Virginia Association of Science Teachers


  • 05/26/2020 10:51 AM | VAST Webmaster (Administrator)

    During the unprecedented COVID-19 times  our Education Field Programs are suspended through July 31, 2020. All summer courses through July 31st are being moved online. We have updated out Learn Outside, Learn at Home website to include new video learning, field investigation lessons and printed watershed curriculum as well as resources from our experts. For any questions or more online learning support please contact

    CBF provides high-quality professional learning that meets the evolving needs of teachers and schools across the watershed through the Chesapeake Classrooms® program. Our program enables teachers and school administrators to involve the entire school community in outdoor learning experiences that are aligned with local school system standards.

    Chesapeake Classrooms focuses on methods for incorporating environmental education into the core subject areas of reading, math, science, and social studies. The resources used in Chesapeake Classrooms meet state educational standards in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. Chesapeake Classrooms increases students' achievement and engagement in learning while improving their environmental literacy and stewardship ethic.Chesapeake Classrooms offers:

    ·         Five-day online summer immersion courses. More than 20 courses are available in June, July, and August 2020!

    ·         We have designed courses to fit any schedule. All courses cost only $50! 

    ·         An online Resource Library full of video lessons and student investigations for year-round support of course participants.

    ·         The opportunity to design a Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience with collaboration and feedback provided by peer and mentor teachers. 


    Through the Principals Environmental Leadership Program, CBF provides high-quality professional learning that meets the evolving needs of administrators and schools. Through field experience, training, resources, and collegial discussion, these key leaders learn how to design a school program that utilizes and benefits the local environment and their schoolyard.

  • 05/26/2020 10:40 AM | VAST Webmaster (Administrator)

    Journal of Virginia Science Education Update

    Amanda L. Gonczi, Ph.D. & Jennifer L. Maeng, Ph.D., co-editors

    Check out the abstracts for articles published in the December 2019 issue of Journal of Virginia Science Education. As a reminder, initial submissions for the December 2020 JVSE issue are due July 31, 2020. The theme is Science: An Opportunity to Improve Students' Literacy Skills, though manuscripts that do not address this theme are also welcome. The next issue of JVSE will be published July, 2020.

    Do You See What I See? Plant and Animals and Habitats, Oh My!

    Jennifer L. Maeng, Ph.D.1 & Deannine Lahham2; 1University of Virginia, Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education; 2Albemarle County Public Schools; Corresponding author email:

    For young children, the distinction between an observation and an inference can be difficult to grasp, yet we use these skills in our daily lives and in many content areas. For example, we observe and infer both as we explore the natural world around us and as we read. Even more difficult for young students to understand is the idea that scientific knowledge, while durable, can change with new evidence. In this article, we describe an activity that introduces elementary-aged students to plant and animal diversity while providing opportunities for them to practice making observations and inferences and distinguishing between different types of empirical evidence.

    Lights, Camera, and a Call to Action: Women in Media Help Promote Science Identity in Female Students

    Uchenna Emenaha & Anne A. Perry, University of Houston; Corresponding author email:

    Research shows that female students show lower interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects due to misconceptions that these courses are better suited for their male counterparts. This article explores the current representation of women in STEM and illustrates how media can be used to support female students’ STEM identity development.  STEM identity development is a theoretical framework that describes the ability for an individual to identify or see themselves being able to do and/or be successful in STEM subjects (Brickhouse & Potter, 1999; Marcia & Kroger, 2011). The context of STEM identity development is created and recreated as students negotiate between the relevance, meaning and abilities between themselves and STEM subjects (Furnham, Chamorro-Premuzic, & McDougall, 2002). Academics wanting to understanding factors that can support positive STEM identities would benefit greatly from understanding the ways in which a student develops their academic identities within subjects like science and math. This article will discuss how media can be incorporated into instruction to work towards developing positive STEM identity in young female students. By investigating how to cultivate young girls’ interest in STEM in the early grades with media, educators can support students’ future STEM career aspirations. 

    An Examination of the Oral Argumentation Abilities of Secondary Students with Disabilities Using Socioscientific Issues

    Mindy Gumpert, M.S.Ed.1 & Bill McConnell, Ph.D.2; 1Old Dominion University; 2Virginia Wesleyan University

    1Corresponding author email:

    More than six in ten students with disabilities (SWD) spend the majority of their day in the general education classroom (U.S. Department of Education, 2019). The expectation is SWD will participate in all content area activities alongside their nondisabled peers. Improving science literacy is an intrinsic goal of science education, yet current science practices may not support all students, particularly SWD.  We believe argument using socioscientific issues is an effective way to support SWD in science by enabling them to engage in dialogue, discussion, and debate in scientific topics. SSIs are not only personally meaningful and engaging to the student, but the use of evidence-based reasoning provides a forum for understanding scientific topics (Zeidler, 2003). In this article we present an overview of an argument session and identify several scaffolds used in a classroom of diverse learners. We discuss how the modified Assessing Scientific Argumentation in the Classroom Observation Protocol (Sampson, Enderle, & Walker, 2012) was used as a summative assessment. Finally, we discuss differences and similarities between SWD and their nondisabled peers when engaging in argument using socioscientific issues.

