News & Events

 Dr. Jim Mead with English Bulldog Skull

NSF GK-12 "Science First!" Grant Provides Replica Skulls
On Wednesday, May 7, 2014, Dr. Jim Mead, Professor and Chair of the Department of Geosciences at ETSU, presented North Side Elementary School with a collection of skulls purchased through the NSF GK-12 "Science First!" grant. His presentation focused on "change" and how the skulls can be applied to lessons related to change in our environment, to animals, and to genetically engineered changes created by scientists today. The collection includes: American Beaver, Giant Beaver, English Bulldog, German Shepherd, Wolf, and a Mastodon and Mammoth Tooth.  Co-PI of the "Science First!" grant, Valerie Orfield, will house the collection in the school's Science Lab.



Congratulations to graduate fellow, Larry Bowman, Jr, for being selected as the recipient of the School of Graduate Studies and ETSU Graduate Council Service Projects that Enhance the Public Good Award for 2014!  He will be presented the award on Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 3:00pm during the Graduate School Awards in the D.P. Culp Center.  He was nominated by Co-PI of the "Science First!" grant, Dr. Aimee Govett, for his creation and dissemination of the TNCSSE-NGSS Guidemaps for elementary, middle grades, and secondary education.


Congratulations to Tony Rodriguez, second year mathematics graduate fellow, on the successful defense of his thesis: "Very Cost Effective Domination in Graphs" on Thursday, March 27, 2014!


Congratulations to biology fellow, Larry Bowman, Jr., on the successful defense of his thesis: "Investigating the Inter-and Intra-Population Variability Across the Transcriptome of Lake Baikal's Endemic Copepod" on Wednesday, March 26, 2014!



TNCSSE-NGSS Guidemaps:  An Outcome of NSF GK-12 "Science First!"
We are showcasing a series of posters showing correlations between the current Tennessee Department of Education Curriculum Standards in Science Education (TNCSSE) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), created by Mr. Larry Bowman, Jr., NSF Graduate Fellow in K-12 Education (GK-12 Fellow). This product is an outcome of Science First!, a grant funded through the National Science Foundation Division of Graduate Education; (Grant Number DGE-0742364; P.I. Dr. Gordon Anderson). This NSF GK-12 Science First Graduate Fellowship Program is supported by East Tennessee State University in partnership with North Side School of Math, Science, and Technology, a high need and racially/ethnically diverse school. The outcome included GK-12 Fellows in Mathematics, Biology, and Chemistry and K-5 teachers collaborating on developing an integrated curriculum using mathematics and science as a connecting thread. 

The sequence of 18 posters serves as a series of guidemaps between the TNCSSE for grade levels kindergarten through high school and the corresponding NGSS. The guidemaps are a more effective way to correlate standards than perusing through either state or NGSS's websites. Educators can use the guidemaps as a way to adapt their current and past lesson plans to NGSS standards by easily visualizing inclusions and exclusions between the two sets.  Access the TNCSSE-NGSS Guidemaps:  Elementary, Middle Grades, Secondary




Guidemaps Presented at STEM Hub Meeting

GK-12 Graduate Fellow Presents at STEM Hub Advisory Council Meeting
At the February 19, 2014 meeting of the ETSU Northeast Tennessee STEM Hub Advisory Council meeting, Larry Bowman, Jr., NSF GK-12 "Science First!" Graduate Fellow, presented the series of guidemaps he created to map the current Tennessee State Science Standards to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for elementary, middle, and high school. The visual mapping process began as a way for him to convert the elementary science curriculum developed by the graduate students and teachers involved with the NSF GK-12 grant to the NGSS.  


TN Science Standards - NGSS Articles Submitted for Review
Mr. Bowman and Dr. Aimee Govett, Co-PI of the ETSU NSF GK-12 "Science First!" grant, have written a series of articles addressing the strengths of implementing the NGSS throughout the K-12 curriculum. The first article focused on the high school biology guidemap, created by Mr.  Bowman, and correlations between the standards. An abstract from the the article can be found at  The second article focused on possible changes to the Tennessee middle grades science curriculum according to NGSS.  An abstract from the article can be found at  A third article related to NGSS at the elementary level is underway.


