Friday, November 11, 2016

Why strawberry DNA extraction is easier than others:

As biology teachers know, there are lots of seeds and all on the outside of the fruit.

Every seed removed from a single strawberry

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

STEM Education Lab Manager Job Opening

Please share with anyone who might be interested.  

Virginia Tech is partnering with Qualcomm to develop a STEM education laboratory for middle schoolers and also upper elementary and high school students, their teachers, principals, and other administrators.

We have a lab manager position opening (available immediately) for our Thinkabit RoboCrafting Lab and our World of Work Lab at our campus in Falls Church City, just inside the DC beltway, serving Northern Virginia and DC public schools.  The starting salary range is likely $50K or above plus benefits (including free graduate-level tuition at Virginia Tech), depending on qualifications.

The position is part of both Virginia Tech's College of Engineering and the School of Education in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.  The labs are modeled after our partner Qualcomm's prototype in San Diego ( .

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Book Reading - July 8

Join author Stephenie Peterson and Boolean Girl
for a book reading and an afternoon of fun!


In Nellie Nova Takes Flight, Nellie appears to be a normal nine-year-old girl. But Nellie is not "normal." Nellie is an amazingly gifted scientist who lives in a family of amazingly gifted scientists. One day, her brother, Niles, who is 11, teases her (as all respectable big brothers do). This time, however, Niles goes too far when he tells Nellie that girls are silly and no woman has ever changed the world. This sets off a spark of an idea in Nellie's most amazing mind and sends her down the path to create a time machine and meet wonderful women who made a mark on the world. First stop, Amelia Earhart! With a few bumps along the way and a government agency out to steal her technology, Nellie and Niles are in for an incredible adventure! Stephenie is extremely passionate about girls in STEM and has agreed to read from her book and talk to the kids a bit about the writing process. Books will be available for purchase.
Date: July 8, 2016  
Time: 1-2:30 PM 
Grades: 3-8 
Cost: FREE (students enrolled in camp are already registered)
Location: Barrett Elementary School
4401 N. Henderson Road
Arlington, VA 22203

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer Reading for Young Women

The National Academies Press

Science in the Summer

Whether you’re outside enjoying the heat or taking refuge in your air conditioning, summer can be the best time to catch up on your reading. In case sitting at the beach with a great read isn’t enticing enough on its own, we’re offering 25% off the list price of the titles below. Use code READ25 now through July 31, 2016 to take advantage of these savings!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Challenging Duckworth's Promotion of "Grit"

by Nicholas Tampio for AEON:

Teaching ‘grit’ is bad for children, and bad for democracy

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Guian Bolisay/Flickr
According to the grit narrative, children in the United States are lazy, entitled and unprepared to compete in the global economy. Schools have contributed to the problem by neglecting socio-emotional skills. The solution, then, is for schools to impart the dispositions that enable American children to succeed in college and careers. According to this story, politicians, policymakers, corporate executives and parents agree that kids need more grit.

The person who has arguably done more than anyone else to elevate the concept of grit in academic and popular conversations is Angela Duckworth, professor at the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. In her new book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, she explains the concept of grit and how people can cultivate it in themselves and others.

According to Duckworth, grit is the ability to overcome any obstacle in pursuit of a long-term project: ‘To be gritty is to hold fast to an interesting and purposeful goal. To be gritty is to invest, day after week after year, in challenging practice. To be gritty is to fall down seven times and rise eight.’ Duckworth names musicians, athletes, coaches, academics and business people who succeed because of grit. Her book will be a boon for policymakers who want schools to inculcate and measure grit.

There is a time and place for grit. However, praising grit as such makes no sense because it can often

Sunday, May 29, 2016

New Coding with Chrome App


New ‘Coding With Chrome’ App Helps Students Learn to Code

A new Google app helps students learn more about programming with using web technologies.