    Cross-disciplinary and Cross-cultural Impacts of Math Identity

    Joanna G. Jauchen, M.S.1 and Talisa J. Jackson, M.Ed.2; 1Department of Mathematics, George Mason University; 2College of Education and Human Development, George Mason University; Corresponding author email:

    While the number of careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields is growing, the STEM community continues to have difficulty attracting and retaining female, Black and Latino/a students. Because a historical emphasis on achievement has failed to address this issue, researchers and practitioners are turning to other possible avenues to address the underrepresentation of women and minorities. In this study, we explore two factors that may impact the underrepresentation of women and minorities in STEM: mathematical identity and science self-efficacy. This paper compiles findings from the literature and results from our regression analyses to shine light on the connection high school students’ mathematical identity has on students’ science self-efficacy. We further reflect on how teachers can cultivate their students’ mathematical identities, and work together to create equitable STEM spaces.
  • 05/26/2020 10:04 AM | VAST Webmaster (Administrator)

    VAST Awards and Grants

    Considering the COVID 19 crisis and the suspended 2019-2020 school year the VAST Awards and Grants Committee has made changes to the submission deadlines and has created a new RISE Award. 

    The deadline for submitting receipts and reports for 2019 Grant Awards has been extended to December 31, 2020.

    • The deadline to submit grant applications and award nominations is extended to   September 30, 2020.
    • The new RISE category for 2020 is Remote Teaching.  There will be three award   levels possible, elementary, middle and high school.  It was decided to highlight new approaches to teaching developed during the crisis. 
    To learn more, go to:

  • 04/21/2020 3:29 PM | VAST Webmaster (Administrator)

    Cristo Rey Richmond High School is a Catholic learning community that educates young people of limited economic means to become men and women of faith, purpose and service. Through a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, integrated with a relevant work study experience, students graduate ready to succeed in college and in life. Cristo Rey Richmond High School will soon be a part of the largest network of high schools in the country that exclusively serve families of limited economic means.

  • 03/10/2020 1:49 PM | VAST Webmaster (Administrator)

    PBS is looking for science teachers to test out our invention lessons! PBS NewsHour Extra is the NewsHour’s teacher resource website for middle and high school students. We are looking for science teachers to test out the lessons with their students, provide feedback and take pictures to share over social media. You’ll receive a $50 Amazon gift card for your work! For more information, write Victoria at

  • 03/09/2020 8:37 AM | VAST Webmaster (Administrator)



     Richmond, Virginia

    The Virginia Environmental Endowment (VEE) was established in 1977 as an independent, non-profit grant-making organization dedicated to improving Virginia’s environment. VEE’s overarching strategic grant-making priorities are water quality improvement, Chesapeake Bay restoration, land conservation, environmental literacy and outreach, climate adaptation, and emerging issues. The Endowment’s grant-making has increased substantially over the past few years with the addition of new grant programs and funds. The VEE office is located in downtown Richmond, Virginia. More information is available at

    The Administrative Assistant is a key member of the 3-person VEE staff, charged with providing administrative and financial assistance to VEE’s operations as well as administrative support to the Executive Director and Senior Program Officer. The position must maintain strict confidentiality, work independently, and maintain the highest levels of professionalism. Responsibilities include inventorying, cataloguing, processing, and tracking monthly income and expenses, including grant funds and awards. The Administrative Assistant must be detail-oriented, a self-starter, and committed to VEE’s mission of working to improve Virginia’s environment through philanthropy.


