Vital Signs NORTH!

    There’s a new group of (amazing!) teachers in Central Aroostook County who are excited to get their students contributing to Vital Signs.

    Schools in the mix were:



    We all got an award! On behalf of the whole Vital Signs community, we're excited and honored to receive the Excellence in Environmental Education Program Award from the Maine Environmental Education Association. Here's why we were chosen:

Massabesic Middle School’s Search for the New England Cottontail

    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).

Creative, multimedia, video projects enhance learning

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.

Fall 2012 - A long and talkative season!

    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.

Designing WITH Teachers update


    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.

VS and the Framework

    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.

Building assessment tools together

    Want to know more about what students are learning through their Vital Signs investigations? So do we!

8 experienced Vital Signs teachers, 3 researchers from Stanford University, 1 researcher from University of Maine, and 4 GMRI staff spent August 14 and 15 together and made big strides towards building tools that will help us start to figure that out this fall.

MSSM STEM Collaborative Camp Part 2 – Collaborating is Fun!

    July 22-28th was one of the most fun weeks of my adult life. I spent it collaborating and networking (discussing, building, creating, and playing) with science, math, and technology educators! I watched amazing rockets launch into the air. I helped build dive-bombing kites. I played laser tag and tried to save the world from pandemics (just a board game, don’t worry).

MSSM STEM Collaborative Camp Part 1 – Vital Signs at MSSM Camp

    From July 22 – Juy 28 I attended MSSM’s STEM Collaborative Camp to support three VS Educator Leaders as they led a course on Vital Signs. The VS team is excited to have VS Educator Leaders share and teach other educators about the program. We are hoping that this is a model that we can repeat again and again, and I was happy to be the on-the-ground support for this first experiment.
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