Session C Descriptions and Linked Handouts

swivet: a Supplemental STEM Curricular Platform to Spark Imagination and Creativity Amongst Teen Girls and Under Represented Minorities – MS, HS – STEM Learning in Diverse Communities – H

William Staplin, Devynne Scilingo, and Scott May, International Center for Professional Development

Room: Middle School Laboratory 213

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) has become a popular acronym for raising awareness of academic standards amongst academic institutions. Despite the necessity to compete in a globalized economy, a disparity in STEM interests exists amongst females and under represented minorities (NAEP, 2011). Significant interest deficits tended to align with deficits in STEM competency and achievement.     swivet is a STEM Initiative for Teens that the International Center for Professional Development, a non-profit 501c3 ( launched in 2013 to capture the imagination of girls and minorities ( swivet is comprised of three key Elements: First, is a web-broadcast scripted comedy webisode program featuring underrepresented minority actors; Second, it is an inclusive website with real-time social media that allows students to “chat” with the swivet characters while enabling an aggregation of STEM-related web resources/competitions; Third, swivet offers curriculum resources to its affiliate members and professional development tools for educators.     We will sample one of these webisodes and a supplemental swivetKit lesson. We purport that teens will find interest towards STEM by regularly following swivet and will gravitate towards STEM courses and careers when in high school and post-secondary education. In turn, educators will successfully engage their classes in its activities.


Architectural Design for Middle School Teachers – MS – STEM+ – H

Simon Mangiaracina, Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders

Room: Middle School Laboratory 214

This session will guide teachers through creating an interdisciplinary unit on architectural design by tying together concepts from middle school level math, science, art and world cultures. Participants will learn to guide students as they explore the cultural significance and structural engineering behind famous building sites around the world. Participants will encourage students to think like architects as they calculate and design a virtual floor plan using Sweet Home 3D software. Finally, the project culminates with an architectural model highlighting green building techniques, such as sustainable building materials and energy efficient technologies. All participants will need to bring a laptop for downloading and using the Sweet Home 3D software.


Think Tank: Effective Approaches for Designing Interdisciplinary Curriculum Think Tank – ES, MS, HS, U – STEM+

Licia Kovach, Laurel School (OH)

Room: Middle School Conference Room

This think tank will explore ways to design interdisciplinary curriculum. Topics will include the advantages and challenges of teaching and learning interdisciplinary curriculum (Interdisciplinary is defined as a substantial representation of 2 or more disciplines within a unit of study), methods or approaches found to be effective when creating interdisciplinary curriculum as well as examples of interdisciplinary teaching and learning.


Females Excelling More in Math, Engineering, and the Sciences (FEMMES): A Network of Women sharing STEM with underserved communities – ES, MS, HS, U, I – STEM Learning in Diverse Communities – N

Abigail Garrity, University of Michigan

Room: Middle School 211

Females Excelling More in Math, Engineering and the Sciences (FEMMES) is dedicated to closing gender and racial divides in CS/STEM (computer science and science, technology, engineering and math) fields. Working specifically in diverse, under-served communities around the country, FEMMES creates collaborative teaching and learning environments to promote leadership development, technical skills expansion and increased self-confidence for many generations of women scientists, mathematicians, and engineers.  A network of FEMMES undergraduate, graduate, and faculty women in science lead after-school and daylong experiential learning activities for 4th through 6th grade girls to increase awareness, interest, and excitement for STEM topics and fields. This session will share strategies for creating an effective network of women engaged in encouraging other women to pursue the STEM fields.  Methods for maximizing the benefits of this network for women of all ages and promoting diversity in FEMMES will be discussed. We will share best-practices and tools for partnering with under-served schools and ways to ensure minority girls can benefit from our outreach activities. We will also share ideas and tools for developing effective hands-on, experiential learning activities in STEM fields that all teachers can utilize. 


Rock the Street, Wall Street - How To Get More Girls Interested In Finance – ES, MS, HS – STEM+ – CM

Maura Cunningham, Rock the Street, Wall Street

Room: Middle School 210

Rock the Street, Wall Street is a program designed to make math and finance relevant and fun for high school girls so that they will continue to study math, become financially literate and begin to visualize a pathway to a career in finance.  During our session, we will begin by discussing the problem: We start to lose  girls in math as early as age 9, and women represent only 6% of senior investment roles across ALL financial firms and only 4% of CEO spots at the Fortune 500 companies.   Rock the Street, Wall Street’s solution is to conduct "girls only" workshops, where they are introduced to the topic of finance in a relevant, cool manner; meet female role models who are already in financial careers; take field trips to financial services firms or financial/treasury departments of corporations.  Our program details will follow (3 components to our program; classroom sessions, mentoring and a "Wall Street Experience"). As we have time during our presentation we will also be covering topics such as math anxiety, females as leaders, gender stereotypes, and more.


