Theme of the month

Theme of the Month

Join us each month as we focus on a topic of interest to STEM Teacher Leaders with a webinar panel, open discussion, resources and blog post. 

Discussion: How Science and Engineering Practices Enhance STEM Teaching and Further Teacher Leadership

In this facilitated discussion, we will explore how a deep dive (i.e. one semester) into a single science and engineering practice helps build the path from teacher to teacher leader. We invite your participation! (This discussion is now closed.)


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Arthur Eisenkraft

The "secret sauce"?

As we listen to each presentation – from elementary school, middle school and high school groups, we should try to discern the “special sauce” that made this semester such a positive and powerful PD experience for the teachers involved.

What is the secret sauce?

  • the collaboration – working with other teachers from neighboring school districts
  • the choice of a deep dive of 1 SEP over the course of a semester
  • the merging of a research article and the SEP in the chosen course of study?
  • the community (teachers with a common goal with the support of the DSC)
  • learning through lesson observation and reflection

Participants at the webinar shared additional "ingredients" that included:

Freedom to fail forward and "experiment" with new teaching strategies.

Engagement in student learning

Having the will to experiment without fear of failure.

a passion to improve as educators

Teacher choice, much like student choice, allows for more buy in and interest

Teacher enthusiasm and professionalism (the desire to be a better teacher)

I think the biggest thing like was mentioned is working with other teachers in a meaningful discussion because by having that discussion you can really reflect on the actions you have done in the class. In addition it is the added support and positive feedback from other teachers you get while you share your progress in the classroom which is needed to keep us going that we sometimes admin forget to do.


student engagement - student-centered learning.

Being in a group of people who treat teachers as professionals


Why are these attributes worthwhile?  Can these be extended to other professional development?  Which of these is also important for teacher leadership?

Mon, 11/15/2021 - 1:47 PM
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Wanda Bryant

Teacher Inquiry as secret sauce

Maria mentioned in her opening remarks about noticing a problem of practice-student ability to ask questions.  I had a similar experience, was recommended QFT (question formulation technique), tried it out and students improved with this SEP.  Reading about how to help students develop and use models using a gotta have it explanation list then implement the strategy with reflection made a positive difference in my teaching practice.  Encourage teachers to have a “What happens when I do ____? stance.

Sat, 11/20/2021 - 8:37 AM
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Erin Greenwood

Science Practices as a Tool for Equity

This webinar really helped me solidify my ideas around how Science and Engineering Practices can be a key to more equitable access to scientific thinking (Cross Cutting Concepts/Nature of Science) and scientific knowledge (Disciplinary Core Ideas). During the webinar, I mentioned a project I am working on (in my free time - haha) to design and compile K-8 (to start) rubrics (and look fors"/"gotta have it checklists) that show the progression of the Science and Engineering Practices. If anyone is interested in working with me, be in touch! :  

Mon, 12/06/2021 - 10:36 AM
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Arthur Eisenkraft

In reply to Science Practices as a Tool for Equity by Erin Greenwood

Science Practices as a Tool for Equity

This sounds like such an exciting project, Erin.  If I understand you correctly, you are creating a continuum that will show what is needed when first addressing a Science and Engineering Practice and then how further growth adds new components to student understanding of that SEP.  Students will spiral through the SEP over their K-8 years.  I hope some elementary teachers pick up on this.

Tue, 12/07/2021 - 1:48 PM