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2008 - 2008 Conference Program

Integrating Science and Mathematics
Education Research into Teaching:
Resources and Tools for Improved Learning

Program Contents

Conference Host and Support
Sunday Keynote Speaker – Ron Berger
Monday Evening Guest Speaker – Adam Weiner
Tuesday Keynote Speaker – – Sally Goetz Shuler
Invited Speakers and Workshop Facilitators
Schedule-at-a-Glance
Monday, June 23rd · Overview of Morning Sessions
Tuesday, June 24th · Overview of Morning Sessions
Wednesday, June 25th · Overview of Morning Sessions
Monday Afternoon Workshops
Tuesday Afternoon Session I Workshops
Tuesday Afternoon Session II Workshops
Open Space Details
The STEM in Maine Initiative Session
Session Abstracts
Workshop Abstracts
Poster Abstracts.
Continuing Education Unit (CEU) Information

CONFERENCE PROGRAM

Conference Host

Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research

The Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research at the University of Maine integrates research in student learning, research in teacher beliefs, and assessment of curricula into University-based research and training in science and mathematics education.

The main objectives of the Center are to:

  • rebuild courses in mathematics and the sciences based on mathematics-, chemistry-, earth science-, and physics-centered education research
  • create attractive, content-rich teacher preparation and continuing education options for mathematics and science teachers that integrate content, research and pedagogy
  • spearhead partnerships with public school teachers and University faculty to understand how student interest and achievement in mathematics and science are enhanced
  • develop materials to form the basis for a statewide or national curriculum based on cultivating mathematics and science thinking through inquiry models.

The Center aims to become a source of well-qualified science and mathematics teachers for grades 6-16 as well as a leader in creating coherent, developmentally-appropriate curricula for mathematics and science for grades 6-16.

Conference Support

The Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research gratefully acknowledges support for this conference from the National Science Foundation Discovery Research K-12 Program under Grant No. DRL 0736967 and the Maine Forest Bioproducts Research Initiative, which is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. EPS-0554545 and, in partnership with The Jackson Laboratory, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Bank of America Company, trustee of the Lloyd G. Balfour Foundation.

Additional support is provided by Acadia Partners for Science and Learning, with funding through a Maine Department of Education Math and Science Partnership Grant, the Challenger Learning Center of Maine, with support from the NASA New Investigator Program, the University of Maine NSF ITEST Project: IDEAS Inquiry-based Dynamic Earth Applications of Supercomputing, DRL 0737583, and the National Science Foundation with funding to Dr. Paul Rawson, (Grant No. IBN0133349).

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Sunday, June 22, 2008
7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Wells Conference Center (Room 1 & 2)

Keynote Speaker:
Ron Berger
Field Director, Northeast Region, Expeditionary Learning Schools Outward Bound

ORIGINAL SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AT THE CENTER OF ACADEMIC STUDIES FOR K-12 STUDENTS

Across the country, original research projects partner K–12 students with working scientists. In the national Expeditionary Learning Schools network of 160 public district and charter schools, this type of scientific research project is used as a central organizing structure for interdisciplinary curriculum. In addition to scientific and mathematical skills and content, the research projects are a primary structure for teaching and learning skills of reading, writing, historical research, political science, geography, technology and graphic presentation.

Because scientific research is a central organizing structure in this curricular design, scientific learning is not a secondary focus within a curriculum centered on high stakes test preparation, as it is in many schools, constrained to 40 minutes on alternate afternoons for elementary students, or daily for a portion of high school students. In ELS schools it comprises much of the scholastic day for all students, discretely and interwoven with other academic subjects. The products of these research projects—reports, data presentations, videos, field guides, maps, blueprints, posters, workshops—are shared with audiences beyond the school, and are evidence of student competencies in a wide range of areas of literacy. The goal is to build future scientists, but even more broadly to make scientific literacy a central commitment for all future scholars and citizens. The fact that students from these schools outperform comparable schools on state assessments is a testament to the power of real science to broadly motivate student achievement.

Ron Berger

Ron Berger taught in public schools in Western Massachusetts for 28 years, engaging students in scientific research in their local community. Partnering with university professors and students, and local scientists in a range of fields, Ron’s students produced reports for the town and for the state on the health of surface water, well water, radon gas infiltration; census data on local flora and fauna; and data analysis on the changing demographics, geography and land use in the community. Ron has endeavored through presentations and publications to make scientific research a central curricular structure for pubic school students. His book An Ethic of Excellence features this theme. He is a Carnegie Foundation Scholar, an Autodesk Foundation National Teacher of the Year, a graduate of Harvard Graduate School of Education and a consultant with Harvard Project Zero.

Ron currently works as the Northeast Director for the national school reform organization Expeditionary Learning Schools, a branch of Outward Bound. Using Gates Foundation funds, ELS opens new, project-based, college preparatory public high schools for low-income students, and also works with existing schools to transform school curriculum and culture to a rigorous, inquiry-based approach.

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Monday, June 23, 2008
8:00 PM – 9:30 PM
Neville Hall Room 101

Special Guest:
Adam Weiner
Physics Teacher and Author

USING HOLLYWOOD MOVIES TO TEACH PHYSICS
Hollywood action and science fiction movies can provide a unique opportunity for teaching and learning physics in the classroom. I have found in my classes that students are instantly more engaged when confronted with “movie physics” problems, labs, or projects compared with “traditional” problems and exercises. They really want to know the answers – Could the car successfully make that jump? Would it be possible to survive the impact? Could interstellar space travel ever be feasible? Another benefit of analyzing the physics in a movie scene is that (ironically) the analysis models real world problem solving in so far as the students need to make reasoned estimations to arrive at valid but non exact solutions. Finally, critically evaluating the physics and science as portrayed by Hollywood allows us to debunk the myriad scientific inaccuracies and misrepresentations perpetrated in films and so develop more scientifically literate students.

Adam Weiner

Adam Weiner teaches Physics and Advanced Placement Physics at the Bishops School in La Jolla, CA. He is the author of Don’t Try This at Home! The Physics of Hollywood Movies and writes a weekly physics column for the Popular Science online magazine. Adam has been a featured speaker at the NSTA national meeting, the AAPT, and SONY imageworks.

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Keynote Speaker:
Sally Goetz Shuler
Executive Director, National Science Resources Center

CHANGING THE COURSE OF SCIENCE EDUCATION
Over the last several years, the deplorable state of science and mathematics education and the perceived consequences for our nation’s economic and intellectual vitality has attracted the attention of leaders representing education, business and government. As a consequence a remarkable number of individuals and institutions are becoming or are already involved in attempts to improve K-16 programs. While, in principle, this increased involvement in the reform of science and mathematics education is encouraging and progress is being made in some areas, it is also the case that most of these efforts are lacking a strategic, systemic, and sustainable approach informed by research and based on promising practices.

Using this information as a context, this presentation will provide an international perspective of the compelling evidence from education and business for transforming science and mathematics learning and teaching for all students in K-16 education systems. Recommendations for changing the course of science education will be provided. These recommendations will be based on the lessons the nation has learned about science and mathematics education reform over the past two decades. Examples of states and regions making remarkable progress in scaling best practices to all students in all districts will be included in the overview.

Sally Goetz Shuler

Sally Goetz Shuler is the Executive Director of the National Science Resources Center, an organization of the National Academies and the Smithsonian Institution. The mission of the NSRC is to improve K-16 science learning and teaching for all students in the United States and throughout the world.

As one of the co-founders of the NSRC two decades ago, Ms. Shuler was instrumental in creating an organization committed to establishing effective science programs for all students. She has formed numerous strategic partnerships with national academies, academic institutions, corporations, and museums that are resulting in the development, implementation, and evaluation of research-based products and services for improving science education programs for school districts, states, and countries.

In addition to her work at the NSRC, her three decades of national and international experience in K-16 science education have also included 15 years of teaching math and biology and serving as a chair, trustee, or advisor for numerous boards and organizations. These include being a member of the Board of Trustees for the Keystone Center; the Merck Institute for Science Education Advisory Board; Chair of the Science Education Program of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund; Chair of the Assessment Committee for the National Youth Science Camp; Advisory Board Members for the Math/Science Partnership Comprehensive Projects of Rutgers University and the Boston Science Partnership; Expert Panel for Washington State; a member of the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation Academic Advisory Panel; member of the Lemelson Advisory Board; member of the National Assessment of Educational Progress Science Steering Committee; and membership on the National Advisory Board of the Centers for Ocean Science Education Excellence.

Ms. Shuler has an M.S. in Environmental Health Sciences from George Washington University, and a B.A. from Edinboro State University, with majors in Biology and Geology. At the 2007 National Science Teachers Association Convention held in St. Louis, Sally Goetz Shuler received the NSTA Distinguished Service Award in recognition of her contributions to and demonstrated excellence in science education.

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Invited Speakers and Workshop Facilitators

Steven Anderson, Ph.D.
Director, Mathematics and Science Teaching Institute
Winchester Distinguished Faculty in Science Education
University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, Colorado

Invited Speaker

Why Do College Students Struggle to Learn Earth Science Concepts? Implications for Pre-College Teaching

Sharon Barker
Director, Women’s Resource Center
University of Maine, Orono, Maine

Workshop Facilitator

Encouraging Diversity in STEM – Resources for Students, Teachers, and Faculty

Anita Bernhardt
Science and Technology Specialist
Regional Representative
Maine Department of Education, Augusta, Maine

Workshop Facilitator

Systems: An Important Unifying Theme in Science

Patricia Bernhardt
Grade 7 Life Science Teacher
James F. Doughty Middle School, Bangor, Maine

Workshop Facilitator

Critically Analyzing Scientific and Educational Research Literature: Activities for Students and Teachers

Seth Bordenstein, Ph.D.
Assistant Scientist
Josephine Bay Paul Center for Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution
The Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts

Invited Speaker

Discover the Microbes Within! The Wolbachia Project

Eric Brewe, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Science Education
Florida International University, Miami, Florida

Invited Speaker

Model Building and Model Use in Physics

Brandon Bucy, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research
University of Maine, Orono, Maine

Workshop Facilitator

Critically Analyzing Scientific and Educational Research Literature: Activities for Students and Teachers

Chris Cash
Outreach Coordinator
Institute for Broadening Participation, Damariscotta, Maine

Workshop Facilitator

Encouraging Diversity in STEM – Resources for Students, Teachers, and Faculty

Warren Christensen, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research
University of Maine, Orono, Maine

Workshop Facilitator

Critically Analyzing Scientific and Educational Research Literature: Activities for Students and Teachers

Amy Clement
Teacher, Central High School, Corinth, Maine
Co-Director , Maine Writing Project Summer Institute
University of Maine, Orono, Maine

Workshop Facilitator

Reading Strategies for Helping Middle School and Secondary Students Understand Science Textbook Reading

Melanie M. Cooper, Ph.D
Alumni Distinguished Professor of Chemistry
Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina

Invited Speaker and Workshop Facilitator

Assessment and Improvement of Problem Solving

Yvonne Davis
Dixon Fellow
Acadia Partners for Science and Learning, Winter Harbor, Maine

Workshop Facilitator

Leveraging Research at Acadia National Park to Build Inquiry-Based High School Math and Science Programs

Francis Eberle, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance, Augusta, Maine

Workshop Facilitator

The STEM in Maine Initiative – Building Partnerships and Strategies

Joe T. Elkins, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Earth Sciences Education
University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, Colorado

Invited Speaker

Affective and Cognitive Changes in Students Participating in Entirely Field-Based Introductory-Level Geology Courses

Jon R. Geiger, Ph.D.
Director of Educational Programs and Affiliated Scientist
The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine

Facilitator

Open Space Session

Nicole Gillespie, Ph.D.
Senior Program Officer for Teaching Fellowships
Knowles Science Teaching Foundation, Moorestown, New Jersey

Panelist

Strategies and Challenges for Scaling-Up Research-Supported Practices

Charles Griffin

Senior Engineer
IBM Systems and Technology, Burlington, Vermont

Workshop Facilitator

Using Novel and Accessible Technologies in the K-12 Classroom to Enhance Science and Mathematics Learning

David Harmon
Senior Engineer
IBM Systems and Technology, Burlington, Vermont

Workshop Facilitator

Using Novel and Accessible Technologies in the K-12 Classroom to Enhance Science and Mathematics Learning

Stephen Kanim, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Physics
New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico

Invited Speaker

Labs to Promote Vector Use in Introductory Mechanics

Signe Kastberg, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education
Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, Indiana

Invited Speaker

The Complexity of Contexts

Page Keeley
Senior Program Director
Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance, Augusta, Maine
President, National Science Teachers Association, Arlington, Virginia

Workshop Facilitator

What Were They Thinking? Linking National Standards, Research on Learning, and Formative Assessment

Michael W. Klymkowsky, Ph.D.
Professor of Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology
University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado

Invited Speaker and Workshop Facilitator

Barriers to Understanding Evolution: Insights from the Biology Concept Inventory

Janice Kristo, Ph.D.
Professor of Literacy Education
University of Maine, Orono, Maine

Workshop Facilitator

Reading Strategies for Helping Middle School and Secondary Students Understand Science Textbook Reading

Susan Mau, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Mathematical Sciences
Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Invited Speaker and Workshop Facilitator

Using Research in a Teacher Preparation Mathematics Course

Deborah McGann
Science Instructor
Maine School of Science and Mathematics, Limestone, Maine

Workshop Facilitator

Bringing Computational Biology to the Classroom

Mary Ann McGarry, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Science Education
Plymouth State University, Plymouth, New Hampshire

Invited Speaker and Workshop Facilitator

Research From A World Class Ecosystem Study Promotes Environmental Literacy for Teachers: How Do We Measure The Impact?

