We have a new location
Questions abound about the future of science education, but there is no need to look any further than the new Science and Health Building on the Northern Arizona University campus to appreciate the university’s commitment to doing something about it.
The impressive five-story structure serves as a focal point that symbolizes NAU’s rise to scientific and research prominence. And once inside the expansive atrium with angular sight lines, even the casual visitor can see right away that this is not just another building, but a confluence of knowledge and curiosity—a place to experience growth.
“The Science and Health Building is a spectacular addition to the North Campus Science Quad,” said Paul W. Jagodzinski, dean of the College of Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences. “The students will be learning in a wonderful array of classrooms and laboratories and researchers will have access to modern facilities that were so desperately needed.”
The spacious building hosts four floors devoted to general chemistry labs and lecture halls, offices, interactive spaces and research labs. Even the basement will host labs and connect the building with the nearby Science Lab Building through a concrete tunnel for the safe transport of chemicals. The Center for Science Teaching and Learning occupies most of the fifth floor.
Joëlle Clark said the Center for Science Teaching and Learning, one of the first occupants, has already experienced the building’s many benefits. Clark is the center’s associate director for professional development, a function that peaks in the summer.
“Being part of the group that has moved into this new building is a recognition of the value of STEM education to the university,” Clark said. “We feel like the updated classrooms and interaction spaces are an invitation to students to collaborate with each other in their learning and be fantastic STEM teachers.”
The center now has a large materials management area to store the copious supplies needed to operate pre-service teacher training, two master’s degree programs and a thriving professional development program for K-12 teachers. Dedicated lab space and classrooms allow the center to model lessons, experiments and demonstrations central to its work with science teachers. Additionally, a large distance education classroom outfitted with state-of-the-art video conferencing technology will make graduate program courses available to teachers statewide and beyond.
Excerpt from story courtesy of NAU News
Photos by Grace Kendall, CSTL
A little more than a decade ago, I participated in a project with several of my science education colleagues that resulted in an edited book titled, “The Game of Science Education” (J. Weld, Ed., 2004, Pearson Education Inc.). The premise behind the entire project was to think and discuss what science teaching and learning might look like if it was done the same way as coaching and playing any sports is done.
With this game analogy, the science teachers (you and I) become the coaches and our students become the players in a sports team. Now, if we begin to think about ourselves as coaches and our students as players on our team, the entire dynamics of our goals and what we do to achieve them changes. No coach and players prepare and train to lose. Fall is the football season on all of our campuses. Ask any football coach and player if they are training to lose. Everybody is training to win by getting better at the game. They are doing this, not by spending hours memorizing the rules of the game, analyzing past statistics of their team and the teams they will compete against, but by spending a lot of time rehearsing the skills, doing scrimmages, and just downright playing the game; and in the process, they end up learning the rules, etc. In other words, they are learning football by “doing” football, not by learning “about” football.
If science is the game, science teachers the coaches, and students the players, and the goal is to win (meaning every student should end up understanding and becoming good at playing the game of science), our students need to be “doing” science. But how? The ‘Science and Engineering Practices’ dimension of the NGSS promote and provide guidance in how students in school science courses can actually be “doing” science. In this new academic year, let’s all resolve to become the winning coaches by incorporating this dimension in our science classes on a regular basis and give maximum opportunities to our students to experience and “practice” science by “doing” it.
Best wishes for a winning season this year!
Max Dass, Ph.D.
Professor and Director
NSF Supports iCREATE Project
The National Science Foundation is supporting the Innovative Collaborative Research Experience and Technical Education (iCREATE) Project.
iCREATE is a Strategies project in the biosciences that will impact underrepresented students in grades 10-12 across rural Northern Arizona. The primary objective of the project is to positively impact the number of students interested in pursuing STEM fields as careers. The project will integrate community collaborations, innovative course design, and modern technologies to engage students in an authentic problem in their community: the monitoring of infectious diseases. A high school level bioscience course will be designed and implemented in collaboration with local and regional partners including university faculty and graduate students, leading edge STEM industry partners, community organizations, and local school collaboratives.
