Most recent blog updates:

 

Choosing Mi-STAR


Oct. 30, 2018 1:38 pm

By Jaime Ratliff, middle school science teacher and co-department chair, Lapeer Community Schools When our district started transitioning to the Next Generation Science Standards, we knew right away how important it was to move forward with purpose. Our district supported all staff through NGSS training, but it gave us pause: how do we actually do... - Read more


Six New Mi-STAR Units Up and Running for Fall 2018


Sept. 27, 2018 2:57 pm

Mi-STAR has added six new units to its curriculum this fall, doubling the number of units available and completing the entire sixth-grade series. "We're so excited to be rolling out these new units," said Chris Wojick, Mi-STAR project director. "With the sixth grade complete, we're poised to provide Michigan's middle schools a full, NGSS-aligned curriculum... - Read more


The Chicken Dance Case: Mi-STAR Students Solve a Mystery


July 3, 2018 12:03 pm

A mysterious affliction hits a Michigan public school. Many of the teachers are inexplicably breaking out in show tunes and irritating 1980s novelty dances, and to cope with the crisis, the building is placed under quarantine. Enter the plague sleuths: students piloting Mi-STAR's Unit 6.2: Investigating and Modeling Body Systems. "They are looking for a... - Read more


Six New Mi-STAR Units Available for 2018-19


June 11, 2018 3:46 pm

Michigan middle-school science teachers can access six new, classroom-tested Mi-STAR units starting in September 2018, increasing the number of available units to 12. The new units complete Mi-STAR's sixth-grade curriculum and provide an additional seventh-grade offering. This sets the stage for next year's sixth graders to experience three years of Mi-STAR curriculum, since Mi-STAR expects to... - Read more


Michigan Tech's Mi-STAR kits to be supplied by Nasco


May 24, 2018 5:38 pm

Michigan Tech's Mi-STAR program recently signed an agreement with Nasco that will allow Nasco to prepare and sell kits for use with the Mi-STAR curriculum in middle school science classes. Mi-STAR's curriculum and its associated professional learning program were designed and developed in full alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the Michigan Science Standards. The curriculum... - Read more


From Seed to Harvest to Seed: Understanding the Cycle of Life


May 17, 2018 1:15 pm

If humans do establish a colony on Mars, the students of Mi-STAR will be ready to help solve the food problem. After all, if you can figure out the best way to grow cabbage in the Arizona desert, Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Antarctica and the International Space Station, you can probably figure out how to grow... - Read more


Closing the Achievement Gap: Mi-STAR Sending At-Risk Students to the Front of the Class


May 3, 2018 4:18 pm

Education is supposed to be the great equalizer, but too often it primarily "equalizes" the sons and daughters of the already successful. "The traditional setup of schoolwork does not always work for low-income kids," said Monica Wyrwicz, a veteran science teacher at Hart Middle School in Rochester Hills. "When everything was about memorization, a lot... - Read more


Midland Teachers Add Pizzazz to Mi-STAR with New Team-Building Exercises


Mar. 20, 2018 5:55 pm

Mi-STAR is getting kids all over the state enthused about science, and now a couple of Midland Public Schools science teachers are ratcheting up the excitement. Their team-building exercises quite literally have students begging for more. Robin Allen and Denise Bujalski work in adjoining classrooms at Northeast Middle School. When they began teaching Mi-STAR to... - Read more


"It Gets Easier": A Teacher's Notes from the Trenches


Feb. 15, 2018 1:30 pm

It gets easier. Even after two summers of writing with the MiSTAR team, I found my first pilot experience teaching a MiSTAR unit last year to be exhausting. My kids were thriving, and I was excited. It was science teaching like you've always known it's meant to be. And it was exhausting. Like first-year-teacher exhausting.... - Read more


Learn More about Mi-STAR at MSTA's Annual Conference March 2 - 3


Feb. 9, 2018 9:07 pm

Middle school educators will have a chance to learn more about Mi-STAR and pick up some ready-to-use lessons at the Michigan Science Teachers Association's annual conference, set for Friday and Saturday, March 2-3, in Lansing. On Saturday morning, Mi-STAR is holding an information session that will introduce its Professional Learning Program to those interested in... - Read more


Midland Daily News Features Mi-STAR


Jan. 25, 2018 7:26 pm

Mi-STAR was featured in a Jan. 17 article by Roger Bryant appearing in the Midland Daily News, "MPS Board Approves New STEM Curriculum." The MPS Board of Education approved following the Mi-STAR course sequence at both MPS middle schools. The article cites three Mi-STAR educators, Carmen Kessler, Jennifer Lenon and Robin Allen, who praised the... - Read more


