think that making a move toward positive change will be helpful: (if) A) Standards are to be viewed as a common "floor" (Christos Z.) upon which you build accordingly knowledge. {MA teacher must not fear it if they always strive for excellence. Established practice demonstrated successful must not change per se: keep doing the same good job and teaching the same core values... B) Why fear if the new Standards are based in good (%) on MA frameworks, (as we are so told!) Just to consider the opposite side (of public educationl,) sometimes, is beneficial to thinking the end results: - cum grano salis - students that in El/MS do not go through testing do perform as well; outperform at best (using full potential), or fail (when not using full potential) in compaison to their public peers. Eventually, teaching FOR testing (MCAS) has many benefits, but creates a culture of learning that (I observe and perceive) is under scrutiny by many educators. C) Federal budget is not to be neglected, if schools suffer fundings; so many schools may benefit in this regard. To use a metaphor inspired from the geneticist, Dr. Erin Cram, this is not a step backward per se, but a tentative to find a cure of abnormal gene behavior in a system of education (math & sciences) that is affecting nation's science and math delivery to young generations.

The question still remains: is it the answer to be found in the delivery system, or in a wider, distracted, socio-economical and cultural background ?

My two cents, Ardian

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

"Cancer and the Green Chemistry" - by Heinz Kerry, et al.


The Latin saying "mens sana in corpore sano' could be easily interpreted as (a) healthy living - in a healthy environment!
This is the real problem: how to prevent things from happening and being so harmful to Americans' health. My RET research with Prof. Akram Alshawabkeh, deals specifically with DNPLAs (pollutants) in Soil and Groundwater in the main island of Puerto Rico. High concentration levels of TCE/PCE (tetra/polychloroeathane) contaminants permeate local aquifers causing premature births at a rate of 20%, the highest in American states and territories. So, the article on "Green Chemistry" hits the nail right on the head, which is the environmental protection.
Prevention is better than remediation.
The article reinforced my concern addressed to a friend of mine, the economist Marco Beatrice, that remediation is necessary, but it isn't the final solution. Prevention is. As an economist, he summoned upon the markets as regulators of everything. So, the next question is if we cannot regulate the markets, at what extent human behavior can affect the change we all are looking for? "Green Chemistry" is definitely one of the long term solutions. The fact that this phenomenon is tackled by politically influential exponents, scientist and well established entrepreneurs has a relevant significance.
As in everything else that involve humane actions, peace or war, health or sickness, protection or destruction, If we ignore the cause, how can we prevent the phenomenon and really win the race? I believe that it will be possible by educating the people and especially the young generations by enabling them to be actively engaged in the process, by adequately gaining scientific literacy and being politically involved in their lives. The approach that NEU, BU and other university centers have taken by training the teachers at all levels, and involving the young scholars with direct field research experiences is the true, unique everlasting remediation. Ardian Mici RET-2010

(To read the entire article, go to:

RET "In the Labs"

RET participants get their hands dirty collaborating with Northeastern University Investigators this summer.  Throughout the program, teachers are sharpening their scientific toolkit and refining their classroom connections, so that, ultimately, their students will experience a rich, exciting, and broad set of up-to-date curricular materials in the upcoming school year.  Here are some photos of the RET-PLUS teacher participants this summer.

Participants Nora Linksey from Middlesex Community College and Harriet Page from Marblehead High School demonstrate the creation of a composite mixture.

Ardian Mici of the Andover School of Montessori and Margaret Farrar from Cambridge Rindge and Lation are documenting pH readings a liquid taken from a soil sample modeling apparatus.

Monday Morning PD

RET-PLUS 2010 participants gather at Northeastern University for a group photo.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Uncovering the "Silent - E"

It seems that our society has placed a "silencing" cup on the word "Engineering" from pre-college levels downwards. This was the topic of Day 2 afternoon discussions led by BU Eng. Prof. Mike Ruane.

