The Northern Indiana Science, Mathematics and Engineering Collaborative

Guided Inquiry is our Focus

From our 2016 science and math summer workshops =>>

2017 NISMEC and Indiana Science Education news and additions

February 2017: HASTI talks (Pdf slides)
1. Talk 1: NISMEC Modeling program for Indiana STEM Teachers.
2. Talk 2: Enhancing student engagement and learning with the Modeling; using video to create a science and math "Teacher Learning Community" (TLC).
NISMEC Summer 2017 Modeling Academies Application form/request for more information

4 November 2016: Research results on the failures in educating students of Charter Schools in Chicago and elsewhere: Below is part of the abstract of Orfield and Luce's new analysis; the complete paper can be found here. at Education Policy Analysis Archives, 24(111). The article makes clear the increasing dangers as other states are unfortunately continuing to push the "charter school bandwagon". Indiana is at the forefront of these misguided statewide policies, while in Georgia, Governor Nathan Deal "is pushing a plan to wrest control of 'failing' schools across the state from their local boards of education using a model based on Louisiana's Recovery School District (RSD), which turned a majority of the public schools in New Orleans to charters." (Anna Simonton and Allie McCullen, The Nation, 3 Nov 1916).
Here follows part of the abstract of this important piece of up-to-date research identifying the continuing destrcution of our public school system:
" This study uses comprehensive data for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years to show that, after controlling for the mix of students and challenges faced by individual schools, Chicago's charter schools underperform their traditional counterparts in most measurable ways. Reading and math pass rates, reading and math growth rates, graduation rates, and average ACT scores (in one of the two years) are lower in charters all else equal, than in traditional neighborhood schools. The results for the two years also imply that the gap between charters and traditionals widened in the second year for most of the measures."
3 November 2016: NISMEC talks on Modeling in Mathematics at the ICTM - Indiana Council of Teachers of Mathematics - Fall 2016 Annual Conference, 6-7 November: There will be 4 hands-on sessions at ICTM given by teachers who attended the 3 professional learning institutes that we held last summer at Evansville (the EVSC), Indianapolis (the IPS) and Gary (the Gary CSC):
Sunday, 6 Nov - 1 pm: Developing modeling and activities for Math and Science Teachers, Cheryl Periton, Saint Mary's College
Sunday, 6 Nov - 3:45 pm: Modeling in the Mathematics Classroom, Leah Simon, Evansvsille-Vanderburgh SC
Monday, 7 Nov - 10:00 am: Modeling in the Algebra 1 Classroom, Shari Millikan, Evansvsille-Vanderburgh SC
Monday, 7 Nov - 2:15 pm: Mathematical Modeling Activities using whiteboard techniques, John Riley, Indianapolis Public Schools
Our thanks to the Indiana DOE and the Indiana Commission on Higher Education for prviding financial support to these programs.

The Notre Dame (NISMEC) - supported SUMMER 2016 Modeling Institutes
Teacher stipend $120/day of attendance
Some details about the three professional learning institutes
Institute /place + Dates
Three 2-week Institutes are open to all STEM teachers:
Days 1-3: Introduction to modeling [brief description of modeling here (pdf file)]
Days 4-10: for high school teachers, separate sessions for math, physics, chemistry & biology teachers
Days 4-10: for middle school teachers: separate sessions for math and science teachers;
A - Indianapolis: High School Teachers: 20-24 June, 27 June-1 July Spaces available for IPS teachers
sponsored by the IPS science and math directors Ben Palicki and Peggy Boulden
- Evansville: High School Teachers: 18-22 July, 25-29 July Registration is full
sponsored by the EVSC Director of Science, Vic Chamness
C - Gary: Middle School Teachers:25-29 July, 1-5 August: Limited number of spaces available
All three institutes have associated peer-peer and teacher-mentor programs
(TLCs - "Teacher Learning Communities") which will continue to provide
support throughout the 2016-17 school year.
More details about these TLCs will be published later.
Registrations are limited to 30 teachers per Institute,
Institute A preference given to IPS STEM teachers.
Institute B registration full.
Institute C preference given to Gary teachers.
Contact Gordon Berry at for info and registration.