NGSS Guidemaps Noted in NSELA Newsletter
The February 2014 edition of the National Science Education Leadership Association (NSELA) "Navigator Newsletter" shared a link and information about the NGSS guidemaps created by graduate fellow, Larry Bowman, Jr. The visual maps were created by Mr. Bowman as a way to reference the Tennessee State Science Standards and relate them to the NGSS, a necessary step in his work converting the grant's On-line Resource Center (ORC) resources to the grant's final, published version of the ORC.

GK-12 Co-PI, Teachers, and Former Graduate Fellow Present at TN STEM Education Research Conference
On February 6-7, 2014, Dr. Sharon Pickering, Co-PI of the NSF GK-12 "Science First!" grant traveled to Murfreesboro, TN along with North Side Elementary Teachers, Yecenia Cigarroa, Nancy McDonald, and Reneé Wood to join former GK-12 graduate fellow, Elizabeth Schmitt Linville, in presenting at the Tennessee STEM Education Research Conference. Their presentation focused on "STEM Partnerships: The Barriers and Successes of Implementing a National Science Foundation Grant at Once Elementary School." Dr. Pickering provided research from her dissertation on the subject while the teachers and graduate fellow shared their experiences with the project.


GK-12 Graduate Fellows Present at the "Symposium on Effective Implementation of Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards"
Graduate fellows, Tony Rodriguez and Larry Bowman, Jr., presented at a symposium held at ETSU on Saturday, December 7, 2013 which focused on the implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Tony spoke about his experience with third grade classes and partnering teachers as they worked to integrate CCSS and hands-on activities into the curriculum at North Side Elementary School.  Larry Bowman, Jr. presented on his creation of the K-12th grade visual maps which correlate the TN State Science Standards to the Next Generation Science Standards.  These maps were needed for the new version of the on-line resources center which the graduate fellows are working to finalize.


NSF GK-12 "Science First!" Team Present at the Tennessee State Science Teachers Association Meeting
Graduate fellows, Larry Bowman, Jr. and Tony Rodriguez, along with Co-PI, Dr. Aimee Govett, presented "Science First! Adapting Painlessly to NGSS" at the annual Tennessee Science Teachers Association meeting in Murfreesboro, TN held November 7-9, 2013. The graduate fellows showcased their work in compiling the resources developed over the last five years of the NSF GK-12 "Science First!" grant into a new, on-line format linked to Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. Additionally, Larry Bowman, Jr shared the K-12th grade visual maps he created which compare the TN State Science Standards to the Next Generation Science Standards. TSTA program  


GK-12 to Co-Host the "Symposium on Effective Implementation of Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards" – December 7, 2013
The NSF GK-12 "Science First!" grant is pleased to co-host the "Symposium on Effective Implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)" with the Center of Excellence for Mathematics and Science Education. The symposium will be held on Saturday, December 7, 2013 from 8:30am to 3:30pm in the Culp Center Forum at ETSU. Pre-registration is required by Monday, November 25, 2013 by emailing Allison Smith at or calling 439-8344. All K-12 teachers and others interested in CCSS and NGSS are invited to attend.


GK-12 Leadership Team Contributes to Partnership Publication
The Power of Partnerships: A Guide from the NSF Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) Program
was released by the AAAS in July 2013. For the writing of this publication, best practices and experiences from the Science First! grant program were shared by Dr. Gordon Anderson (PI), Dr. Anant Godbole (Co-PI), Dr. Aimee Govett (Co-PI), and Allison Smith (Project Manger). The publication will serve to provide effective practices for anyone seeking to create a project that partners STEM graduate students with K-12 teachers. A PDF of the publication can be downloaded by visiting  The partnership formation between ETSU and North Side Elementary school, known as the Science First! grant, is featured on page 25 of the publication.