Focused on the importance of Integrating Engineering Design into pre-college STEM courses, RET expert and Medford biology teacher, Rocco Cieri, called on discovering new strategies and ways that could make Engineering an appealing career for teenagers, who seem to drifting away from such a highly demanded career path. In the discussion, RET experts and novices presented their concerns and suggested solutions for science teachers who recommend career paths to pre-college students.

As a teacher in a private institution, in a wealthy North Shore - Boston area, I think that there is a tendency today in the American society at large that appears to indirectly cultivate a fertile terrain for math and sciences withdrawal, generally speaking, and especially from careers in engineering. This is a serious concern and debated at many levels. It is also a very complex phenomenon. It has a multitude of agents and reagents, policy actors and decision makers, where individual students and families feel powerless to hold the societal pressure toward ‘’easy’’, but well paid careers! Individuals (think: students) bullied by internet ads that lure the young to quickly achieve degrees without the necessary, hard work in a connected way. Teachers, struggling for resources, lack motivation if underpaid or submerged in bureaucratic work.

Immigration policies, which in one hand try to fill in the shortage with readily made scientists from abroad, hinder the development of local internal growth. (At least, this is the way of thinking of politicians : buying comes easier than making!)

However, for me, personally, the main reason for the math-and-science current, student neglect are the media and the entitlement culture of the American student. We, educators, deal with it in our classes on a daily basis. Students seem to be more attracted by musical idols, multimillionaire movie stars and athletes than any other profession. The rest of their day is overbooked with piano lessons, baseball, hockey, lacrosse, and all kind of tutoring hours from MCAS to SSAT’s. Therefore, going to school has become the best place and time to “socialize.” And there’s nothing that could beat the hunger for socialization in a teenager! Math and science – by definition – are smeared with distaste by many students as an uneasy unlike-denominator, killing the fun time.

I am afraid that at the end of the teen-years, when it is time to call for a life vocation, the choice may appear more coherent to a life “vacation” than anything else.

Well, luckily, not for everyone!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon and the U. S. Army
Natick Soldier Systems Center will present the highly rated Materials
World Module (MWM); an inquiry-based science training for teachers. The
Center for Advancement of STEM Education (CASE) from Garrett College
will represent the National Defense Education Program in providing
training and resources to support middle and high school science

Materials World Modules Teacher Training, featuring the Sports Materials
Module, will be hosted at Gillette Stadium and The Hall at Patriot Place
presented by Raytheon.

WHEN: (M, T, W) August 23rd, 24th, and 25th, 2010 from 8:00 a.m. -
4:00 p.m.

WHO: Middle and High School Science Teachers

WHERE: Gillette Stadium at Patriot Place, Foxborough, MA

EARN: Teacher Stipend of $225

We are looking for teachers to participate in this exciting three-day
training program that will include a unique opportunity to be mentored
by top-notch scientists and engineers from the US Army Natick Soldier
Systems Center. Teachers will experience inquiry and design skills to
take back to the classroom as a teaching strategy. For additional
information on MWM: for information about
the Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon:

Each teacher will receive a Sports Materials MWM Teachers Edition
materials kit and 24 student manuals to support integration in the
classroom. Materials World Modules offer hands-on learning experiences
for middle and high-school students. The modules focus on creating
materials used in the real world, such as sports materials, composites,
concrete, food packaging, smart sensors, and nanotechnology.

OPTIONAL GRADUATE LEVEL CREDITS: Two Graduate Level credits may be
earned through Framingham State College for a fee of $140. Teachers
interested in this option are responsible for the college credit fee.

Please note, if you have previously taken an MWM module for graduate
credit you will not be eligible to apply for the credits a second time.

You will receive additional information on this option with confirmation
of your registration.

ENROLLMENT: Please email your registration information to Megan
O'Brien at: PLEASE INCLUDE: Name, address,
email address, school, subject and grade level taught, and phone number
in the event we need to reach you.