Susan McKay, Ph.D.
Professor of Physics
Director, The Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research
University of Maine, Orono, Maine

Workshop Facilitator

The STEM in Maine Initiative – Building Partnerships and Strategies

Laura Muller, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Chemistry and Department Chair
Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts

Invited Speaker and Workshop Facilitator

Molecules to Masterpieces: Key Connections between Creative Disciplines

Robert Poel, Ph.D.
Professor of Physics, Emeritus
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan

Invited Speaker and Workshop Facilitator

The Pedagogical Principles and Research Base behind the Development of InterActions in Physical Science

Edward Prather, Ph.D.
Associate Research Scientist and Senior Lecturer
Director of the Center for Astronomy Education
University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

Invited Speaker and Workshop Facilitator

Are You Really Teaching if No One is Learning? How Interactive-Lecturing Can Be Used to Measure and Improve Student Learning

Beth Ritsema
Mathematics Educator
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan

Invited Speaker and Workshop Facilitator

Core-Plus Mathematics: Drawing From and Contributing to the Research Base on Student Learning

Cheryl Rose
Mathematics Project Director
Education Development Center, Inc., Gardiner, Maine

Workshop Facilitator

Uncovering Common Algebraic Misconceptions

Jacqueline Spears, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Secondary Education
Director, Center for Science Education,
Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas

Invited Speaker and Workshop Facilitator

“Seeing” Gender: Encouraging Girls in STEM Fields

Natasha Speer, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

Invited Speaker

Examining Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching in the College Context: A Case Study of Teaching Practices (Especially the Teaching of Undergraduate Mathematics)

Michelle Stephan, Ph.D.
Teacher, Lawton Chiles Middle School
University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida

Invited Speaker and Workshop Facilitator

How Inclusive is Mathematical Inquiry?

Sandra H. Thomas
Executive Director
Institute for Broadening Participation, Damariscotta, Maine

Workshop Facilitator

Encouraging Diversity in STEM – Resources for Students, Teachers, and Faculty

Marcy Towns, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana

Invited Speaker

Mapping the Dimensions of the Undergraduate Chemistry Laboratory

Mary Tyler, Ph.D.
Professor of Zoology
School of Biology and Ecology
University of Maine, Orono, Maine

Invited Speaker

Introducing Inquiry-Based Labs into a Large Introductory Biology Course: Step One, Step Two…

Hannah Webber
Candidate for Master of Science in Teaching
Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research
University of Maine, Orono, Maine

Workshop Facilitator

Groundwater! A Hands-On Workshop for Teachers

Sara Willett
Graduate Assistant
Wabanaki Center
University of Maine, Orono, Maine

Workshop Facilitator

Encouraging Diversity in STEM – Resources for Students, Teachers, and Faculty

Bill Zoellick
Director of Program Development
Acadia Partners for Science and Learning, Winter Harbor, Maine

Workshop Facilitator

Leveraging Research at Acadia National Park to Build Inquiry-Based High School Math and Science Programs

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Schedule-at-a-Glance

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Time

Event

Location

4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Registration

Wells Conference Center

(Pre-Function Area)

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Reception

Wells (Room 1)

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Dinner Banquet

Wells (Room 1)

7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Opening Keynote

ORIGINAL SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AT THE CENTER OF ACADEMIC STUDIES FOR K-12 STUDENTS

Ron Berger

Field Director, Northeast Region Expeditionary Learning Schools

Outward Bound

Wells (Room 1)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Time

Event

Location

8:30 AM – 10:30 AM

Registration and Continental Breakfast

Wells (Pre-Function Area)

9:00 AM – 10:30 AM

Session 1: Mathematics Instruction

Wells (Room 1)

Session 2: Lab Science Instruction

Wells (Room 2)

Session 3: Physical Science Instruction

Wells (Room 3)

10:30 AM – 10:45 AM

Break

10:45 AM – 12:15 PM

Session 4: Mathematics Instruction

Wells (Room 1)

Session 5: Physical Science Instruction

Wells (Room 2)

Session 6: Biology Instruction

Wells (Room 3)

12:15 PM – 1:30 PM

Lunch

Memorial Union Marketplace

1:30 PM – 3:30 PM

WORKSHOPS 1-8

See Page 19

3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Poster Session Set-Up

Wells (Room 1 & 2)

4:30 PM – 6:00 PM

Poster Session

Reception (Hors d’oeuvres & Cash Bar)

Wells (Room 1 & 2)

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Dinner (on your own)

8:00 PM – 9:30 PM

Evening Program

USING HOLLYWOOD MOVIES TO TEACH PHYSICS

Adam Weiner, Physics Teacher

The Bishops School

La Jolla, CA

Neville Hall Room 101

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Time

Event

Location

8:30 AM – 10:30 AM

Continental Breakfast

Wells (Pre-Function Area)

9:00 AM – 10:30 AM

Session 7: Science Instruction

Wells (Room 1)

Session 8: Physics Instruction

Wells (Room 2)

Session 9: Earth Science Instruction

Wells (Room 3)

10:30 AM – 11:00 AM

Break

11:00 AM – 12:15 PM

Panel Discussion: Strategies and Challenges for Scaling-Up Research-Supported Practices

Wells (Room 1 & 2)

12:15 PM – 1:30 PM

Lunch (on your own)

1:30 PM – 3:30 PM

WORKSHOPS 9-17

See Page 20

3:45 PM – 5:45 PM

WORKSHOPS 18-24

See Page 21

5:45 PM – 6:30PM

Reception

Wells (Room 1)

6:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Dinner Banquet

Wells (Room 1)

7:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Closing Keynote

CHANGING THE COURSE OF SCIENCE EDUCATION

Sally Goetz Shuler, Executive Director

National Science Resources Center

Wells (Room 1)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Time

Event

Location

8:30 AM – 10:30 AM

Continental Breakfast

Wells (Pre-function area)

9:00 AM – 9:45 AM

Session 10: Physical Science

Wells (Room 1)

Session 11: Gender in STEM

Wells (Room 2)

Session 12: Mathematics Instruction

Wells (Room 3)

9:45 AM – 10:15 AM

Break

10:15 AM – 10:45 AM

Open Space Session

Wells (Room 1 & 2)

10:45 AM – 11:30 AM

Open Space Break-Out Conversations

Wells (Room 1, 2, & 3)

11:30 AM – 12:15 PM

Open Space Reports and Conference Wrap Up

Wells (Room 1 & 2)

Lunch: Turn in Evaluation for Lunch Ticket

Memorial Union Marketplace

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Detailed Presentation Schedule

Monday, June 23rd · Overview of Morning Sessions

Session Title

(S1)

Mathematics Instruction

(S2)

Lab Science Instruction

(S3)

Physical Science Instruction

Chair

Eric Pandiscio

Molly Schauffler

Francios Amar

Location

Wells Room 1

Wells Room 2

Wells Room 3

9:00-9:45

The Complexity of Contexts

Signe Kastberg

Introducing Inquiry-Based Labs into a Large Introductory Biology Course: Step 1, Step 2…

Mary Tyler

Assessment and Improvement of Problem Solving

Melanie Cooper

9:45-10:30

How Inclusive is Mathematical Inquiry?

Michelle Stephan

Mapping the Dimensions of the Undergraduate Chemistry Laboratory

Marcy Towns

Crime Scene Investigation in the Art World

Katharine Harmon

(9:45-10:05)

Using Structural Equation Modeling to Diagnose Readiness for General Chemistry at UNH , with a Chem-Math Problem-Solving Recitation to Serve
At-Risk Students

William Cary Kilner

(10:10-10:30)

10:30-10:45

BREAK

Session Title

(S4)

Mathematics Instruction

(S5)

Physical Science Instruction

(S6)

Biology Instruction

Chair

Natasha Speer

William Leatham

Mary Evans

Location

Wells Room 1

Wells Room 2

Wells Room 3

10:45-11:30

Using Research in a Teacher Preparation Mathematics Course

Susan Mau

Are You Really Teaching if No One is Learning? How Interactive-Lecturing Can Be Used to Measure and Improve Student Learning

Edward Prather

Barriers to Understanding Evolution: Insights from the Biology Concept Inventory

Michael Klymkowsky

11:30-12:15

Core-Plus Mathematics: Drawing From and Contributing to the Research Base on Student Learning

Beth Ritsema

The Pedagogical Principles and Research Base Behind the Development of InterActions in Physical Science

Robert Poel

Discover the Microbes Within! The Wolbachia Project

Seth Bordenstein

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Tuesday, June 24th · Overview of Morning Sessions

Session Title

(S7)

Science Instruction

(S8)

Physics Instruction

(S9)

Earth Science Instruction

Chair

Mitchell Bruce

John Thompson

Stephen Norton

Location

Wells Room 1

Wells Room 2

Wells Room 3

9:00-9:45

Research From A World Class Ecosystem Study Promotes Environmental Literacy for Teachers: How Do We Measure The Impact?

Mary Ann McGarry

Labs to Promote Vector Use in Introductory Mechanics

Stephen Kanim

Why do College Students Struggle to Learn Earth Science Concepts? Implications for
Pre-College Teaching

Steven Anderson

9:45-10:30

Molecules to Masterpieces: Key Connections between Creative Disciplines

Laura Muller

Model Building and Model Use in Physics

Eric Brewe

Affective and Cognitive Changes in Students Participating in Entirely Field-Based Introductory-Level Geology Courses

Joe Elkins

10:30-11:00

Break

11:00-12:15

Panel Discussion “Strategies and Challenges for Scaling-Up Research-Supported Practices”

Moderator: Susan R. McKay

Panelists: Anita Bernhardt, Francis Eberle, Nicole Gillespie, Sally Goetz Shuler, Bill Zoellick

Location: Wells (Room 1 & 2)

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Wednesday, June 25th · Overview of Morning Sessions

Session Title

(S10)

Physical Science

(S11)

Gender and STEM

(S12)

Mathematics Instruction

Chair

Patricia Bernhardt

Sharon Barker

Robert Franzosa

Location

Wells Room 1

Wells Room 2

Wells Room 3

9:00-9:45

Using Shifts in Student Language to Identify

“A-ha” Moments in Group Problem Solving

Kate McCann

(9:00-9:20)

“Seeing” Gender: Encouraging Girls in STEM Fields

Jacqueline Spears

Examining Mathematics Knowledge for Teaching in the College Context: A Case Study of Whole-Class Discussions in an Undergraduate Differential Equations Course

Natasha Speer

Identifying Student Concepts of Gravity

Roger Feeley

(9:25-9:45)

9:45-10:15

Break

10:15-10:45

OPEN SPACE SESSION

Facilitators: Jon R. Geiger and Susan R. McKay

Location: Wells (Room 1 & 2)

10:45-11:30

Open Space Break-Out Conversations

Location: Wells (Room 1, 2, & 3)

11:30-12:15

Open Space Reports and Conference Wrap Up

Location: Wells (Room 1 & 2)

Lunch in Memorial Union Marketplace – Turn in Evaluation & Get Lunch Ticket

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Monday Afternoon Workshops (1:30-3:30pm)

*NOTE: Although workshops do not require pre-registration, we request that you sign up for Monday and Tuesday afternoon workshops at the registration desk when picking up your registration material.

Workshop Title

Facilitator

Building

& Rm#

W1: Panel Discussion and Conversation: Encouraging Diversity in STEM – Resources for Students, Teachers, and Faculty

Susan McKay, Moderator

University of Maine

Sharon Barker, Panelist

University of Maine

Patricia Bernhardt, Panelist

James F. Doughty Middle School

Chris Cash, Panelist

Institute for Broadening Participation

Sandra Thomas, Panelist

Institute for Broadening Participation

Sara Willett, Panelist

Wabanaki Center

133

Barrows

W2: Investigating the Core-Plus Mathematics Curriculum and Associated Technology Tools

Beth Ritsema

Western Michigan University

124

Barrows

W3: Reading Strategies for Helping Middle School and Secondary Students Understand Science Textbook Reading

Janice Kristo

University of Maine

Amy Clement

Central High School, Corinth, Maine

University of Maine

125

Barrows

W4: InterActions in Physical Science: A Middle School Physical Science Curriculum that Supports Student Inquiry and Scientific Thinking

Robert Poel

Western Michigan University

211

Little

W5: Intellectually Engaging Students with
Lecture Tutorials: Directed Inquiry
Activities that Dramatically Increase
Learning

Edward Prather

University of Arizona

123

Barrows

W6: Systems: An Important Unifying Theme in Science

Anita Bernhardt

Maine Department of Education

130

Barrows

W7: Metacognitive Strategies for Improving Problem Solving

Melanie Cooper

Clemson University

119

Barrows

W8: Uncovering Common Algebraic
Misconceptions

Cheryl Rose

Education Development Center, Inc.

131

Barrows

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Tuesday Afternoon Workshops I (1:30-3:30pm)

Workshop Title

Facilitator

Building

& Rm #

W9: Further Discussions: Strategies and Challenges for Scaling-Up Research-Supported Practices

Susan R. McKay, Moderator
University of Maine

Anita Bernhardt

Maine Department of Education

Francis Eberle

Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance

Nicole Gillespie

Knowles Science Teaching Foundation

Sally Goetz Shuler

National Science Resources Center

Bill Zoellick

Acadia Partners for Science and Learning

Wells

Rm 1 & 2

W10: Using Research in Your K-12 Classroom: Ethnomathematics at Work!

Susan Mau

Indiana University Purdue University

111

DPC

W11: Methods for Maximizing the Effectiveness of Questioning in the Classroom

Edward Prather

University of Arizona

123

Barrows

W12: Bringing Computational Biology to the Classroom

Deborah McGann

Maine School of Science and Mathematics

124

Barrows

W13: What Happens in the Kiln?

