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March 17, 2009

A Science Educator at the Department of Ed

The names of new staffers at the U.S. Department of Education continue to trickle out, week after week. Here's one that may be of particular interest to math and science teachers around the country: Steven Robinson, who will carry the title of special adviser to Secretary Arne Duncan. I'd heard tha...

March 17, 2009

A Math Challenge on a Timely Topic ($)

Businesses, philanthropies, and other organizations have been staging math and science competitions and contests for years as a way to motivate students to take on independent projects and have their work judged by experts in the field. If you're interested in a competition with a theme pulled f...

March 16, 2009

Duncan to Speak at Science Teachers' Conference

This just in: Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is expected to address the National Science Teachers Association at its annual meeting on March 20. The event is being held in New Orleans. To the science educators out there: let's suppose the secretary opens the floor for questions after his remar...

March 16, 2009

Offering Girls an Online Science Resources

Many organizations have taken a strong interest in increasing young girls' engagement in math and science, as a hook to leading them into "STEM"-oriented fields and careers. The congressionally chartered National Academy of Sciences is trying to do its part through a web site, "I Was Wondering," whi...

March 13, 2009

Re-Examinining a Math Skirmish

I've had a lot of people tell me there's been a reduction, however slight or gradual, in the level of bluster and acrimony emanating from various combatants in the so-called "math wars" in recent years. To the extent that there's an easing of the harshest rhetoric, I would trace it partly to the r...

March 12, 2009

All Hail Pi (π)

Apparently bowing to intense pressure from the all-powerful mathematicians' lobby, Capitol Hill lawmakers have approved House Resolution No. 224, calling for March 14 to be recognized as "National Pi Day." Kidding aside, the chief sponsor of the resolution, Rep. Bart Gordon, a Tennessee Democrat wh...

March 12, 2009

Testing for Depth in Science

A recent study, which I wrote about last week, makes the case for building students' depth of knowledge in science—as opposed to focusing on "breadth," a long list of topics across the subject. But in the era of high-stakes tests, how do you test for depth? It's not easy. Many states and schoo...

March 11, 2009

Finding (and Keeping) Math and Science Teachers

At an event in Washington yesterday, President Barack Obama spelled out some of his priorities for rewarding effective teaching through extra pay. "[W]e know it can make a difference in the classroom." And in the pages of Ed Week, a pair of researchers presented some surprising data on the question...

March 09, 2009

Classroom Discussion: Independent Science?

Barack Obama is expected today to announce a new policy lifting restrictions on funding for human embryonic stem cell research. He will also issue a presidential memorandum meant to protect federal scientists and scientific research from political influence, according to reports. I would argue that...

March 08, 2009

Primer on "Lesson Study"

Originally created in Japan, the practice known as "lesson study" grew more popular in the United States in the 1990s. Basically, it's a research and instructional-improvement method in which a teacher conducts a class under the observation of other educators and interested observers. The idea with ...

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