The search giant’s ‘Coding with Chrome’ app is billed in the Web Store as: ‘an educational IDE showing off various Google EDU technologies’.
Although in beta the app works well. It allows students to program in Blockly, Coffeescript, HTML, and Javascript, both visually, both through a GUI and a traditional ‘text’ interface, and see instant visual “results” of their code.
Students can out-put projects in Logo Turtle and/or to connected ‘smart’ toys likeSphero and Lego Mindstorms.

Coding with Chrome is a free app available from the Chrome Web Store. It is currently in beta.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Governor McAuliffe signs education bills at Wakefield

Governor Terry McAuliffe came to Wakefield High School in Arlington this morning to sign the High School Redesign legislation (SB 336/HB 895) as well as legislation for Adjunct CTE Teachers (SB 573/HB 279).  He was received well by local elected officials, school leaders, and of course the Wakefield students.  The legislation was very popular with Arlington school leaders and teachers, who've sought the flexibility to provide students with more varied and personalized approaches to high school and post-secondary transitions.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

GO Virginia adopted

Late yesterday evening, the Virginia General Assembly adopted GO Virginia's legislation by a wide, bipartisan margin. This action follows several weeks of negotiations, detailed here, over how a new state board that will oversee the implementation of this legislation will be composed. The revised legislation now goes to the Governor, who has agreed to sign it into law. As part of this compromise, implementation can now begin without delay.

To grow and diversify Virginia’s economy, business, education, and local government leaders in each region must work together. GO Virginia has now provided a framework for that collaboration. The passage of this compromise caps months of work by you, the members of the GO Virginia coalition, to accomplish this goal.

Thank you for all you have done to achieve this legislative success...but we have much work ahead of us to get these programs off the ground. We look forward to working with you on the implementation of this landmark legislation.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Please Support Urban Alliance Internships today!

Today is a big day for supporting Urban Alliance, a very important partner in Alexandria and Arlington for providing internships for high school seniors.  They have also been very accommodating in promoting STEM habits of Mind within their curriculum.

Please support them today to take advantage of matching funds!  Razoo LINK

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Part 1. from Steve at NCSE:

Steve Newton's picture

Disrupting the Classroom, or How Self-Styled “Education Reformers” Always Get It Wrong, Part 1

A recent article in The New Yorker exposed some interesting aspects about why educational “reforms” often fail. Highlighting the efforts of a Bay Area private school system started by a former tech executive, the author, Rebecca Mead, gets into great detail of how the “disruption” that upended the cab and hotel industries across America, is a tougher road to tread with schools.
Mead’s article focused on a school system called AltSchool. The AltSchool was founded in 2013 by Max Ventilla, formerly of Google, who “had no experience as a teacher or an educational administrator.” According to Mead’s article, the idea of starting his own personal school grew out of his and his wife’s experience trying to find an acceptable preschool for their daughter, and the observation of “how little education has changed since he began school.” He set about reinvent it.

According to its website, this is “School, reimagined,” with “interdisciplinary, project-based learning” that educates the “whole-child.” (That’s a good idea—schools that only teach the left or right side of children make kids unbalanced.) One significant difference with traditional education is that AltSchools are festooned with cameras and audio recorders in a system called AltVideo, which records everything the children do and say (#notcreepyatall #TrumanShow).

AltSchool’s philosophy claims to upend the role of teachers in education, proposing:
...a revised conception of what a teacher might be: ‘We are really shifting the role of an educator to someone who is more of a data-enabled detective.’ [Ventilla] defined a traditional teacher as an ‘artisanal lesson planner on one hand and a disciplinary babysitter on the other hand.’
I don’t think many actual teachers will appreciate that comparison, and I have no idea what the opposite of a “data-enabled detective” would be…a detective who operates solely on random guesses rather than facts? AltSchool seeks to be “data-driven” about its students—Mead describes a “faith in

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Japanese Eathquake

From the TNCE Facebook page:

A Japanese scientist says the fault that caused the 7.0 earthquake on Saturday shifted horizontally by 1.8 meters (that's about 6 feet for you Theater majors) in a few locations.

