Posts tagged ‘science education’

March 28, 2013

“Join” EarthLabs Teacher Alison Mote on a Summer Scientific Research Expedition

This summer a team of scientists will embark on Expedition #341 aboard the JOIDES Resolution, an ocean drilling research vessel, to collect sediment samples from deep beneath the ocean floor off the south coast of Alaska. These sediments are expected to reveal valuable information about Earth’s geologic and climactic past, and to inform current scientific knowledge about the relationship between global climate change, tectonics, glacial advance and retreat cycles, paleo-ocean circulation, and Earth’s changing magnetic field.

The JOIDES (Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling)  seagoing research vessel that drills core samples and collects measurements from under the ocean floor, giving scientists a glimpse into Earth’s development...

The JOIDES (Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling) seagoing research vessel that drills core samples and collects measurements from under the ocean floor, giving scientists a glimpse into Earth’s development. Image © JOIDES Resolution

Periodically, between May 29th and July 29th, Expedition #341 will be LIVE-broadcasted from ship-to-shore through real-time events and interactive Skype chats with on-board scientists, technicians, and crew. Since 2009, these live broadcasts have reached tens of thousands of students, teachers, and museum visitors nationwide, offering exposure to cutting-edge research and STEM careers. Students and teachers can get involved by signing up now for the live broadcast at  or by requesting a Skype chat with the team here. Sign up now, since these Skype chats are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis.

Notably, this year, Alison Mote, a teacher at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders in Austin, TX, will join Expedition #341 as one of two Onboard Education Officers. An Environmental Science and engineering teacher, Alison has worked closely with TERC researchers in developing, field testing, and refining curriculum units for TERC’s EarthLabs   project. With Alison’s support, TERC will be developing a new EarthLabs unit that tells the story of the JOIDES Resolution research expedition #341 and addresses how scientists learn about long-term climate change through sediment sampling and analysis. To learn more about the EarthLabs project and modules, be sure to visit: http://serc.carleton.edu/earthlabs/index.html.

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February 14, 2013

Beat the Winter Doldrums With…the ‘EdGE’ of Science!

This week, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is convening in Boston for the 2013 Annual Meeting—bringing together scientists, educators, and research luminaries to share the latest innovations in (and applications of) scientific research.

And speaking of the applications of science—AAAS has organized a fun, free, family-centric event called the Family Science Days, happening this Saturday and Sunday (2/16 and 2/17) from 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. at the Hynes Convention Center. The AAAS Family Science Days showcase interactive tabletop exhibits, hands-on demonstrations, kid-friendly activities, and stage shows from experts in the fields of biology, chemistry, nanoscience, earth and space science and more. This event open to all, but organized especially for students in grades 6 to 12. And TERC will be there!

Play Impulse, a new particle propelling challenge from EdGE@TERC!

Play Impulse, a new particle propelling challenge from EdGE@TERC!

Have a son or daughter who loves gaming, science, or solving puzzles? Be sure to check out the Educational Gaming Environments (EdGE )@TERC’s exhibit booth on Saturday or Sunday at the Family Science Days. The EdGE team of scientist-game designers and developers will be showing their newest ‘Leveling Up’ learning games, Impulse and Quantum Spectre. Stop by, play the games, ask questions, share your ideas, and learn more about how EdGE is creating compelling science-rich game experiences that gamers like to play.

Play Quantum Spectre, EdGE's new laser puzzle game!

Play with lasers in EdGE’s new Quantum Spectre at AAAS’ Family Science Days, but watch out for the spectres!

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For more information about where the EdGE team and other TERC staff will be presenting this spring and summer, be sure to visit: TERC’s newsroom.

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June 1, 2012

Drumroll, Please…

63,085 page views.

13,761 unique visitors from 103 countries.

13,237 video views.

3,955 public choice votes cast.

542 unique discussion posts.

The analytics have been studied.

The votes have been tallied.

And as of today, the  RESULTS ARE IN for the IGERT 2012 Online Video and Poster Competition!!!!!!!

In case you went off-grid on May 22nd-25th and missed the excitement—okay, we’re still really excited—check out all 113 videos and posters from this year’s talented batch of interdisciplinary science and engineering grad students in IGERT programs nationwide.

THEN filter and sort your way to the 25 awardees’ videos and posters. To whet your appetite, here is ‘Energy Textiles’—the triple-threat video and poster from Kristy Jost and Carlos Perez that netted the Judges’ Choice vote, the Community Choice vote, AND the Public Choice vote. Assuredly, Kristy’s and Carlos’ research significantly ups the possible applications of that tee-shirt you’re wearing…

Speaking of energy, the other awardee in the Public Choice category, Jesse Kohl, is researching how nano-engineering of photons (conventional light) into compressed volumes can result in greater energy efficiency for LEDs, solar cells, and lasers. Eureka!

While energizing fabric or harvesting light might sound like science of the future, these kinds of cross-disciplinary research applications are being investigated now in labs and classrooms across the country—and on the IGERT.org hub. So don’t be left in the dark and cold without an energy-storing tee—get a glimpse of these innovations of today before they’re the inventions of tomorrow!

March 28, 2012

Our *TOP SECRET* NSTA Annual Conference Preview…

Alright, it’s not really top secret. Hopefully that got your attention, though!