Mi-STAR Pilot Testing Two New Units on Force, Motion and Energy Transfer


Jan. 17, 2018 3:58 pm

The Michigan Science Teaching and Assessment Reform project (Mi-STAR) designed six new units during the summer of 2017 and began piloting two of them this fall in Michigan classrooms. The sixth-grade unit, 6.4, introduces students to force and motion through the story of a boy who totals his cell phone. In unit 7.4, seventh graders... - Read more


Mi-STAR Launches First Wave of Trainers into Michigan Schools


Jan. 5, 2018 2:50 pm

The Mi-STAR staff have always known they wouldn't be able to provide one-on-one support to all the science teachers who want the new curriculum, which is based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). After all, there are over 600 middle schools in Michigan. Most teachers are unfamiliar with the NGSS approach to science education,... - Read more


Google Slides Give a Boost to Mi-STAR Unit on Michigan Ecosystems


Nov. 13, 2017 7:55 pm

While piloting the Mi-STAR unit on Michigan ecosystems last spring, Midland science teacher Denise Bujalski found a perfect opportunity to introduce her sixth graders to a powerful tool from Google. During the unit, teams of students are assigned to study one of several ecosystems that are threatened by an invasive species, including wetlands, dunes, urban... - Read more


Teachers Train to Bring Mi-STAR to the Classroom


Nov. 3, 2017 3:28 pm

Fifteen teachers from across Michigan's Upper Peninsula went back to school one day last month, gathering at the Copper Country Intermediate School District office in Hancock. When the final bell had figuratively rung, they piled into their cars and dispersed to districts scattered across hundreds of miles. In the coming months, these teachers from South... - Read more


Mi-STAR's Logo Redesigned with Core Mission in Mind


Oct. 27, 2017 5:01 pm

Recent visitors to Mi-STAR's website or social media accounts might notice something a little different about our logo. After looking at the old logo for a long time, the Mi-STAR team finally noticed a big problem: the logo illustrates what Mi-STAR is not, rather than what Mi-STAR is. Curriculum Development Coordinator Doug Oppliger explains: "The […] - Read more


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


Summer Workshops Put Mi-STAR on Track to Launch Six New Science Units This Year


Oct. 6, 2016 2:25 pm

Good news for middle-schools looking for a curriculum that meets the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS): the Mi-STAR (Michigan Science Teaching and Assessment Reform) team is on track to pilot six classroom-ready units in the 2016/2017 school year. Twenty-two teachers from 14 districts throughout the state worked with curriculum developers, scientists, and engineers this summer... - Read more


Summer Course For Teachers Aims to Fire Kids Up About Engineering


Sept. 14, 2016 2:01 pm

Firefighters and doctors, teachers and veterinarians. That's what children want to be when they grow up. Who ever heard a kid say they wanted to be an engineer? That's probably because most youngsters (and, sadly, most adults) don't actually know what an engineer does. And why should they? Nobody goes to the engineer's office for... - Read more


Maybe We Can Get Along: A More Civil Society with Argumentation


Aug. 8, 2016 5:18 pm

I don't remember my junior high science class as a temple of civilized discourse. I do remember my best friend, Jan, and I hurling our wittiest insults at the boy who sat right behind us. This did not seem to bother him. He gave as good as he got, and I hear he ended up... - Read more


A Curriculum by the Teachers, for the Teachers


Aug. 8, 2016 5:06 pm

One of my neighbors has a T-shirt that says, "Those who can, teach. Those who can't, pass laws about teaching." Lawmakers aren't the only ones who spend a lot of time telling teachers what to do. Plenty of people who haven't set foot in a classroom since high school feel qualified to share their opinions... - Read more


A Roadmap for Teachers, a Revolution in the Classroom


Aug. 8, 2016 4:15 pm

Back in the 1960s, I had an amazing seventh grade science teacher. He was so good that parts of my college biology class felt like reruns of what I learned in junior high. In looking back, however, it's clear I wasn't learning a lot about the process of discovery, which is the bone and blood... - Read more


Mi-STAR Modeling: Socratic Reasoning Meets Middle School Science


July 18, 2016 5:06 pm

Socrates would feel right a home here. True, we're not gathered on a grassy knoll probing the secrets of life; we're watching a video in a Michigan Tech classroom. Nevertheless, the eight science teachers at this June workshop are part of a new pedagogy that would seem familiar to the old philosopher. And they are... - Read more


Mi-STAR Trek: A Journey of Discovery for a Challenging Seventh-Grade Class


June 27, 2016 4:52 pm

This year, I was having a lot of trouble getting my students interested in their lessons, and I needed to adjust my teaching often to keep them moving forward. So, as I started our Mi-STAR pilot, I had some concerns. The unit was Building Materials: How We Use Our Natural Resources, and it focused on... - Read more


