2019 RiSE June Conference - Workshops

Workshop A (Monday, June 24 1:10-2:40pm)

1. Building function explorations using Desmos
Tim Boester, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, University of Maine

The Desmos website is a powerful (and free!) graphing calculator tool that everyone can use to graph functions. But you can also build interactive graphing activities that students can use to explore how particular types of functions are constructed, or how they behave. In this workshop, you’ll be given tips on the syntactical knowledge necessary to build such interactive graphs, and we’ll work together to construct a set of model activities. All levels of Desmos prior knowledge welcome, from novice to experienced user. The activities will focus on pre-calculus level functions (polynomial, exponential, trigonometric…), but anyone interested in learning more about Desmos is encouraged to participate. Please bring a laptop, tablet, or other device with a large enough screen to display the Desmos website. All participants will leave with a complete set of model activities to serve as a reference to build their own activities in the future.

2. A Middle School Journal of Scientific Research: Integrating Math, Writing, Science

Bill McWeeny, Middle school mathematics and science teacher, Adams School, Castine, Maine
Glenn Powers, Middle school science teacher, Center for Teaching and Learning, Edgecomb, ME
Christine Voyer, Science Education Program Manager, Vital Signs, Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Portland, ME

The Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s middle school journal of scientific research, Findings from the Field, provides an authentic purpose for the integration of math, writing, and science. Student researchers collect and analyze real data, construct scientific arguments, and communicate their results to a broad audience. Through peer review, students create a community of learning, grounded in scientific practices, statistical thinking, and purposeful writing.

In this session, we will examine the learning potential in writing about investigations. Presenters will share tools and lesson plans that take students from asking a question all the way through publication.  We will engage with research produced by students using peer review strategies. Participants will zoom out to develop a plan for adapting this model to support authentic investigations and science writing in their classroom, school, district, or institution.

Findings from the Field and the accompanying resources were developed by Gulf of Maine Research Institute in collaboration with teacher leaders to support investigations of interdependent relationships in ecosystems, and can be adapted to fit any content matter. Strategies and materials are appropriate for novice, intermediate, and advanced attendees that serve middle and high school students.

3. Un-Badge-lievable: Digital badges in undergraduate STEM
Marcy Towns, Professor of Chemistry and Director of General Chemistry, Purdue University, Indiana

Digital badges are emerging in the field of education as a way for students to demonstrate knowledge tied to specific criteria and learning objectives. The badge format allows instructors to draw evidence-based conclusions about student knowledge using authentic assessment practices. While digital badges can be a useful tool for any course, they have successfully been implemented in the general chemistry laboratory as an authentic assessment of students’ hands- on laboratory skills. Student videos submitted as part of the badge provide a way for instructors to give individual feedback on hands-on lab skills, while alleviating time and resource constraints that typically impede this type of assessment especially in large-scale courses. This workshop will introduce participants to the world of digital badging. Participants will see examples of badges in the laboratory and explore the possibilities for digital badging throughout the chemistry curriculum.  Finally, they will begin building a badge for their own course.

4. Showing Science Stories: Using Quantitative Reasoning to Model Change
Franziska Peterson, Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education and RiSE Center Faculty, University of Maine
Marisa Castronova, Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Education, Caldwell University

Quantitative reasoning (QR) is an essential 21 st century STEM ability that enables students to address the demand for the next generation to solve problems within interdisciplinary STEM settings. Stated simply, QR is using mathematics and statistics to analyze real-world data in real-world contexts (Mayes, Forrester, Schuttlefield Christus, Peterson, & Walker, 2014). QR problems are context dependent, interdisciplinary, open-ended tasks that require critical thinking and the capacity to communicate. One way to communicate this QR thinking is through scientific modeling. That is, creating a representation of a system to understand how or why the system behaves the way it does. 

