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Inquiry First.

A blog post this morning by Change the Equation offers a concise assessment of the recently released government report, "The Condition of Education." The good news, according to Change the Equation, is that the past two decades have seen rises in 4th and 8th grade math scores.  On the flip side, 12th graders haven't fared as positively, with numbers relatively stagnant over the same time period, causing concerns over "evaporating gains" between 8th and 12th grades.  The "no news" referred to in the post's title?  Information on where 12th graders stand in science.  Due to the change in science frameworks, looking at data over time would be meaningless.  Change the Equation makes the point that no news is actually harmful: "If we're serious about getting many more students ready... Read More

Forty-seven small U.S. colleges and universities have been chosen by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to receive funding for the creation of collaborative, engaging undergraduate science classes.  “Collaboration is a vital activity that drives science forward,” said HHMI President Robert Tjian. “We believe that collaboration among institutions can have a similar catalytic effect on science education, and we look forward to seeing these schools work together to develop new science and teaching programs that inspire their students.”
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With the statistics pointing overwhelmingly to a dire need for STEM-trained students to graduate into the US workforce, the question remains: How do educators break down the barriers that can prevent some perfectly capable students from enrolling in STEM courses?  On the Citizen IBM blog, AP Computer Science teacher Seth Reichelson offers up some answers based on his own experience.  Among his suggestions: "[make] computer science more accessible and rewarding" by using mastery learning, and communicating directly with parents when a student gets a bad grade.  By building confidence and taking some common-sense approaches to communicating, "everybody wins," Reichelson says.
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Photo: US students join those from other countries in an opening ceremonies celebration.


The Massachusetts delegation to the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF) racked up five third-place awards and two fourth-place awards at today's Grand Prize Ceremony in Pittsburgh, PA.

Third Place

Name: Emily Hu
School: Lexington High School
Project: "The Effects of Mindful Decision Making on Post Decision Regret"
Description:  The purpose of this experiment is to determine a relationship between mindful decision-making and post decision regret. The main objective... Read More

Six Massachusetts high school students won awards presented at the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair's Special Awards Ceremony last evening.  The grand prize winners will be announced during a separate ceremony taking place today.  Stay tuned for updates as the become available!

Congratulations to these outstanding ISEF Special-Award-winning students from Massachusetts:

Name: Sneha Subramaniam
School: Westborough High School
Project: "Engineering a Novel Hydrogel Matrix for Bone Cell Regeneration"
Description: The goal of this project was to engineer a low cost and low risk alternative for bone cell regeneration through tissue engineering techniques. An mTG crosslinked gelatin hyrogel... Read More

The bad news: In a sampling of 122,000 8th graders from more than 7,000 schools across the country, fewer than one-third demonstrated proficiency in science on a test administered by National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The good news: Massachusetts students fared a bit better than most, with 40% of those tested scoring at the "proficient" level.  Results of another science test administered by NAEP will be released in June.  This test will measure students' proficiency in hands-on experiments.  "We're very, very interested in tasks that look more like real science," said Sean P. “Jack” Buckley, the commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, which administers NAEP.

The 2012 Massachusetts State High School Science & Engineering Fair has begun!  About 350 volunteer judges received training this morning on the finer points of the job, and have made their way into MIT's Johnson Athletics Center (JAC) to meet their assigned students.  Results of the judging will be tabulated this evening and winners will be announced during the awards ceremony tomorrow evening. Billy Costa, host of High School Quiz Show and well-known radio personality, will MC.

With half a million dollars in prize money and scholarships at stake, there's palpable energy in JAC today!  The science fair will be open to the public tomorrow, May 5th, from 12:30-3:00.  Bring the family and check out these amazing student projects!

... Read More

Congratulations to Lexington High School, which triumphed over North Hollywood High to secure the top place in the high school division of the Energy Department's National Science Bowl yesterday at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.

The five student members of the team -- Alan Zhou, Julia Leung, Jonathan Tidor, Zaroug Jaleel and Matthew Arbesfeld -- will receive an all-expense paid, nine-day Alaska adventure! Hearty congratulations to all of the students, and to their coach, Nicholas Gould.
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