Insulation Inspiration


June 2, 2016 1:12 am

When I started teaching twenty years ago, I never imagined my middle school students would learn to make educated choices about building materials, but that's exactly what has happened with Mi-STAR. The unit "What's In Your Walls" encompasses much more than just information about a simple home improvement. Mi-STAR uses wall insulation to tie together... - Read more


Being the Bug: Mi-STAR Lessons Immerse Students in the Drama of Nature


May 17, 2016 3:36 pm

Kids-and some of us adults-love role play, from acting out their favorite Star Wars characters to The Incredible Hulk. But who among us ever wanted to be a mayfly? Well, as it turns out, being the mayfly can be pretty cool. If you are one of the teachers piloting the latest Mi-STAR science classes, you... - Read more


Thank you Mi-STAR Teachers!


May 4, 2016 3:18 pm

It's Teacher Appreciation Week, which is the perfect excuse for us at Mi-STAR to tell everyone about the amazing teachers who are helping to develop and pilot test the new Mi-STAR curricula. Their enthusiasm and heart for their work has been inspiring for us all. Over 50 teachers from 18 districts have been an integral part of... - Read more


"New Science for Researchers of Tomorrow"


Apr. 13, 2016 1:21 pm

Read about the origins, goals, and experiences of Mi-STAR in the recent article "New Science for Researchers of Tomorrow" (p.8-10, Research magazine Spring 2016). Teachers who have pilot tested Mi-STAR curriculum offer insights from their experiences. "I think it's going to be a great model for classrooms nationwide," says Robin Allen, a sixth-grade teacher at... - Read more


Bangor Township Middle School Students Give Two Thumbs Up to Science and Engineering


Apr. 5, 2016 2:02 pm

Ralph Waldo Emerson famously wrote that life is a journey, not a destination. You might think that's an adage for adults to ponder. But seventh graders at Christa McAuliffe Middle School (Bangor Township Schools) in Bay City, Michigan are discovering that-like life-science and engineering can be as much about the journey as the destination. Starting... - Read more


Michigan teachers explored NGSS and Mi-STAR units at MSTA conference


Mar. 25, 2016 6:51 pm

Michigan teachers explored NGSS and Mi-STAR units through three Mi-STAR sessions at the Michigan Science Teacher Association conference earlier this month: "Three-Dimensional Learning in Your Classroom: Applying NGSS through Michigan Themes," "Stability and Change in Michigan Ecosystems: An Example Mi-STAR Unit," and "What’s in Your Walls? Teaching Sustainability through NGSS." Through the sessions, participants gathered tools for... - Read more


Mi-STAR Global Climate Unit meets success with Michigan 8th graders


Mar. 2, 2016 9:35 am

Over the past year, the Mi-STAR team has been working to develop curriculum based on salient topics in science and aligned to the Michigan Science Standards. Michigan science teachers played a crucial role in the development and refinement of the units. A unit on Global Climate recently completed pilot testing in Kalamazoo and Houghton Michigan... - Read more


Mi-STAR team members will present at MSTA


Feb. 22, 2016 8:34 pm

Please join us at the Michigan Science Teachers Association Annual Conference! The conference takes place from March 3-5 in Lansing, MI. The Mi-STAR team is excited to be presenting the following sessions of interest to teachers, coaches, and administrators. Middle School Educators, the first three sessions are designed to support you in implementing the new... - Read more


Mi-STAR in the news


Feb. 15, 2016 9:57 pm

Through Mi-STAR, teachers make powerful contributions to education both in the classroom and out! An article, “Curriculum Development as Professional Development: Creating Teacher Leaders Through the Mi-STAR Initiative,” in the Winter 2016 newsletter of the Michigan Science Teachers Association (MSTA) highlights benefits of engaging science teachers in the process of curriculum development. Forty-nine teachers worked... - Read more


Welcome to the Mi-STAR blog!


Feb. 1, 2016 9:11 pm

The goal of this blog is to provide regular updates on Mi-STAR progress, and useful information at the leading edge of science education. We are excited for this journey of developing and implementing an integrated, problem-based curriculum with students and educators across Michigan at the dawn of the new Michigan Science Standards. We'd love to... - Read more


Mi-STAR presents at the Geophysical Information for Teachers (GIFT) workshop at the 2015 AGU Fall Meeting


Dec. 23, 2015 9:04 pm

The Mi-STAR project was one of a handful of proposals selected to deliver a 90-minute presentation to more than 50 teachers from around the United States at the annual Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco, CA. AGU partners with the National Earth Science Teachers' Association (NESTA) to sponsor a day-long workshop... - Read more


