STEM Education Stories Archives
Goal 2: Improve STEM Teacher Training and Professional Development Quality
nano@illinois RET's Tatiana Stine Hopes to Help Expose Youngsters to Nanotechnology
September 5, 2016
An instructional coach at a local school, Tatiana Stine is passionate about helping her teachers implement the Next Generation Science Standards—especially engineering. A participant in the nano@illinois RET program this past summer, she got to work with innovative nanotechnology while conducting research on graphene. And she not only learned a lot of new things, she developed teaching modules she plans to take back to her teachers. And one day, while waiting for gold nanoparticles to deposit on her device, she came up with a fun and novel way to teach youngsters about nanotechology—Gene the Graphene.
nano@illinois RET Teachers Discover Nanotechnology's Big Impact—Hope Their Students Will Too
August 31, 2016
If you get them hooked early, the kids will think graphene is so cool, and that spark could make them the next big nano scientist.” – Tatiana Stine
This summer 11 teachers of varying grade levels and backgrounds participated in the nano@illinois Research Experience for Teachers (RET) funded by the National Science Foundation. While participating in research in a wide range of areas, these teachers’ eyes were opened to the intricate world of nanotechnology and all the possibilities it offers. But while the research is important, that’s not the program's only goal. It is expected that these teachers will then take all that they learned through their research on nanotechnology and, with support from staff and other teachers, translate it into lesson modules they can use with their students back home. It is hoped that as they are able to successfully teach their students what they’ve learned, they’ll not only be exposing them to STEM, but some of its cutting-edge possibilities, like nanotechnology, that their students may never been exposed to before because of a variety of factors, including their socioeconomic background.
STEM Conference Gives Teachers the Courage—and the Tools—to "Do Science"
August 17, 2015
“I have never felt science was my strong suit. But attending this conference and participating in the workshops, it just gives you the courage to go and do science, and have fun with it, and not be afraid of it.” – Brenda Montgomery, Holmes Elementary 1st grade teacher
The 2015 Beginning Teacher STEM Conference on July 28 & 29 did more than impart courage to the approximately 125 new Illinois teachers who attended. The annual event, hosted by the College of Education’s Illinois New Teacher Collaborative (INTC) also equipped them with the know-how and the tools, including a raft of hands-on activities they could take back to their own classrooms.
RET Teachers Experience Multidisciplinary Nanotechnology Research via nano@illinois
August 3, 2015
When the twelve P-20 STEM teachers participating in this summer’s iteration of nano@illinois Research Experience for Teachers (RET) arrived on campus to do research in some of Illinois’ state-of-the-art labs under some of Illinois’ premier researchers, they learned a whole lot about their research topics. And while learning about converting 3D files to DNA brick objects, or receptor differences in cancer cells, or graphene, or that micro cavities can trap light between mirrors, they discovered one overarching fact about nanotechnology research at Illinois: it isn’t all housed in one particular department. While nanotechnology is about things that are really, really small, nanotechnology research on campus is really big and is spread out across numerous disciplines.
2015 nano@illinois RET Teachers Perform Nanotechnology Research, Make Modules
August 3, 2015
Funded by the National Science Foundation, the nano@illinois Research Experience for Teachers (RET) offered eleven practicing P-20 STEM teachers and one pre-service teacher the chance to do research under some of Illinois’ premier researchers in their state-of-the-art labs. Over the next year, teachers are then to develop a module related to their nanotechnology research that can be used in their own or other classrooms. According to Program Coordinator Carrie Kouadio, the RET's main goal is “that the students will be impacted and can benefit from the teacher's increased enthusiasm, higher content knowledge, and ability to direct them in considering careers.”
Beginning Teachers Add to Their Hands-On Repertoire at INTC STEM Conference
July 31, 2014
On July 29–30, 2014, 100+ teachers from all over the state attended the 2nd Annual Beginning Teacher STEM Conference hosted by the Illinois New Teacher Collaborative (INTC). Held at the I-Hotel on campus, the conference targeted new teachers in their first through fourth years of teaching, plus some of their mentors. A total of 150 teachers registered for the conference...
Local Science Teachers Experience Research in NanoTechnology
July 9, 2014
For the next three years, a number of area science teachers will have an opportunity to participate in the Nano@illinois RET, where they will not only learn about, but actually participate in, cutting edge research in nanotechnology and even adapt some of what they have learned for students in their classrooms.
Local Biology Teacher to Introduce her Students to Research on Quantum Dots
July 10, 2014
“I teach in a very small school with limited resources," says science teacher Aubrey Wachtel, "so one of the best things that I can do is have experiences and then bring them back to the classroom." So this summer, Wachtel is experiencing nanotechnlogy while researching quantum dots."
