833 Elementary Science Scoop

January/February 2015

How Are We Doing in Elementary Science?

The MCA science trend data was collected and shared by elementary science leaders to help identify our current realities and opportunities. What do you notice? Do you see trends or patterns in performance? Upon further exploration we uncovered really no significant trends in performance across strands of learning (Earth Science, Nature of Science and Engineering, Life Science, Physical Science). Current grade 5 students will be taking the Science MCA-III tests in April 2015 which accounts for all K-5 learning and applications from the K-5 Academic Standards in Science. The Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards in Science were revised in 2009 and implemented by all schools beginning with the 2011-12 school year and are scheduled to be revised again in 2017-18.
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Grade 3-5 Science Achievement Level Descriptors

The Minnesota Department of Education provides information to help teachers prepare students for Minnesota's assessments and to interpret and utilize test results.

Achievement Level Descriptors (ALDs) describe the four levels of achievement on the Minnesota Academic Standards. Developed by panels of Minnesota teachers, ALDs from the Individual Student Reports for science assessments can be found below. The ALDs can be an effective tool for teachers in grades 2-5 to examine for content coverage and instructional rigor required in the Science MCA III assessments in grade 5.

Grade 5 Science MCA Item Samplers

The Minnesota Department of Education provides information to help teachers prepare students for Minnesota's assessments and to interpret and utilize test results.

Item samplers are available to help teachers and students become familiar with the format and type of content included in each test. In addition, online student tutorials are available for the online tests. Go to Pearson.net to access the science item samplers online.

MN Science & Engineering Fair Seeking VOLUNTEERS

Friday, March 20th, 12am to Monday, March 23rd, 12am

7800 Normandale Boulevard

Minneapolis, MN

  • The Minnesota Academy of Science State Science & Engineering Fair is an annual competition that showcases Minnesota's best and brightest students in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Since 1938, MSSEF has been the pinnacle of project-based STEM education in Minnesota. The North Central Regional Junior Science & Humanities Symposium (JSHS) is a scientific research paper competition for high school students in Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota. JSHS is a competition designed to encourage students to explore research topics in STEM fields.

  • Why volunteer?• Support and foster the development of young scientists and engineers • Gain personal satisfaction and inspiration from these motivated young scientists and engineers • Earn community service or outreach volunteer credit from your business, school, or institution • Support STEM education • Take a break and give back to a good cause

  • March 20-23 at the Doubletree Hotel in Bloomington, MN.

  • For more information about volunteering at the competitions, please visit www.mnmas.org/science-engineering-fair/general-volunteers

Teaching Grade 4 or 5 Next Year & Want to Get PAID $ to Explore ENGINEERING?

You have been identified by your school district as a teacher of excellence with the potential to make a substantial professional contribution to STEM education. Please consider this invitation to accept an appointment as an EngrTEAMS Fellow for summer 2015 and the 2015-2016 academic year.

EngrTEAMS: Engineering to Transform the Education of Analysis, Measurement, and Science in a Team-Based Targeted Mathematics-Science Partnership is a five-year $8 million National Science Foundation award made to a partnership headed by the University of Minnesota’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education Center. This project is designed to engage up to 50 teachers each year to develop and implement standards-based engineering curriculum for grades 4-8. In addition to creating open source curricula, EngrTEAMS will support four major research projects that will enhance understanding of best practices in STEM education.

EngrTEAMS Fellows will be paid a total stipend of $3400* for successfully:

· Securing support of the building administrator as documented on a signed Principal Support Agreement (page 2).

· Participating in a 12-day Summer Institute (see calendar), June/July 2015.

· Conducting a summer pilot of the curriculum unit during STEM Summer Camp. Teams of fellows will be responsible to teach for two or three consecutive days (two and a half hours per day) between July 20 and August 21, 2015.

· Refining curriculum based on summer pilot with support from an EngrTEAMS Coach (STEM Education Center graduate research assistant).

· Implementing the developed curriculum unit with students during the school year, supported by your EngrTEAMS Coach.

· Finalizing a curriculum unit based on the results of the summer pilot, classroom implementation, and feedback from your EngrTEAMS Coach.

· Collaborating with researchers to provide data for the project.

· Participating in monthly writing and reflective practice meetings with your team and coach to create, implement and publish STEM integrated curricula.

· Submitting the curriculum unit to an online peer-reviewed NSF-funded digital library such as TeachEngineering.org for use across the United States and beyond.

* The stipend is paid directly to the Fellow, and not to the school district. The first $1200 will be paid in August 2015 after completion of three weeks of summer professional development, including development and piloting of an engineering design-based curricular unit. The remaining $2200 will be paid during the 2015-2016 school year upon completion of remaining steps (Approximately May, 2016). Up to $750 additional funds will be available for purchase of classroom materials to implement the curricular unit. These materials will be the property of the Fellow, and not the property of the school district.

Please email Emily Larsen & Jamie Holtz if you're interested in EngrTEAMS for 2015-16.

Star Lab Reservations for 2014-15

There are still spots open to reserve the Star Lab for students at your school.