IRIS Debuts Powerful New Application Where Students Use Seismic Waves Data to Learn about the Layers of the Earth

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 3, 2022) — The Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) has created an online version of its popular activity “Determining and Measuring Earth’s Layered Interior” to challenge students to use evidence in the form of earthquake data to understand the Earth’s interior layers. This free web-based tool for Earth Science classrooms was funded in part by the National Science Foundation. 

The activities contained within the tool emphasize the use of models and the importance of using empirical evidence to make discoveries in Earth Science. When using the tool, students act as scientists as they discover and analyze real-world data. This exploration encourages independent thinking, data analysis, and engineering and design, as it builds an understanding of this dynamic planet and its internal engine.

“Students today have unprecedented access to seismic data and web tools that allow them to explore fundamentally big ideas such as the predictive power of models to help explain the Earth’s system and to measure the Earth’s core,” said Michael Hubenthal, Senior Science Education Specialist at IRIS. “The “Determining and Measuring Earth’s Layered Interior” tool allows students to explore and analyze the data that scientists use to understand the layers of the Earth.”…Read More

Independent Study Finds that Amplify Science Has Significant Positive Impact on Student Learning

BROOKLYN, NY (January 26, 2022)Amplify, a publisher of next-generation curriculum and assessment programs, announced today that a gold-standard independent study led by the nonprofit research, development, and service agency WestEd, and with funding support by the National Science Foundation, found promising evidence that the Amplify Science middle school curriculum has a significant positive impact on student learning. 

WestEd researchers found that:

  • The estimated impact was statistically significant (p < 0.001) and corresponds to an effect size of 0.36. This impact is consistent with the average student using the Amplify Science curriculum moving up 14 percentiles compared to their peers who used other materials.
  • The results were similar across gender and racial groups, and for students with varying levels of math and literacy achievement.
  • More than 80 percent of teachers agreed that they and their students benefited from using Amplify Science curriculum.
  • Almost 90 percent of teachers reported that Amplify Science supported them in engaging students in science discourse.

The randomized controlled study focused on physical science for grade 7 and included 28 teachers and more than 1700 students across three districts that served diverse populations.

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New Trump laws will support women in STEM fields

President Donald Trump has signed two bills aimed at increasing the number of women who pursue entrepreneurial endeavors and space-related STEM careers.

“Currently, only 1 in every 4 women who gets a STEM degree is working in a STEM job, which is not fair and it’s not even smart for the people that aren’t taking advantage of it,” Trump said in remarks during the signing. “It’s unacceptable that we have so many American women who have these degrees but yet are not being employed in these fields. So I think that’s going to change. That’s going to change very rapidly.”

The Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act authorizes the National Science Foundation “to encourage its entrepreneurial programs to recruit and support women to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and into the commercial world.”…Read More

The link between arts-based learning and STEM

The Art of Science Learning (AoSL), a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded initiative, spearheaded by its Principal Investigator, Harvey Seifter, has released its newest report, titled The Impact of Arts-Based Innovation Training on the Creative Thinking Skills, Collaborative Behaviors and Innovation Outcomes of Adolescents and Adults.

The report was written by Audience Viewpoints Consulting, the independent research firm AoSL retained to conduct the study. The effort compared the impacts and outcomes of arts-based innovation training with more traditional innovation training that does not incorporate the arts.

“With this research, we now have clear evidence that arts-based learning sparks creativity, collaboration, emotionally intelligent behavior and innovation in both adolescents and adults,” Seifter said. “The implications for 21st Century learning and workforce development are profound.”…Read More

WWU researchers to study math, science teaching methods in area schools

Starting this fall, researchers from Western Washington University will study local elementary school math and science teaching methods in an attempt to figure out if specialists – those who teach only one or two subjects – are more effective than those who are expected to teach all subject areas, the Bellingham Herald reports. The three-year project, funded by a $449,957 grant from the National Science Foundation, will compare math and science instruction models currently in place in the Anacortes, Bellingham, Burlington-Edison, Ferndale, Nooksack Valley and Sedro-Woolley districts. Elementary school teachers have traditionally been generalists, teaching all subject areas to students in the same classroom…

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NBC launches new educational video series about the Summer Olympics

With the 2012 Summer Olympic games just days away, NBC Learn—the educational arm of NBC News—has launched a new video series called “Science of the Summer Olympics: Engineering in Sports.” This 10-part series explores the engineering and technology behind individual summer Olympic events.