The entire Futagawa Fault measures about 50 kilometers (31 miles). It appears that the rupture moved to the northeast over a period of 20 seconds.

There was also a vertical shift of 0.7 meters (28 inches) along sections of the fault.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Nursing Partnerships


Posted: Saturday, April 9, 2016 10:34 pm | Updated: 9:21 pm, Mon Apr 11, 2016.
nurse shortage

Like many other hospitals, CHI Health St. Francis is having trouble finding enough nurses. In order to increase the nursing supply, the Grand Island hospital decided to grow their own.
CHI St. Francis was already offering tuition reimbursements to current employees who want to go back to school to get their bachelor’s degrees.

Beth Bartlett, vice president for patient care services, figured, “Why don’t we spend our money in a different way?”
In creating the new program, the hospital decided to “spend the same amount of money and see if we can go find some high school students who might be interested in a health care career,” she said.
“Grow Our Own” is the name of the program, which is a partnership between CHI St. Francis, Central Community College and Career Pathways Institute.
CHI St. Francis hopes the program will benefit the Grand Island hospital and help create an interest in nursing.
Under the program, CHI St. Francis will pay CCC tuition and fees for high school students interested in a health care career. In return, the students agree to work for St. Francis for three years.
As part of the arrangement, CCC will hold five seats each year for future St. Francis nurses, Bartlett said. The deal also calls for CHI St. Francis to help CPI with its HOSA program. HOSA was formerly

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Addressing Bias

from Southeast Michigan Startup:

Opinion: How to combat bias in STEM

Dr. Tonya Matthews teaching
Dr. Tonya Matthews teaching


When I was in school, I was encouraged to keep up with my math and science for two reasons. First, I was reminded that I was good at it. No brainer. I had test scores to back that up -- so it made sense. Second, I was told that a smart black girl like me should set herself up for success by choosing fields where bias would not hold me back. After all, when a math problem is right, it’s right. Right?

Apparently not. Last fall there was a lot of conversation about a study that documented gender bias in sixth grade math teachers, and measured the impact of that bias on students by tracking them all the way through high school. The outcome was predictable: girls showed progressively less interest in and adoption of higher math and science courses, while boys -- even those with less skill -- showed increasing adoption of higher math and science courses appropriate to their grade progression.

But still we march on! We know better and we’re doing better. Sort of. A recenteditorial from the National Education Association noted that gaps between boys and girls taking science and math classes have narrowed, with boys and girls averaging the same number of high school credits in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) classes. The article cites one of many studies debunking myths that girls aren’t interested in or good at STEM. Yeaa! Still, the title of this article is “Bias and Stereotypes Sideline Girls in STEM” and is quick to

Monday, March 28, 2016

Math in Romania

The United States is one of the few countries that connects sports to public education.  But Romania's National Football team apparently sees an opportunity, shown wearing math calculations instead of traditional jersey numbers.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Using Google MyMaps in Classrooms

Different than Google Maps, this tool allows for remarkable custimization through its user interface and links with Google Sheets (spreadsheets).

from the DitchThatTextbook blog:

20 ways Google MyMaps can enhance lessons in any class

Google MyMaps
Maps cross all content areas and grade levels. By creating custom MyMaps, students can see the content they’ve studied in a new light. (Public domain image via Pixabay)
Maps are a fundamental part of everyday life. Even if we don’t pull paper maps out of our car glove compartments anymore, we still rely on GPS and digital directions.
Without maps, we’re lost.
With maps, we can clearly see how widespread or concentrated our data and content is.
Maps touch practically every content area and grade level.
MyMaps, a somewhat unnoticed app in the Google Apps suite, lets students create their own highly customized maps to share with others and display. (Teachers and schools can create them, too!)
Below is an example — a MyMaps map I created with everywhere I’ve