"Science First!" Participants Attend Final Meeting
Current and former GK-12 graduate fellows, teachers, and professors of the grant's content enrichment courses joined the GK-12 leadership team for the final meeting of the "Science First!" grant. The meeting was held at the ETSU and General Shale Brick Natural History Museum in Gray, TN on Sunday, May 19, 2013. First year fellows, Grant Boardman and Hamilton Scott traveled from Lincoln, NE and Moultrie, GA respectively. Former fellows, Elizabeth Schmitt Linville, Brent Linville, and Elizabeth Harris Stills were also in attendance. Thank you to museum staff members, Jennifer Barber and April Nye, for their help in coordinating the event!

Science First! Participants May 2013 Meeting

Pictured above: 
(front row) Larry Bowman, Jr., Tony Rodriguez, Daniel Ressler, Elizabeth Schmitt Linville, Brent Linville, Allison Smith, Elizabeth Harris Stills
(middle row) Hamilton Scott, Dr. Grant Boardman, Dean Gordon Anderson, Dr. Aimee Govett, Dr. Sharon Pickering, Heather Lawson, Dr. Peter Zhao, Valerie Orfield, Nancy McDonald, Peggy Crumwell
(back row) Dr. Gary Henson, Dr. Robert Price




Graduate Fellows Participate in Zipline Teambuilding
Graduate fellows, Larry Bowman, Jr.,Jim Phillips, and Tony Rodriguez, joined Dr. Aimee Govett, Co-PI, and Allison Smith, Project Manager, on a zipline teambuilding outing at Hawksnest, Seven Devils, NC on Saturday, April 27, 2013.  The group enjoyed observing the physics involved in the activity and the beauty of the mountain setting. 

Zipline Teambuilding Tony Zipline
Dr. Govett Ziplining Dr. Govett with Larry and Jim



North Side Elementary School Adds to the Outdoor Classroom Experience
Several new additions have been made to the outdoor classroom during the 2012-2013 school year.  Musical instruments and more seating have been placed in the classroom as it continues to evolve and enrich student learning.

Outdoor classroom benches Anant on drums
Sharon playing instrument Additional bench seating


Congratulations to Ofosuhene Osei, 4th grade mathematics graduate fellow, on the successful defense of his thesis:  "Level Crossing Times in Mathematical Finance" on Friday, March 31, 2013!


GK-12 Graduate Fellows Assist with North Side Elementary's Science Fair and Science Night
North Side Elementary held its annual Science Fair on Tuesday, March 26th. Graduate fellows, Megan Pogemiller, Jim Phillips, Larry Bowman, Tabitha McCoy, Ofosuhene Osei, and Daniel Ressler, served as judges for the event.  Graduate fellows had assisted students with project development during two after-school sessions.  Projects were on display for the school's Science Night held later that evening. Graduate fellows assisted teachers in leading activities related to optics, genetics, and sound during Science Night.

Megan Judging Science Fair Larry working with a parent at Science Night



Congratulations to mathematics fellow, Clayton Walvoort, on the successful defense of his thesis: "Peg Solitaire on Trees with Diameter Four" on Tuesday, March 26, 2013!


On-Line Resource Center (ORC) Work Sessions Conclude
Graduate fellows and partnering teachers wrapped up their final On-line Resource Center (ORC) work session on Thursday, March 21, 2013. During the 2012-2013 school year, participating teachers were instructed to develop two ORC postings to include an interesting PowerPoint and engaging activities and resources related to topics of their choosing. Graduate fellows served as facilitators throughout the creative and technical process.



