Category Archives: Science Education

News from Science Education

astronomy festival

ECU faculty inspire science on National Mall

Summers are warm but certainly not lazy for ECU faculty. Many ECU Faculty use this time as an opportunity to reach beyond the campus and inspire and excite people of all ages in learning and doing science.

In Washington D.C. the annual Astronomy Festival on the National Mall, hosted by Hofstra University and funded by NASA through the Music and Astronomy Under the Stars program is one such opportunity that engages an estimated 10,000 people.

Dr. Sharon Schleigh, faculty member in the Department of Mathematics, Science & Instructional Technology Education (MSITE) was invited to join a group of astronomers from the nation’s foremost scientific institutions, organizations and universities to present exciting demonstrations and answer questions about the latest astronomical discoveries or careers in science.

The annual event begins during the daylight hours by engaging visitors to the National Mall in hands-on astronomy activities, demonstrations and presentations. Visitors have opportunities to use solar telescopes, watch planetarium shows, and ask astronomers questions about topics of interest and possible career choices. Visitors continue to join the event late into the evening and as the day progresses to night, astronomers set up a variety of large telescopes across the Washington D.C. National Mall to allow participants to view local objects in the night sky such the Moon, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn; and spectacular objects such as colorful double stars, star clusters that sparkle like diamonds on black velvet, and some favorite nebulae such as Orion Nebula, the Ring Nebula and the Dumbbell Nebula.

“Bringing astronomy to the National Mall and partnering with astronomical organizations gives us a very special opportunity to encourage children to pursue their interest in science or math and to promote public understanding of science,” said Dr. Lubowich. “Gazing at the rings of Saturn or the Moon’s craters captures the imagination, no matter how old you are.”

Participating Science Organizations: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Association of Physics Teachers, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Carnegie Institution for Science, Celestial Chart, Center of Physics & Astronomy Education Research, E-planetarium/Discovery Dome, International Dark Sky Association, NASA – Goddard Space Flight Center, Lunar and Planetary Institute, National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, National Science Foundation, Naval Research Laboratory, #Popscope, Society of Physics Students, Space Telescope Science Institute, US Naval Observatory, and the Washington Area Astronomy Meetup.

Participating Colleges and Universities: American University, Catholic University of American, East Carolina University, Georgetown University, George Mason University, George Washington University, Montgomery College, Rice University.

Participating Astronomy clubs and related organizations: Amateur Observers’ Society of New York, Astronomical Association of Greenbelt, Goddard Astronomy Club, National Capital Astronomers, Northern Virginia Astronomy Club, Rappahannock Astronomy Club, and the Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers.

Organizations that have supported the AFNM to spread the word to their members and the public via social media include: the American Astronomical Society, American Geophysical Union, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Association of Science-Technology Centers, Astronomers Without Borders, Astronomical League, Astronomical Society of the Pacific/Night Sky Network, Astronomy Magazine, National Academies of Science, Marian Koshland Science Museum, National Optical Astronomy Observatory, National Science Teachers Association, Nerd Nite DC, Sky and Telescope Magazine, Sidewalk Astronomers, Society for Science & the Public.

Miles and Rawls-

COE grant educates students on the science of drug abuse

Tonya Little presentationThe Science Education Against Drug Abuse Partnership (SEADAP) program aims to expose students from 6th through 12th grade to the real-world applications of the scientific method in order to teach them about drug addiction.

Now in its third year, the SEADAP program continues to implement hands-on curriculum educating students about the science of drug addiction and the adverse effects of widely abused substances while exposing students in research activities to increase their interest in STEM careers.

Students are led in the design of their own experiments on planaria, a type of flatworm, with Teachersnicotine, alcohol, and sucrose solutions to conduct investigations from lab manuals that specifically address the National Science Education Standards & Common Core, while building partnerships with medical scientists, addiction specialists and professional educators, to educate the general public about drug abuse.

ECU recently hosted a group of educators from Pitt, Martin and Lenoir county public schools, continuing to expand the SEADAP program into North Carolina’s STEM curriculum.

Rawls with teachersECU is collaborating with Temple University on this project. Dr. Scott Rawls of Temple is the co- principal investigator, and Dr. Rhea Miles of ECU is the co-principal investigator.

Teachers will be working with high school students from Pitt, Martin, and Lenoir counties to conduct research investigations at ECU to study the effect of nicotine, caffeine, alcohol and sucrose on planaria under the direction of Miles in the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Instructional Technology Education in the College of Education.

Teachers will also work with students to study the effects of drug addiction on flatworms through the SEADAP grant.

