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AAAS/SSE STEM volunteer program thriving at 10-year mark

Attendance at this year's AAAS/SSE STEM Volunteer Program Annual Meeting impressed even its most ardent supporters. About 80 people turned up to listen to Heidi Schweingruber, deputy director the National Research Council's (NRC) Board on Science Education, talk about a two-year study and report published by a combined NAE (National Academy of Engineering)/NRC Committee, entitled "STEM Integration in K-12 Education." Her presentation was followed by a panel of five STEM volunteers and their teachers talking about their collaborations in the classroom. These five partnerships were a small representation of the 115-strong AAAS/SSE STEM volunteer team who are supporting teachers in the City of Falls Church, Va., and in four counties in the Washington, D.C.-metro area.

This is the 10th anniversary of the program, which was founded back in 2004 by Don Rea, the AAAS/SSE program leader, Dave Weiss, and Dave Richman, who are still actively involved in the program.

Select a video to watch from the meeting:

Annual meeting welcome and introduction featuring Don Rea, the AAAS/SSE program leader, and Betty Calinger of AAAS's Education and Human Resources, who discuss the AAAS National STEM Volunteer Program (NSVP), a new initiative designed to give AAAS members the opportunity to join with nonprofit organizations in their communities to enhance STEM education for local K-12 students. Funded by a generous gift from a lifetime AAAS member and fellow, the AAAS has awarded seven seed grants to develop and implement programs that will partner STEM professionals with K-12 educators in their area. Watch

Keynote address by Heidi Schweingruber, deputy director of he National Research Council's (NRC) Board on Science Education, with an introduction by Shirley Malcom, director of Education and Human Resources at AAAS. Schweingruber's presentation focused on the benefits, but also the challenges, of trying to integrate STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math) into the existing educational system, which focuses on teaching individual subjects but does little to connect them together. Watch

A a panel of five STEM volunteers and their teachers discuss collaborations in the classroom. The partnerships represented two elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools in Fairfax, Arlington, and Montgomery Counties. A variety of educational disciplines and teaching strategies outlined in the NAE/NRC report awee discussed, including problem-based learning, Project Lead The Way, applications of knowledge in real-world environments, and active engagement of students in scientifically meaningful tasks. Each pair talked about their classroom activities on a diverse range of subject matter, including environmental issues, marine science, engineering design processes, and industrial chemistry. Watch

-- AAAS/SSE Program Leader Don Rea contributed to this post.

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