The MidAtlantic Regional SENCER Center for Innovation (SCI-MA) hosts biannual conferences in area institutions where seasoned SENCER practitioners and newly interested faculty come together to hear nationally renowned teacher-scholars and to share their own ideas and experiences in teaching STEM discipline courses through timely civic questions. SCI-MA programs are open to participants from around the country, but are targeted to participants from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland. The Directors, together with Leadership Council members, travel throughout the area visiting campuses to speak about SENCER issues. Topics presented and discussed include the reform of undergraduate STEM education, assessment of teaching and learning, opportunities for community college articulation, efforts to coordinate a Consortium for Assessment of Student Achievement, and informal science education arenas, as well as pre-kindergarten through 12th grade STEM education with programs for pre-service teachers.
About the Host Institution: Rutgers University
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national public research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education, with more than 50,000 students on campuses in Camden, Newark, and New Brunswick. Chartered in 1766, Rutgers has a unique history as a colonial college, a land-grant institution, and a state university. The university’s 27 degree-granting units offer majors in more than 100 fields, with thousands of courses covering the full range of human experience. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to turning knowledge into solutions for local, national, and global communities.
Report on SENCER Programs for K-12 Faculty and Students
MidAtlantic Center for Innovation
The activity with K-12 teachers continues in the MidAtlantic region. Jessica Monaghan (New Brunswick School District) and Kathy Browne (Rider University) launched a program to help K-12 teachers infuse civic engagement into their science curriculum. After an exercise to connect civic issues, SENCER ideals, and the Next Generation Science standards, teachers in grades 6-12 were able to draft problem-based lesson plans during a program offered on March 7 at New Brunswick Middle School. Teachers commented on key takeaways regarding problem-based learning, integrating the 3 dimensions in the NGSS, and other ideas such as, “engineering was always intimidating, but today made it more accessible”. As the district Science Supervisor, Jess will follow up with supporting teachers while they finalize their design and begin to implement. These lessons will be conducted with their students later this spring and teachers will meet again to debrief the first trial delivery of the lessons shortly after. Teachers should be able to analyze student work as part of the iterative design process. Continuing into the 2019-2020 school year, both Kathy & Jessica hope these teachers will turnkey their work and boost more civically engaged science curricula and classrooms.
Teachers in North Hanover School District completed similar work with Kathy focused on civic issues or natural phenomena and invited colleague teachers into their classrooms this spring to observe their lessons and learn about how this strategy can work. Additionally, a team of teachers from Chesterfield School District started similar work in fall 2018 through an introduction to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and lesson evaluation of existing curricular materials for NGSS 3-dimensionality. Each of these districts are working on next steps to move this work forward. From her work with NJ districts, Kathy was invited to lead a short workshop for members of the Burlington County Curriculum Consortium. A group of science supervisors, curriculum administrators, and high school teachers were guided to rapidly practice identifying opportunities in their district’s curriculum to infuse civic engagement with the intent that they bring this approach to their district. Kathy was also recruited to lead a series of workshops for Rider University undergraduate STEM Scholars supported by Noyce scholarships. These students have committed to high school STEM teaching in urban districts after graduation. The workshops provided coaching to identify opportunities to infuse civic engagement in curricula while reviewing the NGSS.
Finally, at the MidAtlantic Regional Center’s spring conference at the New School, Jess, Kathy and Sandra Lavigne (Great Swamp Watershed Association) presented a summary of their K-12 model course proposed to SENCER and co-authored and implemented by Missy Holzer (Chatham High School) and Jeff Hoagland (The Watershed Institute). The course provides example middle and high school science curricula that leverages engineering design in the NGSS to infuse with civic engagement. Jessica Monaghan shared her revised iteration of the middle school lessons which began with the ongoing issues in Flint as the centralized problem, and connected to the Sustainable Development Goals. Additional cross-curricular teaching strategies in K-12 science will be shared at the SENCER Summer Insittute as possible strategies that could be adapted for higher education (STEAM challenges, Scientific Literacy, Women in STEM lessons, etc.)
Students in Action
SCI-MidAtlantic Co-Director Kathy Browne’s students participate in active learning strategies as part of her SENCER Model Course Discovery Science. View the video below to learn how:
SCI-Mid-Atlantic Spring 2019 Meeting
The SENCER Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting is being hosted by the New School with the exciting theme of STEM, Humanities and Social Justice. Proposals for posters, workshops, presentations are all welcome, particularly those from non-STEM disciplines and we shall be highlighting some of the exciting work being done at the New School. Deadline for submissions is Feb 8th.Please save the date – April 5th!! Please RSVP here
Dr. Monica Devanas
Dr. Kathleen M. Browne
Dr. David Ferguson
Dr. Richard Grallo
Dr. Heide Hlawaty
Dr. Trace Jordan
Dr. Ellen Mappen
Dr. Eliza Reilly
Dr. Patricia Wilson