Community News

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  • Feb 27, 2013

    Rocklin, CA - The Sierra College Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) Collaborative assembled over 40 employers, teachers, principals and superintendents from Placer and Nevada counties to announce the new ACTivATE project on Feb. 13. The Applied Critical Thinking for Advanced Technological Education (ACTivATE) professional development program will train instructors in assessing students' critical thinking skills and provide support to faculty as they infuse more problem solving and other skills desired by employers into their curriculum.  

    Willy Duncan, President, Sierra Community College District, reiterated the college's commitment to working with Placer and Nevada county high schools to better prepare them for success at Sierra College and in the work world after college graduation. "The ACTivATE project will enrich curriculum and expand the collaboration between college and high school STEM faculty," said Duncan. "This project supports Sierra College's goal of preparing job ready graduates who have the critical thinking skills businesses tell us students need to succeed in the workplace."

    To create the new ACTivATE professional development program, Sierra College will partner with Tennessee Technological University that produced a widely used Critical Thinking Assessment Test (Expanding the Use of CAT: Assessing and Improving Critical Thinking - NSF DUE 1022789 ) and the Northwestern University Searle Center for Teaching Excellence that developed Enhancing Critical Thinking in STEM Disciplines: A Faculty Development Model (NSF DUE 0942404), both National Science Foundation (NSF) projects. The ACTivATE project also builds on Sierra College's previous NSF Tech-Explorer grant (ATE 1003259) that highlighted the fact that during a hands-on catapult building project, students did not exhibit the critical thinking skills required of technicians.

    The Sierra STEM Collaborative is funded by the California Community College Chancellor's Office to prepare students in career technical education programs in manufacturing & product development and engineering & design pathways at the high school and college level. Find out more at

  • Jan 03, 2013
    Call for Participation

    The GLOBE at Night program is an international campaign to raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution. Citizen scientists are invited to record the brightness of the night sky in their areas. Measurements are submitted by computer or smart phone. There are five campaigns in 2013:

    • Jan. 3-12
    • Jan 31-Feb 9
    • Mar 3-12
    • Mar 31-Apr 9
    • Apr 29-May 8.

    Visit GlOBE at Night home page for more info...

  • Nov 28, 2012

    Take advantage of Early Bird Registration - by December 15 - for the Life Discovery - Doing Science conference: Exploring Biology for a Changing World, in St. Paul, Minnesota, March 15-16, 2013. 

    This conference will highlight the leading science, curriculum design and implementation and data exploration in a research-rich biology education for grades 9-16.

    • Discover the science of life in a changing world
    • Swap ideas for a robust biology classroom
    • Build partnerships with scientists and educators
    • Explore digital resources and new technologies

    NEW! Earn Continuing Education Units

    We are excited to offer conference attendees the opportunity to earn one Continuing Education Unit (CEU) for participation in the conference.

    For more information:


    Conference Partners

    • Ecological Society of America (ESA)
    • Botanical Society of America (BSA)
    • Society for Economic Botany
    • Society for the Study of Evolution

    Keynote Speakers and Panels

    The LDC Conference will have Keynote speaker and panels, to address pressing issues in Biology Education:

    ·         Building Partnerships with Scientists & Educators

    ·         Digital Resources and Learning for the Future

    ·         Building Pathways and Partnerships between K12 and College

    ·         Science of Life in a Changing World

    For more information:


    View the descriptions and schedule of the six hands-on workshops, available to all conference attendees.

    Short Presentations

    View descriptions of the short presentations, available to all conference attendees. Presentations are 20 minutes followed by 20 minutes of Q&A.


    Take part in a field trip to the Raptor Center, at the University of Minnesota

    Contact Andrea McMillen ( for more information

  • Nov 26, 2012
    Call for Participation

    MSP2 Book Club logo

    Join Middle School Portal2 Book Club on January 23 for a discussion of a new annotated and illustrated edition of James Watson's book "The Double Helix." The new edition adds more info about the rivalries and race to decode the structure of DNA. Take part in the discussion at 7-8 pm EST. See more details and RSVP on the Middle School Portal


    Read the New York Times Review

  • Nov 15, 2012

    The 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has full details for over 150 scientific sessions, careeer development workshops, and plenary and topical lectures:  14-18 February, Boston, Massachusetts

    Register for meeting

    Topical lectures


    Symposia tracks

  • Nov 13, 2012
    Call for Participation

    The PhET Interactive Simulations project ( needs your help!

    To help us secure future funding to advance our work and keep PhET free, and to make the site as useful as possible for YOU, we need to know more about how, where, and why you use PhET in your teaching, and how you see the simulations influencing your students’ learning. We also want your input on future directions for the PhET project.

    We are seeking very broad representation, so *please complete* our survey and *forward* this invitation to any educators you know. The survey will take ~15-20 minutes, and your answers automatically save as you progress.

    If you are ...

    K12 Teacher who teaches with PhET:

    College Faculty who teaches with PhET:

    Education-sector professional who uses PHET in your work or product (but not in teaching K12 or college):

    Familiar with PhET, but do NOT CURRENTLY USE PhET in your work:

    If any of these links don't work, go here:
    Or copy and paste one of the URLs above into your internet browser.

    Your participation is entirely voluntary, and your individual responses to this survey will be confidential. If you would like your institution to appear on a list or map of PhET users, you will have an opportunity to provide permission.