14 April 2016: A well-written article about the worthlessness of lecturing as "a sage on the stage": "A Nobel Laureate's Education Plea: Revolutionize Teaching" (from NPR Elkhart).
8 February 2016: HASTI talk by Gordon Berry, 4 February 2016: The NISMEC Modeling program for Indiana STEM Teachers
7 February 2016: The WINNERS of the First Annual NISMEC / Murgatroyd Science Foundation Indiana STEM Teacher Technology Awards 2016
We announced the three winners of the competition at last week's annual HASTI meeting.
The winners are:
1st prize: Karen Augustyn, 6/7/8th grade science teacher at Banneker Achievement Center, Gary Community Schools
2nd Prize: Lance Brand, Biology teacher at Delta High School, Delcom Schools, Muncie
3rd Prize: Josie Miller, ICP teacher at Western High School, Western School Corporation, Russiaville
All three teachers are successfully using the Modeling pedagogy in their classrooms. We received many very strong applications which gave the 4 judges a hard time in making their decisions. We thank all the applicants for the competion. The good news is that we expect that a similar competition will be held next year, making this an annual contribution to supporting our science teachers throughout the state of Indiana. This brief pdf file gives more information about the awards.

21 November 2015: The First Annual NISMEC / Murgatroyd Science Foundation Indiana STEM Teacher Technology Awards 2016
First Announcement

Three Awards to provide Classroom Measuring Equipment
for Indiana STEM K-12 Teachers

To celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the founding of NISMEC, we are holding our first
annual science equipment competition open to all Indiana STEM K-12 teachers.
1st prize: $5000 - choice of up to 4 Labquest II, and 8 Labquest I or Labquest-mini interfaces,
plus (1st) choice of NISMEC-listed Vernier probes and other listed items.
2nd prize: $4000 - choice of up to 6 Labquest I, and 4 Labquest-mini interfaces,
plus (2nd) choice of NISMEC-listed Vernier probes and other listed items.
3rd prize: $3000 - choice of up to 4 Labquest I, up to 4 Go!Link interfaces,
plus (3rd) choice of NISMEC-listed Vernier probes and other listed items.

Application Deadline: 5 p.m. Friday, 8 January 2016, electronic or hard copy submission.
The three successful awardees will be listed in the order of merit as decided by the judges.
The NISMEC Vernier sensor/probe list(Excel file)
The list of winners will be announced at the HASTI conference in Indianapolis, 4-5 February 2016.
Click here for the application form and more details (Pdf document)
Application details
1: Two-page description
of how you will use your award and how it will enhance
guided inquiry learning in your classroom; which includes your signature
and that of your school principal.
2: Each award will include 3 hours of individual training in the use of
Vernier measurement technology and suggestions for its use
in your classroom.
3: Note - Important Change: The items in the awards will remain
the property of the University of Notre Dame.
(a new legal-requirement [20 Dec 2015]).
The winning teacher(s) will keep the chosen items on extended loan
for a period of one year, extendable for two further 1-year periods.
4: Available items for the awards are listed on the NISMEC website:
The NISMEC Vernier sensor/probe list(Excel file)
5: The proposals will be evaluated by the judges
on how well they fit into a guided inquiry classroom.

16 November 2015: Great news for north west Indiana STEM teachers and for NISMEC: We have been funded by ICHE (the Indiana Commission on Higher Education) to provide Professional Learning for STEM teachers grades 7 thru 12 at Gary Community Schools. They and STEM teachers from other northwest Indiana school districts will be invited to help establish a STEM-TLC (STEM Teacher Learning Community). (Email for more information) about joining this 2 year grant.

Sensing Our World (SOW) 2015
Notre Dame Science Summer Camps
for Middle School Students (presently in grades 6,7,8)
6-10 July and 13-17 July

Non-residential, 9 am to 4 pm each weekday (lunch included)
Click on each line at right for the description and application forms

The NISMEC SUMMER 2015 Modeling Academies
Registration fee $25; Teacher stipend $100/day of attendance
Two (sequential) NISMEC modeling academies
will take place in northern Indiana in July, and Indianapolis
Financing for the Evansville academy (in RED)
is in progress
Workshop /place + Dates + Type
A - Merrillville: 13-17 July: Intro to modeling - focus on ICP and Biology
B - Merrillville: 20-24 July: Advanced biology (teachers who already using modeling in their classroom)
C - Evansville, North HS: 6-10, 13-17 July: Development of an ESS modeling curriculum
D - Univ HS-Carmel: 22-26 June: Advanced Chem modeling, part 2/3
E - Guerin, Noblesville 13-17 July: Advanced Phys modeling, part 2/3
Registrations are limited to 12 teachers per academy,
except for workshop A which has a registration limit of 20 teachers.
The registration forms are now available:
Overview and descriptions: (docx file), (pdf file)
Application form: (pdf file), (docx file)

