Nismec       News

Issue 1.2   April 2005

The Northern Indiana Science, Mathematics and Engineering Collaborative
NISMEC | ND Outeach | School Districts -> Mishawaka | New Prairie | South Bend | Elkhart | John Glenn | PHM |

Introductory Note
Funding Success
Summer Programs
*ND workshop
*HPS workshop
Other Programs
Local events
Recent articles
Editorial info

Guided Inquiry is our Focus

World Year of Physics 2005     World Year of Physics—2005

Introductory Note
    This is the second NISMEC newsletter: our mission is to publicize important events and news in the world of inquiry based learning in science, mathematics and engineering at all grade levels K-12, college and graduate work. A principal focus is on news and events most relevant to educators and friends of educators in Northern Indiana; relevant national and international news, programs, and other internet publications will also be included.

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SUCCESS for Mishawaka Schools and NISMEC!
    The State of Indiana Education Department awarded the School City of Mishawaka $420,000 for professional development of all their K-6 teachers as part of their ongoing collaboration with NISMEC to bring guided inquiry science to all their class-rooms. The proposal, funded by the "NCLB - Title II, part B, Mathematics and Science Partnership Program Indiana K-6 Initiative" which was funded in full, is in two main parts: professional development workshops in the summers at Saint Marys, led by Professor Joe Bellina; plus dissemination and implementation support during the school year, led by Karen Morris of the University of Notre Dame.

    A key part of this development is the adoption by Mishawaka School City of guided inquiry-based science materials to replace standard text-books in all science learning classes of grades K to 6: these modular science materials will initially come from
    FOSS, (a Full Option Science System published by Delta Education.)

    Initial assessment and other preparatory activities are already underway - we wish the Mishawaka school system and the teachers every success in this exciting endeavor.

    Here follows the April 11, 2005 press release from Mishawaka:
    School City of Mishawaka Captures $420,000 Grant for Science Education from the Indiana Department of Education Project Partners: Saint Mary's College, primary partner University of Notre Dame. secondary partner The Indiana Department of Education and the Math and Science Partnership Team has named School City of Mishawaka as a recipient of a Math and Science Partnership grant. The grant will total over $420,000 in its three year term. The grant entitled 'Inquiry Learning for Students and Teachers' will center on science instruction in the elementary classrooms, from kindergarten through sixth grade. Guided inquiry instruction takes advantage of the students' natural curiosity and thinking ability to focus their learning. The students learn from thinking about their own experiences, using research-based materials and teacher guidance, rather than only from reading and memorizing explanations provided by the textbook. About 130 elementary teachers will develop expertise in guided inquiry-based learning in the summer workshops and with additional support throughout the school year.

    School City of Mishawaka is joined by Saint Mary's College, the primary partner, and the University of Notre Dame, the secondary partner, for this project. Dr. Joseph J. Bellina, Jr. of Saint Mary's will direct the Teacher Science Institutes [TSI] during the summers of 2005, 2006 and 2007. The one-week summer workshops on the Saint Mary's campus will immerse Mishawaka elementary teachers in the strategies and practices of guided inquiry science instruction. University of Notre Dame instructor Karen M. Morris will coordinate the Dissemination and Implementation Workshops [DIW]. These sessions will be held at various elementary schools throughout the school year to provide ongoing support and assistance for the teachers who were trained the previous summer.

    Superintendent of Schools R. Steven Mills explains, "School City of Mishawaka is committed to providing highly skilled professional staff for all students who are able to challenge the imagination and meet the needs of each and every student whom they teach. We accomplish that by working hand in hand with our professional staff through an ongoing professional development program based on collaboration, cooperation, and coaching. School City of Mishawaka has consistently utilized not only our own highly skilled people in this process, but we have worked diligently to align ourselves with nationally recognized professional developers as well as many leading schools of higher education such as St. Mary's and Notre Dame. Other schools that we have utilized include Teacher's College, Columbia University, The Ohio State University, and Purdue University."