Laura Muller

Wheaton College

230

Aubert

W14: Using Novel and Accessible Technologies in the K-12 Classroom to Enhance Science and Mathematics Learning

Charles Griffin and David Harmon

IBM Systems & Technology

109

DPC

W15: Balancing the Equation – Strategies for
Engaging Girls in STEM Fields

Jacqueline Spears

Kansas State University

125

Barrows

W16: Groundwater! A Hands-On Workshop for Teachers

Hannah Webber

University of Maine

113

DPC

W17: What Were They Thinking? Linking National Standards, Research on Learning, and Formative Assessment

Page Keeley

Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance

211

Little

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Tuesday Afternoon Workshops II (3:45-5:45pm)

Workshop Title

Facilitator

Building

& Rm #

W18: Intellectually Engaging Students with Ranking Tasks: Quantitative Reasoning Activities that Dramatically Increase Learning

Edward Prather

University of Arizona

123

Barrows

W19: Critically Analyzing Scientific and Educational Research Literature: Activities for Students and Teachers

Patricia Bernhardt

James F. Doughty Middle School

Brandon Bucy & Warren Christensen

University of Maine

211

Little

W20: Hubbard Brook Research Foundation’s Educational Team Promotes Environmental Literacy By Translating Data from a World Class Ecosystem Study through Curricular and Professional Development, and School Partnerships

Mary Ann McGarry

Plymouth State University

125

Barrows

W21: Using Ed’s and Related Tools to Discover and Appreciate Student Thinking

Michael Klymkowsky

University of Colorado, Boulder

111

DPC

W22: Leveraging Research at Acadia National Park to Build Inquiry-Based High School Math and Science Programs

Bill Zoellick

Yvonne Davis

Acadia Partners for Science and Learning

113

DPC

W23: Exploring Integers through Inquiry

Michelle Stephan

University of Central Florida

131

Barrows

W24: The STEM in Maine Initiative – Building Partnerships and Strategies

( 3:45-6:15pm )

Francis Eberle

Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance

Susan McKay

University of Maine

Wells

Rm 3

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Open Space

Jon R. Geiger, Director of Educational Programs & Affiliated Scientist

The Jackson Laboratory

Question: How can we use what we have learned at this conference to collaborate to improve STEM education?

Open Space is simple, self-directed, and focused. Participants will create the agendas for simultaneous break-out sessions. After the sessions are complete, we will gather for a follow-up discussion.

Open Space is designed for participants to seize the moment, to begin a conversation that combines imagination and practicality, and that leads to unique ideas to answer the question.

Participants present ideas for which they have a passion and are willing to take responsibility for convening a conversation. Conveners ask someone in the group to write a summary of the key points discussed to be shared with the larger group. Together, as a larger group, we will formalize some of the best conversations of the break-out sessions.

The Law of Two Feet:

If participants are not learning or contributing they must use their two feet to join another discussion; all are responsible for their participation. Open Space works if people care about the issue, the issue is complex, there is a sense of urgency, and people represent diverse points of view.

The bumblebees buzz from group to group, cross-pollinating ideas. Butterflies don’t participate in formal sessions but stimulate informal discussions.

We hope the Open Space break-out conversations will lead to:

High learning: Participants change how they think, enabling them to create new ideas & linkages.

High play: A convivial, open atmosphere is developed where participants can question dogma.

Formation of a genuine community: Participants develop deeper bonds with their peers and expand their networks by talking with people they don’t known but who share their passion.

Tangible output: Participants generate worthwhile ideas (as measured by group consensus), express them clearly in reports, and create plans to move these ideas forward.

This discussion session will follow the guidelines at http://www.openspaceworld.com

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The STEM in Maine Initiative – Building Partnerships and Strategies

Francis Eberle; Executive Director, Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance

Susan R. McKay; Professor of Physics and Director, Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research, University of Maine

This session will bring together business leaders; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educators; and non-profit leaders to discuss ways to broaden participation and strengthen achievement by Maine students in STEM fields. Participants will hear an update on progress since the STEM summit held in January and will have a chance to summarize their organizations’ priorities, partnerships, and projects in this area. There will also be an opportunity for participants to display posters to teach others about their work. After brief introductory remarks, this session will focus on fostering partnerships and strategies for meeting our common goals.

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Session Abstracts

In Order By Session

S1-1 The Complexity of Contexts

Signe E. Kastberg, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Indiana University – Purdue University Indiana, School of Education

Indianapolis, Indiana

Target Audience: general audience

While many educators advocate for the use of instructional tasks that draw on ideas from a variety of domains of practice, what do we know about how students use the knowledge to construct solutions to such tasks? In this discussion we explore student work that illustrates the difficulties students face as they complete assessment and instructional tasks drawn from a variety of content areas. A framework for discussing the application of knowledge associated with domains of practice will be introduced and used to interpret student responses to tasks.

S1-2 How Inclusive is Mathematical Inquiry?

Michelle Stephan, Ph.D.

Lawton Chiles Middle School

University of Central Florida

Orlando, Florida

Target Audience: middle or high school teachers

Research has shown that children of all ages can learn mathematics deeply through an approach that is consistent with recent reform recommendations of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. While an inquiry approach can be powerful in mainstream classrooms, the “jury is still out” regarding inclusive classrooms (classrooms that mainstream students categorized as needing special education services). Much of the research says that students with disabilities need a variety of instructional approaches, including traditional, direct instruction. In this talk, I will explore what an inquiry classroom can look like in an inclusive, co-taught mathematics classroom that uses inquiry as its primary approach to learning. Despite the research, the co-teachers, one regular and one special educator, minimized traditional instruction with very positive results for all students. I will share examples from this classroom to show how an inquiry environment can be supportive for all students.

S2-1 Introducing Inquiry-Based Labs into a Large Introductory Biology Course: Step 1, Step 2…

Mary Tyler, Ph.D.

Professor of Zoology

School of Biology and Ecology

University of Maine

Orono, Maine

Target audience: Biology Teachers and Teaching Assistants, High School and College

There is a great deal of evidence showing that inquiry-based learning is especially effective in science laboratories, but is it possible to bring inquiry-based learning into the laboratory of large introductory biology courses? We are embarking on an experiment to determine this. We have designed inquiry-based labs for the Introductory Biology course (~800 students) at UMaine. Step one: After writing a laboratory manual, we introduced the labs into 2 sections of the course last fall. The success of this first step has been impressive: students in the inquiry-based labs learned more and were more enthusiastic about science than those in the traditional labs. Step two: we will be using the inquiry-based labs in 15 sections of the course next fall, before extending the labs to all 45 sections. There are several rules we followed in creating these labs: 1) all lab exercises were inquiry-based, emphasizing the scientific process, but only 4 involved students designing their own experiments; 2) labs with student-designed experiments stretched over several weeks; 3) experiments were portable so that students could take them to their dorms to collect data each day; 4) all materials used were safe; 5) the format for labs was clear, concise, and put limits on the amount of work expected of the students. Our results show that the success of these inquiry-based labs was due in large part to these 5 factors.

S2-2 Mapping the Dimensions of the Undergraduate Chemistry Laboratory

Marcy Towns, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Chemistry

Purdue University

West Lafayette, Indiana

Target Audience: college mathematics, science, and engineering faculty

There exists a rich literature in chemistry and other science disciplines regarding the content and pedagogy of laboratory. We seek to characterize the diversity of faculty goals for the undergraduate chemistry laboratory, the array of strategies faculty implement in the name of those goals, and the assessments faculty utilize to measure the extent to which they meet those goals. Factors such as type and size of institution, size of program, the use of teaching assistants, the chemistry discipline (organic versus physical chemistry), and the level of course (lower versus upper division) are being explored. Faculty who have received NSF funding to develop and implement innovative practices in lab have been interviewed as well as faculty who have not received NSF funding. We are analyzing interview transcripts using two approaches: a grounded theory approach and Novak’s Human Constructivism. Findings reveal commonalities amongst professors engaged in innovation with those who are not, as well as differences that shed light on why faculty are inspired to change laboratory practices.

S3-1 Assessment and Improvement of Problem Solving

Melanie M. Cooper, Ph.D.

Alumni Distinguished Professor of Chemistry

Clemson University

Clemson, South Carolina

Target audience: College Level STEM

Problem solving is one of the most important goals of any science course. However it is notoriously difficult to improve students¹ problem solving abilities, and many students never develop competence. This is particularly true for open-ended or case-based problems ­ which are also more difficult to assess. We use a number of methods including a suite of software tools and inventories that allow us to assess both student problem solving strategy, student ability, and metacognitive activity as they change over time. We are able predict how a student will perform on subsequent problems with a 90% probability.

Using this set of assessment materials, we are developing and investigating interventions designed to improve student problem solving strategies and abilities. These methods include collaborative grouping, metacognitive strategies, laboratory projects, and concept maps. The effects of these interventions will be discussed, with regard to student ability, developmental level, and gender.

S3-2 Contributed Talk Crime Scene Investigation in the Art World

Katharine Harmon

Department of Biology

Colby College

Waterville, Maine

Target Audience: chemistry teachers, grade 6 and higher

Chemistry experiments involving mock crimes can effectively engage students of all ages, particularly when high-tech equipment from the laboratory is involved. Another widely appealing aspect of chemistry is its relationship to color, light and painting. This presentation will discuss an outreach activity designed for grades 6 and higher that combines the chemistry of crime with the chemistry of art. This multi-part exercise was created to meet science goals of the Maine Learning Results standards. This exercise is centered on a key educational principle of that standard: “helping students develop curiosity and excitement for science and technology while they gain essential knowledge and skills is best achieved by actively engaging learners in multiple experiences that increase their ability to be critical thinkers and problem solvers.” Our activities include analysis of pigments through a UV-visible spectrophotometer to determine absorbance spectra, chemical analysis of pigments though color-changing cation reactions, observation of suspect paintings with a UV light, and an investigation of suspect fingerprints. We have run this activity in our own laboratory facilities and at a junior high school, as well as in a non-majors laboratory course at Colby College, demonstrating its wide appeal to many age groups. Our unique use of specific technologies in the classroom engages students’ curiosity for science while they gain essential skills in problem solving.

S3-3 Contributed Talk Using Structural Equation Modeling to Diagnose Readiness for General Chemistry at UNH , with a Chem-Math Problem-Solving Recitation to Serve At-Risk Students

William Cary Kilner

Chemical Education

University of New Hampshire

Durham, New Hampshire

Target Audience: high school and college science/chemistry teachers

Retention of freshmen life-science majors has long been a problem at UNH as well as at other institutions. Many students arrive with weak mathematics backgrounds as well as with poor chemistry preparation. In addition many did not take a senior mathematics course nor have they had a physics course.

As a former high school teacher and in my research at UNH I have worked to diagnose and address the precise mathematical difficulties that students have in chemistry problem-solving. In this talk I will share some of the surprising discoveries I have made about what students are thinking and doing that seems to us enigmatic at best.

I will also share some of the materials I have designed to assist students in learning (or relearning) the mathematics tools they need to have to solve typical chemistry problems. As students work through these materials they can gain confidence, leading to a more positive attitude and increased success in the general chemistry course.

In addition, when students understand the mathematics they are using in chemistry problem solving and not just following an algorithmic approach, research has shown they can acquire a greater conceptual understanding of the underlying chemistry.

S4-1 Using Research in a Teacher Preparation Mathematics Course

Susan Mau, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Mathematical Sciences

Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne, Indiana

Target Audience: university faculty/teacher educators and cooperating field experience teachers/faculty

Prospective teachers often begin their teacher preparation thinking there is little to learn about children’s mathematical thinking. This largely comes from a perspective that teaching is about telling children what to do and when to do it. This perspective implicitly assumes children don’t know what to think until an adult tells them. As every experienced teacher knows, this is a naive assumption.

In my mathematics course for prospective elementary school teachers, I use both the literature about the prospective teachers’ knowledge and about elementary school children’s knowledge. In this presentation, Ms. Nancy Leininger, school corporation partner, and I will describe a service learning/research project the provided assessment data for Northwest Allen County Schools and a rich research experience for IPFW prospective teachers.

S4-2 Core-Plus Mathematics: Drawing From and Contributing to the Research Base on Student Learning

Beth Ritsema, Ph.D.

Mathematics Educator

Western Michigan University

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Target Audience: university mathematics educators and high school mathematics curriculum personnel and teachers

This talk will highlight the role of research in the development and testing of the integrated high school mathematics curriculum developed by the Core-Plus Mathematics Project. The research base for the design of the curriculum will be elaborated and key findings from evaluation and focused research studies will be shared.

S5-1 Are You Really Teaching if No One is Learning? How Interactive-Lecturing Can Be Used to Measure and Improve Student Learning.

Edward Prather, Ph.D.

Associate Research Scientist and Senior Lecturer

Director, Center for Astronomy Education (CAE)

Steward Observatory

University of Arizona

Tuscon, Arizona

Target Audience: teachers of science with students ranging from MS-College (non-science majors). In particular physical science classes that teach space science topics.

When we think about how we were socialized into the world of teaching and learning as science students, it is not surprising that we tend to practice traditional lecture methods with our students once we start teaching our own courses. Acknowledging that lecture-based teaching methods are insufficient at promoting significant conceptual gains for students in introductory science courses is only the first step toward increasing students’ understanding. Researchers at the Center for Astronomy Education (CAE) at the University of Arizona have been developing and evaluating the effectiveness of learner-centered instructional materials that put students in an active role in the classroom. With the support from the NSF and NASA, we have designed and field-tested a suite of innovative instructional materials and strategies intended for use with collaborative student learning groups that are designed specifically to be easily integrated into existing conventional lectures-based courses. As such, these instructional materials directly address the needs of heavily loaded teachers in that they offer effective, learner-centered, classroom-ready activities that do not require any outside equipment/staffing or a drastic course revision for implementation. Each activity uses a set of carefully sequence Socratic-dialogue questions or hierarchical tasks that are coupled with graphs, illustrations and data tables to force students to reason critically about conceptually challenging and commonly taught topics in physical science. The materials are based on research into student beliefs and reasoning difficulties and make use of a conceptual change instructional framework that promotes the intellectual engagement of students. Our research into the effectiveness of these instructional materials and learning strategies shows that traditional lectures alone make unsatisfactory gains on student understanding; however, supplementing traditional instruction with the research-based, learner-centered activities helps students make impressive conceptual gains over traditional instruction. A review of research, and an overview of instructional strategies, will be provided and modeled during this session. Active audience participation will be required – no, really, it will be fun, really!