The NISMEC Modeling initiative continues:
A brief story of the program can be found here (also published in the HASTI quarterly journal - Jan 2014).
Entrance to these curricula is now by password only. You may obtain the password (free) by request to
First Year Biology Modeling Curriculum
In the summer 2013 workshops, we completed most of module 4, and made revisions to many of the other modules. To all Indiana teachers (and teachers in other states), please try out these modules in your classrooms (at no charge) and let us know about improvements.
ICP - Integrated Chemistry and Physics Modeling Curriculum
In the summer of 2013, two workshops of Indiana ICP teachers helped on developing a Modeling curriculum for this one year course, and we have developed a preliminary curriculum

Earlier NISMEC and Indiana Science Education news and additions; 2012 news; 2011 and earlier news

11 May 2015: ppt-slides - flight experiments
15 Febuary 2015: The HASTI meeting had a strong turn-out of Indiana high school modelers with many presentations; our social on the Thursday evening at RAMS restaurant and bar included a rowdy (but enthusiastic) group of about 30 revelers.
The Indiana Modeling Group (The IMG) made several decisions for the upcoming year: we discussed how to optimize the effectiveness of our reduced funding (temporary I assure you) to allow for summer 2015 workshops in the Indianapolis area. Our backup plan is to hold "leaderless" workshops for chemistry and physics teachers who have had 2 weeks or more modeling PD, plus at least one year of applying modeling ideas within their classroom: the workshops will revolve around a different experienced modeler each day to foucs on a different part of the modeling curriculum: each attendee learning how the others faced the topics, overcame classroom problems, and learned from their experiences.
(1) We hope to have such chemistry and physics workshops in July; updated details and further information will be added to the boxes given above.
(2) We will maintain our principal of $100/day stipends for all Indiana teacher attendees;
(3) There will be a small registration fee ($25) for Indiana teachers.
(4) Registration fees for out-of-state teachers will be $400 for the first week, and $200 for any second week.
10 Febuary 2015: The Hoosier Association of Science Teachers of Indiana: HASTI-2015, Indianapolis, 11-13 February 2015:
List of NISMEC presentations and other Modeling presentations (table-pdf)
The Indiana HS Science Modeling Curricula - Gordon - pdf-slides
How Student questions and answers can bring quality learning to your high school science class (balloons) - Gordon - pdf-slides
How Student questions and answers can bring quality learning to your high school science class (rain clouds) - Gordon - pdf-slides
20 January 2015: HASTI Social for Modelers and other science teachers!! :
Thanks to Craig Williams for organizing our Modeling Social evening: I quote from Craig: " We will be having a Modeling Social again this year at HASTI. It will be on Thursday, February 12th, gathering at 7:00 p.m at the RAM restaurant downtown. In the interest of having enough seats reserved, if you think you will be there, please email me ( ) your intentions. Feel free to invite colleagues of course, and if you can let me know if others are coming, for numbers purposes, that would be great."
17 January 2015:"An example of a national shame": the destruction of our public schools... "For the first time in at least 50 years, a majority of U.S. public school students come from low-income families, according to a new analysis of 2013 federal data, a statistic that has profound implications for the nation.
"That is the opening paragraph of this Washington Post story reporting on a new report by the Southern Education Foundation which found 51% of our nation's school children in 2013 were from low-income families." Read it here.
3 January 2015:Two comments on the inadequate understanding of teaching in modern USA:
Who can appreciate a teacher's difficulties?
Click on pic to enlarge -
the inscription is to the right
"If a doctor, lawyer or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn't want to be there and were causing trouble; and the doctor, lawyer or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he /she might have some conception of the classroom teacher's job"....
Thoughts for Teachers - Harold Quinn
"Teachers Are Losing Their Jobs, but Teach for America's Expanding. What's Wrong With That?" A thoughtful study about the TFA program.
Click here for pdf.
Published in The Nation 11/12/2014 (

