The Minnesota State Fair Board has made the decision to cancel the 2020 State Fair due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 virus. This forces the cancellation of the annual STEM Day at the Fair. We hope to be back in our usual places on opening day of the 2021 Great Minnesota Get Together.
The transition to distance learning for Minnesota schools opens a whole new set of opportunities and challenges for teachers and support staff. Parents who are home are looking for resources, teachers will be trying approaches, seeing what works, what doesn’t, and then looking for more resources.
The Minnesota Department of Education is providing resources across academic areas for implementing the states academic standards.
The Southeast Service Cooperative in Rochester has developed an extensive Distance Learning Resource Repository. The repository has links to online museums with robust digital learning resources such as the Smithsonian; Chicago Field Museum as well as National Park virtual tours; online museum collections, exhibits; and a long list of STEM specific resources.
The MDE requirement that this new area of distance learning requires that teaching be equitable for all students including those with special needs such as those requiring special education services, English Language Learners, and those with limited or no access to internet services at home. The PEW Charitable Trust raises concerns and reviews some of the federal Department of Education guidance. : Switch to Remote Learning Could Leave Students with Disabilities Behind.
Students without access to high speed internet make up 14% of the population according to recent federal statistics. Reaching those students presents a different set of challenges. Many districts have been reaching out to families and even providing school purchased devices. KQED, the San Francisco National Public Radio affiliate has provided 14 Tips for Helping Students with Limited Internet Have Distance Learning.
SciMathMN and The Works, joint hosts of the December 3 conference Transcending Boundaries; Connecting School, Career, and Community Through STEM, announced an expansive list of conference partners November 1. Conference participants will be able to choose from a variety of sessions exploring gender-equitable and culturally relevant teaching practices with SciGirls from Twin Cities PBS, the role of women mentors in the classroom with Million Women Mentors and Project Scientist. Those wanting to explore the future of STEM education in Minnesota can choose opportunities on expanding computer science data and policies with Computer Science for All-Minnesota, teaching computer science with low cost robots from CoderDojo, and the challenges, barriers, and potential solutions to exploring STEM and STEAM opportunities for students of color. Connecting school to community and workforce opportunities include 3D printing with Dunwoody Institute, bringing together STEM and CTE in Greater Minnesota with representatives from the southeastern part of the state. More conference partners and registration along with session choices can be found at Transcending Boundaries; Connecting School, Career, and Community Through STEM. Discounts are available for teams of three or more who attend together.
Please join SciMathMN and The Works Museum at Transcending Boundaries: Connecting School, Career and Communities Through STEM Tuesday, December 3rd at the University of Minnesota Continuing Education and Conference Center in St. Paul. There you will connect with Minnesota’s STEM educators, nonprofit providers, and business representatives to consider the role of STEM education in providing inclusive environments, adequate resources, and career-connected learning that prepare the next generation for the future.
Transcending boundaries will look at creating partnerships that enrich Minnesota’s STEM learning ecosystem by connecting in, out, and after-school time; formal and informal settings; and educational and workplace environments. The conference will also explore transcending boundaries between disciplines by engaging youth in authentic, human-centered learning that blends knowledge and practices from STEM subjects with arts, humanities, and other areas—and ensures that STEM learning is accessible and relevant for all.
The days keynote speaker is Dr. Jayshree Seth, 3M Corporate Scientist and Chief Science Advocate, will provide an overview of the 3M State of Science Index, a global survey of more than 14,000 people in 14 countries to uncover what people think of science and how they perceive its impact on their daily lives. Many of the survey findings highlight the importance of reducing real and perceived barriers to science appreciation and STEM education—in order to ensure that we have a healthy pipeline of future scientists and engineers to solve tomorrow’s challenges. Jayshree will share her personal journey as she explores ways we can advocate for science and promote STEM awareness, equity, and access for all.
Breakfast, lunch and cookie break included in registration. You can register here.
The best day of the Minnesota summer, STEM Day at the Fair returns Thursday, August 22, 2019 at Dan Patch Park. STEM Day again kicks off the Fair on opening day expecting over three dozen hands-on exhibitors of all things Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math for young families to discover and explore. Last year STEM Day attracted more than 13,000 fairgoers through its exhibit area while more stopped in to the stage to see performances by a variety of organizations.
Organizations interested in exhibiting can review participation criteria and complete an application
The Minnesota Department of Education will host a series of Town Hall events presenting and soliciting public comment on the first draft of the revised academic standards in science. In addition to public events in communities around the state MDE staff will also hold an online event November 20th. The list of events includes Moorhead, Rochester, Duluth, and other communities. All events are 5:30 – 7:00 pm and will be led by MDE staff. The Town Halls will include general discussion of the draft and may provide an opportunity for individual entries into the online feedback survey. Bring a laptop or tablet, if available, to use the survey. MDE will be using an online form to collect comments so participants are encouraged to bring a laptop or tablet to the events.
- Moorhead: Nov. 12, Horizon Middle School West, Media Center
- Rochester: Nov. 12, Southeast Service Cooperative, Cedar Room
- Roseville:Nov. 13, Minnesota Dept. of Education, Conference Center B
- Mankato: Nov. 14, Intergovernmental Center, Mankato Room
- Duluth:Nov. 20, UMD, Alworth Hall, Planetarium, An optional demonstration of the
planetarium will follow the meeting.
- Online: Nov. 20, 8 – 9 am.
The meeting opened with a review of the significant work that the committee has already done. This includes an overview of the standards development process, reviewing current Minnesota standards against other states standards, developing a draft of the required career and college statement, reviewing the NGSS standards, and examining the public feedback on the current standards.
The committee then had an extensive discussion on how best to organize standards within the requirements of Minnesota state law. After much discussion the committee chose to prioritize student practice expectations emphasizing what students would know and be able to do. Having already decided to use anchor standards across all of K-12, then worked across grade levels to suggest what performance expectations should be placed broadly at what grade level.
Discussion among some committee members included the challenges that many schools face in finding appropriately licensed teachers to teach science classes. The graduation requirement that students take three years of science between 9th and 12th grades was also raised as a factor in both standards writing and student opportunities.
MDE staff reminded committee members of several items to keep in mind as the committee works. First, by law the standards must include the contributions of Minnesota’s Native American tribes and communities. Consultation with Native American leaders will be an important aspect of the process as standards are developed. As the committee works the standards they develop must be understandable to the public and must be able to be assessed. Additionally according to Minnesota law standards must be grade level specific.
The committee voted heavily to empower the writing group to begin writing standards from the Next Generation Science Standards practices for this first draft. MDE will be hosting a number of public feedback sessions across the state after the initial draft of new standards is released November 9. It is understood that “the first draft is never the last draft”.
The committee meets next on Thursday, November 1 at MDE, Conference Center B, room 17-18. The first draft of standards is due to be released November 9.