The project is under the direction of CSTL’s Ron E. Gray, Danielle K. Ross, and Kenric M. Kesler. The award totals $840,514, began August 1, 2015 and ends July 31, 2018.
Welcome Fall 2015 Students
On the first day of classes, Northern Arizona University recorded its highest total enrollment for the fall semester and the largest freshman class in school history. NAU’s overall student population is 29,035, up from 27,639, and the university welcomed 5,141 first-time freshman compared to 4,765 last fall. Enrollment at the Flagstaff campus is 20,839, a nearly 5 percent increase from 19,913 last year.
The number of students pursuing STEM degrees continues to rise with enrollment in the College of Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences up 6 percent. NAU continues to welcome a diverse population of students. The university reported a 15 percent growth in Asian students enrolled and a 13 percent increase in the Native American population. Twenty-two percent of the incoming class is Latino with the overall population up 10 percent.
At the CSTL, we have 152 students in our undergraduate NAUTeach program, a highly field-based certification program for training future science and mathematics teachers in Arizona. With NAUTeach you can gain teaching experience your first undergraduate semester; ten of our current students are student-teaching this semester. We also have 32 graduate students in our rigorous Masters of Arts in Teaching Science (MAT-S) program for initial secondary science certification seekers and the flexible Master of Arts in Science Teaching (MAST) program for practicing science teachers.
GIS Special Achievement Award
Pictured, left to right: Mark Manone, Geospatial Research and Information Lab, NAU; Jack Dangermond, Founder & President, Esri; Lori Rubino-Hare, Center for Science Teaching and Learning, NAU.
In an ever changing technology-based society, Geographic Information Systems has gone from being a scientific term used by field experts, to an integral part of our everyday lives. From following directions on a cellphone to mapping archeological sites in the Grand Canyon, the use of GIS is more prevalent than ever.
Northern Arizona University’s Center for Science Teaching and Learning and Geospatial Research and Information Lab is ahead of the GIS technology trend and recently received a Special Achievement award for educating Arizona students from K-12 to the university level.
GIS is used to run complex analyses on our earth’s surface to solve real-world problems, like how to predict landslides or what might happen in a flood. Each of a multitude of layers represents specific data such as elevation, topography and demographic information.
Grade school students are now using this mapping system in the classroom to tackle complex community problems like mapping energy use and investigating erosion issues. This is in large-part because NAU is bridging the gap of this complex science by training K-12 teachers on using GIS with students.
Lori Ann Rubino-Hare, a professional development coordinator with the Center for Science Teaching and Learning, said students of all ages can benefit from the center’s method of teaching. “Students who might not be interested in traditional science classes begin to engage when given opportunities to explore spatial data in a GIS,” she said. “They look for patterns, make predictions and communicate their ideas using maps which can be shared easily online.”
In 2009, NAU was awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation and Science Foundation of Arizona to expand the Power of Data Project. This three-legged model, which helps teachers integrate geospatial technologies into existing courses, combines three different areas of expertise. A teaching specialist, a content specialist and a field expert work in collaboration to create a teaching model that has proven to be successful both inside and outside the classroom.
“Many of the Power of Data participants partnered with community agencies,” Rubino-Hare explained. “Students explored local issues and proposed solutions to authentic audiences. It’s an even more powerful learning opportunity when the students collect the data themselves.”
Rubino-Hare, Mark F. Manone, assistant professor of practice in Geography and James Sample, professor in the School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, make up the three experts of the GIS team at NAU.
“We support one another; we don’t all need to know all the content, pedagogy or technology. We can’t all be experts in everything, so we join forces,” Rubino-Hare says. “This results in a powerful team that can accomplish so much more than we could if we worked individually.”
Through the state site license managed by GRAIL, NAU is able to share its GIS studies, Power of Data Project and mapping software with all Arizona schools, increasing interest in STEM fields as the university continues to help map and model our world.