S5-2 The Pedagogical Principles and Research Base Behind the Development of InterActions in Physical Science

Robert Poel, Ph.D.

Professor of Physics, emeritus

Western Michigan University

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Target Audience: curriculum developers, researchers in conceptual learning in science, and secondary science teachers

What is appropriate middle-school physical science? What content is necessary in middle school to prepare students for high-school science? What level of scientific inquiry are middle-school students capable of doing? Can middle-school students work effectively together in small groups to discuss and make sense of their observations? What does the research-base tell us about the ability of the pre-high school student to deal with abstract ideas and inquiry skills in physical science? What type of professional development support do middle-school science teachers need to implement an inquiry-oriented, research-based science program?

These are some of the questions the developers of InterActions in Physical Science considered during the development of this NSF-supported physical science curriculum. The curriculum actively engages students in doing science by conducting interesting investigations and participating in sense-making discussions in small groups and with the whole class. This session will discuss how the overall design of the curriculum provides the foundation for meaningful student learning and how the professional development materials support teachers who are implementing this inquiry-based curriculum.

S6-1 Barriers to Understanding Evolution: Insights from the Biology Concept Inventory

Michael W. Klymkowsky, Ph.D.

Professor of Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology

University of Colorado

Boulder, Colorado

Target Audience: biology teachers

The theory of evolution provides the conceptual framework for all of modern biology. Yet it is demonstrably poorly understood and widely rejected by even college-educated people. In part, this failure of understanding has its roots in the anti-intuitive nature of many of the basic concepts and processes involved, as well as instruction-introduced misconceptions. Based on research carried out during the preparation, validation, and administration of the Biology Concept Inventory (BCI) it appears that natural selection itself is relatively obvious and is not a significant conceptual barrier. Rather understanding the source of evolutionary novelty through random events, such as genetic drift and mutation, does pose a serious obstacle to the acceptance of the plausibility of evolutionary mechanisms. A second-order, but nevertheless critical conceptual barrier involves the link between mutational changes and molecular and network behavior. There is little attempt to convey the non-linear nature of gene/cellular/population networks that underlie the adaptive and homeostatic behavior of biological systems. Likewise, the common jigsaw puzzle/lock and key (i.e. geometric) models of molecular interactions generally taught conflict with the energetic flexibility that characterizes intermolecular interactions. Few students understand the potential for enzymatic promiscuity or substrate selectivity. Moreover, processes such as gene duplication and subsequent divergence, which make more dramatic changes possible, are often not presented at all. To address these issues, we will describe tutorials, at various stages of development and assessment, that seek to address these conceptual roadblocks to student understanding of evolutionary processes.

S6-2 Discover the Microbes Within! The Wolbachia Project

Seth Bordenstein, Ph.D.

Assistant Scientist

Josephine Bay Paul Center for Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution

The Marine Biological Laboratory

Woods Hole, Massachusetts

Target Audience: high school biology teachers

Experiencing science leads to empowerment and empowerment creates the foundation for critical thinking skills and ultimately a scientifically-literate public. Discover the Microbes Within! The Wolbachia Project is designed for high school biology educators in an effort to bring real-world scientific research into biology labs and lesson plans with inquiry, discovery, biotechnology, and a culture of excellence. The four core goals of this initiative are to: (1) Engage high school students in nature and real-world research (2) Encourage nationwide participation in the collection and of new scientific data on bacterial endosymbionts (Wolbachia) (3) Enhance student interest in science through an integrative lab series spanning biodiversity to molecular biology and (4) Show students what it is like to be a scientist.

The lab modules can be either individually incorporated into daily lesson plans addressing National Science Education Standards or used as a coherent unit progressively emphasizing the nature of a long-term science project throughout the school year. The full lab series teaches observation, conceptualization, the scientific method, and major concepts in systematics and biodiversity, symbiosis, molecular biology, microbial ecology, biotechnology, bioinformatics, and molecular evolution. Website: http://discover.mbl.edu

S7-1 Research From A World Class Ecosystem Study Promotes Environmental Literacy for Teachers:
How Do We Measure The Impact?

Mary Ann McGarry, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Science Education

Plymouth State University

Plymouth, New Hampshire

Target Audience: science and math educators- middle level and high school teachers, and those interested in state of the art on-going assessment associated with new curricular material

The Hubbard Brook Research Foundation (HBRF) developed its first teachers guide, entitled Exploring Acid Rain, appropriate for middle, high school, and even college educators, that includes slide shows, inquiry-oriented activities, and outdoor student fieldwork projects. New math/science curricular programs are being launched all the time, but how effectively are they evaluated? McGarry will share the HBRF education team’s quantitative and qualitative assessment techniques using pre and post tests and a dynamic blog site where teachers share implementation plans, questions, feedback, and where HBRF shares updates to keep the curriculum current. The pedagogical/evaluation tools are transferable to other programs and have applications for improving learning in classrooms.

S7-2 Molecules to Masterpieces: Key Connections Between Creative Disciplines

Laura Muller, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Chemistry

Wheaton College

Norton, Massachusetts

Target Audience: high school science teachers and college chemistry faculty

Students at Wheaton College can explore the connection between chemistry and art through the Molecules to Masterpieces Connection in our innovative Connections curriculum. Through the course Art, Color and Chemistry students learn to understand the relationship between molecular structure and physical properties; to understand chemical processes used in creating art; to understand chemical processes used in authenticating art; and to appreciate the usefulness of chemistry to the artistic endeavor. In order to accomplish these goals, Art, Color and Chemistry features two and a half hour meetings twice per week with alternating lab and lecture as appropriate, with most class meetings incorporating a hands-on component. Lab work is supplemented by a semester-long group project focused on a topic in art conservation or media preparation. Course evaluations show that this course not only strengthens art students’ knowledge of the connection between art and science, but also changed students’ attitudes towards science.

S8-1 Labs to Promote Vector Use in Introductory Mechanics

Stephen Kanim, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Physics

New Mexico State University

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Target Audience: high school, undergraduate physics faculty

Recent research results suggest that many students in introductory physics courses do not develop an understanding of Newton’s second law as a vector equation. As a result, these students do not see the special cases of linear motion and circular motion as examples of a more general physical principle. I will first give examples of these research results, and then describe labs that we have developed that are intended to foster understanding of vector addition (in the context of forces) and of vector subtraction (in the context of acceleration).

*Supported by NSF grants DUE-0341333, DUE-0341289, and DUE-0341350

S8-2 Model Building and Model Use in Physics

Eric Brewe, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Science Education

Florida International University

Miami, Florida

Target Audience: high school physics teachers

Modeling Instruction is well known, especially for the use of whiteboards and professional development workshops. While whiteboards and workshops are the best-known elements of Modeling Instruction, the role of models and the process of modeling structure the instruction around useful tools for improved learning. This talk will highlight the role of models in science and in educational research, and will show how they can be incorporated into teaching.

S9-1 Why Do College Students Struggle to Learn Earth Science Concepts? Implications for Pre-College Teaching

Steven Anderson, Ph.D.

Director, Mathematics and Science Teaching Institute Winchester

Distinguished Faculty in Science Education

University of Northern Colorado

Greeley, Colorado

Target Audience: middle school through college science teachers

Through in-depth interviews and information extracted from pre- and post-testing of students using the Geoscience Concept Inventory (GCI), we find that college-educated students struggle to gain a solid understanding of many fundamental geosciences concepts. Although a large number of students hold on to several incorrect concepts despite instruction (entrenched ideas), we also find that a larger number of students are quite fluid with respect to their conceptual understanding of geosciences concepts, and typically switch between one wrong answer on the pre-test to another wrong answer on the post-test, or from the correct answer on the pre-test to wrong answers on the post-test. Through the use of basic supporting science questions embedded on the GCI, we suggest that a lack of a firm conceptual foundation in chemistry and physics in these students may be related to both entrenched ideas and “idea mobility”, ultimately resulting in poor conceptual development suggested by the low gain scores that we commonly find with pre- to post-test use of the GCI nationwide. This has major implications for instruction at the pre-college level, and forces us to consider a number of important questions. When should we teach of Earth Science relative to chemistry, physics, and biology for pre-college students? Are our pre-college geosciences textbooks and curricula properly using fundamental science concepts to help students learn geosciences concepts? What are the most important geosciences concepts that we want students to learn?

S9-2 Affective and Cognitive Changes in Students Participating in Entirely Field-Based Introductory-Level Geology Courses

Joe T. Elkins, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

University of Northern Colorado

Greeley, Colorado

Target Audience: science professors, science education researchers, graduate students

We developed an entirely field-based, interdisciplinary curriculum combining geology, environmental studies, and Native American culture that uses a 14,500 mile itinerary to teach introductory-level college students at Bowling Green State University in Ohio in the United States. The program is called “GeoJourney”, and travels to 30 national parks and 24 states throughout the US for use as field sites to teach introductory concepts in each of the subjects. Participants include 24 students, 2 faculty, and 8 support staff (comprised of graduate teaching assistants) who camp outdoors in tents every night during the nine-week field excursion. The program travels by van and is supported by a box truck which carries the participants’ gear. With such a long route and so much time spent in vehicles moving across the North American continent, we incorporated iPods loaded with electronic course materials such as educational documentaries, paleogeography photographs, and lecture podcasts in an attempt to reduce student ‘novelty space’ prior to arriving at field sites. To assess the effectiveness of the field course at changing student’s cognitive and affective domains, we used a mixed-methods approach which included the use of two validated instruments: the Geoscience Concept Inventory and the Novelty Space Survey. Results of the GCI, used as a summative assessment, show that students participating in GeoJourney have the highest percent gain and effect size over any other courses using the GCI in the United States. Results from the Novelty Space Survey also demonstrate that student novelty space was decreased with the greatest changes in novelty space occurring in the cognitive domain. Continued research includes identification of student behavioral proxies for novelty space, such as the number of and subject of photographs they take while on field trips.

S10-1 Contributed Talk Using Shifts in Student Language to Identify “A-ha” Moments in Group Problem Solving

Kate McCann1

Michael C. Wittmann, Ph.D.1,2,3

Brandon Bucy, Ph.D.1,2

1Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research

2Department of Physics and Astronomy

3College of Education and Human Development

University of Maine

Orono, Maine

Target Audience: science researchers, physics educators

Characterizing student activities and behavior during group problem solving in guided-inquiry settings has been a recent development in the field of Physics Education Research. In an effort to identify critical “a-ha” moments in problem solving, we have developed a method of parsing qualitative video data by identifying key language elements and tracking the frequency with which these elements appear in student dialog. Important language elements have been used to develop a coding scheme based on previous linguistics work done by D. Tannen. Tannen categorized certain pieces of student language that indicated speaker expectations during dialog. After independently identifying “a-ha” moments, we find that the frequency of language that indicates expectations increases dramatically, in both total quantity and per minute, as students approach these moments in problem solving during intermediate mechanics guided-inquiry tutorials.

S10-2 Contributed Talk Identifying Student Concepts of Gravity

Roger E. Feeley1

John R. Thompson, Ph.D.1,2

1Department of Physics and Astronomy

2Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research

University of Maine

Orono, Maine

Target Audience: physics educators

We have investigated student concepts of “gravity” among astronomy students, non-science majors, and pre-service K-12 teachers. Students were surveyed on their reasoning about the behavior of objects on the surface of a planetary body (e.g., the Earth or the moon) and the causes of this behavior. Previous studies indicate that gravity is not a readily and well understood concept; most people do not use Newton’s law of gravitation. Common beliefs held by students are that air affects gravity, a planet’s rotation affects its gravity, and that the force of gravity and weight are not the same thing. The concept that air is necessary for gravity leads to the belief that there is no gravity in outer space or on the moon. Our survey results substantiate these previous studies and introduce the concept of “threshold reasoning.”

S11 “Seeing” Gender: Encouraging Girls in STEM Fields

Jacqueline D. Spears, Ph.D.

Director, Center for Science Education

Associate Professor Secondary Education

Kansas State University

Manhattan, Kansas

Target Audience: middle school and high school science, math, STEM educators

Research demonstrates that teachers and students alike behave with gender schemas in mind. Teachers often expect male and female students to behave differently or achieve differently based on gender schemas. Students often behave in ways consistent with gender schemas, drawing teachers into reaffirming those behaviors. Students also use gender schemas to regulate their interactions with each other in the classroom. This presentation will provide an overview of the research in this field as well as strategies for encouraging girls to stay involved in mathematics and science.

S12 Examining Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching in the College Context: A Case Study of Whole Class Discussions in an Undergraduate Differential Equations Course

Natasha Speer, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Michigan State University

East Lansing, Michigan

Target Audience: researchers and teachers interested in the role of various kinds of knowledge in teaching practices (especially the teaching of undergraduate mathematics)

Researchers have found that teachers make use of more than just their knowledge of mathematics content and general pedagogical skills as their create learning opportunities for their students. In particular, research findings indicate that content-specific teaching knowledge (e.g., pedagogical content knowledge (PCK)) as well as the specialized forms of mathematical knowledge used in the work of teaching (e.g., to unpack students’ mathematical thinking) play important roles in teachers’ practices. These issues have been examined at elementary levels, and to lesser extents, at secondary school levels. Such research, however, is virtually absent at the college level. Since college teachers of mathematics typically possess very strong knowledge of mathematics, studies of their practices have the potential highlight other forms of knowledge that are essential to support particular kinds of teaching. In this presentation, I will report on an investigation into the knowledge used and needed by a mathematician as he taught an inquiry-oriented undergraduate differential equations course for the first time. The focus of the study is on whole-class discussions, in part because of the important roles such discussions played in the curriculum and in part because this was the aspect of the course the mathematician reported as most challenging. Using classroom video and post-class interview data, the analysis centers on various ways that the teaching-related knowledge the mathematician had (and did not have) influenced how he was able to plan for, follow, and guide whole-class discussions that occurred after students had worked on problems collaboratively in small groups.

