Beyond Middle School: Bringing Mi-STAR to the ESA


Sept. 19, 2017 4:10 pm

by Tony Matthys, Mi-STAR curriculum developer A few weeks before the Ecological Society of America (ESA) 2017 Annual Meeting in August, I wasn't sure I'd be going. Along with Mi-STAR teacher Kendall Grazul, I was scheduled to lead a couple of workshops, but frankly, I was worried. Sign-ups for our workshops were trickling in, and... - Read more


Mi-STAR Teacher Cited by CNN


July 31, 2017 4:15 pm

CNN tapped Mi-STAR teacher Chris Geerer for its June 14 article "Climate Change in Schools Where It's Fake News." While many teachers receive little education in climate change, Geerer, who teaches science at Parcells Middle School in Grosse Pointe Woods, noted that she had been able to take a professional development course on the subject... - Read more


Mi-STAR Gains State, National Recognition for Excellence


July 28, 2017 7:28 pm

Mi-STAR has been recognized as a strategic STEM education program that promises to ensure a good return on investment. Governor Rick Snyder's MiSTEM Advisory Council, made up of business, education and philanthropy leaders, partnered with Change the Equation to identify programs that meet "rigorous design principles for effectiveness" and will improve STEM education in Michigan.... - Read more


Updated Mi-STAR Website to Give Teachers Access to New Curriculum


July 20, 2017 3:30 pm

Welcome to the new Mi-STAR website (http://mi-star.mtu.edu/)! We hope our visitors will find it more useful and easier to navigate than our old site. But, the big news is that we now have a custom curriculum portal that will provide teachers online access to the Mi-STAR curriculum! In mid August, we will have six units... - Read more


Preview of New M-STEP Science Test Reveals a Good Fit with Mi-STAR


June 21, 2017 2:38 pm

From all reports, Michigan middle schoolers and their science teachers are enthusiastic about Mi-STAR. Not only are the units fun and interesting, but the students also emerge with a deep understanding of the subject matter. But how well will Mi-STAR prepare students for the upcoming NGSS-aligned standardized tests, which serve as yardsticks, not only of... - Read more


Breaking Barriers for All Students


May 25, 2017 6:43 pm

When Carman Kessler had a chance to pilot a Mi-STAR unit, she hoped for good results. What she got was a transformation. "I've never seen anything like this," she said. Kessler, who teaches science at Northeast Middle School in Midland, recently completed the eighth-grade unit on natural hazards. She works with both general education students... - Read more


Keeping It Local: Engaging Students with a Michigan-Centric Unit Challenge


May 25, 2017 4:08 pm

By Jayme Swanson, sixth grade teacher, Northeast Middle School, Midland Five or six years ago, my science department decided we needed to redo our curriculum, and we did. We created a lot of good hands-on lessons, and when I tell other teachers that I haven't used textbooks for four or five years, some of them... - Read more


Teachers Represent Mi-STAR at National Science Education Conference


May 5, 2017 5:07 pm

Teachers Dawn Kahler, of Kalamazoo Public Schools, and Robin Allen, of Midland Public Schools, presented on behalf of Mi-STAR at the 2017 National Conference of the National Science Teachers Association, held March 29-April 2, 2017 in Los Angeles. The conference attracts educators from around the country who want to stay on the cutting edge of... - Read more


Mi-STAR Teacher Honored for Teaching Excellence


Jan. 27, 2017 6:43 pm

Dawn Kahler, a key contributor to the Michigan Science Teaching and Assessment Reform Project (Mi-STAR) has received a Catalyst Education Award for exceptional teaching. Kahler teaches eighth grade science at Milwood Magnet School for Math, Science and Technology. She joined the Kalamazoo Public Schools in 1993, first teaching fifth and sixth grade and then, in... - Read more


Teaching Engineering and Teamwork to Sixth Graders with a Simple Hands-on Exercise


Jan. 25, 2017 3:52 pm

Watching a video of the ill-fated Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsing in high winds might seem like a bang-up way to teach fundamental engineering concepts to sixth graders. That's why curriculum developers used it to introduce key engineering concepts in the first unit of the Mi-STAR middle school curriculum. Sixth grade teachers had some concerns, however.... - Read more


Updated Mi-STAR Academy Included in Free NGSS Workshops for Michigan Science Teachers


Jan. 12, 2017 3:51 pm

Science teachers from across Michigan can now enroll in an updated version of the online Michigan Science Teaching and Assessment Reform (Mi-STAR) Academy. The academy is a self-paced, online course that helps teachers deepen their understanding of the new Michigan Science Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. Modules address topics such as the structure of... - Read more


A Model for Bundling and Sequencing the 59 Middle School Performance Expectations of NGSS


Dec. 23, 2016 2:01 pm

There are 26 bones in the human foot, all of them critical, but unless they are connected properly, you aren't going to walk very far. The same is true of the Next Generation Science Standards' performance expectations, only there are nearly five dozen of them for grades 6 - 8 alone. That's why the educational community is... - Read more


How I Learned to Engage Fourth-Graders with a Simple Anchoring Phenomenon


Nov. 16, 2016 4:52 pm

Back in October, I was roped in to holding an activity station for the Lake Superior Water Festival on the Michigan Tech campus. The organizer, Joan Chadde, managed to convince me that I could do something with kids regarding water consumption and product life cycles, but frankly, I had my doubts. I put off thinking... - Read more


Getting Their Feet Wet: Sixth Graders Learn About the Water Cycle in Mi-STAR Pilot


Nov. 7, 2016 5:34 pm

Imagine you are 11 years old. Now imagine you are called upon to develop a management strategy for a once well-behaved river that's started flooding in spring and drying up in summer. In a half dozen sixth-grade classrooms across Michigan, students are doing just that. They are the first cohort to pilot the first unit... - Read more

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