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“Every child is a scientist.”

30 May

Brain Picking’s Maria Popova shares a great video featuring astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson musing on our intrinsic human interest and curiosity in science and creativity:

 

Nazareth has equipped thousands of local professionals to build their lives here in Rochester, N.Y., and beyond. Many of our alumni stay in the greater Rochester region–and for nearly a century, we’ve helped keep the region culturally rich, intellectually curious, physically healthy.

Now, an exciting new space is taking shape on campus—the Integrated Center for Math and Science, opening in fall 2012. Here, a new generation of teachers, physicians, scientists, veterinarians, and environmentalists will help our graduates and the community soar into the future.

 

Save the date for the grand opening of the Integrated Center for Math and Science on Thursday, September 27, 2012.

The day’s events are still being finalized, but please mark your calendars and join us in celebrating this major milestone for the College.

White House Science Fair Plus More Support for Math & Science Teachers

8 Feb

President Obama | From AP | Photo By Charles Dharapak

Since beginning his term, U.S. President Barack Obama has championed support for math and science educators, as well as the students who will one day apply what they’ve learned to create future positive change. At yesterday’s second annual White House Science Fair, the president reiterated “the importance he places on innovation, science, and education — which will be reflected in his budget to be unveiled next week,” reports AFP.com. In addition, the president announced the following:

Let’s train more teachers. Let’s get more kids studying these subjects. Let’s make sure these fields get the respect and attention that they deserve.

But it’s not just a government effort. I’m happy to say that the private sector has answered that call as well. They understand how important it is to their future. So today, led by the Carnegie Corporation, a group of businesses and foundations is announcing a $22 million fund to help train 100,000 new science and math teachers. A coalition of more than 100 CEOs is expanding innovative math and science programs to 130 sites across the country. And other companies are partnering—everybody from Will.i.am to Dean Kamen—to make sure we celebrate young scientists and inventors and engineers, not just at the White House, but in every city and every town all across America.

And many of these leaders are here today, and I want to thank them for doing their part. We’re going to do everything we can to partner to help you succeed in your projects. And I’m proud to announce that the budget I unveil next week will include programs to help prepare new math and science teachers, and to meet an ambitious goal, which is 1 million more American graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math over the next 10 years. That is a goal we can achieve.

Video of the president at the White House Science Fair is available here.

Nazareth College is also doing its part to help achieve this ambitious goal. The College offers teachers-to-be creative and innovative educational degrees in its School of Education, such as the Tech2Teach program, a collaborative agreement between Nazareth and the Rochester Institute of Technology. The program offers RIT undergraduates interested in teaching the chance to earn a Master of Science in Education and teacher certification.

Meanwhile, Nazareth’s College of Arts and Sciences provides a liberal arts and sciences foundation that promotes flexible, integrated, and critical thinking skills across the disciplines.

And seven months from now, Nazareth College students will begin studying and learning in the LEED-certified, state-of-the-art Integrated Center for Math and Science. These graduates will go on to be the future educators, healers, researchers, artists, businesspeople, successful professionals and engaged citizens for this region and beyond.

Ground-Breaking New Program Promotes Physical Fitness and Learning

11 Jan

Math and Movement is a ground-breaking new educational program that combines physical fitness with learning and practicing math, reading, and other concepts.

Image from mathandmovement.com

The Nazareth College School of Education Teacher Leader Quality Partnerships (TLQP) Program will host a training and demonstration of the Math and Movement program on Wednesday, January 11 from 1 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. at the Children’s School of Rochester, School Number 15 (494 Averill Ave, Rochester, N.Y.). Nazareth’s School of Education continually champions innovative and creative methods of teaching and learning, and these workshops will train the teachers in movement-based learning strategies which will give their students the opportunity to hop, skip, and jump to the answer. Children from the city school district are taking part in the demonstration to show parents and teachers how moving can be great for learning.