Professional Development Program Update
In the past year, the CSTL has provided professional development to 555 educators!
A few of our Professional Development Partnerships:
- Flagstaff STEM City—collectively works towards strengthening STEM literacy, promoting STEM-related business, and sustaining STEM initiatives.
- Museum of Science Boston, Engineering is Elementary—supports educators and children with curricula and professional development that develop engineering literacy.
- West Ed, Making Sense of Science—builds a scientific way of thinking in teachers and students with an approach to teacher learning that focuses on science understanding, classroom practice, literacy proficiency, and pedagogical reasoning.
Currently the CSTL has the following PD grant-funded programs:
- Three MSP (Math-Science Partnership) grants with Coconino County, Gila County, and Gilbert Public Schools designed to improve science content understanding and pedagogy with K-12 teachers.
- APS STEM Focus Schools for the Future designed to provide leadership and STEM content and pedagogy with STEM schools.
- GEOCACHE designed to facilitate the development of career and educational pathways in geospatial technologies (GST) through professional development.
- iCreate designed to positively impact the regional STEM workforce through the implementation of a new model of community engagement in STEM learning.
- The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program supports scholarships, stipends, and academic programs for undergraduate STEM majors and post-baccalaureate students holding STEM degrees who earn a teaching credential and commit to teaching in high-need K-12 school districts.
- Teachers and Principals Working Together Improving Teacher Quality grant designed to build leadership in science education in the Flagstaff Unified School District.
Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Fellows
The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship has been awarded to eight students for Fall 2015. The program offers $15,000 to encourage talented undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) majors and post-baccalaureate students holding STEM degrees to earn a teaching credential and commit to teach in high-need school districts.
Supported by the National Science Foundation, the program is in its fifth year. The scholarship is available to NAUTeach undergraduate students and Master of Arts Teaching Science with Certification (MAT-S) graduate students during their final year of coursework. Since its inception, 50 students have received the award and have been deemed “Noyce Fellows”. After graduation, Fellows participate in an induction program for support during their first years of teaching to promote retention. The Fall 2015 Undergraduate Noyce Fellows are Andrea Beasley, Anthony Clayton, Cathleen Goodell, Rebecca Law, Michael Logue, Garrett Mullen, Hannah Prawzinsky, and Danielle Ridgell-Perry.
Pictured left to right, back row: Ridgell-Perry, Law, Beasley, Logue. Front row: Goodell, Prawzinsky.
Notes from the Field: Danielle Ross, Ph.D.
“A Dream Job” is what one of my friends called it. “You will get summers off,” another said when I informed my friends of my opportunity at the CSTL. Fortunately, only one of those statements was true. As Monroe, my dog, and I said goodbye to my parents and boarded a plane in Pittsburgh headed for Arizona, I looked forward to the next adventure, and also hoped that all my belongings would meet me in Flagstaff.
As my first year as an Assistant Professor began, it was quite overwhelming. Not only was I acclimating to a new town, and state, but also learning the university and department expectations. Once classes finally started, I began to feel more comfortable. No longer were faculty members telling me what to do, what/how/when to teach. I had the freedom I longed for as a doctoral student. But, with that freedom also came the feeling of an imposter. Did I know what I was doing, know the research, know how to research, etc.?
Slowly throughout the year, I had many opportunities to work with the other faculty and staff in our department on conference and grant proposals, and classes. The staff here at the CSTL is phenomenal. Each individual has his/her own set of expertise and is willing to support you in your work in every way possible. This first year has been such a great experience. Having the opportunity to work with undergraduate and graduate students, pre-service teachers, and in-service teachers is something that I truly enjoy. Being able to expose teachers to the exciting ways of teaching science and helping students learn is so exciting. CSTL truly enables me to satisfy not only my own need for learning, but helping others learn. Definitely, a dream job.