Are You a Science Kind of Person? Gender Differences in Science Identity among Middle School Youth – MS, U – STEM Learning in Diverse Communities – R

Trish Wonch Hill, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Room: Middle School 205

There is evidence to suggest that youth with higher science identities are more engaged with science and more likely to persist in STEM careers.  Sociological studies have demonstrated the powerful role of friendship social networks in identity development and behaviors. We propose to extend existing theories of identity and social networks to science interest, competence and engagement.  We surveyed 444 of 6th, 7th and 8th grade students in a diverse Title I Middle School to measure explicit science identity (e.g., importance of science, perceived science ability, science enjoyment, if they are a science kind of person), implicit science identity (e.g. curiosity about the world, learning about new discoveries, taking things apart, exploring nature, learning about the human body).  We also asked about whether they thought their friends like science, as well as their perception of whether their friends think they are ‘a science kind of person’.  Results show middle school boys had a higher explicit science identity than girls.  Girls and boys did not have significantly different implicit science identity.  Boys were much more likely than girls to report that their friends like science and to report that others thought of them as a ‘science kind of person’.


Sustainability: A Quantitative Approach – ES, MS, HS, U – Preparing Females to Persevere in STEM – R, N

Emma Previato, Boston University

Room: Middle School 202

Sustainability is an area of tremendous growth for science and of particular interest for students. In this interactive session the speaker will present methods and projects from her newly designed course "The Mathematics of Sustainability", including lesson plans. Although it is a college course all these issues can be adapted for schools. Examples: Geometry used for modular buildings and low-cost housing; Network theory to design efficient garbage collection in New York City; Geographic Information Systems used to optimize the placement of charging stations for Electronic Vehicles; Population dynamics to protect endangered species; Deterministic and Stochastic Methods to predict the course of epidemics; Redistricting to ensure fair voting systems; The Simplex Method used to allocate human resources in Operatin Research.  Throughout, the emphasis is on simple, fundamental ideas and the method is broken down to concepts that the students can understand and use in other areas. The presenter's students' portfolios will be shown.


Engaging girls in STEM through the Aspiring Women in Science conference – MS, HS, U – Preparing Females to Persevere in STEM

Sylvia Hicks, St. Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School (Australia)

Room: Patton Art History Room

In 2013, St Aidan's Anglican Girls' School in Brisbane, Australia hosted the inaugural Aspiring Women in Science Conference in conjunction with The University of Queensland. Why was this conference such a success?  It gave118 girls aged 14 – 18 from 28 schools around Queensland, the opportunity to hear the inspirational stories of female scientists from the national scientific community.  St Aidan’s believes that a girl’s interest in STEM is boosted by her teacher’s passion for the subject and its relevance to real world situations. We also value role modeling as a catalyst for women when choosing career paths and believed that the conference would support this belief.  The conference started with two keynote speakers presenting their research in Nanopatch technology and skin cancer, followed by 15 female scientists presenting one hour sessions to small groups. The presenters ‘told their story’ and facilitated discussion.  Concluding the conference, five speakers outlined the challenges and highlights they faced in an open forum.  In this session, I will outline the steps involved in organising the conference so that other schools would be able to replicate the event.  I will provide examples of materials produced for the conference; discuss student feedback and outcomes from the conference.


Preparing Elementary and Middle School STEM Teachers – ES, MS, U – R, H, CM

JoAnn Cady, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Room: Middle School 209

STEM discipline teachers should use multiple teaching and learning strategies — direct instruction, independent learning, technology-based learning, project- and problem-based learning —to engage and excite students. They should have time to plan, work together, share best research-based practices, and analyze data. In addition, STEM discipline teacher education programs must prepare teachers who know the research on best practices that point toward the effectiveness of “active learning,” which occurs when children are interacting with others or undertaking projects rather than passively listening to the teacher.  Recent research on learning progressions describe the hierarchical understandings children obtain in science and mathematics.   Participants in this session will engage in a discussion of the preparation of STEM teachers for elementary and middle school girls and the mathematical knowledge needed for teaching (MKT).  Several tasks used in methods classes will be presented to engage the audience about the important mathematical concepts developed by the task, alternate solution paths, and the mathematical practices elicited during the task. The presenter will also share some of the educational research on preparing STEM teachers and lead a discussion regarding best practices in teacher education programs.