Eight out of ten children are kinesthetic learners (learn best through movement.) The program harnesses children’s natural kinesthetic learning style to foster positive feelings towards learning. The Math and Movement program is based on research that shows that moving during learning facilitates muscle memory, an important factor with younger children whose abstract thinking skills are not fully developed.

One parent of a boy who participated in the program was surprised at how quickly he learned multiplication. She says her son “is definitely more confident about his math ability and this confidence has carried over into the second grade.”

At a time when there are 12 million obese children, physical fitness has become a matter of national urgency. As U.S. Senator Chris Dobb has said, “All of us—parents, schools, government, employers—need to see the rising childhood obesity rates for what they are: a medical emergency.”  Math and Movement promotes physical activity while simultaneously increasing learning.  The end result: physically fit children and increased test scores.

From Slate: How to Fix Math Education in High Schools and Colleges

11 Nov

For Slate, Torie Bosch reports:

One of the primary problems with math education today, according to Arthur T. Benjamin, is that the sequence of courses leads students in the wrong direction. “For the last 200 years, the mathematics that we’ve learned starts with arithmetic and algebra, and everything we do after that is taking us toward one subject, calculus. I think that is the wrong mathematical goal for 90 percent of our students,” he says. “We’re now living in an age of information and data, and the mathematics that will be most relevant to our daily lives is probability and statistics.” Only some professions require calculus. Everyone reads—and many misunderstand—media reports about health, science, and the environment that contain statistics. Better literacy in probability and stats would benefit everyone.

Nazareth’s mathematics program de-emphasizes rote learning and instead encourages the integration of numerical, graphical, and symbolic approaches to problem solving.  Mathematics is more than a collection of recipes for solving equations; in fact, there often may be multiple correct answers to complex problems. The key is to teach Nazareth students critical thinking, which they will then use and apply in their future careers, whether as mathematicians, math educators, or any other profession involving the mastery of math skills.

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of a Nazareth education, many non-math majors take mathematics courses during their time at the College. The new Integrated Center for Math and Science will further enhance Nazareth’s ability to provide a challenging math education for math majors and non-majors alike. And for all students, the math department offers the Elliot Mathematics Center, a space dedicated to free peer-tutoring service for students having difficulty with mathematical skills.

For more information about–and current news from–Nazareth’s department of mathematics, visit naz.edu/math/student-news-events

From the New York Times: The Challenge of Retaining and Graduating STEM Majors

4 Nov

As reported by Christopher Drew for the New York Times:

The president and industry groups have called on colleges to graduate 10,000 more engineers a year and 100,000 new teachers with majors in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math. […] And there are encouraging signs, with surveys showing the number of college freshmen interested in majoring in a STEM field on the rise. […] But, it turns out, middle and high school students are having most of the fun, building their erector sets and dropping eggs into water to test the first law of motion. The excitement quickly fades as students … in college wade through a blizzard of calculus, physics and chemistry in lecture halls with hundreds of other students. And then many wash out.

Drew queries how the U.S. will remain competitive and innovative when American students are falling behind their international counterparts in STEM fields. Meanwhile, the big question for educators at colleges and universities is “how to keep the momentum being built in the lower grades from dissipating once the students get to college.”

Drew highlights some possible solutions for educators:

  • Use more interactive teaching techniques. Research confirmed in the 1990s that students learn more by grappling with open-ended problems, like creating a computer game or designing an alternative energy system, than listening to lectures.
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute, in Massachusetts, updated its curriculum in the 1970s to make room for extensive research, design and social-service projects by juniors and seniors, including many conducted on trips with professors overseas.
  • Enable students to work closely with faculty members, build confidence and promote teamwork. Studies have shown that women, in particular, want to see their schoolwork is connected to helping people, and the projects help them feel more comfortable in STEM fields, where men far outnumber women everywhere except in biology.

Nazareth undergraduate students work closely with faculty on undergraduate research projects.