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Workshop Abstracts

W1 Panel Discussion and Conversation: Encouraging Diversity in STEM – Resources for Students, Teachers, and Faculty

Susan McKay, Professor of Physics and Director, Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research

Sharon Barker, Director, Women’s Resource Center

Sara Willett, Graduate Assistant, Wabanaki Center

University of Maine

Orono, Maine

Patricia Bernhardt

Life Science Teacher

James F. Doughty Middle School

Chris Cash, Outreach Coordinator

Sandra Thomas, Executive Director

Institute for Broadening Participation

Damariscotta, Maine

Target Audience: STEM educators

The United States faces a widely recognized challenge in filling the need for talented students and professionals engaged in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). At the same time, many STEM fields have disproportionately low numbers of women, minorities, and members from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Broadening participation in STEM provides excellent, rewarding career opportunities for these individuals, while at the same time providing the national workforce needed in STEM fields for economic sustainability. This session will focus on understanding the myths and realities involved in encouraging those from underrepresented groups to pursue STEM studies and careers. Panelists will describe programs that have been successful in achieving these goals and will identify resources designed to assist educators in helping these students navigate through the obstacles that they are likely to encounter at critical junctures. These resources will include handouts, web sites and materials, programs and funding opportunities, as well as strategies for grades 6-16+ classrooms to foster a culture that encourages full participation of all students and enhances their achievement.

W2 Investigating the Core-Plus Mathematics Curriculum and Associated Technology Tools

Beth Ritsema, Ph.D.

Core-Plus Mathematics Project (CPMP)

Western Michigan University

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Target Audience: university mathematics educators, high school mathematics curriculum personnel and teachers

In this workshop participants will be engaged in an investigation from the 2nd edition of Core-Plus Mathematics that exemplifies the manner in which the CPMP-Tools public domain software is integrated into the curriculum. Features of the curriculum supported by research will be evident. Participants will use the interactive geometry, discrete mathematics, statistics, and algebra software that comprises CPMP-Tools.

W3 Reading Strategies for Helping Middle School and Secondary Students Understand Science Textbook Reading

Janice Kristo, Ph.D.

Professor of Literacy Education

University of Maine

Orono, Maine

Amy Clement

Secondary English Teacher

Central High School

Corinth, Maine

Co-Director, Maine Writing Project Summer Institute

College of Education and Human Development

University of Maine

Orono, Maine

Target Audience: middle school and secondary teachers; science educators

Presenters will discuss the key role literacy learning plays in science teaching. The literature on content area instruction stresses the important role that every teacher plays in helping students learn to read and write in science and in other content areas. Reading science material is significantly different from any other reading that students are expected to do. As the difficulty of the text increases, middle and high school students need effective strategies by which to access the text. Without such support, students often give up when they can’t read the textbook and do not have strategies for understanding new vocabulary, the organization of science writing, or how to read visual information in science material, such as graphs, tables, and diagrams.

Participants will learn effective ways to help students actively engage with and understand science material. Using sample science textbook readings participants will have hands-on experience applying a variety of strategies for more effective reading and comprehension of textbook material. A consequence of learning how to read science is that it can affect student’s writing of science. The presenters will also discuss reading and writing connections in the science classroom.

One of the presenters, a high school English teacher, will share ways that she effectively collaborates with science teachers in increasing understanding of the special challenges their students face in reading science material. Participants will become aware of how students may actually learn more science if they know how and when to apply effective reading strategies in science. Presenters will also display nonfiction books that support the science curriculum and can be used to supplement the textbook.

W4 InterActions in Physical Science: A Middle-School Physical Science Curriculum that Supports Student Inquiry and Scientific Thinking

Robert Poel, Ph.D.

Professor of Physics, emeritus

Western Michigan University

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Target Audience: secondary science physical science teachers (particularly grades7-9) and secondarily science curriculum developers.

InterActions in Physical Science (IPS) is a middle-school physical science curriculum that addresses the content and inquiry standards for the middle grades outlined in the National Science Education Standards (NSSE) and the AAAS’s Benchmarks for Scientific Literacy. While the text initially resembles a typical science book, a more detailed examination reveals a distinctive structure and pedagogical approach that requires the learner to perform investigations, discuss the meaning of their observations in small and larger group discussions, and support their claims and explanations with evidence and reasoning. In many cases, students use representations (such as energy diagrams) and computer-based simulations that assist them in developing and “making a case” for their ideas. Once a class consensus is reached, they then compare their ideas to scientists’ consensus ideas finding that while their definitions may not be the same, their ideas are the same. Since this pedagogy is substantially different from traditional teaching and learning strategies, the classroom changes from teacher centered to student focused and the teacher assumes the role of facilitator of learning rather than the source of correct answers. In this workshop, participants will be introduced to the IPS curriculum, do some activities, and examine some of the teacher support materials designed to help teachers implement inquiry-based science.

W5 Intellectually Engaging Students with Lecture Tutorials: Directed Inquiry Activities that Dramatically Increase Learning

Edward Prather, Ph.D.

Associate Research Scientist and Senior Lecturer

Director of the Center for Astronomy Education ( CAE)

Steward Observatory

University of Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Target Audience: teachers of science with students ranging from MS-College (non-science majors), in particular, physical science classes that teach space science topics

The NASA- and NSF supported University of Arizona Center for Astronomy Education (CAE), provide workshops for both novice and experienced teachers which focus on how to best implement effective teaching strategies shown to improve student learning on fundamental topics in astronomy and space science. While most instructors believe that lecture is not the best instructional approach for all their students, they are often unable to effectively implement pedagogically sound alternative instructional strategies that actually intellectually engage students and increase their learning.

The Lecture-Tutorials (now in their second edition) are intellectually engaging activities intended for use by collaborative student learning groups and are designed to be integrated into the lecture portion of an existing course. These classroom-ready, learner-centered activities do not require any outside equipment or drastic course revision for implementation. Each 15-minute Lecture-Tutorial poses a sequence of conceptually challenging, Socratic-dialogue driven questions, along with graphs and data tables, all designed to encourage students to reason critically about difficult concepts in astronomy. The materials are based on research into student beliefs and reasoning difficulties and use proven instructional strategies. The Lecture-Tutorials have been field-tested for effectiveness at various institutions, which represent a wide range of student populations and instructional settings.

Participants in this workshop will gain first hand experience with working in groups to complete several Lecture Tutorial activities. Additionally a significant portion of the workshop will focus on classroom management and instructional scenarios that are critical to successful implementation.

The NASA Center for Astronomy Education is funded by the NSF CCLI Phase III CATS Program, the JPL Navigator Public Engagement Program and the Spitzer Education and Public Outreach Program.

For more information about Lecture-Tutorial for Astronomy see: Prather, E. E., Slater, T. F., Adams, J. P., Bailey, J. M., Jones, L. V., & Dostal, J.A. 2004, Research on a Lecture-Tutorial Approach to Teaching Introductory Astronomy for Non-Science Majors, Astronomy Education Review, 3(2), 122.

W6 Systems: An Important Unifying Theme in Science

Anita Bernhardt

Science and Technology Specialist

Regional Representative

Maine Department of Education

Augusta, Maine

Target Audience: K-16 educators

Systems is one of four unifying themes identified in the Maine Learning Results and Benchmarks for Science Literacy. Participants will learn about the progression of learning related to systems, the research on student learning related to systems and recommendations for instructional approaches for teaching about systems. Participants will also identify connections between ideas about systems and concepts related to the living environment and physical setting.

W7 Metacognitive Strategies for Improving Problem Solving

Melanie Cooper, Ph.D.

Alumni Distinguished Professor of Chemistry

Clemson University

Clemson, South Carolina

Target Audience: college and high school STEM educators

Problem solving is one of the most important goals of any science course. However it is notoriously difficult to improve students¹ problem solving abilities, and many students never develop competence. This workshop will focus on ways to help students develop more metacognitive strategies for solving problems. Participants will take the Metacognitive Activities Instrument that we have developed, and participate in problem solving activities that our research has shown to be effective in transferring and improving problem solving ability.

W8 Uncovering Common Algebraic Misconceptions

Cheryl Rose

Mathematics Project Director

Education Development Center, Inc.

Gardiner, Maine

Target Audience: grade 6-12 teachers

Being aware of student difficulties, the sources of those difficulties, and designing instruction to diminish them, are important steps in achieving the goal of increasing students’ mathematical understanding of various mathematical concepts. Mathematics assessment prompts represent one approach to diagnostic assessment. Designed to question students’ conceptual knowledge and reveal common understandings and misunderstandings, the probes generate targeted information for modifying mathematics instruction, allowing teachers to build on students’ existing knowledge and address their identified difficulties.

Using an action research cycle, QUEST, participants will uncover trends in student thinking about various algebraic concepts, classify misunderstandings based on available cognitive research and discuss instructional implications. Participants will receive several sets of algebraic reasoning probes and the accompanying teacher notes.

W9 Further Discussions: Strategies and Challenges for Scaling-Up Research-Supported Practices

Susan R. McKay, Ph.D., Moderator

Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research

University of Maine

Anita Bernhardt

Science and Technology Specialist

Regional Representative

Maine Department of Education

Francis Eberle

Executive Director, Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance

Nicole Gillespie

Senior Program Officer, Science

Knowles Science Teaching Foundation

Sally Goetz Shuler

Executive Director, National Science Resources Center

Bill Zoellick

Director of Program Development

Acadia Partners for Science and Learning

Target Audience: grade 6-16 teachers

This workshop will provide opportunities for participants to discuss the ideas raised during the morning panel in more depth with the panelists. Discussion will be informal, with the focus determined by the questions and interests of those who participate.

W10 Using Research in Your K-12 Classroom: Ethnomathematics at Work!

Susan Mau, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Department of Mathematical Sciences

Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne, Indiana

Target Audience: PK-16 mathematics teachers

Have you ever wondered just how to tie mathematics to children’s worlds outside the classroom? Is mathematics an isolated topic in your curriculum? If so, join us for investigating mathematics found in art, cultural artifacts, and other walks of life. We will use the Internet to research topics and teaching ideas that spark students’ research and mathematics learning in contexts other than the textbooks. We will consider the mathematics found in Celtic knot work, in quilting, in building furniture, and other trades. Get ready to search the web for ideas and resources. At the end of two hours, you will have the beginnings of a research project you can use with your students.

W11 Methods for Maximizing the Effectiveness of Questioning in the Classroom

Edward Prather, Ph.D.

Associate Research Scientist and Senior Lecturer

Director of the Center for Astronomy Education (CAE)

Steward Observatory

University of Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Target Audience: teachers of science with students ranging from MS-College (non-science majors). In particular physical science classes that teach space science topics

The NASA- and NSF supported University of Arizona Center for Astronomy Education (CAE), provide workshops for both novice and experienced teachers which focus on how to best implement effective teaching strategies shown to improve student learning on fundamental topics in astronomy and space science. While most instructors believe that lecture is not the best instructional approach for all their students, they are often unable to effectively implement pedagogically sound alternative instructional strategies that actually intellectually engage students and increase their learning.

The use of engaging questioning techniques in the classroom can produce a greater level of collaboration among your students and with you. The interactions that occur when we challenge our students with appropriate, high-level, questions can significantly increase their learning beyond what is gained from lecture alone. Participants in this workshop will gain first hand experience with designing questions and implementation of different questioning techniques (most notably think-pair-share). A significant portion of the workshop will focus on classroom management and instructional scenarios that are critical to successful implementation.

The NASA Center for Astronomy Education is funded by the NSF CCLI Phase III CATS Program, the JPL Navigator Public Engagement Program and the Spitzer Education and Public Outreach Program.

W12 Bringing Computational Biology to the Classroom

Deborah McGann

Science Instructor

Maine School of Science and Mathematics

Limestone, Maine

Target Audience: 10+ biology and statistics teachers

Computational Biology blurs the distinctions between the fields of the science, technology and mathematics allowing students to gain knowledge, skills, and understandings in these areas while experiencing the thrill of new discovery. This workshop will not only introduce participants to vast public scientific data resources such as Mouse Genome Informatics (MGI), and the Mouse Phenome Database (MPD) housed at The Jackson Laboratory, but will also provide advanced curriculum mapped to State and National Standards to facilitate the implementation of these bioinformatics tools. The collection of activities and assessments were developed using the tested practices of backward design with a focus on essential questions, guided inquiry and formative assessments. Attendees will be equipped to engage students, from their desktops, in cutting edge primary genetic research where many critical questions are as yet unanswered. Specific areas to be explored include the use of databases housing both raw data for gene expression and Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) along with analyzed and reported data for known gene functions, biochemical pathways, and phenotypes. Analysis will require the use of spreadsheets along with extensive data mining to investigate the origins and implications of relationships between genotypes and phenotype at the molecular level. This workshop is for any science or mathematics instructor, with or without background in computational biology or bioinformatics.

W13 What Happens in the Kiln?

Laura Muller, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Chemistry

Wheaton College

Norton, Massachusetts

Target Audience: chemistry teachers

Students in Art, Color, and Chemistry learn many of the chemical changes associated with the artistic process. In this workshop, we will investigate chemical and physical processes that occur in the creation of ceramics including redox chemistry and freezing point depression.

W14 Using Novel and Accessible Technologies in the K-12 Classroom to Enhance Science and Mathematics Learning

Charles Griffin

David Harmon

Senior Engineers

IBM Systems and Technology

Burlington, Vermont

Target Audience: K-12 science and mathematics educators

Students become engaged in the learning process when they carry out intriguing experiments in the classroom and are motivated by curiosity to extend their understanding about discrepant events. In this workshop, we will create an interactive learning environment utilizing techniques and practices piloted in numerous K-12 classrooms. As in actual classrooms, our large-scale demonstrations will be followed by small group investigations in which participants perform experiments intended to clarify and expand student comprehension. We use novel applications of readily available materials, equipment and instrumentation to explore concepts in vibrations, waves and sound. The technologies we employ range from ordinary PVC tubing to free oscilloscope software for frequency analysis. Science content for the session includes periodic motion, vibrations and waves, resonant frequency, standing waves, superposition, interference, harmonics, damping, frequency-wavelength, frequency-pitch, and equi-tempered scales. This workshop culminates with participants building various musical instruments such as marimbas, panpipes and flutes. Our finale includes the group coming together to perform a brief rendition of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”.