Martha Gillette's Favorite Dish? Interdisciplinary Research
February 5, 2013
Martha Gillette has always been a maverick. For years, she has been a pioneer in interdisciplinary research—comfortably rubbing shoulders with chemists and engineers and, for a biologist, thinking outside the box.
Gillette calls herself a neuroscientist and biologist; in many of the collaborative projects in which she's been involved, such as the NSF-funded EBICS (Emergent Behavior of Integrated Cellular Systems) project, she's the "token biologist." However, based on her current research—emerging technologies for studying neurons—which uses engineering approaches to study neuro-development, she appears to be veering over into neuroengineering...
Nano-CEMMS' Carrie Kouadio Finds Teaching Nanotechnology Rewarding
The Nano-CEMMS education program seems to have a pattern of offering top-notch educators stimulating science programs as bait, getting them hooked, then reeling them in. For example, the story of how Carrie Kouadio, an integral part of the Center for Nanoscale Chemical-Electrical-Mechanical Manufacturing Systems (Nano-CEMMS) education team ended up there is similar to those of several other members of the team: She was a science teacher who came to Nano-CEMMS to participate in teacher development to improve her skills and liked it so much that she stayed.
MIST Workshop Trains Teachers in Merit Instructional Style
For three days at the beginning of August, the MIST (Merit Immersion for Students and Teachers) program hosted the MIST Summer Teacher Workshop for 52 high school and community college teachers. After being exposed to training by the directors of Illinois' Merit Program, the teachers returned home armed with new strategies and materials...
iRISE and Denos Work to Get Students Hooked on Science in Middle School
One of Sharlene Denos' passions is to expose middle school students to hands-on activities in order to pique their interest in science so it becomes a life-long interest—possibly even a career. Denos hopes to give today's middle school student opportunities she didn't have at that age.
Joe Muskin & Team: Nano-CEMMS Ambassadors for STEM Education
If you make the rounds of campus outreach very often, you will soon discover that one of the constants in the STEM-education-outreach universe is Joe Muskin…and company. Part of the education arm of Nano-CEMMS (the Center for Nanoscale Chemical-Electrical-Mechanical Manufacturing Systems), Joe and his crack team, educator Carrie Kouadin, graduate student Matt Alonso, and Joe's girl Friday, Athena Lin...
EnLiST Science Teachers Improve Pedagogy During Summer 2012 Professional Development
During the past couple of weeks, STEM teachers from around the state converged on campus. They could be found in Noyes conducting chemistry labs, performing physics experiments in the halls of Loomis Lab, and doing a host of nanotechnology activities, including working with gold and silver nanoparticles, in Mechanical Engineering Lab. Participants in EnLiST (Entrepreneurial Leadership in STEM Teaching & Learning), an NSF-funded Math Science Partnership ($5M/5 years), these teachers have been participating in intensive professional development over the last several weeks (and years) to gain cutting-edge scientific content, research experience in Illinois laboratories, and effective pedagogy with diverse learners.
Project NEURON Creates Connections
Speaking in front of a marker board littered with red and black writing, Barbara Hug leads a collection of 15 Illinois teachers through Tuesday morning's lesson plan. Bright, circular stickers bring life to the white walls of room 120 in Col. Wolfe School. The teachers in attendance hope for a similar effect in their classrooms—to bring them to life.
Hug, a clinical assistant professor in the College of Education, serves as a project leader for Project NEURON (Novel Education for Understanding Research on Neuroscience), along with coPIs Donna Korol from the Neuroscience Program and George Reese from MSTE (Office for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education).
OLLI Offers Mature Adults Learning and Research Opportunities
Unlike some senior adults who, after retiring from full-time jobs also retire from learning, a group of local retirees are continuing to learn—not only in the classroom—but in some more unusual places: Illinois' research labs. These seniors are participants in the OLLI Scientist Program, sponsored by Illinois' Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, more commonly referred to simply as OLLI, which is a program of learning opportunities for adults age 50 or older. These opportunities range from classes offered on campus to lab work, a lecture series, and overseas travel.
iRISE Workshop is a Hit With Local Middle School Teachers
On Tuesday, June 28th, 2011, 24 middle school teachers from across the state came to the University of Illinois to build algae bioreactors, take apart and reassemble computers, build chemical and mechanical water filters, and explore the fluorescence of living plants. These activities were developed into classroom-ready lesson materials by a group of graduate students, faculty, and veteran teachers as part of the iRISE Project.
It's not your parents' math class anymore!
LAS’ popular online program, Math Teacher Link, which has helped hundreds of instructors nationwide, is bringing math instruction into the computer era.
Illinois’ Pollinatarium, a Discovery Science Center, is abuzz about pollination