For more information on the SEADAP Program contact Dr. Rhea Miles at 252-328-9366 or milesr@ecu.edu.

gavin and girls

One in a million: COE alum has rare identical triplets

Congratulations to ECU College of Education alum Gavin Fradel and his family on their kim and gavin-Speightnewest addition–a rare identical set of triplet girls. The May 2016 graduate earned a master of arts in teaching in science education online and lives in Wake Forest, NC. In 2004, he graduated with a bachelor of science in middle grades education. Fradel is currently a teacher at Franklin Academy Middle School in Wake Forest.

 

By WSOC-TV/WFTV-9-ABC

WAKE FOREST, N.C. — A Wake Forest family recently welcomed natural identical triplet girls, a 1-in-a-million phenomenon.

Grace, Stella, and Emily were born to Kimberly and Gavin Fradel about a month ago, Channel 9’s partners WTVD reported.

The parents said they wanted to give their 2-year-old son, Gavin Jr, a sibling and were initially overwhelmed when they found out he would gain three.

“[The doctor] had a look on her face and I said ‘Well, what’s wrong?’ I could tell something was wrong, and she said, ‘I think you’re having multiples. I think you’re having triplets,’ and my first response was ‘Oh God no, please God no,’ and then she said ‘And I think they’re identical,’” Kimberly told WTVD.

The couple realized they could handle the extra blessings when their friends and family reassured them that they’d be there to help. They also said having understanding employers made a difference.

Gavin Sr. was taking online classes at East Carolina University when Kimberly found out she was pregnant.fradels2

His graduation was set for the day after the triplets were born, and Kimberly encouraged him to walk across the stage.

Gavin Sr. said that life with triplets can sometimes be like an “assembly line,” but it’s rewarding to see how the babies have already bonded with each other.

To tell each one apart, the couple paint the girls’ toenails a different color. Each also has a birthmark, but in a different place.

Gavin Jr. was a little taken aback by three girls entering his home.

“When we got home from the hospital … as soon as he saw them he said ‘Daddy, take them back,’ and he said it twice,” Gavin Sr. said. “I have no idea where he even got those words from or where he started saying that, but that was his first reaction, and it was hilarious. It was funny.”

The couple said Gavin Jr. quickly changed his attitude toward his sisters.

“He always kisses his sisters. He helps with bottles. He’s very patient. He’s just a really good, protective big brother and I believe all four of them are going to have unique gifts and a love for each other that will take care for each other for the rest of their lives,” Kimberly said.

Original story: Rare identical triplets born to North Carolina family

Daniel Dickerson

Dr. Daniel Dickerson Represents ECU on Fulbright Commission Panel Addressing STEM Study Abroad Partnerships with the Czech Republic

Dr. Daniel Dickerson, associate professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Instructional Technology Education and ECU STEM CoRE (Collaborative for Research in Education) Co-Director, is among a small group of scholars from across the United States selected to sit on a Fulbright Commission sponsored STEM Expert Panel to address university faculty from across the Czech Republic regarding STEM study abroad possibilities. He will join faculty from MIT, Purdue, Michigan, Georgia Tech, and other STEM intensive institutions.

The STEM Expert Panel is part of a capacity building workshop, “Bringing More U.S. Students in STEM to Czech Universities,” sponsored by the Department of State, Office of Global Educational Program, the Fulbright Commission in the Czech Republic in cooperation with Czech universities that offer education in STEM. The workshop will take place in Prague, Czech Republic on April 19-20, 2016 and will be followed by campus visits on April 21-22.

While there, Dickerson will speak to participants during meeting sessions regarding STEM education program development and explore ways to build collaborative efforts with the Czech Republic. Additionally, the US delegation will tour eight Czech universities, attend a reception at the residence of the US Ambassador, and explore innovative ways to enhance global partnerships.

Dr. Dickerson has more than 70 publications, 130 conference presentations, and has been involved in grants as PI, Co-PI, Senior Personnel, or Evaluator totaling over $10 million.

Rob Lucas

People Need to Know: Confronting History in the Heartland — New book by Dr. Robert M. Lucas

The book,  People Need to Know: Confronting History in the Heartland by Dr. Robert M. Lucas, Assistant Professor in the Department of Elementary & Middle Grades Education, has just been published by Lang Publishing Company. This book chronicles Dr. Lucas’ engaged research with students and their teacher “as they study the defining event in their community’s history.”  Dr. Lucas presents an approach to teaching and learning in social studies that fully engages students to not only learn about the history of their community, but to contribute something of value to their communities and beyond.