W15 Balancing the Equation – Strategies for Engaging Girls in STEM Fields

Jacqueline Spears, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Secondary Education

Director of Center for Science Education

Kansas State University

Manhattan, Kansas

Target Audience: middle school and high school science, math, STEM educators

Over the last 15 years, the National Science Foundation has invested more than $90 million in projects designed to broaden girls’ and women’s participation in STEM fields. This session will engage participants in an examination of a broad sample of these projects as well as a discussion of the sources of bias reflected in the design of the projects. Participants will gain an in-depth look at the complexity of gender bias as well as information related to strategies, ideas, and resources to take back to the classroom.

W16 Groundwater! A Hands-On Workshop for Teachers

Hannah Webber

Master of Science in Teaching Candidate

Center for Science and Mathematics Research

University of Maine

Orono, Maine

Target Audience: middle school and high school science/earth science teachers

What makes an aquifer? Why can we pump drinking water from the ground? How are rivers and lakes connected to groundwater?

Groundwater is often underrepresented in classroom study units of Earth’s resources, watersheds, or the water cycle. As a result, groundwater is often a poorly understood resource. The aim of this hands-on workshop is to enrich understanding of groundwater by exploring its mechanics and role in the water cycle. Join in as we get our hands dirty using models to explore different properties of groundwater and aquifers. Leave with a deeper understanding of groundwater and a packet of instruction ideas.

W17 What Were They Thinking? Linking National Standards, Research on Learning, and Formative Assessment

Page Keeley

Senior Science Program Director

Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance

Augusta, Maine

President, National Science Teachers Association

Arlington, Virginia

Target Audience: science educators, curriculum developers

Science educators agree that good formative assessment practices are integral to informing teaching and learning, and must be used to balance assessments used to measure and document student achievement. This session will demonstrate the inextricable link between assessment, instruction, and learning using resources developed through the NSF-funded Curriculum Topic Study Project and the NSTA Uncovering Student Ideas series. Participants will experience how probes and formative assessment classroom techniques (FACTs) can be used to probe students’ thinking, inform instructional decisions, and help students become more metacognitive throughout the learning process. Participants will have an opportunity to learn how “standards and research-based assessment probes” are developed and used in a formative assessment-centered, standards-based classroom. We will explore the research that supports formative assessment and examine student work to uncover student thinking. Participants will consider how to use research on students’ ideas and classroom assessment data to build a bridge between students’ commonly held ideas and the scientific ideas we want all students to conceptually understand. In addition, we will discuss and share examples of how formative assessment probes and techniques can be used in pre-service and in-service teacher development.

W18 Intellectually Engaging Students with Ranking Tasks: Quantitative Reasoning Activities that Dramatically Increase Learning

Edward Prather, Ph.D.

Associate Research Scientist and Senior Lecturer

Director of the Center for Astronomy Education (CAE)

University of Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Target Audience: teachers of science with students ranging from MS-College (non-science majors). In particular physical science classes that teach space science topics

The NASA and NSF supported University of Arizona Center for Astronomy Education (CAE), provide workshops for both novice and experienced teachers which focus on how to best implement effective teaching strategies shown to improve student learning on fundamental topics in astronomy and space science. While most instructors believe that lecture is not the best instructional approach for all their students, they are often unable to effectively implement pedagogically sound alternative instructional strategies that actually intellectually engage students and increase their learning.

Ranking tasks are a novel type of conceptual exercise based on a technique called rule assessment. Typically, ranking tasks present learners with a series of four to eight pictures or diagrams that describe slightly different variations of a basic physical situation. The student is then asked to make a comparative judgment and to identify the order or ranking of the various situations based on some physical outcome or result. The format of ranking tasks is typically unfamiliar to students, and challenges them with an intellectual puzzle in which the path to solution is not immediately obvious. The multiple scenarios engage students’ minds and force them to think more deeply about the critical features that distinguish one situation from another. A great advantage of ranking tasks is that their structure makes it difficult for students to rely strictly on memorized answers and mechanical substitution of formulae. In addition, by changing the presentation of the different scenarios (e.g., photographs, line diagrams, graphs, tables, etc.) we find that ranking tasks require students to develop mental schema that are more flexible and robust.

Participants in this workshop will gain first hand experience with working in groups to complete several Ranking Tasks. Additionally a significant portion of the workshop will focus on classroom management and instructional scenarios that are critical to successful implementation.

The NASA Center for Astronomy Education is funded by the NSF CCLI Phase III CATS Program, the JPL Navigator Public Engagement Program and the Spitzer Education and Public Outreach Program.

For more information about Ranking Tasks for Astronomy see: Hudgins, D. W., Prather. E. E., Grayson, D.J. and Smits D. P. 2006, Effectiveness of Collaborative Ranking Tasks on Student Understanding of Key Astronomy Concepts, Astronomy Education Review, 5(1), p.1-22

W19 Critically Analyzing Scientific and Educational Research Literature: Activities for Students and Teachers

Patricia Bernhardt1

Grade Seven Life Science Teacher

Brandon Bucy, Ph.D.2,3

Warren Christensen, Ph.D.2

Postdoctoral Research Associates

1James F. Doughty Middle School

Bangor, Maine

2Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research

3Department of Physics and Astronomy

University of Maine

Orono, Maine

Target Audience: middle and high school science teachers

The Maine Learning Results emphasize students’ understanding and application of the scientific method.* Making hypotheses, gathering evidence, and using data to support or reject a claim are just a few of the necessary steps in acquiring these skills. This workshop will be comprised of two segments dealing with this central goal of investigating the scientific method. We will first explore a science curriculum that is currently being used among middle school students that puts them in the role of scientific evaluator. The process of analyzing a scientific article, such as those appearing in the journals Nature or Discovery, is first modeled for students by the teacher. Students are then charged with locating an article to analyze on their own. Our second segment will involve workshop attendees in the role of evaluators for articles on science education. As we expect our students to uphold the standards of the scientific method in analyzing scientific articles, so too will we uphold this standard in analyzing “scientific” education research articles that are intended to inform our teaching.

*C. The Scientific and Technological Enterprise: Students understand the history and nature of scientific knowledge and technology and the process of inquiry and technological design, and the impacts science and technology have on society and the environment.

W20 Hubbard Brook Research Foundation’s Educational Team Promotes Environmental Literacy By Translating Data From A World Class Ecosystem Study through Curricular and Professional Development, and School Partnerships

Mary Ann McGarry, Ph.D.

Director of Education, Hubbard Brook Research Foundation

Associate Professor of Science Education

Plymouth State University

Plymouth, New Hampshire

Target Audience: middle school and high school science teachers and those interested in promoting ecosystem environmental literacy

The Hubbard Brook Research Foundation (HBRF) developed its teachers guide, Exploring Acid Rain (EAR) to accompany our Science Links publication: Acid Rain Revisited a magazine publication that synthesizes data results from decades of research conducted at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (HBEF), in New Hampshire. The EAR guide, appropriate for middle, high school, and even college educators, includes slideshows, inquiry-oriented activities, and outdoor student fieldwork projects. Why teach about acid rain? What are the intended learning outcomes? What questions are the researchers still generating about how ecosystems work? McGarry will present highlights from the guide. Also, engage in a rich activity integrating ecosystem science, math, and graphing developed for the newest HBRF “Mystery Migratory” bird unit, inspired by over 40 years of data collected from HBEF. Be prepared to complete a pre and post survey documenting your learning. McGarry will share information gleaned from previous workshop participants that helps shape HBRF’s delivery and dissemination of curricular materials. Showcasing two curricula- one on acid rain and the other on migratory birds- is the best way to share elements of our Environmental Literacy Program (ELP) which is as much about process, as product, and is endorsed and funded by the US Forest Service. Every participant will receive a copy both curricula on disk as well as printed versions of our Science Links series. So, not only will attendees walk away with a wealth of resources to use in the classroom, educators will also learn about pedagogical tools for assessing and improving learning in their own classrooms. HBRF encourages teachers to share their implementation stories for publication on our blogsite; teachers value learning about other teachers’ experiences.

W21 Using Ed’s and Related Tools to Discsover and Appreciate Student Thinking

Michael Klymkowsky, Ph.D.

Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

University of Colorado

Boulder, Colorado

Target Audience: science teachers

Effective teaching, that is teaching that leads to learning, is based on a realistic appreciation of students’ current assumptions and knowledge. The Socratic approach seeks to attain this appreciation through a series of questions, careful listening to student responses, and follow-on questions; at its most successful this approach provokes a metacognitive response through which students become aware of their own assumptions and their implications. As a preparation for teaching, and for the construction of concept inventory-type assessment instruments, we developed Ed’s Tools, a web-based system for capturing and evaluating student thinking through a Socratic interaction. Through the use of Ed’s Tools and well-designed questions, it is possible to map out the common pre-/mis-conceptions that students harbor, and so recognize them (often for the first time) and then develop pedagogical strategies to address them. The goal of this workshop is to provide a hands on introduction to Ed’s Tools and related feed-back systems, and the discuss the various ways the information garnered can be used, both in planning instructional strategies and in evaluating their success. Participants are encouraged to read the paper on Ed’s Tools published in PLoS Biology before the workshop.

[see http://biology.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=getdocument&doi=10.1371/journal.pbio.0060003&ct=1]

W22 Leveraging Research at Acadia National Park to Build Inquiry-Based High School Math and Science Programs

Bill Zoellick, Director of Program Development

Yvonne Davis, Dixon Fellow

Acadia Partners for Science and Learning

Winter Harbor, Maine

Target Audience: high school, career, and technical school science teachers

Since September of 2007 a number of Maine high schools and career and technical education schools have been working with scientists who conduct research at Acadia National Park. The goal of this collaborative effort is to develop research projects that can be undertaken right around the schools to engage students in inquiry-based learning tied back to problems and issues at Acadia. This work, funded in part by the Maine Department of Education through a Math/Science Partnership grant, has resulted in resources and techniques that can be used by other teachers in other schools. This workshop will bring teachers up-to-date on what this project is all about and will show them how they can join in and take advantage of it.

The workshop will provide participants with the opportunity to work through some of the research design issues that confront students in the program. Working with teachers who have participated in the program this year, participants will get an overview of key professional development issues associated with increased use of inquiry-based methods. The workshop will provide participants with a summary of key “lessons learned” from this effort and will identify “next steps” and opportunities for other teachers to participate in this ongoing professional development effort.

W23 Exploring Integers through Inquiry

Michelle Stephan, Ph.D.

Lawton Chiles Middle School

University of Central Florida

Orlando, Florida

Target Audience: middle school mathematics teachers

Integer concepts and operations can be an extremely difficult domain of mathematics to teach from an inquiry perspective. Traditional textbooks resort to modeling integer operations on a number line and students come to learn operations with integers as memorized procedures rather than as conceptual actions. Textbooks that attempt to teach integers conceptually, like modeling integers operations with positive and negative charges or games where two colored number chips are traded in a game format, often do not make sense to students and become learned procedurally, despite good intentions. In this workshop, I will present an instructional sequence that attempts to build students conceptions of integers and integer operations conceptually by drawing on their knowledge of money.

W24 The STEM in Maine Initiative – Building Partnerships and Strategies

See page 22 for information and abstract.

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Poster Abstracts

P1 Effects of Context within an Expanded Model-Observe-Explain (MORE) Laboratory Module Addressing Aqueous Solutions and Precipitation Reactions

Seth Anthony

Department of Chemistry

Colorado State University

Fort Collins, Colorado

The laboratory module “What Happens When Substances Are Added to Water?,” developed using the Model-Observe-Reflect-Explain (MORE) Thinking Frame, has been shown to be effective at prompting students to refine their conceptions of aqueous solutions towards scientific correctness, and at reducing the prevalence of common misconceptions. However, cueing students with an experimental context of conductivity within the initial model assignment has been shown to produce significant differences in the molecular-level models articulated by students.

The original laboratory module has been extended with supplemental material designed to address precipitation reactions in aqueous solution. We will present data from the initial implementation of this expanded laboratory module, including student misconceptions, laboratory data, and discussion of the success of the laboratory module in prompting students to refine their models of this class of reactions. We will also discuss the effect of the new context of chemical reactions on the conceptions expressed in students’ models, and the theoretical and instructional implications of these findings.

P2 Mental Math Justifies Being Part of K-12 Curriculum

Chahbaz Azarkadeh

Fort Kent Community High School

Fort Kent, Maine

Research has shown that mental math increases participation and learning in mathematics and helps students to have a more positive experience with math. The Illustrated Math Dictionary defines mental math as “math that is done in your head, without writing or using a calculator or other device.” We know that students learn math differently, some need graphic representation, some verbal. Students with logical and existential intelligence need and could do better using mental math. Mental math is beyond memorization, it develops recognition of patterns and interrelations, expands conceptual understanding and problem solving, and enhances the power of reflection. It could also be used to do computations quickly.

There are a few methods offered today for learning how to do mental math, and they claim their techniques employ the right brain as well as the left brain, increase interest in math and improve the ability of the students to do math in general and particularly among students with learning disabilities. In my experience, students with good mental math ability can estimate a viable solution before they attempt to solve it. Estimating a solution at first helps with problem solving and reduces calculation errors. In my classes, I ask my students to take some time and look at the question and try to solve it in their head before writing it down.

Mental math helps the students to see the beauty and gain a higher appreciation of math, improves students’ mathematical abilities and endows them with greater mathematical proficiency. I think the topic of mental math should be included in our discussions of methods and approaches to be used, particularly at the elementary and middle school levels.