Enrollment is on a first come first serve basis with a maximum of 50

Comparing Approaches to Raising Questions - Inquiry Activity - Day 2 RET 2010


High Tech Tools and Toys Laboratory Northeastern University

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Materials World Modules Teacher Training – BioSensors or Biodegradable Materials

WHEN: (W,Th,F) 23,24,25 June 2010

WHO: Middle and High School Science Teachers
WHERE: Bellingham High School, 60 Blackstone Street, Bellingham, MA 02019
EARN: Teacher Stipend of $225
WHAT: U. S. Army Natick Soldier RD&E Center in partnership with the Center for Advancement of STEM Education (CASE) will present the highly rated Material World Module (MWM) Training for teachers at Bellingham High School. We are looking for teachers to participate in this three-day training program that will include a unique opportunity to be mentored by top notch scientists for the US Army Natick Soldier Systems Laboratory.

Choose from either Bio-sensors or Biodegradable Materials. Each teacher will receive a MWM Teachers Edition Kit and 24 student manuals to support integration in the classroom. Materials World Modules offer hands-on learning experiences in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics for middle and high-school students. The modules focus on creating materials used in the real world, such as sports materials, composites, concrete, food packaging, smart sensors, and nanotechnology. You will experience inquiry and design skills to take back to your classrooms as a teaching strategy. For additional information on MWM:
OPTIONAL GRADUATE LEVEL CREDITS: Two Graduate Level credits will be awarded through Framingham State College for a fee of $140. Teachers interested in this option are responsible for the college credit fee. Please note, if you have previously taken an MWM module for graduate credit you will not be eligible to apply for the credits a second time. You will receive additional information on this option with confirmation of your registration.

ENROLLMENT: Please email your registration information to Megan O’Brien at: (please copy PLEASE INCLUDE: Name, address, email address, school, subject and grade level taught, module preference (Biosensors or Biodegradable Materials) and phone number in the event we need to reach you.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

RET at Boston University

Dear K-12 Teacher,

I am contacting you about an NSF Research Program for Teachers (RET).
In late May BU received a commitment from NSF to support a site--very good news, but it also came very late. We are contacting you now hoping that you or a colleague might be interested and able to participate this summer.

The site would support 4 teams of teachers -- comprised of a novice STEM or pre-service teacher teamed with a veteran teacher. The program will take place June 28 through August 6th M-F from 9-5.
There is a all a pre-service workshop June 23-24 and 3 callback sessions during the academic year. Participating teachers will receive $1000/wk. for each week in the lab and $200/day for the pre-workshop and callback sessions.

If you are interested, please visit the website: to apply and for more information. The attached pdf flyer spells out the RET requirements and benefits.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions after you look over the material. We're very excited to offer this summer professional opportunity and hope you can join us.

best regards,
Cynthia Brossman (

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Machine Science is pleased to announce a summer professional
development workshop for middle school and high school teachers who
are interested in using iSENSE, the Internet System for Networked
Sensor Experimentation. The iSENSE system lets your students do
hands-on science with sensor probes and electronic data collection,
and then upload, share, and interpret their data at the project's web
site (

The three-day workshop will take place June 28, 29, and 30, on the
campus of UMass Lowell. It will provide an opportunity for an
in-depth, hands-on experience with the iSENSE technology. Teachers who
attend the workshop will be eligible to receive loans of the iSENSE
data-collection equipment, as well as in-person support for classroom
iSENSE use. Professional development points and in-service credit may
be available.

More details and a registration form can be found here:

Please note that we are happy to waive the $25 registration fee if you
send us a brief letter from your principal supporting your
participation. Also, UMass does have some funds available for hotel
stays (first come, first served) if you want to make a mini-vacation
of it -- Lowell can be quite nice in the summer!

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I hope to see you there!

Best regards,

Sam Christy
Executive Director
Machine Science Inc.

