Virginia Association of Science Teachers

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  • JVSE Vol. 1 No. 2

In This Issue

Theme: Science for All Virginians

From the Editor: Nick Boke

  • "Community -Focused, Project-based Learning to Promote Diversity in STEM"  James A. Egenrieder 
Abstract:  Project-based learning is widely supported in science education. It provides opportunities for the development of new skills, exploration of curiosities, practice in project-management, and differentiation in instruction. In science courses, teacher - supported, extended-inquiry projects can provide self-guided experiences in the processes for discovery and understanding. Not only do these projects reinforce the nature and philosophy of science, but they also enable students to build connections between their classroom experiences and their interests and environments. Through these exposures, students recognize the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) tools that help interpret their discoveries. By encouraging a community focus in projects, teachers can promote greater student investment, foster new appreciation for a diverse group of students in the disciplines of STEM, and build new school and community relationships.
  • "Chemistry for All: One Teacher’s Quest"  Kelly M. Aitken 
Abstract:  An erstwhile chemistry -hater turned chemistry-lover explains what it takes to help students love chemistry. Working in a high school that requires all students to take chemistry, she and her colleague developed a five-point method for making success in chemistry possible for every student.
  • "Meeting the Needs of English Language Learners in the Science Classroom: Research-based Strategies for Modifying Laboratory Experiences"  Gregory W. Corder 
Abstract:  English Language Learners, or ELLs, are a rapidly growing and highly diverse student population with unique educational needs. “Science for All Americans” includes ELLs and schools are legally and ethically compelled to teach them by modifying instruction using research-based strategies. This article presents several such strategies for modifying science laboratory experiences.
  • "Science Literacy for All Students"  Marlow Ediger 
Abstract:  To effectively engage students in science, teachers need to consider ways to involve them in the learning, to assess them productively, and to provide activities that will reach all students.
  • "Unearthing Natural Talent: An Attraction to Environmental Education in the Blue Ridge"  Melissa Hutchinson and Doug Coleman 
Abstract:  As educators we all want all of our students to fulfill their potential. Sometimes we see this happen, as if magically, once we change our educational setting. The benefits of outdoor and environmental education to teachers and students are numerous. Often those who benefit most are those students not typically at the top of the class.
  • "Benefits of a Technology-enhanced Field Trip"  Tim Jones and Juanita J. Matkins 
Abstract:  Middle and high school students in an alternative school participated in a series of technology -enhanced field trips to an eastern coastal plain watershed. The technologies used included hand-held computers and data probes. Students whose general school affect was a lack of interest began to ask scientific questions about the environment. There is some evidence supporting the use of data probes in science instruction, and also supporting the role of field trips in learning. There is a lack of data concerning a combination of the two, but they seem to be beneficial based on observations of students during these field trips. Teachers who are considering a technology-enhanced field trip should be aware of several pitfalls that can be avoided with careful planning.
  • "A NASA/Girl Scout Program to Motivate Girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)"  Arlene S. Levine 
Abstract:  NASA has created a Girl Scout program in atmospheric and planetary science to reach and motivate girls to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Given the STEM needs in the coming years, and the current low involvement of women in STEM, programs like this are crucial for drawing more young women into these fields, as well as for increasing the STEM awareness in the general public.
  • "It’s All Relative: Using Science to Teach Data Analysis"  Carolyn LeFon 
Abstract:  By integrating math and science lessons, teachers can make instruction more meaningful and thereby enhance student comprehension and learning. Using data analysis to understand the impact of a dam on certain fish populations increased middle school students’ learning by heightening student interest and motivation to learn.
  • "Teachers in Space"  Megan Seals and William M. Boland, Jr. 
Abstract:  Teachers in Space is a project of national public interest that will inspire thousands of students to pursue degrees and careers in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Offering teachers the opportunity to participate in upcoming suborbital spaceflights, Teachers in Space will, in combination with the emerging space transportation industry, energize a generation of teachers to seek out and remain in careers as STEM educators, while transferring their passion for math and science to America’s students in a new and powerful way.
Article Review: Four “Must-Read” Articles from Educational Leadership, December 2006/January 2007. Eric J. Pyle

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