Notes from Plenary Discussion


Institutes
Further information will be provided regarding summer institutes through NDeRC (NANO, ENVIRO, ASTRO, BIO) in early March.
A sustainability model is being designed for the continuation of the programs: your help in securing other sources of funding is appreciated.
Most institutes are designed to accommodate 25 teachers.
PGP are offered for attendance.
Will a point come when teachers may use the materials from the BioEyes program independently in their classrooms? - Teachers who have facilitated the program for 3 or more years become experts and may be able to offer the program to students without the aid of an NDeRC professional.
Fourth grade students enjoyed their "nano week" and found it a rewarding experience that excited them about the possibilities of science.

BLOGS
Please participate in the blog. It's social capital that can be utilized when securing grants and locating future funding sources.


Challenges

Nanotechnology is supposed to be an area strength in the community but who is going to provide equipment and build the needed technology?
  • NDeRC's nanocollaborative provides some technology to classrooms.
  • Ivy Tech has a new program to provide Nanotechnology resources.


Opportunities

Will there be further opportunities for math teachers to conduct research. It seems most are currently geared to science teachers.
  • There are some math teachers that conduct research at Notre Dame during the summer (Hickey). There is a new department at ND, applied mathematics, in which biocomplexity is tied in to. A two day workshop may be offered as an introduction to using computers to assist teachers in mathematics instruction.


Science Kit Initiative

If a number of teachers are interested, can they participate even if the whole school or corporation is not participating?
  • Priority is given to the school districts with the largest percentage of schools interested in being involved.

SBCSC's current science kits seem to be largely focused on teacher developed materials. Is there any opportunity to secure materials that are more hands-on?
How can we get administrators to understand the issues and participate in the discussion?
Kits take a large amount of instructional time and the schedule does not always provide.
Teachers are not always supportive of kits; largely because of the concern over passing ISTEP scores.
Administrators think that teachers seem to be reluctant to utilize kits. If the state text recommendations are adopted, systemic teacher inservice will be provided.
Administrators must attend workshops to pilot the program.
HASTI will convene in early February.
Discussion seems to indicate that there are many teachers who would like to use the kits.
It seems that many teachers do not know how to engage students in science due to their previous experiences.
Many teachers have been utilizing inquiry science techniques for many years but find it difficult to continue when field trips become limited and more demands are placed on the teachers.
The state is promoting inquiry based materials so that the culture of science education can change.
Is there a way to secure professional development when few teachers in a private school teach science?


Action Items:
Shake the tree - request materials and professional development


Praise for the efforts of the NDeRC and RET communities as well as others that have participated in the collaboration.