Through his start-up research grant, a Library of Congress grant, and his teaching in the Elementary Education program, Dr. Lucas continues to provide teachers and teacher candidates with a meaningful and dynamic evidence-based approach to teaching history and social studies that enables students to “better understand the complex ethical ramifications of historical work and appreciate why learning matters.” (Note: quotations in both paragraphs are from Vendor’s website, below). To learn more about or secure a copy of the book, go to: http://www.amazon.com/People-Need-Know-Confronting-Counterpoints/dp/1433129787.

Go to the College of Education Research Website to engage in a Blog discussion about Engaged Scholarship and Research

ECU student judges Cody Allen and Amanda Lewis evaluate a student's science project during the First Annual SEADAP Science Fair.

SEADAP Grant Program Holds First Annual Science Fair

The Science Education Against Drug Abuse Partnership (SEADAP) program held its First Annual Science Fair on January 21st, 2016 on the campus of East Carolina University. The goals of the NIH/NIDA grant-funded project are to increase student knowledge about drug addiction and to increase student interest in biomedical research and careers.

Pitt County high school students Shinjini Misra and Kyra Miles receive feedback on their project from ECU student judges.

Pitt County high school students Shinjini Misra and Kyra Miles receive feedback on their project from ECU student judges.

SEADAP students began conducting scientific research under the direction of Dr. Miles and Dr. Rawls in August 2015, and have designed their own science projects to examine the effects of addictive substances, alcohol, nicotine, sucrose, or caffeine on planarians. Presenting students from Pitt and Greene counties were able to receive feedback and suggestions on how to improve their science projects from Dr. Rawls and Dr. Miles.  The High school students participating in the SEADAP program are Nate Davis, Lucas Mebane, Shinjini Misra, Kyra Miles, and Justin Woolard.

Science educators in North Carolina, Virginia, and Pennsylvania are also successfully incorporating SEADAP related lessons into their science curricula.

ECU College of Education secondary science majors served as student judges for the SEADAP Science Fair.  These students included: Cody Allen; Hazelle Sandoval; Amanda Lewis; and Kayla Watterson.  Tonya Little, a Martin County Schools administrator, also served as a judge.

Applications are currently being accepted for teacher participation in the professional development sessions for teachers on June 28, 29 and June 30, 2016 at East Carolina University.

For more information about SEADAP, contact Dr. Rhea Miles by phone at 252-328-9366 or via email at milesr@ecu.edu.

Featured image above:

ECU student judges Cody Allen and Amanda Lewis evaluate a student’s science project during the First Annual SEADAP Science Fair.

 

Tammy Lee

Dr. Tammy Lee Recognized as North Carolina’s Most Outstanding Science Leader

Dr. Tammy Lee received the Herman and Emma Gatling Award for Outstanding Leadership in Science Education from the North Carolina Science Leadership Association (NCSLA) on November 11, 2015 at the Fall 2015 NCSLA Membership Meeting in Winston Salem . As the recipient, she is recognized as North Carolina’s most outstanding science leader of 2015.  Congratulations, Dr. Lee!

Montague Franklin with Jennifer Stalls

Education Graduate Leads Middle Schoolers in Conducting Nature Research

Jamaya Heath, Precious Wallace

(L to R): Jamaya Heath, Precious Wallace

By Crystal Baity
ECU News Services

Eighth-graders at C.M. Eppes Middle School hope to find out if a backyard weed actually contains some beneficial ingredients.

Their teacher, Jennifer Stalls, an East Carolina University alumna and graduate student in the College of Education, brought the real-world research question to her science classes as a participant in the Kenan Fellows Program for Curriculum and Leadership Development.

Frank Marr, Luke Daigle

(L to R): Frank Marr, Luke Daigle

Stalls is one of 42 educators from across North Carolina who completed a five-week summer research experience and two weeks of professional development as part of the annual program.

Stalls worked in the genomics and microbiology lab at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences with mentor Dr. Julia Stevens, who is studying the symbiotic relationship between invasive plants and bacteria in nitrogen fixing. The process is needed to convert gaseous nitrogen into forms that can be used by living organisms.

Stalls created a curriculum for her students to contribute to Stevens’ research by studying regional invasive species that could potentially replenish bacteria in crop fields.

Among the discoveries students are making is the notion that they like science.

Jason Harrell, Landen Congleton, Chad Langley

(L to R): Jason Harrell, Landen Congleton, Chad Langley

“I like that you can make so many things, so many discoveries with science. I like the medicine part of science,” said student Virginia Rahilly.