Nazareth has long been committed to many of these practices. For example, many biology, chemistry, and biochemistry students collaborate with faculty on undergraduate research projects–some even as early as their first semester. With a student-faculty ratio of 14 to 1, Nazareth students receive individual attention from faculty members who encourage them to pursue their interests while also applying their research to real-life problems. For example, current chemistry students are conducting research projects involving alternative fuels, the chemistry of wine, and molecular design at the interface of biology, chemistry, and medicine. Nazareth’s math program also focuses on problem solving. Nazareth students regularly compete in (and have won) the COMAP Mathematical Contest in Modeling, an international competition in which students spend a long weekend applying mathematics to the solution of a real-world problem.

And with the opening of the state-of-the-art Integrated Center for Math and Science in fall 2012, the College will continue to enable and improve collaboration between students and faculty as well as prepare the next generation of students to teach, heal, discover, and transform the Rochester region and beyond.

From AP: Students show growth in math on national test

1 Nov

The Associated Press reports that the latest test scores “show the nation’s fourth- and eighth-graders are doing the best ever in math, but schools still have a long way to go to get everyone on grade level. […] In math, 40 percent of the fourth-graders and 35 percent of the eighth-graders had reached [proficiency].” The New York Times also picked up on the story, noting that although math skills have improved, reading scores continue to lag.

The nationwide need for innovative and creative teachers persists. In response, Nazareth’s School of Education has in place numerous partnerships and collaborations that directly benefit K–12 students in underserved areas, including the Rochester City School District. And beginning in fall 2012, the College’s Integrated Center for Math and Science will help the College better prepare and educate the future teachers in this region and beyond.

President Braveman Reflects on the Need for Science and Math Graduates

31 Oct

Nazareth College President Daan Braveman’s thoughts on the national need for more math and science graduates: 

I read with interest a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education titled, “High Demand for Science Graduates Enables Them to Pick Their Jobs, Report Says.” The article discussed a recent study, which revealed that graduates who major in science are in high demand in a variety of jobs. It noted that graduates with a bachelor’s degree in a science major earn greater salaries than those with a master’s degree in non-science majors. Forty-seven percent of graduates with a bachelor’s degree in a science field earn more than even those with a doctorate in other fields.

Other studies have stressed the national need for more students who are trained in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. A few years ago, the National Academies of Sciences wrote a report called, “The Gathering Storm,” which found that the U.S. must produce more students interested in these fields in order to remain competitive in the global economy. It noted that innovation is the prerequisite for developing the new ideas that will produce jobs in the future. Such innovation requires more people trained in math and science. This, however, is where the crisis emerges. We, in the U.S., are falling behind other countries in producing individuals with skills in those fields.

Our new Integrated Center for Math and Science, which will open in fall of 2012, will be the finest facility in the region for preparing students in the fields of science and math. The center will include labs and classrooms with the latest equipment and technology. Another distinguishing feature of the center is the range of spaces that will enable us to expand opportunities for undergraduate students to work with faculty members on exciting  research projects. These projects will stress interdisciplinary and collaborative learning, allowing students to develop an appreciation for both the theoretical and the practical application of science and math.

Nazareth is pleased that it will take a leadership role in the region for offering precisely the kind of educational experiences needed to meet the national demand for students who are well prepared in science and math fields.

To read more from President Braveman on this and other topics, visit his blog.

From AP: Women making steady strides in science, math

24 Oct

As construction of Nazareth’s Integrated Center for Math and Science continues, the Associated Press takes a look at how a new generation of young women are helping to change the face of science, technology, engineering, and math.

Tech2Teach

21 Oct

The demand for high quality K–12 math and science educators is well documented with a projected shortfall of more than 280,000 math and science teachers across the United States by 2015. The Nazareth College School of Education and Rochester Institute of Technology offer a unique collaboration to help address this nation-wide teacher shortage: Tech2Teach. The partnership is designed to make it easier for RIT undergraduates to begin earning a Master of Science in education and teacher certification at Nazareth while they are still undergrads at RIT.

WXXI Features President Braveman Speaking on Math and Science & Community Impact

11 May