The Northern Indiana Science, Mathematics and Engineering Collaborative

Guided Inquiry is our Focus

2012 news

9 December 2012: The National Fluid Power Association challenge (NFPA) - 7 December 2012 South Bend Schools Intermediate Centers competed at Steppan Center, Notre Dame (competition details at the NFPA website)
Five trophies were awarded, one for each of these categories.
- Overall Champion (First place) - team #4 - Clay IC
- Portfolio Champion - team #2 - Brown IC
- Team Challenge Champion - team #10 - LaSalle Academy
- Design Champion - team #6 - Edison IC
- Teamwork - team #11 - LaSalle Academy




Brown IC
Worth reading: NAEP Report relating Vocabulary Skills to Reading Comprehension.
Materials from the summer 2012:
Biology Modeling
ISI 5-8 grades kit extensions
13 November 2012: Check out this South Bend Tribune article about the successful "How Does It Work" expo last weekend - one highlight was the hands-on bicycle exhibit of the Honeywell airplane brake systems, built here on South Bend's west-side
30 October 2012: A helpful article about "responsive classrooms" and the need for professional development which helps interactions between students and teachers and between students and students - part of our own message in guided inquiry and modeling classrooms...
9 October 2012: Upcoming Events - save the dates:
-> 26-27 October <- ETHOS Science Center will be hosting its Annual Science Spectacular at 2521 Industrial Parkway, Elkhart
-> 10-11 November <- at Union Station, in downtown South Bend, for MSTCi's "How Does it Work". Displays and hands-on activities have been put together by area businesses and local educators organized by MSTCi for children and adults that will engage them in critical thinking relating to science, technology, engineering and math.[Clik here or on pic]
This is MSTCI's first opportunity to raise awareness of how knowledge of STEM impacts our local workforce.
7 October 2012: HASTI 2013, 6-8 February - we just submitted abstracts for six 45-minute sessions at the winter HASTI nanual meeting in Indianapolis: you can read all the abstracts here.
We are planning a 1.5 day meeting for Indiana Biology modelers in January 2013 - the meeting will be a Friday evening and all day Saturday at a hotel and high-school in Kokomo; we have funds for hotel accommodation and travel allowances for teachers from the north and south - keep checking back at NISMEC for more details, as they become available..
2 October 2012: Teachers: are you ready for a Lilly Teacher Creativity Fellowship? You can receive $10,000 for a six week summer project in 2013. Application information can be found here. The deadline for submission is 2 November 2012 - 100 Fellowships will be awarded - go for it!!
30 September 2012: I am sure you teachers agree with these two articles: 5 Biggest Lies About America's Public Schools: by Kristin Rawls, and The War against teachers: by Laura Clawson
30 August 2012: [back from a short vacation!] Please check out the fruits of our summer labors - (1) first year biology modeling, and (2) 5th-8th grade ISI improvements: the teachers in the two sets of workshops were all great "workshoppers" to give us some incredibly useful ideas for the classrooms... Forty-five additions to the 5-8th ISI kits from the two Intermediate center workshops; while the two two-week biology modeling workshops (at Notre Dame and at University HS in Carmel) yielded an almost complete first year biology modeling curriculum - an incredible set of achievements!! The biology modules for the latter are still being uploaded to our new biology modeling website, but all will be ready to use shortly.
It is essential to try out these examples in your classrooms - we need to get some feedback on improvements and changes, especially as we move on through the school year - the focus of these hands-on, experiential curricula is always to help students learn, to enjoy learning, and to connect their learning to the realities of their everyday world.
Please send in your comments for change/improvements on any of these modules, or other helpful nuggets from your learning classroom - we will publish them here so that other teachers can try them out..
28 July 2012: HURRAH!! The NISMEC summer-2012 workshops (all 6 PD workshops plus two weeks of "Sensing Our World") have been successfully completed: just this coming week's Summer Science Camp for SBCSC 5-8th grade students remains. During the coming weeks, we will gradually be adding the resulting curriculum pieces plus other items that were completed during these workshops.
First, we have the teacher-note clarifications and extensions to the ISI 5th-8th grades kit curriculum. We will be trying them out at the SSC this coming week; you can find them all in this ISI-support spreadsheet; the high school modeling results will be added shortly...
1 June 2012: The deadlines for applications to our modeling, intermediate center and SOW workshops have passed: we have been very gratified by all the responses, and every workshop is fully prescribed - THANK YOU for your confidence in our programs - we will be contacting you all during the coming week with details about the individual workshops.
One more personal item in which you might be interested: Mary Hynes-Berry (my wife) has just published a book about aspects of student engagement in the classroom: although focused on the early K-5 grades, her ideas are relevant to hands-on science (and other) classrooms at all grades, including high school and adult - for more information check her website about the book "Don't Leave the Story in the Book.." or elsewhere.
14 May 2012: Read and comment on the newly-released science standards - we will be discussing them in detail at all the NISMEC summer workshops.
8 May 2012: Here is the US News ranking of 22,000 public high schools from 49 states and the District of Columbia. (Nebraska did not report enough data to be included in the rankings.) Check out Indiana's "best schools"!
26 April 2012: As we wait for the national science core standards, here is some interesting reading about the new wave of "Education Standards": A Framework for K-12 Science Education; The Standards for Mathematical Practice; Concern Abounds Over Teachers' Preparedness for core-Standards; Empowering Students with Digital Reading; [web references within articles] - more discussions on these topics will take place in our summer 2012 workshops (see below to register).
21 April 2012: The issues, challenges and prospects of "Virtual Education"; A brief commentary by Gordon Berry on a two-day conference on these topics that took place in New Delhi on Feb 24-25, 2012. Although the focus is on post-secondary education, there are surely lessons to be learned in this area for K-12 education, especially as more technology becomes available to teachers and students.
20 April 2012: As feared, additional funding for some of our summer workshops has not been obtained - hence, we have reduced the number of modeling workshops to the four listed below - chemistry and biology at Notre Dame and at the University High School in Carmel. There are plenty of teacher-spaces still available, although for the Notre Dame workshops, priority has to go the the South Bend School District teachers (as stipulated from our ICHE funds). Our maximum number of teachers in each workshop is 20, so please apply ASAP to assure your place. You can find the Modeling workshop application form and more information HERE.
The Intermediate Center/Middle School workshop dates have also been finalized - the dates have been selected to accommodate the ISI workshop schedules for the SBCSC teachers: the dates are as follows:
Type Place Dates
ISI-1 SBCSC 9-11 July
ISI-2 SBCSC 23-25 July
GI-Vernier Notre Dame 11-15 June (Mon-Fri)
GI-Vernier Notre Dame 3-day 12-14 July (Thurs-Sat)
IC student summer camp Robinson Center, Kroc Center 30 July - 5 August: (Mon-Fri)
Notes for the Intermediate Center/Middle School workshops:
1 - Stipends for GI workshops = $100/day;
2 - Registration: $10 registration fee - returned at workshop - before 26 May, 2012;(By check to Gordon Berry or Tracy Slattery; payable to University of Notre Dame)
3 - Focus Topics: Developing questions in the GI classroom, notebooks and use of Vernier probes
4 - GI/Vernier workshop times: For (a) and (b) 8:30 am till 4 pm each day
5 - GI student summer camps: children attend in the mornings 9 am till noon; teachers attend 8:30 am - 3 pm: afternoons: analysis of morning sessions; 2-4 camps, each with up to 30 students (separated into grades 6,7,8) and 6 teachers per day - possible locations: Robinson Center, Kroc center, Charles Martin Center, other?...teachers must have attended GI-workshops - can sign up for any number of days; Notre Dame Contact: Gordon Berry, Physics Department, University of Notre Dame Notre Dame IN 46556; 574-631-4012 SBCSC Contact: Tracy Slattery, SBCSC;
5. Please find the workshop registration form HERE.
18 April 2012: (GO) STEM! Summer camp at USI (Evansville, Southern Indiana) to all current 8th through 11th grade girls!
Location: University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, Indiana & Holiday World Splashin' Safari, Santa Claus, Indiana
Eligibility: Open to girls entering the 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade in the Fall 2012.
Fee: $125/participant, includes lodging, meals, and park admission. Fee is due upon acceptance into the program. Damages to university and/or the property of Holiday World Splashin' Safari will be the sole financial responsibility of the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the liable participant. Deadline to Apply: Monday, April 30, 2012
More information and the application at
Allison Grabert '02, SwISTEM Interim Director
University of Southern Indiana 812/228-5019 Fax: 812/465-1052 email:

20 February 2012: Announcements will be made shortly about the joint Math-Science Partnership program of NISMEC and South Bend Schools for Intermediate Schools Science Teachers.
Dates and details of the summer workshops providing extension support for the Indiana Science Initiative will be announced shortly.

19 February 2012: Summer 2012 - Another year of SOW - Sensing our World -
NISMEC is again sponsoring this popular program of a week of hands-on science learning for middle-school students:
This year's session has been scheduled for the week of 9 - 13 July, 2012. If we are overloaded with eligible applicants (as we were last year), we have reserved space and instructors for a second week - 16-20 July, 2012.
The announcement, other details and the application forms can be found at the SOW website.

18 February 2012: 1-Modeling workshops in June and July 2012
6/18 - 6/29 Notre Dame Biology Berry, Rose Develop - 2 weeks
6/18-6/29 Indy - Univ HS Chemistry-II Torrison/Buehler Intermed - 2 weeks
7/9 - 7/20 Notre Dame Chemistry-II Buehler/Rose Intermed - 2 weeks
7/16 - 7/27 Indy - Univ HS Biology Berry + Hicks Develop - 2 weeks

You can find the Modeling workshop application form and more information HERE
Please return the form and registration fee as early as possible to ensure a place in your requested workshop.

17 February 2012:
Summer 2011 - NISMEC Summer workshop follow-up files/pages
High school - Physics, Chemistry & Biology modeling
Middle school - Using Vernier probes with science kits
For further information about our organization, or for suggestions for further inclusions in this web-page, contact Gordon Berry at or 574-631-4012