The videos include a look at how engineers are designing faster pools and building safer helmets; the analysis of every motion involved in a weightlifter’s lift and a sprinter’s sprint; and analysis of how the principles of engineering are helping disabled athletes excel in such diverse sports as wheelchair rugby, basketball, and racing.

In many of the videos, the engineering is explained by capturing the athletes’ movements with a state-of-the-art, high-speed Phantom camera, which has the ability to capture movement at rates of up to 10,000 frames per second. These dynamic visuals allow for frame-by-frame illustrations of specific principles such as mobility and speed. Athletes who participated in the videos include swimmer Missy Franklin, boxer Queen Underwood, weightlifter Sarah Robles, runners Jenny Simpson and Usain Bolt, and decathlete Bryan Clay.…Read More

Study: Online learning might be less effective for some

Classroom students scored 84.5 percent on the first exam in the economics course, and online students scored 83.3 percent.
Classroom students scored 84.5 percent on the first exam in the economics course, and online students scored 83.3 percent.

Higher education’s embrace of online courses could hurt the performance of some groups of students, according to a study that contradicts the findings of a 2009 report from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) showing that online students perform as well, or better, than their peers in face-to-face settings on average.

Research published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) suggests that males, Hispanics, and low-performing students might fare worse in web-based classes than they do in the traditional classroom—a problem exacerbated by the high rate of online course adoption at community colleges and “less selective institutions,” where these three groups are most likely to attend.…Read More

House GOP stops major science, technology bill

Fifteen of 163 House Republicans voted for the America COMPETES Act May 19.
Only 15 of 163 House Republicans voted for the America COMPETES Act on May 19.

It was strike two for a major science funding bill on May 19 as House Republicans again united to derail legislation they said was too expensive.

Going down to defeat was an updated version of the America COMPETES Act, legislation that would have committed more than $40 billion over three years to boost funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other federal agencies involved in basic and applied science, provided loan guarantees to small businesses developing new technologies, and promoted science and math education at the K-12 and higher-ed levels.…Read More

Microsoft opens its cloud to researchers

A new partnership between Microsoft and NSF will give researchers access to Microsoft's cloud-computing infrastructure.
A new partnership between Microsoft and NSF will give researchers access to Microsoft's cloud-computing infrastructure.

Researchers have until March 15 to submit proposals to the National Science Foundation (NSF) that would grant access to Microsoft Corp.’s massive cloud-computing power for three years.

Researchers and academic teams chosen by NSF officials will use Microsoft Azure, a program that offers enormous data storage and computing capabilities using the corporation’s data centers.…Read More

Girls might learn math anxiety from female teachers

Having a female teacher who is anxious about math might reinforce the stereotype that boys are better at math than girls.
Having a female teacher who is anxious about math might reinforce the stereotype that boys are better at math than girls.

Young girls might learn to fear math from the women who are their earliest teachers, new research suggests.

Despite gains in recent years, women still trail men in some areas of math achievement, and the question of why has provoked controversy. Now, a study of first- and second-graders suggests what might be part of the answer: Female elementary school teachers who are concerned about their own math skills could be passing that concern along to the girls they teach.…Read More

Free videos explore the science behind the Olympics

The videos capitalize on students’ interest in the Winter Olympics to make science more accessible.
The videos capitalize on students’ interest in the Winter Olympics to make science more accessible.

Teachers looking for ways to incorporate the Olympic Winter Games into their instruction have a new resource they can use: NBC Learn, the educational arm of NBC News, has teamed up with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to produce a 16-part video series focusing on the science behind the games.

How does angular momentum help figure skater Rachael Flatt achieve the perfect triple toe loop? How does elastic collision allow three-time Olympic hockey player Julie Chu to convert a game-winning slapshot? How do Newton’s Three Laws of Motion propel short track speed skater J.R. Celski to the finish line?…Read More