10 February 2014: Presentation slides of two of The NISMEC talks at HASTI:
Report on our ISI 5th-8th grade summer 2013 workshop: An example of science sorting/categorizing, by Berry, Bellina, Kurowski and Cole;
The modeling workshops in Indiana for 2013 and 2014: "Overview" and "The Glug - an example of measuring", by Pustek, Rose and Berry
1 February 2014: These two articles on Modeling appeared in the Journal the Hoosier Science Teacher, vol. XXX1X, Winter 2013: "Classroom Perspectives on Modeling Instruction: Experiences of three Indiana Science Teachers", pp. 23-26, by E. Posthuma-Adams, L. Barden and C. Williams; "Modeling Curricula Professional Development Workshops in Physics, Chemistry and Biology in Indiana", pp. 26-27, by G. Berry,
20 November 2013: "Believing that Tinkerbell and Peter Pan can fly is a harmless exercise in fantasy": Is the Common Core Becoming a Fiasco? - YES! From Education Week
19 November 2013: Here are two articles worth reading together: the first from 2011 (or earlier) proclaims "Those Who Can, Teach. Those Who Cannot, Pass Laws About Teaching"; the second is an up-to-date critique of the "Common Core Standards: Ten Colossal Errors"
14 November 2013: Here is an article just submitted to the European Journal of Science and Mathematics: "Reading an Object" by Mary Hynes-Berry and Gordon Berry
19 October 2013:
Biology Teachers!

Turning a cell phone into a 350 times magnifying microscope! Check out this article.. You and/or your students can do it as a project.

18 October 2013: The first meeting and formation of the Indiana Modeling Group will take place at the Hasti 2014 meeting; Craig Williams and other modeling teachers are arranging a Thursday pm session, followed by an organizational party and meeting in the evening - we encourage all high school science teachers to join us..
17 September 2013: We had a very busy summer at NISMEC!
    Six (2x2 weeks, 4x1 week) high-school teacher modeling workshops in biology, chemistry and ICP
    Two 2-week Guided inquiry workshops for middle school teachers (1 science-7/8th grades, one math/science-5/6th grades)
    Two 1-week summer camps SOW - "Sensing Our World/the Cosmos" for 5th-8th grade budding scientists.
17 June 2013:
ATTENTION: NISMEC Summer 2013 workshops at Notre Dame, Morton H.S., Hammond, at South Bend Schools and at University High School.
Schedules/application forms - teachers
High School TeachersModeling
for ICP, Biology, & Chemistry
Middle school/Intermediate Center Teachers:
Math/science 5-8 grades
Schedules/application forms - students
SBCSC summer camps for SBCSC students (5th-8th grades)
SOW-Sensing Our World - middle school students (5th-9th grades)
Budget uncertainties are resolved: we will offer a 2-week modeling workshop in Chemistry at University High School in Carmel (July).
Also an extra Guided Inquiry workshop for middle school science teachers (August) - (go to forms above)

22 February 2013:
Gordon's brief presentation at the NDerc Forum at Notre Dame on Saturday, 23 February, 2013 [ppt file here]
17 February 2013: "University educators want students who can write, research, and think: students who are open minded, passionate, and curious. These qualities are snuffed out under the drive for high scores on standardized multiple-choice tests under No Child Left Behind." So say public and private school teachers in a recent letter publicized in the Washington Post. They focus on the loss of time in school for non-NCLB subjects - we think science at all grades suffers also!
13 February 2013:The annual NDERC meeting "Collaborating for Education and Research Forum VI" will be held at the University of Notre Dame's Jordan Hall of Science on Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 from 8:30am to 2pm. Please register at the NDERC website (
9 February 2013:The annual HASTI Meeting
just finished at Indianapolis (6-8 Feb). Here are five ppt files of our meeting contributions: first the list of all the NISMEC-associated talks; and the ppt-files for the 4 workshops of Gordon Berry: 1- Galileo (all grades); 2- Modeling Overview (high school); 3- ISI extensions (middle school); 4- "Reading an Object: example-Alpacas" (all grades); Terri Hebert's "Science and Stories" (docx file); and Joe Bellina's two talks (pdf-files): Process Skills; and Science Notebooks. For the other talks, contact the primary speakers (some of the files may be added in the near future).
18 January 2013:Important comment on the reduction of physics in the course selections of the NGSS - The New Generation Science Standards: From Jane Jackson (jane.jackson@ASU.EDU); "I am disturbed at the marginalization of physics in the NGSS model course maps in Appendix J. I see it as harming the spread of research-based programs such as Modeling Instruction. We all need to give feedback...." read more...
8 January 2013: Mini-workshop in Kokomo: Friday evening/all day Saturday, 25-26th January 2013: "The Indiana HS Biology Modeling Curriculum: reports and next steps". Please contact Gordon Berry ( if you want to attend and/or for registration (Preliminary schedule ).
7 January 2013:Are these meaningful grades? Read today's New York Times article on grading the schools of each state by the "Studentsfirst" education reform organization. It is interesting to read that Tony Bennett, the ex-Sperintendent of Schools for Indiana is preparing to be Florida's education commissioner. Here is the original report giving Indiana a C+.
7 January 2013: News on NISMEC proposals/grant-writing: - score 2 up, 2 down (better than the ND Championship football team!)
Wins: 1 - The American Physical Society: "Physics And Instructional Resources": to James Keating, Washington HS (SBCSC) and NISMEC (Gordon Berry)
2 - The Indiana Commission on Higher Education: "Improving Teacher Quality": to Hammond School City, East Chicago School City, Gary Community Schools, and NISMEC (Gordon Berry) for Modeling in HS Biology and ICP
Losses: 1: The National Institutes of Health: SEPA program - Indiana Biology Modeling - NISMEC (Gordon Berry). 2 - Indiana Math Science Partnership - Evansville Vanderburgh Schools, Decatur Schools, and NISMEC (Gordon Berry) for Modeling in HS Biology and ICP