P3 Student Understanding of Partial Derivatives in the Context of Physical Chemistry

Nicole Becker

Department of Chemistry

Purdue University

West Lafayette, Indiana

Upper-level physical chemistry courses require students to be proficient in calculus in order to develop an understanding of thermodynamics concepts. Here we will present the findings of a small pilot study involving five graduate students, which examines the relationship between math and chemistry in the context of physical chemistry course work. Student responses to a set of questions involving mixed second partial derivatives with either abstract symbols or thermodynamic variables (Maxwell relations) give insight into difficulties in physical chemistry instruction.

P4 CHEPREO: A Research and Learning Community Realized

Eric Brewe

Florida International University

Miami, Florida

CHEPREO (Center for High Energy Physics Research and Educational Outreach) is a collaborative research and learning community project that incorporates high energy physics research, grid computing and educational outreach. The Educational Outreach has developed a learning community that synergistically enhances other physics-based education efforts, including PhysTEC, and QuarkNET. The community is built around educational reform efforts aimed at includes high school students and teachers, undergraduate and graduate students, and faculty.

P5 Identifying and Addressing Partial Differentiation Difficulties in Calculus and Thermodynamics

Brandon R. Bucy1,2

John R. Thompson1,2

Donald B. Mountcastle1

1Department of Physics and Astronomy

2Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research

University of Maine

Orono, Maine

We have reported previously that upper-level thermodynamics students demonstrate an inability to correctly equate the mixed second-order partial derivatives of the state function of volume (nonzero quantities in general), arguing instead that these derivatives must identically equal zero.[1] Here we document the presence of this difficulty among students enrolled in a multivariable calculus course. Data were gathered via diagnostic questions structurally identical to those administered in the thermodynamics course, yet devoid of physical context. We additionally present a guided-inquiry tutorial sequence that was specifically developed to address this and related student difficulties with partial derivatives encountered in our research. The sequence uses a graphical interpretation of partial derivatives in the context of an ideal gas P-V-T surface to bridge the abstract mathematical concepts with concrete physical properties. Preliminary results indicate that the sequence effectively addresses the above difficulty, and also positively impacts student performance on related topics.

Research supported in part by NSF Grants #PHY-0406764 and #REC-0633951, and by the Maine Academic Prominence Initiative

1 B.R. Bucy et al., 2006 Phys. Educ. Res. Proc. 883, 157 (2007).

P6 Assessing the Evolution of Content Knowledge and Pedagogical Content Knowledge in a Graduate Course in Physics, Pedagogy, and Education Research

Warren Christensen1

John R. Thompson1,2

Michael C. Wittmann1,2,3

1The Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research

2Department of Physics and Astronomy

3College of Education and Human Development

University of Maine

Orono, Maine

The University of Maine Master of Science in Teaching (MST) program draws students from a variety of undergraduate backgrounds including physics, engineering, mathematics, as well as other sciences. The MST program includes a pair of graduate courses entitled Integrated Approaches in Physics Education. The courses integrate understanding of different elements of physics education research (PER), including research into student learning, content knowledge (CK) from the perspective of how it is learned, and reform-based curricula together with published evidence of their effectiveness. Course elements include equal parts of studying physics through proven curricula and discussion of research results in the context of the PER literature. As part of our course development, we have conducted research on graduate students’ and teachers’ understanding of content, pedagogy, and education research. We are also exploring assessment methods to analyze data on written responses from graduate students about pedagogical content knowledge (PCK). Early findings indicate that the course improves both CK and PCK. However, the improvement in these two arenas seems to be dependent on the background physics content knowledge of the student.

Supported in part by the Maine Academic Prominence Initiative and the Maine Economic Improvement Fund.

P7 Students’ Understanding of Photosynthesis at Middle, High School and Undergraduate Levels

Katie Clegg

Molly Schauffler

Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research

University of Maine

Orono, Maine

This poster will present results from different research studies and surveys about student understanding of photosynthesis at middle, high school, and undergraduate levels. What are the most common misconceptions that students hold at these levels about photosynthesis? This research provides the framework for my MST thesis research project, which will investigate:

-What do teachers find difficult to teach about photosynthesis?

-What do students understand about photosynthesis?

-Can an an inquiry-based approach to teaching about photosynthesis result in improved understanding of photosynthesis by high school students?

P8 The Reliability of the Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation

Glen A. Davenport1

John R. Thompson1,2

1Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research

2Department of Physics and Astronomy

University of Maine

Orono, Maine

We present the results of a test-retest study using the Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation (FMCE), a pre/post instrument used to measure conceptual understanding and learning gains in introductory physics courses. We administered the FMCE to students, then again four weeks later, with no formal physics instruction in between. We will present plots of test-retest scores and correlations, as well as data on whether students tend to answer questions the same way at both testing sessions. We found that the instrument was reliable in group statistics, but the responses of individual subjects were not very consistent. This indicates that the FMCE is a reliable instrument for measuring the ability level of a group, but is not an appropriate tool for judging a specific individual, nor is it an appropriate tool for performing cognitive research.

P9 Student Difficulties with the Doppler Effect

Frank Dudish

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Delta College

Williamston, Michigan

Students often have difficulties in learning the Doppler Effect. As a teacher of college level introductory physics and physical science classes, I have noted students often hold conflicting ideas about the Doppler Effect. Students most commonly confuse the concept of a change in frequency due to motion with a change in amplitude due to distance. In this poster, I present findings from several semesters of classes where I tried a variety of instructional methods to address this issue. During this time, I gathered pre- and post-instruction assessment data on student understanding of the key ideas associated with the Doppler Effect. While I had initially thought that the problem was with students confusing frequency with amplitude, data indicate that the actual difficulty lies in the students’ compartmentalization of knowledge. They appear to “know” different things depending on whether they are asked to provide a definition, give an example, or solve a problem involving the Doppler Effect—even when asked for all of these things on the same exam!

P10 Identifying Student Concepts of Gravity

Roger E. Feeley1

John R. Thompson1,2

1Department of Physics and Astronomy

2Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research

University of Maine

Orono, Maine

We have investigated student concepts of “gravity” among astronomy students, non-science majors, and pre-service K-12 teachers. Students were surveyed on their reasoning about the behavior of objects on the surface of a planetary body (e.g., the Earth or the moon) and the causes of this behavior. Previous studies indicate that gravity is not a readily and well understood concept; most people do not use Newton’s law of gravitation. Common beliefs held by students are that air affects gravity, a planet’s rotation affects its gravity, and that the force of gravity and weight are not the same thing. The concept that air is necessary for gravity leads to the belief that there is no gravity in outer space or on the moon. Our survey results substantiate these previous studies and introduce the concept of “threshold reasoning”.

P11 When Reasoning Fails: The Intriguing Case of How Physics Students Use Deduction

Jon D. H. Gaffney

North Carolina State University

Raleigh, North Carolina

Physics problems often require students to combine various pieces of information (premises), which may consist of physics concepts, assumptions, and given information, to generate conclusions that are guaranteed to be true if the premises are true. This process is called deduction, and deductive reasoning is a fundamental part of science. Not only is deduction used for problem solving, but it is also used to test and apply physical models of the way the world works.

Unfortunately, students often fail to correctly use deductive reasoning in situations where it is required, even when they are prompted to do so. Recent pilot studies suggest that students are generally capable of deduction but are prone to systematic mistakes, such as the belief bias, that are well-documented in psychological literature. Accordingly, students may be more likely to reject a valid argument if its conclusion is unbelievable. Biases such as these are likely to result in major errors. By investigating when and how students use deductive reasoning, we hope to learn how to encourage its use in more effective and appropriate ways to reduce such errors.

P12 Using Novel and Accessible Technologies in the K-12 Classroom to Enhance Science and Mathematics Learning

Charles Griffin

David Harmon

Senior Engineers

IBM Systems & Technology Group

Burlington, Vermont

Students get engaged in the learning process when they carry out intriguing experiments in the classroom and are motivated to extend their understanding by curiosity about discrepant events. We create in this presentation an interactive learning environment utilizing techniques and practices piloted in numerous K-12 classrooms. In an actual classroom, our large scale demonstrations are necessarily followed by small group investigations in which students do experiments to clarify and expand their comprehension. We use novel applications of readily available materials, equipment and instrumentation to explore concepts in vibrations, waves and sound. The technologies we employ range from ordinary pvc tubing, to free oscilloscope software for frequency analysis.

The mechanical and electro-mechanical systems we utilize map the mathematical representations of vibrations, waves and sound to the actual physical phenomena. Science content for the session includes: periodic motion; vibrations and waves; resonant frequency; standing waves; superposition; interference; harmonics; damping; frequency-wavelength; frequency-pitch; and equi-tempered scales. When scheduling of this session allows an extended hands-on workshop, students first build various musical instruments such as marimbas, panpipes and flutes then together perform a brief rendition of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”

Throughout the session we emphasize how a given demonstration can support an analogy which enhances students’ understanding and further enables them to apply that understanding to new situations in some predictive way. For example the tactile sensation of driving a simple mechanical system into resonance enriches the student’s intuitive grasp of resonant frequency and standing waves. Session questions are addressed with impromptu experiments whenever possible.

P13 Crime Scene Investigation in the Art World

Katharine Harmon1

Lisa Miller2

Julie Millard2

1Department of Biology

2Department of Chemistry

Colby College

Waterville, Maine

Chemistry experiments involving mock crimes can effectively engage students of all ages, particularly when high-tech equipment from the laboratory is involved. Another widely appealing aspect of chemistry is its relationship to color, light and painting. This presentation will discuss an outreach activity designed for grades 6 and higher that combines the chemistry of crime with the chemistry of art. This multi-part exercise was created to meet science goals of the Maine Learning Results standards. This exercise is centered on a key educational principle of that standard: “helping students develop curiosity and excitement for science and technology while they gain essential knowledge and skills is best achieved by actively engaging learners in multiple experiences that increase their ability to be critical thinkers and problem solvers.” Our activities include analysis of pigments through a UV-visible spectrophotometer to determine absorbance spectra, chemical analysis of pigments though color-changing cation reactions, observation of suspect paintings with a UV light, and an investigation of suspect fingerprints. We have run this activity in our own laboratory facilities and at a junior high school, as well as in a non-majors laboratory course at Colby College, demonstrating its wide appeal to many age groups. Our unique use of specific technologies in the classroom engages students’ curiosity for science while they gain essential skills in problem solving.

P14 A Comparison of Inquiry-based and Traditional Laboratories in Bio 100 at the University of Maine

Molly Harris

Center for Science and Mathematics Research

University of Maine

Orono, Maine

Many studies advocate the benefits of inquiry-based approaches to science education. This study evaluates benefits of inquiry-based laboratories in the Bio100 course at the University of Maine. Students from both the new inquiry-based and the traditional laboratories were compared in terms of their overall exam scores, laboratory worksheets, content-based questions, post-semester attitudes, and classroom observations. Preliminary results reveal a statistically significant increase in overall exam scores for students in the inquiry-based laboratories compared to those in the traditional labs. Students in the inquiry-based labs also demonstrated more positive attitudes towards biology, better content understanding, and higher order questions during inquiry-based laboratory sections. The initial results of this study support the transition of the Bio100 laboratories at the University of Maine towards a more inquiry-based curriculum.

P15 Some Mathematics Interventions Used with At-Risk Life-Science Students in a Special Recitation at the University of New Hampshire: The Chem-Math Project

William Cary Kilner

Chemistry Department

University of New Hampshire

Durham, New Hampshire

Retention of freshmen life-science majors has long been a problem at UNH as well as at other institutions. Many students arrive with weak mathematics backgrounds as well as with poor chemistry preparation. In addition many did not take a senior mathematics course nor have they had a physics course.

As a former high school teacher and in my research at UNH I have worked to diagnose and address the precise mathematical difficulties that students have in chemistry problem-solving. In this talk I will share some of the surprising discoveries I have made about what students are thinking and doing that seems to us enigmatic at best.

I will also share some of the materials I have designed to assist students in learning (or relearning) the mathematics tools they need to have to solve typical chemistry problems. As students work through these materials they can gain confidence, leading to a more positive attitude and increased success in the general chemistry course.

In addition, when students understand the mathematics they are using in chemistry problem solving and not just following an algorithmic approach, research has shown they can acquire a greater conceptual understanding of the underlying chemistry.

P16 An Analysis of the Effects of Specific Vocabulary Instruction on High School Students’ Knowledge and Understanding

Peggy LaBrosse

Chemistry Teacher

Hollis Brookline High School

Hollis, New Hampshire

The purpose of this study was to analyze the effects of specific vocabulary instruction on high school chemistry students’ knowledge and understanding. The Frayer Model, a research-based teaching strategy, is a graphic organizer which students use to create meaningful definitions for terms in context was used as the treatment in this research study.

The researcher collected and analyzed data to answer three research questions that focused on the effect of using the Frayer model on high school students’ knowledge and understanding of academic language used in chemistry. The vocabulary knowledge was examined by means of multiple-choice pre- and post-tests which were administered to all student participants. Student understanding of the chemistry content was examined using chemistry content understanding pre- and post-tests comprised of four probes based on the National Science Education Standards and linked to common student misconceptions which were administered to all student participants.

P17 Introducing Inquiry-Based Laboratories into a Large Introductory Biology Majors Course at the University of Maine: First Steps.