Stalls is one of six ECU alumni in the 2015-16 class of Kenan Fellows. Others and the schools where they teach are: Christopher Clark ’13, Chicod School in Pitt County; Taylar Flythe ’12, Ligon Magnet Middle School in Wake County; Denise Humphries ’93, Chinquapin Elementary School in Duplin County; Amy Kennedy ’07, Beulaville Elementary School in Duplin County; Julianna Martinez-Schultz ’10, Moore Square Magnet Middle School in Wake County.

Chloe Manning-Moore, Juliana Chaires

(L to R): Chloe Manning-Moore, Juliana Chaires

The Kenan Fellows Program was established in 2000 as the signature K-12 STEM education initiative of the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science at N.C. State University.

Kenan Fellows are given opportunities for networking, professional growth and leadership development. For more information, visit www.kenanfellows.org.

For the full article, please visit the ECU News Services Article Backyard Botantists

PirateScience3

PIRATES Educators Work to Improve K-6 Science Education

GREENVILLE, N.C. (10/15/15) — On Saturday, October 10th fifteen College of Education alumni returned to East Carolina University to attend a workshop, “Systemic Science. It’s Elementary!” These teachers were among the first graduates of the newly developed Elementary Science Concentration at East Carolina University that focuses on the scientific content and knowledge needed for teaching science to K-6 students. Students enrolled in the concentration receive instructional strategies and specialized content knowledge within all domains of science.

The workshop was funded by a research start-up grant entitled PIRATES (Preparing and Inspiring Achieving Teaching Excellence in Science). The grant was awarded to Assistant Professor, Dr. Tammy D. Lee who spearheaded the development of this program in response to the need to improve STEM education in the early grades. PIRATES is designed to support the fifteen newly specialized science teachers over the course of three years. These beginning teachers will work with ECU science education faculty, ECU scientists, and North Carolina Museum of Natural Science staff to strengthen their knowledge and skills in systemic science education. The goal of the PIRATES program is to return these teachers to their classrooms and schools across North Carolina as elementary science education leaders.

Participant Ashley Barfield a teacher at Abbotts Creek Elementary School in Raleigh said, “The PIRATE grant will not only benefit me as a teacher but my teammates, students, and my school.”

“This grant will be a huge impact in my classroom because it will help my students to think critically about science in the real world by learning about systems,” added Amber Ellington a teacher at Falkland Elementary in Greenville.

Since the launch of the Elementary Science Concentration in the fall of 2012, enrollment has grown from seven students to over one hundred.

“This increased enrollment indicates the overwhelming interest of elementary pre-service teachers to become science teacher specialists,” said Lee.

For more information about East Carolina University’s Elementary Science Concentration or the PIRATES grant please contact Dr. Tammy D. Lee at leeta@ecu.edu

Like us on Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/PirateScientists

PIRATES teachers participating in the “Systemic Science. It’s Elementary!” event on October 10. Pictured above from left to right: Kayla Sager, Christina Baik, Amber Ellington, Abby Wilkinson, Katherine Hart (red shirt), Ashley Barfield, Beth Wantz Kara Rouse, Danielle Alford, Rachel Fendrick Amanda Etheridge and Dail Berry. Kneeling: Bonnie Glass and Dr. Tammy Lee

Captain Arrrgh Headshot

From the TRC…3D Printing Now Available to ECU Community

It’s the first Thursday of the month and a new edition of From the TRC is published to highlight an instructional technology resource Joyner Library’s Teaching Resources Center (TRC) has to support the College of Education’s faculty and students. Our first post of the school year highlights a new service in Joyner Library, 3D printing!

Do you know how common 3D printers are in North Carolina’s public schools? If it’s not now, it will be soon. NC State’s College of Education is busily working toward equipping every middle school in Wake County with a 3D printer. ECU’s own Innovation Design Lab is hoping to outfit seven (7) middle schools with a 3D printer by the end of the school year, and many other K-12 schools around the state have already started their own 3D printing initiatives.

3D printing in K-12 and higher education is definitely a trend. As a result, the TRC has been busy preparing two 3D printers for the College of Education and the rest of the campus community to use. I am proud to announce that, as of today, Joyner Library’s Teaching Resources Center is now accepting print requests for our 3D printers!

To help guide the ECU community, we have also developed a library guide for those who are unfamiliar with 3D printing, but would like to know more. Joyner Library currently has two 3D printers available for use, a FlashForge Creator Pro and a ZPrinter 310 (.pdf). We are also busy prepping a Lulzbot TAZ 5 for future use. This library guide will help you:

Contact us for help by email, 3Dprinting@ecu.edu.

Stay tuned for workshops and other professional development opportunities that involve 3D printing in K-12 and higher education in the months ahead.

We hope to hear from you soon!

Until next time…Dan Z. in the TRC.