We’re a 100Kin10 Partner
100Kin10 unites the nation’s top academic institutions, nonprofits, foundations, companies, and government agencies to train and retain 100,000 excellent STEM teachers by 2021 to educate the next generation of innovators and problem solvers.
The magnitude of change our country needs in STEM learning is enormous and calls for a multifaceted, collective response. Rising to this challenge demands multi-sector collaboration to create urgency, will, and capacity. We can do more and better work together than we can alone. 100Kin10 offers the vision, resources, and network to help their 200+ partners meet their ambitious commitments to America’s classrooms. These partners include: American Chemical Society, Arizona Science Center, Arizona Science Teachers Association, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, National Academy of Sciences, NASA, National Geographic Education Program, National Science Foundation, Noyce Foundation, Science Friday Initiative, TEDEd.
Science and Engineering Day Open House
Explorers of all ages are invited to NAU’s Science and Engineering Day, a part of the 10-day Flagstaff Festival of Science. Discover how NAU is shaping the future of STEM education during the open house of the Center for Science Teaching and Learning. Tour the new Science and Health Building on the Northern Arizona University campus and appreciate the university’s commitment to science education. The impressive five-story structure serves as a focal point that symbolizes NAU’s rise to scientific and research prominence. And once inside the expansive atrium with angular sight lines, even the casual visitor can see right away that this is not just another building, but a confluence of knowledge and curiosity—a place to experience growth.
date: Saturday, September 26
time: 1:00-4:00 PM
location: Science and Health Building, 5th floor
For more information please contact email@example.com or 928-523-7160.
Additional Science and Engineering Day activities will be taking place in the High Country Conference Center.
Mary Burke and Grace Kendall
We are pleased to introduce you to our two newest team members. Mary Burke, Administrative Assistant, joined us at the CSTL in January and Grace Kendall has been our part-time Web Designer since May.
Mary Burke, Administrative Assistant
Before joining the Center for Science Teaching and Learning team, I worked for FUSD for 10 years in various capacities ranging from playground aide at Sechrist Elementary School, to program aide at Project TIA (a Flagstaff Unified School District-wide self-contained program for emotionally disabled students), to resource secretary at Flagstaff High School.
I grew up in Tucson, graduating with honors from Rincon High School. I love animals and had considered being a veterinarian when I was in high school. I had a horse growing up that I trained and showed myself. I attended Pima Community College and University of Arizona, majoring in history. I moved to Flagstaff in 1990 when I married Dan Burke, a local Civil Engineer, who did some work on our new building; we have been married and have lived in Flagstaff for 25 years. We have two children: Sean, 23 years, and Rachel, 19 years. I have just this Fall returned to college, majoring in History at NAU.
I like to read, hike, watch “Next Food Network Star,” and hang out with my three dogs: Yancy, an Irish Wolfhound who recently won Open Dog at the Irish Woldhound Association of the West Coast Specialty Show; Harry, an Australian Shepherd; and Winky, a Papillon and the director of activities.
Grace Kendall, Web Designer
I am a graphic designer and an educator. I earned my Masters in Fine Arts from California Institute of the Arts, a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Visual Communications from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a Bachelors of Science in Biology from San Diego State University. With more than 15 years of experience as a graphic designer, I have worked on diverse projects with a variety of clients. I shared my knowledge while teaching and designing curriculum as the lead digital media instructor in the Graphic Communications program at a college in Nevada and teaching college-level design courses to high school students in Southern California.
GK3I took a seven-year break from my career in order to give my son a firm foundation for his life; he is now in the fourth grade. My husband is a writer and works at NAU. We moved to Flagstaff in 2011 from Iowa, but we were both born and raised in the west. I have been teaching and developing First Year Seminar and student success courses part-time at NAU since Fall 2013.
I have travelled the U.S. and China, Europe, Central and South America. I am always creating, whether it’s design, a course, photography, a meal, a backyard feature, or a crochet project. I enjoy exploring the world around me and am an avid reader.