(This is not a NU program)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Electricity & Magnetism in the Science Classroom

Electricity & Magnetism in the Science Classroom

Note: This is an Online Class

When: 5/17- 7/25
Cost: $417/credit, 3 graduate credits
Course number: 61119
Instructors: Chris Emery and Mary Mawn

This course is an introduction to the basic concepts of electricity and magnetism, and provides teachers with hands-on investigations and lab activities as an integral part of the course. Through this course, participants' will recognize and utilize the skills of inquiry learning in the design and implementation of science curricula in their own classrooms. Skills such as: designing investigations; collecting, organizing and presenting data; identifying patterns; using math as a tool for analysis, and a basis for making inferences; communicating with others using "scientific language"; learning to ask new questions and to redesign investigations based on new, understanding will be presented and reinforced throughout the course.

Register at:
More information:

(Not a Northeastern University Program)

Monday, May 3, 2010

MITS 2010 Summer Institutes

2010 Summer Institutes

MITS, Inc. Museum Institute for Teaching Science
Interactions in the Sciences: Observe, Investigate, Explain Explore how
cycles, processes and systems connect life, physical and earth science

July 6-9 & July 12-16
For Upper Elementary and Middle School Educators

A minds-on, hands-on professional development experience that will
provide you with scientific knowledge, classroom investigations and a
network of resources.
Offered in seven regions of Massachusetts and southeastern New Hampshire.

Spend 1-2 days at each partner organization as you participate in
content and skill development sessions taught by professional educators,
scientists and content experts. Daily activities include both indoor,
inquiry-based classroom experiences and outdoor, field experiences.

Berkshire Region: Berkshire Museum, Center for Ecological Technology, MA
DCR, Housatonic Valley Association

Boston Region: Boston Children's Museum, Harvard Museum of Natural
History, New England Aquarium, Zoo New England

Cape Cod/South Shore Region: Cape Cod Maritime Museum, National Marine
Life Center, OceanQuest, South Shore Nature Center

Merrimack River Region: Amoskeag Fishways Learning and Visitors Center,
Beaver Brook Association, MA DCR, Nashua River Watershed Association

North Shore Region: Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center, HOBBES, Inc.,
MAS Endicott and Ipswich Regional Centers, Schooner Adventure

Southeast Region: Buttonwood Park Zoo, Lloyd Center for the Environment,
MAS Oak Knoll Wildlife Sanctuary, New Bedford Whaling Museum

Worcester Region: EcoTarium, MAS Wachusett Meadow Sanctuary, MA DCR, Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Worcester Art Museum

. using inquiry-based, hands-on methods in your classroom
. resources at cultural institutions in your area
. life cycles and food chains in local habitats
. using interactive models to explain geology and climate
. ways that chemical and physical factors shape habitats
. how students can use data to describe what they observe
. and much more

Take home a teaching resource kit to ensure your success using inquiry in
the classroom. Earn PDPs and/or graduate credit.
Course Fee: $250 (discounts for more than one teacher per school);
additional fees for graduate credit based on institution selected
($150-$280 for 4 credits)

Registration Deadline: June 1, 2010 (call for space after deadline)
For a complete brochure or to register visit, e-mail, or call 617-328-1515

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Professional Development Opportunities - Bridgewater State College

This summer the Bridgewater State College Department of Physics, in conjunction with Pearson Publishing, is offering a 5-day summer institute on the BSC campus June 28-July 2, 2010. The institute will offer graduate-level courses in mathematics and science that will incorporate standards-based content and instructional strategies with educational research and the application of research findings to improve classroom instruction. The courses will develop mathematics and science content through hands-on activities. The department is offering additional courses in July and August.

Summer Registration is now open at! For more information, please call the Department of Physics at (508) 531-1386. See the attached flyer for details!