Michigan teachers pilot test three Mi-STAR units


Dec. 19, 2015 5:31 am

Teachers and students in five Michigan schools are currently pilot testing three Mi-STAR units. Each unit is NGSS-aligned and written around a challenge that ties lessons of the unit together. Through the challenge, students employ science and engineering practices to address real-world issues and opportunities. For example, in a 7th grade unit on resource sustainability,... - Read more


Mi-STAR Academy: Online PD for Michigan Science Standards


Dec. 5, 2015 2:07 am

Mi-STAR is approved by the Michigan Department of Education as a professional development provider through the State School Aid Act, Section 99s(5) "Professional Development (PD) Support for Teachers in STEM Instruction." The Mi-STAR Academy is a series of online modules that provide educators with the resources and skills to develop curriculum aligned with the newly-adopted... - Read more


ED5540: Teaching Science in Three Dimensions: The NGSS in Theory and Practice


Nov. 12, 2015 2:12 am

Online Graduate Course for Middle and High School Science Teachers: Spring 2016 Semester; Application and Online Instructions Michigan Technological University's Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences, in partnership with the Michigan Science Teaching and Assessment Reform (MI-STAR) project, will be offering an online graduate course during the Spring 2016 semester (January 11 to April 29). This course may be... - Read more


Michigan Board of Education voted to adopt the Michigan Science Standards


Nov. 10, 2015 8:25 pm

On Tuesday November 10, 2015 the Michigan Board of Education voted to adopt the Michigan Science Standards by a vote of 5 to 1. Detailed information will continue to be posted on the MDE web site: http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,1607,7-140-28753_38684_28760–-,00.html Michigan, one of the original lead states, is the 17th state to have adopted the Next Generation Science... - Read more


Media coverage of the Mi-STAR curriculum development hubs


July 7, 2015 7:03 am

Press release: “Teachers work on new ways to teach middle-school science this week at three universities” ; Upper Michigan’s Source “Michigan tech hosts gathering for science teachers” “Mi-STAR is truly a groundbreaking project,” says Jacqueline Huntoon, who is leading the program. “It is the first time that educational leaders from K-12, universities, professional associations and... - Read more


Update on Michigan Science Standards


May 5, 2015 7:13 am

Michigan Department of Education releases an update on the Michigan Science Standards. - Read more


Mi-STAR Teacher Application Form is now available!


Feb. 16, 2015 8:06 pm

See Mi-STAR Teacher Application Form . For Priority Consideration PLEASE APPLY ON OR BEFORE APRIL 15, 2015. Mi-STAR is looking for teachers from Michigan schools who are interested in developing the new, Michigan-based, middle school integrated science curriculum. Participants are eligible to receive: ? Training ? Stipends ($25/hour during the school year and $1,000 per week during the summer)... - Read more


Achieve Releases Classroom Sample Assessment Tasks for the NGSS


Dec. 3, 2014 8:03 pm

Achieve recently released a new resource for science educators that shows examples of how content and practices from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the Common Core State Standards(CCSS) in Mathematics can be assessed together. The Classroom Sample Assessment Tasks provide nine sample tasks targeted to middle and high school levels. Each task focuses... - Read more


The "Get Involved" Call for Participation released


Oct. 3, 2014 7:01 pm

See Get Involved Info Flyer. Mi-STAR is looking for teachers and faculty members from Michigan schools who are interested in developing the new, place-based, middle school integrated science curriculum beginning in 2015. Participants will receive training and stipends for participation and will get to create the future of STEM education in Michigan. - Read more


Michigan Tech Board of Control to Meet Next Thursday


July 31, 2014 6:58 pm

Michigan Tech’s Board of Control will meet at 9 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 in Ballroom B of the Memorial Union Building. On the agenda is a report that the University has surpassed its fundraising goal for the year and ended the fiscal year with a positive balance. The Board will also hear that five Michigan... - Read more


Media coverage announcing funding for Mi-STAR project


July 29, 2014 6:11 pm

Michigan Tech Receives $5M to Help STEM in Middle Schools, Michigan Education Digest, July 29, 2014. Michigan Tech Receives $5 Million To Reform Middle School Science Education, Texas Principal, July 27, 2014. Michigan Tech Receives $5 Million from Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow, LinkedIn, July 25, 2014. Michigan Tech Receives $5 Million To Reform... - Read more


MTU grant to help science education in schools


July 22, 2014 7:54 am

ABC 10 News — MTU grant to help science education in schools. - Read more

GET Mi-STAR NEWS BY E-MAIL!
Copyright © 2018 Mi-STAR - Michigan Science Teaching and Assessment Reform
Mi-STAR is made possible through the generous support provided by the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation.
Designed & Powered by:
GET Mi-STAR NEWS BY E-MAIL!