In this workshop, participants will use science stories to increase their QR skills. Participants will analyze three stories adapted from research studies in math and science education (Maaß, O’Meara, Johnson, and O’Donoghue, 2018; Schwarz, Passmore, and Reiser, 2017; Wilkerson-jerde and Maldonis, 2012).  Specifically, these stories focus on patterns of change over time and include:  the position and velocity of a traveling car, a population of animals responding to changes in birth and death rates, and plants growing over the summer. Learners will have a chance to “show” or model each story focusing on how the car’s speed, total population of animals, and plant heights change over time.  Participants will then reflect on these representations and discuss the science ideas and QR skills that are integral to explain how the change took place. Participants can use these stories, or design similar ones, to promote students’ quantitative reasoning in the classroom as it pertains to making sense of science phenomena.

Workshop B (Monday, June 24 3:00-4:30pm)

1. Open Conference for high school and post secondary faculty
A workshop that brings high school and post secondary faculty together to discuss a variety of topics, such as: bridging the gap from high school to college and guiding students to STEM careers.  To suggest a topic please use this form.

2.  Utilizing the Oklahoma STEM Framework to Turn Up STEM
Tiffany Neill, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Oklahoma State Department of Education

With calls for all students to have access to a high-quality STEM Education, schools and educators continue to pursue best practices for STEM curriculum, instruction and programming. However, much of the guidance available on STEM education can leave many still wondering, “What is STEM”?  In this session, participants will answer this question by exploring different versions of STEM through the Oklahoma STEM Framework. Participants will also utilize the STEM Framework to outline individual or school goals for STEM Education and utilize the STEM Framework to determine how aligned curriculum, instruction and programming may be to those goals.

3. Reasoning about Data Sets to Develop Better Models
Marisa Castronova, Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Education, Caldwell University
Franziska Peterson
, Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education and RiSE Center Faculty, University of Maine

To maximize learning in science classrooms, students must work with data in meaningful ways.  That is, students must be able to use their quantitative reasoning (QR) skills to extract meaning from data.  They must then use this meaning to create model-based explanations for relevant phenomenon. In this way, the NGSS science practices of “Analyzing and Interpreting Data” and “Modeling” are closely connected with each other as one practice informs and guides the other.  

In this workshop, participants will explore how reasoning about data sets can lead to more complete models when considering the inclusion of science ideas and quantitative reasoning skills necessary to understand how or why a natural event occurs.  To start, participants will construct a tentative model to explain a phenomenon. To improve their model development, participants will then have the opportunity to examine and reason about self-
generated and existing data sets. During this time, participants will be prompted to use their own QR skills to extract meaning from these data sets.  Participants can then use this information
to revise their models. Question prompts will scaffold participant learning in an effort to promote metacognition. In this way, participants are prompted to think deeply about how working with data can inform model development and vice versa. The workshop will conclude with ample time to discuss ways in which participants envision implementing these two science practices in their own classrooms with an enhanced QR component.

Workshop C (Tuesday, June 25 8:30-10:00am)

1. Using the Edison educational robot: An exploration into integration of coding and core standards within the K-8 science and mathematics classroom
Casey Murphy, STEM Integrator, All Saints Catholic School, Bangor, Maine

Programmable educational robots can be used to increase student engagement and hands-on learning within science and mathematics classrooms. In addition, students are exposed to block, scratch, and python based programming, and have the opportunity to grow in problem solving and sequential thinking capabilities. In K-8 mathematics classrooms, the Edison can be used to investigate ratios and patterns, practice line and angle measurements, learn about data charting and graphing, and explore a variety of geometric shapes. In the science classroom, the Edison robot has been the focus of student investigations into precision and accuracy, friction and motion, and mass and velocity.  Students can learn to code while achieving core curriculum standards in an exciting and dynamic way. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to explore the capabilities of this miniature (and very affordable) robot and also use the EdBlock and EdScratch online coding platforms. Bring a laptop!

2. Fog and Light: Integrating science and engineering in two NGSS-designed Units
Kate Cook, STEM Education Specialist, Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance

In this workshop, participants will examine two exemplar NGSS-designed units from the NextGenStorylines project: How does light help me see things and communicate with others? (K-2) and How can we make our own fog? (6-9).  Both units effective integrate science and engineering and have been designed for the NGSS.  Participants will experiencing the anchoring phenomena, engage with the design challenge, and explore key science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and cross-cutting concepts.  Participants will leave with resources to implement both units in their own classrooms.