GK-12 Graduate Fellows and Teachers Present at Conference
GK-12 fellows and teachers traveled to Boston, MA to attend the International Teacher-Scientist Partnership Conference held February 12-15, 2013. (ITSP Conference agenda) GK-12 Fellows, Larry Bowman, Jr., Tabitha McCoy, and Clayton Walvoort along with their partnering teachers, Nancy McDonald, Marcia Pearson, and Reneé Wood, presented on the benefits of partnerships in the session, "Why Partnerships? Learn about Different Partnership Models and Their Benefits."  Sharon Pickering, "Science First!" Co-PI and Principal of North Side Elementary School, provided the presentations' opening remarks.  (ITSP Presentation 2013)

The conference concluded with the fellows presenting their poster "Bringing Research into the Classroom at North Side Elementary School." Poster presenters included GK-12 fellows: Larry Bowman, Jr., Tabitha McCoy, Daniel Ressler, and Clayton Walvoort along with North Side teachers, Yecenia Cigarroa and Valerie Orfield/Co-PI. (ITSP Poster 2013)


Workshop Series for Participating Teachers
A series of one-day workshops for participating teachers is underway for the final year of the GK-12 Science First! grant. Teachers can choose to participate in workshops related to Biology, Astronomy, and Paleontology. Dr. Thomas C. Jones, Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, conducted a workshop related to his research on social spiders on Saturday, September 8, 2012. Teachers had the opportunity to collect and study these spiders through a canoe trip on the lake at Warriors Path State Park. Dr. Jones also instructed the group on how to conduct long-term studies with their students on the growth of trees. On Saturday, November 17, 2012, Dr. Gary Henson, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, will conduct a workshop covering the topics of: forces and motion, waves and energy, and the Earth, moon, and sun. Part of this workshop will take place in ETSU's Planetarium located in Hutcheson Hall. The final workshop in the series will take place in February 2013 and will be conducted by Dr. Jim Mead, Chair and Professor, Department of Geosciences.


Congratulations to mathematics graduate fellow, Tabitha McCoy, on the successful defense of her thesis:  "Cost Effective Domination in Graphs" on Friday, October 5, 2012!

Science First! Summer Institute Held
The 2012 Summer Institute was held at North Side Elementary School on July 23-24, 2012 and offered the opportunity for graduate fellows and partnering teachers to collaborate on lessons, activities, and schedules for the year. Significant time was given to the On-Line Resource Center (ORC) which has been developed by the graduate fellows as they mapped their lessons and activities to standards for each grade level/related arts area. Returning fellows demonstrated how to access, edit, and upload to the ORC. Teachers were given time to collaborated by grade level and with their fellow(s) to develop a lesson and/or activities and post them on the ORC. The Institute concluded with a presentation from each group on what they had created. Click here for agenda

Final Cohort Begins
The NSF GK-12 Science First! Grant Program welcomed six, new graduate fellows into their final cohort on July 1, 2012. For the final year of the grant, Larry Bowman Jr., Tabitha McCoy, Ofosuhene Osei, James Phillips, Tony Rodriguez, and Clayton Walvoort have joined second-year, GK-12 fellows Megan Pogemiller and Daniel Ressler as they work to incorporate STEM activities into lessons at North Side Elementary School.


GK-12 Graduate Fellow and Co-PI Present at Conference in Scotland

GK-12 graduate fellow, Martha Liendo, and GK-12 Co-PI, Dr. Anant Godbole, attended the tenth annual conference on Permutation Patterns 2012 hosted by the Strathclyde Combinatorics Group and the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. Mrs. Liendo presented "Random Superpatterns" joint work with Dr. Godbole.  Dr. Godbole presented "Covering all n-permutations with (n+1)-permutations" joint work with Bill Kay (USC, Columbia), Taylor Allison (NC State), and Katie Hawley (Harvey Mudd).


Congratulations to Elizabeth Harris, second year mathematics graduate fellow, on the successful defense of her thesis:  "On Global Domination" on Wednesday, May 2, 2012!


Congratulations to Chris Sterling, second year mathematics graduate fellow, on the successful defense of his thesis:  "Liar's Domination in Grid Graphs" on Friday, March 23, 2012!


Congratulations to second year mathematics graduate fellow, Martha Liendo, on the successful defense of her thesis:  "Preferential Arrangement Containment in Strict Superpatterns" on Tuesday, March 20, 2012!


