Virginia Association of Science Teachers


  • 07/10/2020 2:12 PM | VAST Webmaster (Administrator)

    Reminder! The deadline to submit an article for winter 2020 JVSE publication is fast approaching.  Articles are due by July 31! The theme is Science: An Opportunity to Improve Students' Literacy Skills. We welcome manuscripts focused on this important topic but welcome contributions on any topic. The journal accepts manuscripts that fall within one of three categories: Lesson Activities, Research, and Sharing Solutions. Guidelines for each of these categories are described on the journal homepage. If you have any questions please feel free to email Amanda Gonczi, journal editor, at

  • 07/01/2020 5:44 PM | VAST Webmaster (Administrator)

    The latest edition of the peer-reviewed Journal of Virginia Science Education is now available to read and download. Member login required. 

  • 06/15/2020 7:02 PM | VAST Webmaster (Administrator)

    The Academy of Integrated Science at Virginia Tech is hosting a Virtual Nanoscience Professional Development Workshop for High School Teachers!  The workshop is FREE and classroom kits will be mailed to each teacher participant.  Virtual activities will take place the weeks of July 6th, July 13th, July 20th, and July 27th.  We hope that you can come! 

    Click here to see a flyer with additional details including the registration link.  Learn about nanoscience and how you can add it into YOUR classroom activities!

    Please let me know if you have any questions and I hope to see you (virtually) this summer!

    Thanks so much,

    Charlotte Parks

    Academic Advisor and Recruiter

    Academy of Integrated Science

    Hahn Hall South, Suite 2108, 800 West Campus Drive Blacksburg, VA 24061


  • 06/11/2020 12:44 PM | VAST Webmaster (Administrator)

    Dear Elementary Mathematics & Science Educators:

    Since January, Sabrina and I have been planning our summer research study focusing on how mathematics and/or science teachers have made decisions based on the updated mathematics and science standards. We invite your participation by sharing your knowledge and expertise about your approach to professional development by completing our Google form survey.  Below, you will find the link to the questions. We anticipate the survey should take no more than 15 minutes to complete. All responses will be analyzed as a group so that individual confidentiality will be maintained.

    Our overall research question:

    Deeper Learning: How do elementary mathematics and science teachers acquire strategies and content knowledge to promote student success?

    Deeper learning:

    For the purpose of this study, we are using the description of deeper learning to include:

    “...experiences equipping students with the skills to find, analyze, and apply knowledge in new and emerging contexts and situations, and prepare them for college, work, civic participation … and lifelong learning in a fast-changing and information-rich world.” (Darling-Hammond & Oakes, 2019 p.4)

    We appreciate your questionnaire response by Friday, June 19th

    At the end of the survey, you will have an opportunity to continue dialogue on this topic by signing up for one of our  "virtual chats" with other teachers who have similar interests in elementary mathematics & science education. Participants who complete the survey and participate in our "virtual chat" forums, will receive a $15 Panera lunch voucher.


    Dr. Cheryl Lindeman, Assistant Professor of Education

    Sabrina Johnson, Elementary Education Major Class of 2021

  • 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

Virginia Association of Science Teachers

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