Science Literacy Program Newsletter

Fall Journal Club

The Science Literacy Teaching Journal Club continues in 2014-15 for its fifth year with two distinct offerings described below. The journal club is a cooperative effort of the Teaching Effectiveness Program and the Science Literacy Program. Meetings feature lively, structured discussions across discipline and rank with occasional small-scale teaching experiments. Participants from all disciplines are invited to join the whole series or stop by for a specific conversation. All sessions will be held in 317 LISB (Lewis Integrated Sciences Building).

Thursday 9am sessions will focus on classroom level assessment techniques used to determine how well our students are learning. We will use a new book Assessment in the College Classroom (Dirks, Wenderoth & Withers, 2014), part of the Scientific Teaching series, as a basis for our discussions. These sessions are designed for participants who have familiarity with active learning and want to explore assessment more deeply.

Friday 12noon sessions will focus on practical teaching techniques that can be applied in the classroom. Discussions will also include pedagogical theory as we read and explore science education literature. These sessions are designed for new or returning participants who want to hone their teaching techniques. Participants are encouraged to bring lunch.

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Guided Inquiry Based on Green Chemistry Principles – Brandi Baldock’s recent presentation at the Biennial Conference on Chemical Education

At the start of spring term in the Science Literacy Teaching Journal Club, we talked about Science Writing Heuristics and how to use this guided inquiry instruction style in a lab setting.

Brandi Baldock (UO Chemistry Graduate student), Dr. Deborah Exton and Dr. Thomas Greenbowe recently developed a laboratory experiment designed to safely teach thermochemical concepts to freshman chemistry students using this heuristic. They presented this work at the 2014 Biennial Conference on Chemical Education.

Their new experiment challenges students to work in teams to collect and analyze data regarding reactions between active ingredients found in food products, leading them to invent the concept of Hess’ law.

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UO META Center for Systems Biology recently hosted the first Host-Microbe Systems Biology Symposium.

From the META Center for Systems Biology website
“The mission of the META Center for Systems Biology is to pioneer the field of host-microbe systems biology. We meld the theoretical rigor of community ecology and population biology with the experimental elegance of our gnotobiotic fish models and exploit innovations in sequencing technology and imaging to investigate the membership and dynamics of host-associated microbial communities and corresponding host responses. We are innovating applications of sampling theory, spatial biodiversity theory, and probabilistic models to reveal system-level properties underlying host-microbe assembly, dynamics, and evolution.”

The recent weekend symposium featured talks on microbial ecology, infectious disease, computational biology, and population genetics. Read more about the symposium on the center’s blog and get a look back at the event with #uometa2014.

The META Center for Systems Biology does plan to hold the symposium again in 2015 and is soliciting suggestions for session topics, speakers, and format. Contact META.

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Science Literacy Starts Early – How summer camp can give kids early exposure to project based learning.

What happens when you combine a group of 9-11 year olds, a physics graduate with a penchant for teaching, access to state of the art resources like a 3D printer, and enthusiastic input from area rocket enthusiasts?

Learning happens.

During the Fundamentals of Rocketry camp held at the Science Factory, kids ages 9-11 explored Newton’s Laws while launching water rockets, engineering egg drop containers, designing rocket nose cones, and launching their final projects high into the air.While it all sounds like fun, the kids were also exposed to on-the-fly troubleshooting, using geometry to measure the height of the rocket’s flight path rather than just relying on the rocket’s onboard readings, determining when a measurement value reasonably fits the scenario and when it is likely an error, and, perhaps most importantly, understanding how experiment failure can lead to further understanding and improved design.

With so many moving parts to a one week camp, it is hard to imagine how it all came together. The UO’s STEM CORE served as the glue by helping to bring together resources and know-how to make the camp successful.

The summer camp was taught by Ben Wright, a longtime proponent of hands-on science. Ben earned his physics degree form the UO and worked closely with Stan Micklavzina in the Physics Demo room. He is now finishing up his teaching credentials through the UOTeach program. EuRoc Eugene Rocketry also participated to help by sharing materials and information about building your own rocket and promoting safety. On a field trip to the UO, campers met Dean Walton, UO Science Librarian, who worked with the campers to design and print their custom nose cones. The campers first drew the profile of their nose cone and then learned how to use a computer-aided design program to prepare their designs for the 3D printer.

To read more about the camp and STEM CORE’s involvement in the recent Around the O article.

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In This Issue:

Fall Journal Club

Guided Inquiry

META Center for Systems Biology hosts Symposium

Science Literacy for kids


Upcoming Events:

CABS – student input meeting
Thursday 9/11/2014
4:00pm
350 Willamette Hall

The Career Advancement in the Biological Sciences (CABS) is calling for student input for speakers and topics for this year’s seminar series. Prior to the meeting, review the CABS speaker list and then come to the meeting ready to discuss possible topics and careers to explore in the seminar.

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TEP training programs for new faculty and graduate teaching fellows
9/15/2014 – 9/25/2014

Every year, the Teaching Effectiveness Program offers teacher training to all UO instructors and graduate students. While these trainings focus on those who are new to the university or teaching for the first time, the TEP welcomes any instructor or graduate student who would enjoy attending—the large-class and technology sessions may be of particular interest even to experienced faculty.

Registration is required, but there is no cost for the training workshops that run September 15-25.

For more information, see TEP’s Teacher Trainings page and register online.

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Active Learning in Large Classrooms – oxymoron or opportunity?
Tuesday 9/16/2014
10:00-11:45am
Knight Library Room 41

The UO Committee for Academic Infrastructure invites you to join us for a public presentation and discussion about active learning.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

10am – 11am – public presentation by Dr. Lennie Scott-Webber

11am – 11:45 –discussion moderated by Kenneth Doxsee, PhD, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Affairs & Chair, Committee for Academic Infrastructure

Read the abstract and learn more about Lennie Scott-Webber, PhD here.

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OMSI’s Science Pub Eugene
Thursday 9/18/2014
7:00-9:00pm
Cozmic
199 W 8th Ave, Eugene, OR

This month features Dr. Eric Corwin’s talk Jammed Particulate Systems

View the event details

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STEM CORE monthly meeting
Wednesday 9/24/2014
12:00-1:30pm
Lokey Education Building Room 119

Mark your calendars.

If you have items to add to the agenda, please contact Bryan Rebar.

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Science Open House
Wednesday 9/24/2014
6:30-8:30pm
Willamette Hall Atrium

The purpose of the event is to help connect community families to STEM outreach programs on and off the UO campus.  Public attendees  will include K-12 children and their parents as well as educators in the community.

SLP will have a table at the open house and we will need volunteers to work at the table and help the students and their parents experience an awesome science activity!  We’re going to repeat a Fireworks in Milk activity because it was super fun for everyone last year.  We’ll need several volunteers for shifts during the time to make it a success.

To volunteer, contact Elly Vandegrift, Associate Director of the Science Literacy Program

The Science Open House is sponsored by the Science Program to Inspire Creativity and Excellence (SPICE)  and funded through STEM CORE.

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