Jennifer Lockhart1

Ryan Cowan1

Mary Tyler1

Molly Harris 2

1School of Biology and Ecology

2Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research

University of Maine

Orono, Maine

Inquiry-based learning is strongly encouraged as a method for improving education (National Science Education Standards, 1996). Inquiry-based learning focuses on student-constructed learning rather than teacher-transmitted information. In the laboratory, this means students conducting experiments in which they create their own questions. We have taken the first step towards introducing inquiry-based laboratories into the large (~800 student) introductory biology majors course at University of Maine. We designed experiments, then rewrote our laboratory manual to utilize scientific method in each lab. Students are asked to formulate a question, investigate background information, design an experiment with controls, record data, analyze their data, and draw conclusions. The manual includes enough background information to allow students to ask sophisticated questions, and enough guidelines so students understand the questions they can ask without telling them what to ask. There is a format for reporting data so that reports are concise, while covering the important elements of scientific inquiry. We designed the laboratories to use inexpensive materials, some of which students construct themselves, and safe reagents. Experiments stretch over several weeks. A unique aspect is that students take their experiments back to their dorm rooms for daily observations. This allows large numbers of students to work on individual experiments, simultaneously. Last fall, we introduced the inquiry-based labs into two lab sections. Results showed that students learned more from the inquiry-based than the traditional labs and had an increased enthusiasm for learning science. Next fall, 15 sections will use the inquiry-based labs, before gearing up to all 45 sections.

P18 Using Shifts in Student Language to Identify “A-ha” Moments in Group Problem Solving

Kate McCann1

Michael C. Wittmann1,2,3

Brandon Bucy1

1Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research

2Department of Physics and Astronomy

3College of Education and Human Development

University of Maine

Orono, Maine

Characterizing student activities and behavior during group problem solving in guided-inquiry settings has been a recent development in the field of Physics Education Research. In an effort to identify critical “a-ha” moments in problem solving, we have developed a method of parsing qualitative video data by identifying key language elements and tracking the frequency with which these elements appear in student dialog. Important language elements have been used to develop a coding scheme based on previous linguistics work done by D. Tannen. Tannen categorized certain pieces of student language that indicated speaker expectations during dialog. After independently identifying “a-ha” moments, we find that the frequency of language that indicates expectations increases dramatically, in both total quantity and per minute, as students approach these moments in problem solving during intermediate mechanics guided-inquiry tutorials.

P19 The Effect of Reasoning about Vector Components on Student Understanding of Two-Dimensional Acceleration

Bhupendra Nagpure1

John R. Thompson, Ph.D.1,2

1The Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research

2Department of Physics and Astronomy

University of Maine

Orono, Maine

We report on results from ongoing research into student learning of physics concepts (physics education research). Researchers have identified several conceptual difficulties with motion in two dimensions. We are interested in issues with the direction of the acceleration of an object on a curved trajectory with changing speed. We are exploring the correlation between the types of reasoning paths used to think about these concepts and the proportion of correct responses. We have administered written questions to, and have conducted individual student interviews with, students in the introductory calculus-based physics course at the University of Maine. We have categorized various thinking facets that students use to understand acceleration. In addition to specific, well-documented misconceptions, we focus on the use of “entailed knowledge” of vector components (centripetal and tangential) as contrasted with use of an “operational definition” of acceleration, which requires subtraction of velocity vectors. We are comparing the performance of students using these different reasoning facets before and after instruction in lecture and special instruction (“tutorial”) with small-group, interactive worksheets that emphasize both the operational definition and the entailed knowledge. From our results we conclude that tutorial instruction produces significant additional gain in student understanding of acceleration. Moreover, student reasoning using components tends to be more consistent, implying that their conceptual understanding of acceleration is not only correct but also concrete.

Instructional approaches that have shown to improve students’ understanding of kinematical concepts (position, velocity, and acceleration) include acknowledging student ideas, refining them by inquiry-based active learning, and by providing students with operational definitions of particular concepts (Reif and Allen, 1992). The Tutorials in Introductory Physics (TIP) are curricular materials based on research on student learning that implement successful pedagogical strategies. These materials have demonstrated improvement in student understanding of kinematical concepts such as acceleration (Shaffer and McDermott, 2005). Thompson has modified the TIP materials dealing with two-dimensional kinematics, which now emphasizes entailed knowledge of vector components in addition to the operational definition of acceleration. We present how this modification has brought additional significant improvement in student understanding of acceleration in two-dimensional motion. Additionally, we show the improvements made due to the use of particular thinking facet—the vector component reasoning— and compare this with the use of other thinking facets, and make some conclusions based on our results.

P20 Mathematics in Advanced Physics Laboratories

Martin Periard

Didactics Department

University of Montreal

Montreal, Quebec

Mathematics plays a key role in advanced physics laboratories. Complex equations need to be understood to infer their validation from empirical data. Variables needs to be controlled and their theoretical interplay must be taken into account to predict the correct shape of a graphical display of collected data. Differential calculus must be used to derive correct error propagation functions. To verify if mathematical and logical prowess correlate with the ability to quantify the uncertainty of experimental data, college students in science in Quebec, Canada have been subjected to a novel multiple-choice instrument. This instrument contained three main topics: i) measurement uncertainty, ii) graphical representation of mathematical formulas and, iii) control of variables. Even though the population under study had successfully completed 2 physics, 2 chemistry and 2 mathematics courses, results were not as high as could have been expected, especially on measurement uncertainty. A lack of correlation between the different parts of the questionnaire seems to indicate that those three topics are unrelated. As a basis for comparison, the same questionnaire was passed to students in a different institution were there is less emphasis on measurement uncertainty. In that setting, results were dismal for this topic. Uncertainty quantification thus appears to be vastly more difficult to learn than expected, with instruction playing a somewhat positive role and mathematical and logical proficiency being weak indicators of competence.

P21 Student Understanding of The Physics and Mathematics of Process Variables in P-V Diagrams

Evan Pollock1

John R. Thompson1,2

Donald B. Mountcastle1

1Department of Physics and Astronomy

2Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research

University of Maine

Orono, Maine

As part of ongoing research into upper-level undergraduate student understanding of thermodynamics at the University of Maine, we report on students’ understanding of thermodynamic work, internal energy and the associated mathematics. New interview data of physics majors, as well as written data obtained in a calculus III class, support our previous findings [1] and provide for a more in-depth look into factors impacting student difficulties with thermodynamic quantities. Analysis of written and interview data has revealed student conceptions about integration that might otherwise be interpreted as conceptual difficulties with the physics. The data suggest that students’ application of the state function concept to thermodynamic work may be due in part to incorrect conceptions regarding integration. The data also suggest that students lack the correct mathematical foundation of the state function concept, which may be a factor in its indiscriminate application.

1. E. B. Pollock, J. R. Thompson, and D. B. Mountcastle, Student Understanding Of The Physics And Mathematics Of Process Variables In P-V Diagrams, AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 168 (2007),

Work supported in part by NSF Grants #PHY-0406764 and #REC-0633951.

P22 Mixed Methods Evidence of the Impact of Metacognitive Instruction on Chemistry Problem Solving

Santiago Sandi-Urena

Department of Chemistry

Clemson University

Clemson, South Carolina

Metacognition is commonly described as the ability to reflect about one’s knowledge and thinking processes. It may be thought of as the set of skills necessary to understand, more than simply perform a task. Research indicates that metacognitive instruction may improve chemistry learners’ and practitioners’ use of content knowledge and problem solving skills. This work describes the effect of a metacognition-promoting instructional paradigm -cooperative problem based laboratory work- on students’ self report use of metacognition, and ill-structured problem solving strategy and ability. Quantitative and qualitative evidence was gathered to probe the treatment’s impact. Metacognition use was assessed with a multi-method instrument that combines a prospective self report (MCA-Inventory) with a concurrent online measurement (IMMEX) that employs Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) and Hidden Markov Models (HMM) for modeling. Student semi-structured interviews were used to collect qualitative data. Findings using the MCA-Inventory suggest a significant increase in awareness of metacognition. Based on the results of IMMEX data-modeling, treatment students outperformed the control group: their strategies were more efficient, and solve rate and ability were significantly higher. In addition, the qualitative evidence gathered supports the claim that instruction using cooperative problem based projects elicits metacognitive processes. This study carries several significant implications: (1) it is novel in accomplishing the assessment of metacognition; (2) it presents sound scientific evidence of the effectiveness of experimental teaching methodologies in academic settings; (3) it informs about the ways in which chemistry learning and problem solving can be improved in research contexts.

P23 The Difficulties in Turning Students into Numbers

R. Padraic Springuel1

John R. Thompson1,2

Michael C. Wittmann1,2,3

1Department of Physics and Astronomy

2Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research

3College of Education and Human Development

University of Maine

Orono, ME

We are engaged in a project to systematize the process of quantitatively measuring student answers. We show that the type of question influences the methods used to measure the difference between two students’ answers. Student responses are then grouped based on similarity. However, some students are halfway between two well-populated groups. We look at ways of handling these students in our classification system and discuss how that affects the final classification of the whole class.

P24 The Importance of Thinking Skills in Chemistry and Science

Forrest Towne

Department of Chemistry

University of Montana

Missoula, Montana

Many educators and education researchers agree that the central purpose of education is to develop students’ ability to think. It is therefore an educator’s responsibility, regardless of their discipline, to attempt to develop students thinking skills. Three questions arise for an educator seeking to accomplish this goal: (1) what are thinking skills? (2) Can thinking skills be taught? (3) How can thinking skills be taught? This presentation will discuss the research in developmental psychology and science education that attempts to address each of these three questions.

These questions will be investigated under a constructivist theoretical framework based primarily on the cognitive and developmental perspectives of Jean Piaget, the cultural emphases of Lev Vygotsky, as well as the influences of David Ausubel. Ernst von Glaserfeld, and Thomas Kuhn.

P25 Characterizing Inquiry in the Undergraduate Laboratory: A Rubric to Aid Curriculum Development and Evaluation

Marcy Towns

Department of Chemistry

Purdue University

West Lafayette, Indiana

Consensus does not exist among chemists and other scientists as to the essential characteristics of inquiry in the undergraduate laboratory. A rubric developed for K-12 science classrooms to distinguish among degrees of inquiry was modified for the undergraduate laboratory. The goal was to classify laboratories based upon the level of student independence and to connect catchphrase inquiry terms such as guided-inquiry or structured-inquiry to specific levels of student independence. We analyzed nearly 400 experiments in laboratory texts across the sciences including biology, chemistry, physics, and geology. More than 90% of the laboratories were found to be confirmation based labs or structured-inquiry labs where the problem, methods/procedures, and analysis are provided to the student.

The modified rubric has the potential to be used as a quantitative means of comparing and debating the levels of inquiry used in a specific laboratory curriculum. Faculty whose instructional goal is to move students from structured laboratory experiences to increased responsibility for decision making in the laboratory can use the rubric to evaluate experiments and make data-driven decisions. Departments that are engaged in programmatic evaluation can use this valid and reliable metric to characterize the current curriculum.

P26 Student Understanding of Vector Products in Mathematics and Physics Contexts

Joel Van Deventer1

John R. Thompson, Ph.D.1,2

Brandon Bucy, Ph.D.1,2

1Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research

2Department of Physics and Astronomy

University of Maine

Orono, Maine

Using past research into student difficulties with vectors in introductory physics courses, we have developed near-isomorphic mathematics and physics vector tests to evaluate students understanding of vectors in both contexts. Question wording and response choices are identical, with only the context of the question changing in each case. To validate our test, we carried out task-based interviews with introductory physics students completing a semester’s instruction. We used results to develop multiple-choice versions of each vector test. These were administered to introductory physics students at the start and end of a semester, giving us insight into what knowledge students bring to understanding vectors in mathematics and physics contexts. We report on results from questions on vector dot and cross products. In general, students performed poorly on these questions, displaying a number of difficulties when evaluating vector products. Prominent among these are the use of vector addition tools and confusion about directionality.

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Continuing Education Unit (CEU) Information

Conference Services Division

The University of Maine

The Continuing Education Unit (CEU) has been designed as a uniform unit of measurement to facilitate the accumulation and exchange of standardized information about individual participation in non-academic credit continuing education programs. The CEU permits the individual to participate in many different kinds of programs while accumulating a uniform record available for future reference.

One Continuing Education Unit is defined as ten contact hours of participation in an organized continuing education experience under responsible sponsorship, capable direction, and qualified instruction.

Examples: 5 hour workshop would award 0.5 CEU

10 hour workshop would award 1.0 CEU

22 hour workshop would award 2.2 CEU

45 hour workshop would award 4.5 CEU

What Is An EDIS CEU?

The EDUCATION IN-SERVICE CONTINUING EDUCATION UNIT (EDIS CEU) has been approved by the State Department of Educational and Cultural Services (DECS) to be used toward teacher recertification. Programs conducted under the purview of Conferences Services Division, identified by an EDIS designator, have met the criteria established by the State Department of Educational and Cultural Services for determining approval of recertification programs. The majority of EDIS courses have been offered at the request of classroom teachers or their representatives.

HERE IS SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION TO NOTE: Since Continuing Education Units are based on ten hours of participation for each unit and the DECS recertification credits are based on 15 hours of participation for each credit, the DECS will accept EDIS CEU on a 2/3 ration.

Examples: 1.5 CEU is equal to 1 recertification credit

3.0 CEU is equal to 2 recertification credit

4.5 CEU is equal to 3 recertification credit

9.0 CEU is equal to 6 recertification credit

How to Register for CEUs:

Conference Services provides a non-academic credit program completion form to participants desiring CEU records. Once you have completed a program that has received approval to grant CEUs, you can fill out a form to request a CEU transcript. The sponsor or chairperson of the program will have copies of that form available for participants when the program ends. To receive a transcript, the Conference Services office must receive a request form signed by you and the chairperson or sponsor along with payment of $5.00 for the transcript processing fee.

How are Continuing Education Units (CEUs) Recorded on Your Record?

When completing the program, a participant’s record of completion is recorded on that person’s non-academic transcript in the Conference Services office. At the same time, a notice of completion will be forwarded to the participant.

Can CEUs be Changed to Academic Credit?

CEU credits are not transferable to academic credit. Should you need additional information or further clarification, please contact University of Maine, Conference Services Division, Orono, ME 04469. Telephone: 207-581-4091 or Fax: 207-581-4097.

Integrating Science and Mathematics

Education Research into Teaching:

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