2000-2001 STEM Seminars

All STEM talks take place at 4pm in Hasbrouck room 138.
Talks are usually on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month.

STEM Talks upcoming in the Fall 2000
September 19 David Demers

October 3 Frank Price
Tuesday, October 17, Hasbrouck Lab, 138 University of Massachusetts

Tuesday, December 5th, Hasbrouck Lab, 138
University of Massachusetts

Ana Gaillat

Give them what they want and they shall come It has been widely documented that students are more interested and engaged in general education courses that are tailored towards their main career interests. It is also well known that getting Liberal Arts students excited about a Chemistry class is a difficult task, as it is to get some of them to overcome their hesitancy and fear of the subject. The "Basic Principles of Chemistry" course at Greenfield Community College has always covered topics of student interest and focused on those applications central to their career goals. In the recent past some students and faculty from specific academic areas have requested a wider offering of this basic course that will involve the coverage of topics more relevant to their curricula. Keeping in mind the needs of these students, as well as those of the traditional population of this course, three new offerings are being developed and implemented: Chemistry of Art, Food Chemistry, and Forensic Chemistry. An outline of these new offerings will be presented along with the development process that brought them to life.

A Tale of Two Cultures: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Integrating the Arts and Sciences In General Education Courses Brian E. Hagenbuch and Kim Hicks: Departments of Biology and English, Holyoke Community College Tuesday February 20, 2001 UMass Hasbrouck Lab Room 138 4pm Parking is available at the Campus Center Garage. What is Life? Ask an English professor and you'll get one answer. Ask a biologist and you'll get a different response. We took the plunge and thought we could link the arts and sciences in interdisciplinary learning communities that bridge the growing academic divide. We reasoned that our two fields of study could provide a framework within which our students could improve their reading, writing, and critical thinking skills and also further their understanding of life, life's processes, the diversity of life, and the decisions that affect life on Earth. Over the past two years, we have team-taught five learning communities that link our institution's basic two-semester English requirement with a lab-based science course (either Biology or a more general Topics in Science). Several key questions arose for us when we embarked upon our efforts, among them, What are the logistics of truly interdisciplinary work? How can the popular literature support the teaching of science and vice versa? Readings from various essayists and naturalists have provided answers to both questions by allowing us to engage the philosophical dimension of our material while increasing our students' literacy, scientific and otherwise. Our teaching strategies emphasize such emergent pedagogies as student active learning, community service learning, independent and group projects, and cross-disciplinary writing assignments. Ultimately our goal was to create a room full of truly interdisciplinary thinkers. In our presentation we will demonstrate the sometimes eerie convergence between our separate disciplines by sharing epiphanies that arose from the texts and discussions in which we were immersed. Our goal for STEMTEC is to encourage other seminar attendees to explore brave new teaching worlds and seek to bridge the epistemological divide between the arts and sciences.

Statistics for Whippersnappers Cliff Konold: Department of Scientific Reasoning Research Institute Tuesday May 1, 2001 UMass Hasbrouck Lab Room 138 4pm Parking is available at the Campus Center Garage. Beginning in Kindergarten, students are now getting measured doses of statistics. After briefly reviewing recent efforts to take statistics into the schools, I summarize what we are learning from research about how younger students reason about data. We are currently applying this research to the design of data analysis software for the middle school. The software, Tinkerplots, comes with no ready-made graphs. Students make plots by progressively organizing data using basic operators such as "separate," "stack," and "order." Tinkerplots allows students to begin organizing data without having to consider different data types or to think in terms of variables and without explicit knowledge of how we use dimensions to simultaneously represent different aspects of data.

What do women want in a math class? Jim Morrow: Department of Mathematics, Mt. Holyoke College Tuesday May 15, 2001 UMass Hasbrouck Lab Room 138 4pm Parking is available at the Campus Center Garage In this session, I'd like to generate a discussion of the design of mathematics classes and projects for young women in high school. I will provide some background information on a study of women's educational development, ala Women's Ways of Knowing, and on my vision of constructivism, especially as it compares to the Socratic method and "discovery learning." Following the discussion of learning, we will discuss ways of assessing learning. Is there anything but the MCAS?

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