Classroom observations for the 2013-2014 BEST Project applicants were completed. The Tier II applicants include middle and high school STEM teachers representing eight different Maryland school systems. Each applicant also submitted an essay identifying their top three summer internship choices from a directory of potential research sites/projects. Final cohort and internship placement decisions will be made in late April.
Thank you to the following FCSM faculty members who submitted project descriptions for the 2013 BEST Project Research Internship Directory: Barry Margulies, Vonnie Shields, and Cindy Zeller.Outreach
In the months of February and March, BEST Project funding supported two classroom visits to the TU Center for STEM Excellence (TUCSE) SciTech Learning Lab providing hands-on biotechnology experiences for 54 high school science students. We also supported a “day in the life of a TU Physics student” campus field trip for 27 Cecil County HS students. Special thanks to 2012 BEST Project mentor Grace Yong (PAGS), PAGS Administrative Assistant Reneé Watkins, PAGS Resource Teacher Jim Selway, and the Society of Physics Students for their contributions to this event. Dr. Don Thomas continues to provide outreach to BEST Project schools and students. In March, Don gave presentations on living and working in space for 600 Severna Park Middle School students (BEST Project teacher Debbie Sparby).
On March 23rd, TUCSE hosted its second annual Junior FIRST Lego League (Jr.FLL) Expo. Thirty-two elementary school students representing seven Jr.FLL teams displayed their “Super Seniors” Lego projects and Show Me! posters for our panel of reviewers (TUCSE staff members Dr. Mary Stapleton, Alicia Shaw, and Erica Svendsen, former Noyce Scholars Program Coordinator Tissa Thomas, and recently graduated Noyce Scholar Adam Rubin). SciTech Instructor Natalie Dussourd and Laboratory Assistants Henry Jackson and Debbie Phillips coordinated an exploration of various microscopic organisms living in the Chesapeake Bay.
On Saturday, November 17, 2012, at another Learning Community session, two of the BEST Project mentors – Dr. Bronwen Martin and Dr. Stuart Maudsley of the National Institute on Aging – gave a talk on how their research work aligns with the eight Next Generation Scientific and Engineering Practices. Teachers then spent the afternoon investigating several activities that modeled integrated STEM instruction including building and testing devices that measure lung capacity and designing straw rockets and testing predictions about their flight patterns.
On Saturday, October 13, 2012, the 2012–2013 Cohort teachers met for a Learning Community session. These sessions provide time for BEST Teachers to share feedback on their Curriculum Implementation Projects and explore various pedagogical topics. During this specific session, the teachers learned about several formative assessment strategies including the applications of Poll Everywhere technology, as presented by James Beam, 2011 BEST Project alumnus. A pumpkin-themed open inquiry lesson was then modeled for the teachers.
On Saturday, September 15, 2012, the second annual BEST Project Research Symposium was held at the TU Center for STEM Excellence, Columbus Center. Current BEST Teachers presented posters on their summer research projects as well as ideas for translating research content, skills, and career awareness into real-world inquiry-based instruction for their students. Approximately 70 invited guests including research mentors, school system STEM supervisors, school administrators, and family members were able to join us for the Symposium. BEST Teachers' research project summaries, including their personal and professional rewards from the internship experience, are available on our website.