Highlights from the 2012 NSF Graduate STEM Fellow in K-12 Education GK-12 Conference

  • GK-12 Poster Presentation, Washington, DC - March 2012
  • GK-12 Conference Presenters, Washington, DC - March 2012
  • 4th Grade Teacher and Fellow Presenting at GK-12 Conference in Washington, DC
  • 5th Grade Teacher and Fellow Presenting at GK-12 Conference in Washington, DC
  • Graduate Fellow at GK-12 Poster Session, Washington, DC

Seven graduate fellows and two partnering teachers attended the 2012 GK-12 Conference in Washington, DC held March 16-18, 2012.  Graduate fellows Eric Lynch, Elizabeth Harris, and Meg Carr presented along with North Side Elementary School teachers Yecenia Cigarroa and Lynzie Haywood on the relationships established by the program and how these sustained relationships are essential to the integration of STEM knowledge into the curriculum.  "A Tale of Two Cultures:  Integrating Knowledge through Sustained Cooperation between Fellows and Teachers"

The graduate fellows worked together prior to the conference to prepare a poster representing the uniqueness of our program.  The poster, "Science First! Adventures in an Elementary School Classroom," presented how our fellows work with a single grade level throughout the school year to enhance the elementary school's curriculum with their mathematics and science expertise.  The graduate fellows' varied science and math oriented teaching experiences have improved their communication skills.  The partnering teachers have gained STEM focused lessons, activities, and tools, and increased STEM knowledge through informal interaction with the graduate fellows.  Consistent involvement has also resulted in the graduate fellows serving as important role models for the students at North Side and showing the students previously unforeseen opportunities regarding higher education and STEM areas.



Congratulations to Leigha King, second-year GK-12 fellow in Geosciences, on the successful defense of her thesis:  "Phylogeny of Panthera, including P. atrox, based on cranialmandibular characters" March 15, 2012!


Fellows and Partnering Teachers Prepare for Annual GK-12 Conference
Eight GK-12 fellows and two partnering teachers are preparing for the GK-12 conference in Washington, DC to be held March 16-18, 2012.   Presenting at this year’s conference are fellows:   Meg Carr, Elizabeth Harris, Eric Lynch, and Megan Pogemiller.   Partnering teachers Yecenia Cigarroa and Lynzie Haywood will assist with the presentation entitled “A Tale of Two Cultures: Integrating Knowledge through Sustained Cooperation between Fellows and Teachers.”   GK-12 fellows Martha Liendo, Daniel Ressler, Chris Sterling, and Lacey Vinson will present at the poster session.   All ten fellows, including Leigha King and Nathan Noll, have contributed photos and information to create the poster, “Consistent Collaboration in the Classroom at North Side Elementary” for this year’s conference.

GK-12 Fellows Present Science Fair Workshops  
During the month of February, the GK-12 fellows held afterschool workshops to promote and prepare the students at North Side for the 2012 Science Fair.   Children in grades 3-5 participated in the event where project ideas, design, and display were discussed.   The North Side Elementary Science Fair will be held Thursday, March 29, 2012.  

Applied Mathematics/Engineering Course Begins for Partnering Teachers
Thirteen teachers are participating in the course, “Mathematics and the Engineering Mindset:  A Course for K-12 Teachers,” taught by Dr. Anahita Ayasoufi, Adjunct Faculty, Department of Mathematics and Statistics.   The class will meet weekly during the Spring 2012 semester and focus on the essential steps in engineering optimization, methods for engineering cost reduction, elements of Design of Experiment (DOE), inverse problem solving, and the benefits of Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA).   The course will include hands-on projects and field trips to see these concepts and methods at work.   Teachers can relate these concepts to the curriculum standards for Embedded Inquiry and Embedded Technology/Engineering as they bring them back into their classrooms.

GK-12 Fellows Attend Diversity Presentation
On Tuesday, November 15, 2011, Ms. Shae Keane, from the ETSU Student Diversity Educators Program, shared stories and insights with the GK-12 fellows on how to truly embrace diversity in the classroom.   Click here for presentation.