The trees are starting to bud; the nip in the air is starting to mellow; the days stretch a little longer; and flight confirmations are crowding the inboxes of TERC staff. That’s right—it’s Spring Conference Season!

From March through May, the bustling hallways of TERC quiet down a bit as TERC researchers travel to the NSTA, AERA, NCSM, and NCTM Annual Conferences as presenters and attendees (among others). This year, I’m ‘holding down the fort’ as my Institutional Development colleagues are off to represent TERC in the NSTA exhibit hall (go visit TERC at booth #1668!). For those of you (us) not headed to Indianapolis, check out the great roster of TERC presenters at NSTA:

Click to download the official listings document and descriptions!

• On Thursday, March 29th, our own Tamara Ledley will be presenting “Climate Change Essential Knowledge and Beyond: Using the Past to Predict the Future” from 8:00-9:00 a.m. in Indianapolis’ Omni Severin. On Friday, she will be presenting as part of NESTA’s Share-a-Thon session “Atmospheres, Ocean, and Climate Change” from 11 a.m. to noon at the Indianapolis Westin, and later from 2:00-3:00 p.m. on “Teaching Climate and Energy”—a presentation full of teaching tips and tools available through the CLEAN (Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network) collection of resources. Tamara is a Senior Scientist at TERC, and conducts research on Earth system science and climate change.

• Also on Thursday the 29th, TERC Senior Scientist Sara Lacy and Senior Science Educator Sally Crissman will be presenting the BEST Pathway Session entitled, “How Can Students in Grades 3-5 Understand Energy?” On Friday, Sally will be sharing her materials and strategies for teaching inquiry-based elementary science as part of the NSTA Elementary Extravaganza. Sara is a physical scientist currently working on this project dedicated to developing learning progressions for teaching energy and matter. Sally Crissman is a former classroom teacher and Co-Developer of The Inquiry Project.

 • Last but not least—Gary Curtis of Dublin Public Schools in Dublin, Ohio will be speaking about Investigating Astronomy on Friday afternoon from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Investigating Astronomy is TERC-developed, and the first comprehensive astronomy curriculum for high school students. The IA textbook is available through It’s About Time publishers.

Bon voyage, science teachers, administrators, and presenters en route to NSTA! And be sure to stay tuned for more ‘top secret’ conference previews for AERA and NCSM/NCTM!

March 14, 2012

Games for Thought

“What is your favorite game?”

That question caught me entirely off-guard when I recently attended an after-hours user testing event hosted by EdGE (Educational Gaming Environments) @TERC with the sole intention of jotting down a few notes for this web feature.

After a quick scan of my memory, I was at an impasse. I hastily blurted out “Scrabble. I’m a lexophile”. Blank stares from the young, hip, and connected console and mobile players around me. In that very moment, time caught up and lapped me. “But on the iPhone as well,” I added. It was already too late. The world had moved on. Generation Y, meet Generation Z. There’s no need to shake hands or exchange contact info—just bump Androids. And definitely download the Temple Run app—it’s going viral.

There had to be something I was forgetting.

I worked my way around the room multiple times after that, recording (with a pen and paper) gamers chatting over Where’s My Water?, Angry Birds, Physics 101, and Limbo. And then it happened—I remembered something. I heard a gamer say, “I like it when I can learn about topics and try new things that would be impossible in real life—and pick up and try again if I make a mistake”. Strangely, I could almost hear a lone bongo drum, and then the rattle of maracas…was that the distant yowl of a black panther? There I was, photographing the fauna of the forest floor, consulting my guidebook, searching for the elusive, near-magical cinchona…but was I running low on supplies? Would I stave off malnourishment and get to the next level before dinnertime?

The Amazon Trail. Memories came rushing back, carried on a swift current. Propelled by an in-game glimpse of the Blue Morpho butterfly, I took it upon myself to catalogue the Monarchs and Swallowtails in our backyard. I would sneak out of bed to the window when my dad took our puppy out at night—hoping to catch a glimpse of an errant Luna moth by the floodlight. My world—and that of the digitized Amazon jungle—blurred together around the edges.

I didn’t realize then that I was learning (let alone learning a lot). I certainly didn’t realize that I’d remember researching Blue Morphos only to discover that they live for a mere 115 days. That broke my heart at the time, and still pulls at my heartstrings.

Check out ‘Games and Ubiquitous Science Learning Environments’ from EdGE’s Director Jodi Asbell-Clarke for the 2012 Cyberlearning Research Summit

In a dizzying time where the allure of many technologies doesn’t last much beyond 115 days, the R&D work that the EdGE team is doing has lasting implications for the intersection of meaningful science content and gaming. More specifically, they’re researching and developing the kind of gripping, highly-visual transmedia experiences that cutting-‘EdGE’ gamers like to play (and will likely continue to like to play in the future) and measuring these games’ impact on science learning.

Suddenly, it’s not so difficult to imagine a future where we’re all engaging in science-centric gaming and real-world learning through our various devices. Even as a lexophile/Luddite, I guarantee that I’d be doing a lot more mobile gaming and Lepidopteran observation if MECC made an app version of The Amazon Trail

So I leave you with two questions—what’s your favorite game to play? And what did you learn from it?

I bet it’s more than you think.