Ed News: Why Don’t STEM Majors Vote As Much As Others?

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This week in education news, results from a new state test have been released two years after students turned it in; a growing body of research indicates there might be a need to get more STEM majors to vote; Colorado schools are moving toward more science and technology focus; computer science curriculum bill passes Indiana Senate Committee on Education and Career Development; Christa McAuliffe’s science lessons to be taught aboard the space station; Wyoming lawmakers consider mandatory computer science courses; and new K-12 science standards continue to receive push back from Idaho lawmakers.

Colorado Students Would Have To Do Science To Learn It Under New Standards

The old way of teaching science would have had Denver science teacher Melissa Campanella giving a lecture on particle collisions, then handing her students a lab that felt a bit like following a recipe from a cookbook. Now she starts the same lesson by activating glow sticks, one in hot water, the other in cold. Her students at Noel Community Arts School make observations, brainstorm what might cause the differences they detect, come up with models and visual diagrams that map those ideas, share those models with each other, revise, read about the collision model of reactions, and revise again. This is the future of science education as envisioned by the scientists and educators who developed the Next Generation Science Standards. Read the article featured in Chalkbeat Colorado.

Two Years Ago, Students Took A State-Mandated Science Test. Schools Just Got The Results.

Results from a new state test have been released two years after students turned it in, and the budget impasse is getting the blame for the delay. But some local educators say there’s still plenty to learn from the dated scores about the way they teach. Read the article featured in the Belleville News-Democrat.

Why Don’t STEM Majors Vote As Much As Others?

There’s no shortage of talk about the need to get more students to go into STEM majors. But a growing body of research, including our own at the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education at Tufts University, indicates there might also be a need to get more STEM majors to go to the polls. Read the article featured in The Conversation.

Colorado Schools Are Rapidly Moving Toward More Math, Science And Technology Focus

Colorado schools are rewiring classrooms with courses heavy in science and technology, in a bid to stay relevant in a rapidly changing world. And the surest tool at their disposal is STEM, a nationwide course of study that in its purest form is endorsed by top scientists and high-tech industry leaders. STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — emphasizes hands-on, collaborative learning while honing skills in engineering, computer science and other disciplines that will surely dominate the 21st-century economy, proponents say. Read the article featured in The Denver Post.

Would Giving STEM Teachers More Leeway to Experiment Keep Them in Schools?

Unlike science, technology, engineering, and mathematics professionals who have the flexibility to pursue learning wherever it may take them, STEM teachers are often bound by curriculum and their administrators. This week, the national network 100Kin10, which has pledged to train and retain 100,000 STEM teachers by 2021, announced $1 million in funding to five groups to try to answer the question, How can we empower teachers to experiment—and even fail—in their instruction? Read the article featured in Education Week.

Computer Science Curriculum Bill Passes Committee

A bill that would require public and charter schools to offer students a computer science course as a one-semester elective at least once each school year recently passed out of the Senate Committee on Education and Career Development by a vote of 11-0, said State Sen. Jeff Raatz,R-Richmond. Senate Bill 172, authored by Raatz, requires each K-12 school in Indiana to offer a computer science class to its students by 2021. Read the article featured in The Journal Press & The Register.

Do Students Really Need Grades? Teachers Are Divided

Do grades provide an accurate snapshot of a student’s performance? Or are they anxiety-producing scores that prevent educators from focusing on true learning? In an Education Week opinion essay by Mark Barnes, the creator and publisher of the popular Hack Learning book series, he writes that gradeless classrooms are a “brave new world” that more educators need to embrace. Read the article featured in Education Week.

Christa McAuliffe’s Acience Lessons To Be Taught Aboard Space Station

More than three decades after Christa McAuliffe, NASA’s first “teacher in space,” perished aboard the Challenger space shuttle, classroom lessons she intended to teach on the mission will find an audience, NASA said. Two latter-day teachers-turned-astronauts plan to pay tribute to McAuliffe by performing a handful of her lessons aboard the International Space Station over the next several months. Read the article featured in USA Today.

Wyoming Lawmakers Consider Mandatory Computer Science

As lawmakers have discussed whether Wyoming’s K-12 schools should teach computer science, they’ve looked at Powell for insight and answers. Powell is one of the only five school districts, out of 48 in Wyoming, teaching computer science classes. Read the article featured in the Powell Tribune.

Flipping With Short Lab Videos May Help Students Learn In Science Courses

Flipping a science course, by having students watch videos first to learn basic concepts and step-by-step procedures for doing lab work, can improve the outcomes. That’s the finding of an experiment run at DeSales and Clemson Universities in a research project sponsored by a journal publisher that produces such videos. Read the article featured in Campus Technology.

Idaho Lawmakers Continue To Balk At New Science Standards

New K-12 science standards received push back from Idaho lawmakers for the third year in a row on Thursday, despite continued efforts to downplay the negative impacts of human activity on climate change to appease Republican members. Education officials have long pleaded with the GOP-dominant Legislature that the state’s science standards are vague and outdated, but lawmakers have refused to adopt permanent new changes and instead have called for more vetting and public comments. Read the article featured in the Idaho Statesman.

How One High-Poverty District Is Adding Virtual Reality To Its Classroom

Cornell School District eighth-grader Jada Jenkins stood in her conventional classroom and journeyed to another world. Thanks to a virtual reality headset placed over her eyes, the desks and chairs disappeared from sight. Instead, she was surrounded by a three-dimensional deciduous forest that was decidedly different from the ordinary environment of her Western Pennsylvania school. The illustrated forest — with geometric-shaped trees, other plants and animals — beckoned Jada and the other eighth-graders to an adventure. Read the article featured in The Hechinger Report.

Stay tuned for next week’s top education news stories.

The Communication, Legislative & Public Affairs (CLPA) team strives to keep NSTA members, teachers, science education leaders, and the general public informed about NSTA programs, products, and services and key science education issues and legislation. In the association’s role as the national voice for science education, its CLPA team actively promotes NSTA’s positions on science education issues and communicates key NSTA messages to essential audiences.

The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.

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