UMass STEM Ed Institute Presents: Spring 2014 STEM Tuesday Seminars

STEM seminars are held at 4PM on the first and third Tuesdays of each
month during the academic year in Hasbrouck 138.

This spring the lineup includes:

February 4

Jenny Ross
Associate Professor, Physics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Getting Together: Easy Ways to Improve Teaching in Your Department

Sustainability in teaching innovation is one of the biggest challenges
facing educators today. Often, an enthusiastic and energetic
faculty-member will make changes to a course, such as flipping the class
or other modern teaching methods only to be switched out of the class
after a few years. If the new instructor does not want or feel
comfortable with such innovations, the positive changes will be lost. This is a huge
waste of effort for all involved and results in negative progress for
changing to more modern, evidence-based teaching methods. At the UMass
Department of Physics, we have sought to improve sustainability in
teaching innovation through increased communication among faculty. We
started a peer mentoring group focused on teaching in the department. We
meet every other week for lunch to discuss our teaching and how we can
make true changes to the curriculum and individual courses. The essential
part of sustainable change is buy-in from a majority of the department
through a combination of administrative support and grass-roots
initiatives for change.

March 4
Cathy Helgoe, LEGO Education; Karen Sullivan, For Inspiration and
Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST); Renee Fall, Commonwealth Alliance for
Information Technology Education (CAITE); and Sarah Dunton, Girls, Inc.

LEGO Education-Supported Outreach Programs for Girls

Two programs supported by LEGO Education are efforts to encourage
girls to be active, engaged, motivated learners. 1) Girls Connect:CAITE, FIRST,
Girls Inc. and LEGO Education have collaborated on several one-day
sessions inviting teams of girls (4-6 members per team) in grades 3-8 to
participate in a robotics experience. Seven teams of girls and an adult
coach (parent or teacher) spend a Saturday developing their robots to
compete in missions based on a theme e.g,. climate change, smart
transportation or tools for helping senior citizens. The theme can change
but the focus on designing, building and programming robots provides
hands-on experience for girls to explore and increase their interest in
computer technology, programming, engineering, science, and  athematics
and to help them think of themselves as technologically competent and
capable. 2) Girls Inc., Technology and Literacy:Girls Inc. has a new
program that incorporates technology to provide tools and inspiration for
reading, writing, and storytelling. Using iPads, LEGO Education
StoryStarter building sets and StoryStarter Visualizer software, girls
unleash their creativity through storytelling and multimedia
technology to illustrate and publish their stories. This project encourages girls to
work collaboratively and to strengthen public speaking and literacy
skills while building their confidence in a fun, supportive environment.

March 25

Whitney Hagins
MassBioEd, BioTeach Mentor & Program Coordinator

Bioteach and Beyond

BioTeach is one of the flagship programs of the Massachusetts
Biotechnology Education Foundation. It is an ambitious teacher
professional development program designed to support biotechnology
instruction and career awareness activities. Whitney Hagins, BioTeach
Mentor and Program Coordinator, will describe the current work of the
program as well as lay out future plans. Information for schools to
become a BioTeach school as well as sample laboratory activities will be

April 8 (Rescheduled)

Penny Noyce
Trustee of the Noyce Foundation

Integrating STEM With Literacy

Literacy for the 21st century includes literacy in STEM as well as
cross-disciplinary skills in examining evidence and making arguments.
There is significant overlap among the Common Core Standards for English
Language Arts, those for Mathematics, and the Next Generation Science
Standards.  However, as K-12 educators face growing demands and limited
time, most teaching still occurs in instructional silos. This
presentation will discuss opportunities for integrating literacy with STEM fromK-12.
From using science journals and scientific texts in reading lessons to
leveraging poetry, nonfiction, fiction, and even a musical to illustrate
STEM concepts, we will explore a range of curricular and informal
learning resources and ideas.

April 15

Adam Norton
Professor, UMass Lowell

Artbotics: Attracting Students to STEM

The Artbotics program combines art, computer science, and robotics to
create interactive, kinetic sculptures. The program has been designed to
incorporate these subjects in introductory fashion, allowing for students
of all experience levels to participate. Artbotics serves as an outreach
platform to interest students in STEM (science, technology, engineering,
and math) fields, and aims to increase the participation of women and
minorities in these fields. This talk will outline some of the core
principles of the Artbotics program, its development over the past seven
years, and the future of the program, with many examples of projects
produced during classes and workshops.

April 22 (rescheduled)

Sarah Dunton, Director of Education, Girls, Inc. Holyoke; Simi Hoque,
Assistant Professor, Environmental Conservation, UMass


Girls Inc. of Holyoke inspires all girls to be strong, smart and bold. In
the summer of 2013 the Eureka! program was launched with the support of
the College of Natural Science at UMass Amherst. Eureka! is an informal
educational program serving middle and high school girls through STEM
education, sports and adventure programming and personal development
programs such as media literacy. This highly interactive program provides
girls with the opportunity to engage in cutting edge research along side
of professors and graduate students in the STEM fields. The goal of
Eureka! Is to increase girls' interest in STEM and support their
engagement with academics on a university campus.