2011 NSF GK-12 Summer Institute Held
The NSF GK-12 "Science First!" Summer Institute was held on July 25 – 27, 2011.   The workshop served as an opportunity for participating teachers and graduate fellows to get acquainted.    The workshop began with team-building exercises at the CPA/Basler Challenge Course.  This gave new and former grant participants the chance to build relationships and communicate in fun and effective ways.   Topics covered in the workshop included:  an overview of the On-Line Resource Center (ORC) that the graduate fellows have been building from their developed lessons, activities, and resources; a presentation on the evolution of our program by outside evaluator, Deb Hemler; presentations by the new graduate fellows explaining their research experiences; presentations by the mathematics graduate fellows on how they brought their graduate-level research into the classroom; presentations by the geoscience fellows on the use of the outdoor classroom; and grade-level planning sessions for participating teachers and their partnering graduate fellow(s).

The Summer Institute ended with an educational field trip to Linn Cove Viaduct and Linville Falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway.   “Park Ranger Amy” provided the history of the construction of the viaduct and a walking tour below the engineering masterpiece.   Dr. Jim Mead, Professor and Chair - ETSU Department of Geosciences who taught the teachers’ Spring 2011 Geology course, accompanied the group and provided an overview of the geologic history of the area.  Click here for 2011 Agenda.

Rafting Trip July 2011

On July 1, 2011, five new graduate fellows joined the five continuing graduate fellows from Cohort 3 to begin Cohort 4 of the NSF GK-12 "Science First!" program.   The graduate fellows spent the month of July getting to know each another over team building activities on the Watauga River and the Virginia Creeper Trail, through class presentations on the new fellows’ areas of research, and at an afternoon social at the home of Co-PI, Dr. Aimee Govett.   The fellows also teamed up in pairs to present a lesson to a K-5 class at the University School.   Graduate fellows communicated with their assigned teacher to select an appropriate topic for the presentation.   After the lessons, teachers offered constructive feedback which the fellows will use as they begin this new school year.

Also, as part of the fellows’ summer preparation, Dr. Pamela Mims, Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Development and Learning at ETSU, gave a presentation on behavior management to the group.   Click here for the presentation.

Outdoor Classroom Completed
The outdoor classroom opened for use during the 2010-2011 school year.  It includes a water feature, fossil dig pit, and areas for classroom instruction.  Teachers and fellows have begun to incorporate grade level standards into lessons for use in this outdoor learning environment.

Outdoor Classroom Pergola Outdoor Classroom Sundial
Outdoor Classroom Fossil Dig Pit Outdoor Classroom Water Feature
Outdoor Classroom Chalkboard Outdoor Classroom Instructional Area

GK-12 Fellows Assist with Science Fair
Science Fair 2011 Science Fair 2011

NSF GK-12 fellows took part in assisting with the annual Science Fair at North Side Elementary School on March 31, 2011.   Fellows assigned to grades PreK-2 helped classrooms prepare a group project for the fair.   Fellows also served as judges for the projects presented by students in grades 3-5.  Pictured above are two of the winners from the 2011 Science Fair.

Congratulations to Elizabeth Schmitt on the successful defense of her thesis:  "Analysis of the bone crushing behavior of the Dire wolf ( Canis dirus) using dental microwear texture analysis."

NSF GK-12 Fellows Attend Annual Meeting

Fellows at Poster Presentation GK-12 Conference 2011

The GK-12 team attended the NSF GK-12 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC on March 11-13, 2011.   During the conference, the eight GK-12 fellows presented a poster describing how they brought their research into the classroom at North Side Elementary School this year.  Pictured above:  Brent Linville, Elizabeth Schmitt, Chris Sterling.  GK-12 2011 Poster

Congratulations to Brent Linville on the successful defense of his thesis:  "A Biogeographic Analysis of the Socially Polyphenic Spider, Anelosimus studiosus, in East Tennessee"  March 4, 2011.