    ·         A high level of organizational skills and attention to detail with the ability to organize and maintain records, files, and databases while making recommendations for process and quality improvement

    •          Able to work independently with minimal direction and to prioritize workload and schedule; this includes the ability to periodically work alone in the office
    •          Effective written and verbal communication skills, including correspondence drafting
    •          Good working knowledge of Microsoft Office, including Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook and other programs and databases, including Quicken Deluxe
    •          Proficiency in basic bookkeeping and income and expense tracking including accurately creating and tracking budgets and financial records
    •          Experience with, or ability to learn, grant database software (Gifts Online)
    •          Ability to multi-task effectively with strong time management and sound problem-solving skills
    •         Must be of high integrity and trust including the ability to maintain strict confidentiality of sensitive information
    •          Ability to work in a small office with a collaborative team culture
    •          Effective at developing working relationships with staff and Board of Directors, grant applicants, vendors, and others
    •          Commitment to environmental protection; a drive to fulfill the organization’s mission


    •          Provide general office support to Executive Director and Senior Program Officer
    •          Process grant applications, awards, and reports, including grant agreements, correspondence, report notification, check issuance, bill paying, etc.
    •          Maintain all VEE files (administrative, grant, and financial)
    •          Manage and maintain accurate and up-to-date financial records, prepare monthly account reconciliations, prepare periodic financial asset statements, prepare for annual audits/accounting reviews,
    •          Prepare budgets and financial statements in cooperation with the Executive Director for presentation to the Board of Directors
    •          Provide support for Board meetings, including preparing Board meeting materials, assisting the Executive Director with meeting scheduling, logistics and related items
    •         Handle periodic updates of website content and materials including working with outside website contractor as needed

    ·         Assist with developing and distributing press releases and other items of general distribution including maintaining related email lists

    ·         Assist with development of the Annual Report

    ·         Inventorying and ordering office supplies and program materials

    ·         Maintain and update office procedures and manual

    ·         Answer office phone and greet office visitors

    ·         Other duties as assigned


    • Experience working in a professional office settingwith high levels of responsibility for office and financial management; prefer at least 5 years of prior experience

    ·   Bachelor’s degree or combination of education and experience sufficient to fulfill requirements of the position

    ·         Experience with grant making or grant management a plus

    ·         Strong organizational skills with a critical attention to detail

    ·         Desired personal traits include strong interpersonal skills, good sense of humor, results-oriented, persistent, hard-working, accountable, sound judgement, integrity, truthful, approachable, team-oriented, practical and creative

    ·         Motivated worker in a non-stressful work atmosphere


    VEE offers a competitive salary commensurate with experience. Benefits include:

    ·         Reimbursement of eligible health/medical expenses, up to $10,300 per plan year

    ·         Monthly pension contributions equal to 12% of eligible employees’ salary

    ·         Group life, accidental death and disability insurance

    ·         3 weeks’ paid vacation per year, paid holidays and sick leave

    ·         Paid on-site employee parking; modern office building with cafeteria and coffee shop

    To apply, submit resume to:, attention Dave Winter

    The Virginia Environmental Endowment is an Equal Opportunity Employer

  • 02/19/2020 6:10 PM | VAST Webmaster (Administrator)

    How do you participate as a member in VAST?  Our members are involved in all science curricula at all levels, pre-K to college.  What is your area of expertise?  Do you have a successful activity, lab or lesson that you could share with others?  Have you planned or attended a professional development that you could write about?  How about a field trip suggestion or a community partnership?  Please consider sharing your ideas with VAST members by submitting to the VAST newsletter. 

    The submission deadline for the next newsletter is March 1.  Please send your article(s) to the newsletter editor ( by the deadline. Besides earning points for recertification, you will inspire “Excellence in Science Education” across the Commonwealth and demonstrate your professionalism.

  • 02/13/2020 9:21 PM | VAST Webmaster (Administrator)

    Do you have lesson activity, research article, or solution to share? The  Journal of Virginia Science Education, VAST’s peer-reviewed journal, is seeking submissions for upcoming issues. Our next issue will be published July 1, 2020 and the theme is The Outdoor Science Classroom. Manuscripts that do not address this theme are also welcome. Submissions to be considered for this issue are due by March 1, 2020. Please see the website: for planning templates, submission guidelines, and review criteria. Contact Amanda Gonczi or Jennifer Maeng, co-editors, at for questions. 

  • 01/16/2020 10:05 AM | VAST Webmaster (Administrator)

    The Winter Edition of The Science Educator Now Available

    In this issue:

    • Honorees recognized at the November PDI: VAST Recognition in Science Education awardees, Presidential state finalists, Sterling awardees, Virginia Outstanding Biology Teacher awardee.
    • Ellen Peterson, the 2018 Sterling winner, shares her project to move her classes from "Textbook to 3D".
    • Anne Peterson gives a Virginia Department of Education update.
    • PDI presenters Suzie Gilley and Page Hutchinson describe how to create a field kit.
    • "Donata the Dragonfly Explores the Dominion” highlights places to explore in winter.
    • See images of the many attendees and activities at the PDI Roanoke.

    Click here to download the January Newsletter.

Virginia Association of Science Teachers

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