• Professional Development Opportunity for K-12 educators: WOW – The Wonders of Wetlands Teacher Training Workshop
Dates available: Saturday, May 22, 2010, Friday, June 25, 2010, or Thursday July 29, 2010
Join us for this fun, hands-on workshop that focuses on wetlands. We will explore the characteristics, the functions and the value of wetlands. Each topic will be illustrated with activities that educators can use with their classes. Each participant will receive a copy of WOW!: The Wonders of Wetlands, a nationally acclaimed educators’ guide to wetland education. The WOW educator’s curriculum guide includes over 50 hands-on activities for grades K-12. For more workshop information, including how to register, contact Kim McCoy by email, by phone (508) 531-2630 or visit the Watershed Access Lab website at

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Summer Job Opportunity

UMASS Boston Urban Scholars PROGRAM
2010 Colors of Success

The UMASS Boston Urban Scholars Program is a year-round program featuring advanced after-school classes, seminars, tutoring, supervised study, and a seven week Summer Institute for Boston Public Youth in grades 6th-12th. The Urban Scholars community believes that education is at the core of a successful, enriching life. We offer gifted and academically talented students a comfortable environment promoting learning and educational

During the Summer Institute the Core Staff, Instructors and Interns work with students to build the skills and motivation necessary for achievement at the highest level of their potential. During the seven weeks of the Summer Institute, we work together to educate, inspire, develop, promote students to be better students and better citizens.

Propose a Hands on Project Based Course

Math: Algebra, Geometry, Statistics,Economics, Etc.

Science:Environmental, Biology, Zoology,
Oceanography, Chemistry, Etc.

Job Description:

Urban Scholars provides talented educators with an opportunity to propose and teach their dream class.

Teach course(s) Monday thru Thursday between 9:00AM-12:55PM

Proposes to teach the same course twice or teach two completely different courses

Propose to teach 6th ,7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and/or 11th grades

Serve as a mentor to a undergraduate college student serving as your TA

Work with your TA throughout the seven weeks to provide a cohesive environment for the students

Attend weekly instructor meetings every Thursday 1:00PM-2:00PM

Serve as a Judge for Field Day

Attend USCAR our Awards ceremony on Friday August 13th

Option to plan and implement a workshop on Friday in a subject/area that you are passionate and knowledgeable about.


MUST be able to commit to the entire summer June 28th -August 13th (with the exception of fill time job responsibilities) and attend all day orientations on Wednesday June 16th & Thursday June17th.

Posses a Bachelors degree in a relevant field.

Experience working with urban middle and high school students preferred

Demonstrated teaching philosophy and methods that encourage the development of active and independent learning habits.

Experience teaching hands-on project based courses

Demonstrated ability to develop and implement curricula


Instructors will be paid $2,340 per course (Courses are 1 hour and 15 minutes. Instructors have a 4 day work week; off on Fridays)

To apply or for more information: fax: 617.287.5818
Send resume and course proposal(s)/syllabus no later than May 14th, 2010

Class Proposal(s)/syllabus need to include the following information:

Course title, Main idea topic(s), Procedures, Grade (s) level preferred, Subject of course, Prerequisites of students, Goals, Week by week outline, Evaluation/ Assessment, Instructional aids materials or tools references, Over overarching class project, Other.

(This is not a Northeastern University Program)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Siemens STEM Institute

Deadline April 16th!

There's still time to apply to the Siemens STEM Institute, a premier STEM immersion program brought to you by the Siemens Foundation and administered by Discovery Education in conjunction with the College Board.

Dates: August 1 - August 6, 2010

Location: Discovery Communications world headquarters in Silver Spring, MD (outside of Washington D.C.)

Apply now. The application deadline is April 16, 2010.

The Siemens STEM Institute is a unique immersion program that promotes hands-on, real-world integration of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in the classroom.
Fifty educators will be selected as STEM Fellows to attend this all expenses-paid, week-long professional development experience.
The week will be filled with guest speakers at the forefront of STEM, field trips to leading institutions where Fellows will observe real-world applications of STEM subject matter, and opportunities for networking and collaborating with peers from across the nation. Guest speakers may include top STEM experts and personalities from the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency, National Science Foundation, American Society of Civil Engineers, CNN, the Science Channel, and many more!
Download the Tentative Program Schedule
Benefits include paid travel and transporation, lodging, meals, and program fees (i.e. field trips and cultural activities).
Don't miss this exciting opportunity to access the tools you need to invigorate student interest and power STEM student achievement!
For additional information on the resources and opportunities available through the Siemens STEM Academy, please visit