A special guest post from Pat Parent of Massabesic Middle School!
Students at Massabesic Middle School continue “student scientist” efforts with fieldwork into the winter season. Students on the Aroostook team are working with Melissa Brandt of York County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and US Fish and Wildlife Service to search for the New England Cottontail (NEC).
When I saw the announcement for a webinar called, “Invasive Shrubs in Eastern US Forests: Filling an Empty Niche?,” I wondered if “filling a niche” meant that invasive species could be beneficial in our eastern forests.
Found the article Application of Core Science Concepts Using Digital Video: A “Hands-On” Laptop Approach from the NSTA Journal of College Science Teaching really interesting. The gist is that students completed video projects and reflection papers on one of two topics (the scientific method or neurotransmitters). The students did significantly better on test questions for the topic that they had done their video projects and reflection papers on.
After last spring, we didn’t think any new records could be set. You all proved us wrong! This was the longest and most talkative fall field season yet with 1315 comments made and the latest observation published on December 12. A total of 584 species observations were published, including the first Vital Signs sightings of Heterosiphonia japonica, winter moth, and European oyster.
We want to share with you the full video recording that provides an overview of the Designing with Teachers publication that the Annenberg Innovation Lab released in October. You can download the publication and see additional resources HERE.
Last week at the Maine Science Teachers Association (MSTA) annual conference Rhonda Tate of Dedham School and I got to share Vital Signs with a group of interested teachers from around the state. One of the big topics at MSTA this year was the Framework for K-12 Science Education and the development of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). I was excited to show these teachers some of connections between Vital Signs and the science practices outlined in the Framework. Here’s some of what I shared.
Emerald ash borer (EAB) has been creeping east. This July the invasive insect was found in Connecticut, and just this morning Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation announced that it was found in Dalton (near the NY border). Keep your eyes peeled for EAB and cerceris (the native wasp that will help us detect it).
Have you seen the VS species ID cards library lately? For years we had been dreaming of the day when all of our ID card photos and content would be generated by VS participants. We took a first big leap towards that big dream this summer.