Energy Research Intrigues Iowa Teachers at Conference

The theme of the first joint conference between the Iowa Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) and Iowa Science Teaching Section of the Iowa Academy of Science (IAS-ISTS) was “Working Together” and Iowa NSF EPSCoR and our co-exhibitors took this goal seriously.  The conference was held at the Scheman Building of the Iowa State Center, Iowa State University on Oct. 22-23. 


Teachers pose with Superhero C6 cutouts at the ICTM IAS-ISTS conference.

Iowa Extension and Iowa NSF EPSCoR’s joint educational character, Superhero C6, and accompanying educational package delighted teachers.  A combined booth at the conference featured Iowa State’s Bioeconomy Institute, the Iowa Space Grant Consortium, the Center for Biorenewable Chemicals, Iowa NSF EPSCoR, and Iowa Extension

In addition to the Superhero C6 cutouts and iPad mini app, the Iowa NSF EPSCoR portion of the booth featured the Living with the Sun Video Curriculum that was developed by the Iowa NSF EPSCoR building science team to teach energy efficiency concepts for high school physics classes. 

Iowa NSF EPSCoR broader impacts team member Pat Higby also had a booth that featured materials used at the EPSCoR Energy Institutes, including model solar cars and wind turbines. “We also had our wind tunnel there, to demonstrate how to safely test student made turbine blades,” Higby said. “They sometimes come apart, and you want a way to keep the parts separated from eyes!”

[PHOTO] Shan He

Iowa NSF EPSCoR building science postdoc researcher Shan He (brown coat) discusses the Living with the Sun videos with a public school teacher at the ICTM IAS-ISTS conference.

Higby also gave three presentations related to energy.  The first provided a model that meets the requirements of the Next Generation Science Standards for energy and matter as crosscutting concepts, those that have application across all domains of science.  The second illustrated how data from the US Naval Observatory could be graphed to show the path of the sun across the sky and how the graphs could then be used as a guide to illustrate with a spotlight the real path of the sun.  The third presentation taught teachers to build pinwheels and compare how size, shape, and number of petals influenced performance.

Iowa NSF EPSCoR broader impacts team member and CBiRC Pre-College Education Director Adah Leshem was honored with a Friend of Science Education award for outstanding service and support for science education in Iowa by the Iowa Science Teachers Section of the Iowa Academy of Science.  She was recognized for her work in supporting teachers’ professional development during the Science Teachers’ Luncheon.

The ICTM IAS-ISTS Math Science Fall Conference 2013 featured math and science pedagogy presentations, panels, and roundtable discussions from pre-K, K-12, college teachers and other education professionals.