Academic Institutions: science, mathematics and engineering outreach

University of Notre Dame,

Saint Mary’s College
Indiana University at South Bend (IUSB)

Ivy Tech

School Corporations:
John Glenn
South Bend
Union North
New Prairie
South Bend Catholic Schools

Partner Institutions and Community Organizations:

Indiana Science, Technology,
Engineering & Math Network
Memorial Hospital Foundation
The Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics
The Riverbend Community Math Center
ETHOS, Encouraging Technology and Hands-On Science, Elkhart
St. Joseph County Park District
Quarknet at Notre Dame
NIESC, Northern Indiana Educational Services Center

Mission statement and initial goals
Some NISMEC History

The Spring 2008 NISMEC Newsletter
Other News and archived newsletters
HASTI 2008 NISMEC talks Beginning: First NISMC Meeting, 10 March 2004, at the Notre Dame Giovanini Center

------The Guided Inquiry Method (GIM) and Joe Bellina's remarks on Teacher Science Workshops

First NISMC Organizational meeting, 7 May 2004 at Saint Mary's Science Hall

NISMEC photos 2004 - a compendium
NISMEC photos at Southern Wells School District, 7 March 2005

An assessment test yourself and your class!

Some Children's and Science Museums

Healthworks Kids' Museum Memorial Hospital, South Bend
Hannah Lindahl's Childrens Museum Main St., Mishawaka

Curious Kids' Museum Benton Harbor

The Childrens' Museum Indianapolis

COSI The Columbus Science Museum

Chicago Science Museum on the Lake Front at 57th Street
Scitech Hands-on Museum in Aurora, Illinois, just west of Chicago
DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville, just west of the Tri-state I-94, Chicago
The Exploratorium San Francisco

Some Other interesting science sites

The Arizona State University Modeling site with a wealth of Modeling information.
Guided Inquiry, Lillian C. McDermott and The Physics Education Group of the Physics Department, University of Washington
Phystech Reference Set With the support of NSF, The American Physical Society (APS) created Phystech as a support group for innovations focussed toward precollege science teaching. Also you can check out other APS initiatives in education.
A Progress Report On Decade-Long Science Education Reform Movement from Bayer, 11 May 2004
ITN The Innovative Science Teaching NewsletterVirtual Museums and more
STSCE A BIBLIOGRAPHY of "Students' and Teachers' Conceptions and Science Education"
SDSA San Diego Science Alliance
The Knowledge Loom Brown University Education Alliance: Educators Learning and sharing together
The Maryland Collaborative for Teacher Preparation (MCTP)
Science Toys Construction fun
Physics Videos, from Wake Forest University
Physics Demos, from Glenbrook South Highschool
A Web-based physics course, First principles, from Michigan State University

Governmental and other science support links

SEFI Science Foundation of Indiana
HASTI Hoosier Association of Science Teachers
NSTA National Science Teachers Association
Education in St. Joseph County, Chamber of Commerce
IDEA Indiana Department of Education
--------- Indiana Academic Standards Resources
U.S. Department of Education
U.S. National Science Foundation, Education Department
The Siemens Foundation, Scholarships and awards
CIESE Center for Innovation in Engineering & Science Education
The Space Sciences Laboratory at UC Berkeley
GLOBE A worldwide, hands-on education and science program
TERC Research in Science and Math Learning
Yahoo K-12 science listing
South Bend City Directory

For further information about our organization, or for suggestions for further inclusions in this web-page, contact Gordon Berry at or 574-631-4012

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