Co-PI, Dr. Aimee Govett, Presents at STEM Education Research Conference
STEM Education Research Conference

February 3-4, 2011

Hosted by:  TN Space Grant and Tennessee Math, Science, and Technology Education Center (TMSTEC) @ Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU)


"Bringing Graduate Level Research into a Title I Elementary School"

A collaboration between East Tennessee State University and North Side Elementary School of Math, Science and Technology (Johnson City Schools)


PI:          Gordon Anderson

Co-PIs:    Anant Godbole, Aimee Govett (ETSU)

                   Sharon Pickering, Valerie Orfield (NSE)

 Presenter: Aimee Lee Govett

Center of Mathematics and Science Education

Partnering Teachers Begin Paleontology Class
Seventeen partnering teachers from North Side Elementary School began a Paleontology class taught by Dr. Jim Mead of East Tennessee State University on Tuesday, January 18, 2011.   The class will meet weekly at the Gray Fossil Site and will introduce the elementary school teachers to vertebrate paleontology, select basic geological principles as they apply to the study of paleontology, provide hands-on experience with select vertebrate remains, and create a resource that can be used for future teaching of paleontology in an elementary school.  

Star Night Held at North Side Elementary School
North Side Elementary held its first “Star Night” on October 20, 2010 with the help of Chris Sterling, GK-12 graduate fellow,  and Dr. Aimee Govett, GK-12 “Science First!” Co-PI.   Over seventy North Side Elementary students and parents took advantage of this opportunity to gaze into space.   Telescopes were brought by the ETSU Astronomy Club who also helped with answering the questions of those who attended.

2010-2011 Year Begins for Science First! – NSF GK-12

Group photo from Saltville Trip 

Cohort 3, which includes seven new fellows, began an exciting year as the GK-12 Summer Institute got underway on July 28, 2010.   This provided the graduate fellows and partnering teachers from North Side Elementary School the opportunity to discuss previous years’ successes and opportunities for future improvement.   Also, central to the workshop was the fellows’ presentation of their research and how they could apply this research to the elementary school classroom environment.   The teachers remarked on how they enjoyed hearing about the fellows’ experiences and research.   Through the fellows’ presentations, which were delivered as if they were talking to their respective elementary ages, the teachers were able to provide helpful comments to aid the fellows with the coming year.   The workshop also provided an opportunity for the partnering teachers and fellows to collaborate on lesson plans and schedules for the upcoming year.  

The three-day GK-12 Summer Institute wrapped up on July 31, 2010, with a field trip to Saltville, VA, for both the teachers and the fellows.   This provided a first-hand experience for the teachers not only to see an actual fossil dig site, but also to participate in the excavation.   Beginning with a visit to the dig site and an explanation of the types of fossils found in the pit and the animals that existed during that time period, the day continued with a tour of Saltville’s Museum of the Middle Appalachians, lunch at the historic Madam Russell Memorial United Methodist Church, and the opportunity to get down in the pit to participate in the dig.   The experience will prove valuable to the teachers both in the classroom at North Side Elementary school, and also as they begin a paleontology class at ETSU in the spring of 2011.   Both the fellows and partnering teachers felt that the workshop and field trip were a great start to the new academic year!

Science First! GK-12 Fellows present poster at annual meeting
All nine of the 2008-9 GK-12 fellows attended the GK-12 annual meeting in Washington DC, March 27-29, 2009. Even though it was only the first year of the Science First! program, they presented a poster entitled "Science First! Communicating Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in the Elementary School Setting".

Outdoor Ecosystem Learning Classroom under construction
The buildings at North Side Elementary are configured in a rectangle leaving a middle nature area. We are constructing two major features within the nature area, a water feature and a fossil dig. The water feature is almost complete and the fossil dig is under construction. The water feature will be the focal point of the outdoor classroom, with indigenous rock and foliage being used to frame a waterfall and pond and bog area. The fossil dig area will be approximately 12 feet square and will contain casts of bones of animals found at the Gray Fossil Site, and now housed in the ETSU and General Shale Natural History Museum. Lessons are being developed on appropriate archaeological dig procedures. The entire outdoor classroom will be used to incorporate grade level standards lessons for students in science and mathematics.

Highlights from the GK-12 program:

2010 Summer Institute wraps up with a visit to Saltville, VA


National Science Foundation logo