    This competitive grant program, Mathematics and Science Partnership [MSP] is authorized through Title II, Part B of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The program was designed to encourage colleges and universities, local school districts, and individual schools to participate in professional development activities that increase the subject matter knowledge and teaching skills of mathematics and science teachers. In Indiana, the funds must be used to promote and enhance inquiry-based learning in science for elementary students. Inquiry-based science is not new in School City of Mishawaka, but the grant will bring these cutting edge techniques to all of the elementary schools. In August of 2004, 24 teachers from Beiger Elementary and Twin Branch Model Schools attended a week-long seminar at Saint Mary's with Dr. Bellina, an innovative leader in the learning of science by guided inquiry. With the grant funds, every Mishawaka elementary teacher will have the opportunity to participate in the workshops and classroom implementation activities during each of the three years that the grant is in effect. "The Teacher Science Institute was developed by science faculty at Saint Mary's College in collaboration with master elementary teachers to help those teachers understand, by their own experience, how well science is learned by guided inquiry," says Dr. Joseph J. Bellina, Jr., professor of physics at Saint Mary's College. "We look forward to supporting teachers as they create communities of learners in each elementary school using their new research-based, student centered curriculum."

    In March of 2004 the Northern Indiana Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Collaborative [NISMEC] was created through a partnership of eight Indiana school districts, Indiana University South Bend, the University of Notre Dame, and Saint Mary's. From this group emerged the partnership of Saint Mary's, the University of Notre Dame, and School City of Mishawaka. Primary grant writer Caryn Ellison [Twin Branch teacher, Project DEEP 5th & 6th grades] added, "'Inquiry Learning for Students and Teachers' will bring together the university-level resources, Mishawaka elementary teachers, and the students themselves into a collaborative group that will find all three groups worked side-by-side, 'doing the work of scientists'."

    - 30 -

    The successful collaborators

    The plan for the grant was presented by Superintendent Steven Mills and approved at the Board meeting of the School City of Mishawaka, April 12, 2005.

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Summer Programs at Notre Dame and Saint Marys Return to top
    Other Programs
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      Arcadia, is/are a play and a conference on the intersections of Nature, Science and Art

      The play by Tom Stoppard will run from Tuesday, April 12, to Saturday, April 23, as part of the inaugural season of the new University of Notre Dame Center for the Performing Arts
      The 3-day conference, April 21 to 23rd entitled Nature, Science and Art coincides with the last days of the play. The Friday (April 22nd) meetings entitled Nature and Science: The Changing Scientific Picture of the World will be of particular interest: the principal speakers are Jeremy Butterfield of All Souls College, Oxford, Bas van Frassen of Princeton University and Tony Leggett of the University of Illinois
      More information can be found at the Arcadia website

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    Recent Articles of Interest

      John Glenn Schools take virtual technology trips! An article in USA Today, describing how easy it is to visit the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis (and other places) - cheaper than a trip there by bus...

      Which was your favorite summer professional development program and why?
      Here is one teacher's response to a survey looking for worthwhile National Science Foundation funded programs...
      One of the best summers of my life was the physics program at PHYSLab run Lowell Herr at the Catlin-Gabel School in Portland, Oregon.
      This program, funded by NSF, was one of the few teacher education programs ever that was run exclusively by high school teachers with no university professors acting as our guides.
      PHYSLab's concept was that many physics teachers would like to do more labs, but that they didn't know their equipment that well -- or didn't have any -- and so would spend most of their time lecturing.
      So, the program was simply three weeks of doing labs, like we were students, using Pasco and Vernier and home-built probes. We changed lab partners every day, so that as Ken Appel, one of the instructors said, we wouldn't always be with the same brain dead ones. We wrote up descriptions of what we did, how we could modify the labs and equipment, and how we should incorporate them into our class. We learned good lab technique, and how to care for what we bought.
      Dave Vernier came to speak with us and we saw the plant outside of Portland. We had representatives from Pasco as well.
      We also brought checks for $1000 from our schools that were matched by NSF to buy equipment. NSF paid for our housing and a stipend. We could get graduate credit.
      In addition to all of this, though, the program helped us become colleagues. We cooked breakfast together each morning. We ate together over most lunches. We bunked together in a fleabag hotel which we more or less took over. We cooked dinner together one night a week. Lowell arranged weekend field trips to Mt. St. Helen's and other sites relatively nearby. We also made many trips into town to go to Powell's Books.
      I have run into other graduates of other years, and they still recall the time fondly. I have even worked with another graduate. It's pretty cool.
      Lowell won AAPT's teaching award a few years ago.
      I'd love to try to do the program myself here in San Francisco. All I need is someone else to lead the hikes.
      Marc "Zeke" Kossover, The Jewish Community High School of the Bay

      An essay on Equity and Justice for Diverse children in poverty from Education News.
      Note: visit the home page of this journal for up-to-date education news.
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    .........mathematics, engineering and the other sciences too!
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