3.  The Chips Ahoy Challenge:  Teaching Inferential Statistics with Food
Ann Cleveland, Professor of Marine Biology, Maine Maritime Academy

It is important for all consumers of scientific information to understand how to objectively assess data.  Part of that objective assessment is knowing the difference between descriptive and inferential statistics (even when we do not use those terms explicitly).  One barrier to teaching inferential statistical methods to students is the perception that statistics are boring and hard to understand. However, when statistical methods are presented in a manner that is easy to understand, and fun, the barrier may start to break down.  The Chips Ahoy challenge is a way to engage students in learning a simple inferential statistical test by asking whether there are significantly more chocolate chips in a Chips Ahoy cookie than there are in a generic store brand. In this lesson, students extract chips from cookies, develop a verbal description of a statistical equation to make the concepts accessible, and then analyze their data to answer the question.  Additionally, they explore how descriptive statistics (mean, variation) alone can be misleading, and come to understand and value the role of objective inferential data analysis.

Workshop D (Tuesday, June 25, 10:20-11:50am)

1. Improve Literacy and Science with a Practical Research Strategy for Students at All Levels
Caroline Stabile, Assistant Director, GEMS-Net Project, University of Rhode Island

“When I assign an article they highlight the whole darn thing!” – educators everywhere

Come learn how to use a practical research strategy that integrates an authentic need to advance scientific understanding and the development of the research and literacy skills needed to do so. By engaging in hands-on science investigations, students develop meaningful research questions and learn how to engage with informational text to collect specific evidence that helps them answer their questions. Students also learn how to use their research to engage in discourse and share their thinking with others. Learn about it by using the strategy for yourself. Hear about the application and success of this practical strategy from kindergarten classrooms through graduate-level courses and consider how it might work in your context.

2. Two graphs are better than one: Help students learn how graphs work
Heather Johnson, Associate Professor of Mathematics Education, University of Colorado Denver.

Students work with graphs all the time. But do they understand how graphs work? Interact with online graphing “Techtivities” developed in collaboration with Dan Meyer and the Desmos team. Find out how two different looking graphs can represent the same relationship between variables. Learn how to expand students’ math opportunities, by focusing on their reasoning and exploration, rather than their answer finding. Leave understanding why two graphs really are better than one.

3. Effective Teaching Practices to Build Mathematical Proficiency
Jenn Gilman, Middle and High School Mathematics Teacher, East Grand School, Danforth, ME

How do you integrate conceptual and procedural practice along with building mathematical practice skills? What is a good balance of individual vs whole group learning time? With the evolution of technology, what is the teachers role in the classroom? These are big questions with real practical applications for mathematics teachers.  In this workshop we will look at how to leverage technology to differentiate learning for our students. Strategic use of online programs can help students build procedural and conceptual knowledge. Effective teaching practices are explored also in this workshop with what is called “Lab” time because of the focus on building mathematical proficiency through guided, intentional discovery. The use of the instructional strategies of the 3 Act Task, place and problem based projects, and gamification support “Lab” time. We will work together to see how to use our effective teaching practices to build mathematical proficiency for all our students.

4. Workshop on instruction and assessment in middle-school science: Useful comparisons with college-level instruction
David Meltzer, Associate Professor in Science and Mathematics, Arizona State University.

There is great potential for science learning in the middle-school and high-school grades, but many challenges as well, some of which are often underappreciated. This workshop will address both the potential, and the challenge. I will describe how I have modified and adapted research-based instructional and assessment materials developed at the college level for use in K-12 classrooms. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to use some of the materials, and to work together to discuss how best to adapt and implement the materials within their own classroom setting. We will also break up into smaller groups to discuss some key issues, including (1) the appropriate amount of instructional time and effort needed to achieve significant learning outcomes at the middle-school level; (2) the degree to which mandated grade-level standards and expectations are matched to the realities of the science learning process; and (3) the nature of “decay” in middle-school student learning gains over time (e.g., from one grade to the next), and how that can and should impact the nature of instruction and assessment.