    The survey results will be compiled to help improve PhET. Only aggregated results or anonymous statements will be used in any publications or reports, be disseminated on our website, or used in presentations to funders, educators, or researchers.

    Thank you for your time and feedback!

    Your PhET Team,
    Kathy Perkins, Kathy Dessau, Noah Podolefsky, Mike Dubson, Robert Parson, Trish Loeblein, Noah Finkelstein, Emily Moore, Ariel Paul, Julia Chamberlain, Karina Hensberry, John Blanco, Jon Olson, Chris Malley, Sam Reid, Sam McKagan, Danny Rehn, Jesse Garrison, Linda Wellmann, and Oliver Nix

    PhET Interactive Simulations
    University of Colorado at Boulder
    UCB 390, Boulder, CO 80309

  • Nov 08, 2012

    The National Science Foundation announces the selection of Roger Wakimoto, director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, as the new assistant director for the Directorate for Geosciences (GEO). Wakimoto was also prior associate director of NCAR's Earth Observing Laboratory. Dr. Wakimoto begins the position at NSF in February 2013. 

    NSF announcement

  • Nov 02, 2012

    PARCC - the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers - is a 24-state consortium led by non-profit Achieve - recently released a request for propoosals (RFP) through the Indiana Department of Administration (IDPA) for the item tryouts, field testing, embedded research, practice tests, and forms construction for the first operational year of the assessment in English language arts/literacy and mathematics.   The RFP specifies the development of technical and cost options for administering and scoring PARCC operational assessments in 2014-2015. Elements include: 

    • Item tryout: The purpose of the item tryout is to better understand how assessment items, tasks, and innovations are functioning and to refine test administration, data collection, scoring materials and procedures. Item tryouts will occur in the spring of 2013.
    • Field testing: The purpose of the field test is to administer items and tasks to representative samples of students across PARCC states in order to generate the data necessary to assemble multiple forms for operational testing in 2014-2015 and beyond. Field testing will occur in the spring of 2014.
    • Operational forms: The RFP calls for vendors to use the item/task data generated by the field test to assemble multiple test forms for each content area (English language arts/literacy and mathematics) and for each of the grades 3-11. For mathematics at the high school level, forms will be assembled for each of six end-of-course assessments.
    • Embedded research: A total of seven research studies will be conducted to inform operational test administration, scoring procedures and the development of metrics for reporting the results of operational assessments. Research activities will occur throughout the item tryout and field test phases, as well as during summer 2013 following item tryouts.
    • Cost option: The RFP includes a request for the administration and scoring of the first operational exam and a standalone field test during the first operational year, as a cost option to PARCC. PARCC may choose to exercise this option and include these activities under a contract that will be assigned to the new PARCC operational organization after the grant period.

    Vendors have until November 27, 2012 to submit proposals. 

    RFP 13-29 can be found at

    Questions about the RFP may be directed to the Indiana Department of Administration

    Learn more about PARCC, visit, on Twitter at, or on Facebook at

  • Oct 23, 2012

    DRK-12  - NSF 11-588

    The National Science Foundation's DR K-12 program (DRK-12) emphasizes reseaerch projects that "study the development, testing, deployment, effectiveness, and/or scale-up of innovative resources, models and tools...DRK-12 projects are based on theories of learning, prior research and development...Outcomes include usable and scalable resources, models, tools, and contributions to the knowledge about STEM teaching and learning." 

    Full proposal deadline: December 6, 2012


    STEP - NSF 11-550

    Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Talent Expansion Program (STEP) - seeks to increase the number of students receiving associate or baccalaureate degrees in established or emerging fields in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. 

    Full proposal deadline: December 10, 2012


    Cyberlearning - NSF 11-587

    Cyberlearning integrates advances in technology with advances in what is knkow about how people learn, including more personalized learning experiences, promote learning among populations not served well by current educational practice, allow access to learning resources anytime anywhere, and provide new ways to assess capabilities. Three categories of project: 

    • Exploratory (EXP)
    • Design and Implementation (DIP)
    • Integration and Deployment (INDP)
    • Capacity-Building projects (CAP)
    • Cyberlearning Resource Center (CRC)


    EXPs:  December 17, 2012

    DIPs:  January 16, 2013

    INDPs: July 15, 2013   (Letter of intent required by May 14, 2013)

    CAPs: March 15, 2013


    Math & Science Partneship (MSP) - NSF 12-518

    Targeted Partnership and Research, Evaluation, and Technical Assistance (RETA) proposal deadline: December 18, 2012

  • Oct 22, 2012
    Call for Participation

    Registration is open for the Life Discovery - Doing Science Conferencetaking place March 15-16, 2013 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Focused on fostering communities of practice and encouraging the sharing and diffusion of best practices in biology education across grades, the conference features educational achievements and efforts in organismal and environmental biology.

    Researchers and educators focuesed on high school and undergraduate biology education will benefit from the conference offerings. Highlights include an Education Share Fair, opportunities for sharing and building partnerships between scientists and educators, exploration of digital resources, tools, and technologies for teaching and learning. 

    Presented by: the Ecological Society of America (ESA), the Botanical Society of America (BSA), Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE), and the Seociety for Economic Botany (SEB). 

    Registration open - receive Early Bird rates until Dec 15, 2012

    Call for Share Fair proposals - deadline is October 31, 2012

    Conference Agenda