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STEMTEC II. Different Strokes for Different Folks: Supporting New Teachers Using Multiple Approaches. Allan Feldman, Morton M. Sternheim, Marlina Duncan, Sharon Palmer, Janice Wing University of Massachusetts Amherst. Original STEMTEC Program. CETP 1997-2002

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Different Strokes for Different Folks: Supporting New Teachers Using Multiple Approaches

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Different Strokes for Different Folks: Supporting New Teachers Using Multiple Approaches

Allan Feldman, Morton M. Sternheim, Marlina Duncan, Sharon Palmer,

Janice Wing

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Original STEMTEC Program

  • CETP 1997-2002

  • More, better prepared, more diverse K12 math and science teachers

  • 8 (21) colleges, 7+ school districts

  • 195 college faculty attended institutes

  • 350 scholarships for prospective teachers

STEMTEC II: Follow-on Grant

  • 2002-2005

  • Summative Evaluation

  • New Teacher Support

    • Science and Engineering Saturday Seminars

    • New Teacher Dinner Club

    • Online course

    • Research experiences for teachers – “appropriate master’s degree”

Funded in part by Raytheon, Engineering School

Low cost program, easily replicated anywhere

Build ties between schools, UMass faculty

6 Saturdays, 8:30-1

Grad credit option (free PDP’s)

Lesson plan / class project; book review

Reduced tuition

25-35 teachers/session, some new, some experienced

Very popular; people drive 1-2 hours

Science and Engineering Saturday Seminars

Fall 2003 Program

  • Teaching basic physics concepts

  • Geology field trip

  • Civil Engineering field trip (all day)

  • Environmental evolution

  • Food safety / microbiology

  • Recall for those receiving grad credit

Sample Projects

  • Science Overnight, Westfield Middle, 300 students

  • Engineering Expo, Forest Park Middle, Springfield, 40 students

  • Manufacturing lesson, Milford High

  • Science in Industry, Great Falls Middle, 70 students

  • Lip Balm engineering project, Agawam Junior High, 617 students

The New Teachers Dinner Club: What is it?

  • The New Teachers Dinner Club is a support group for new math and science teachers.

  • The sessions are facilitated by Janice Wing, a middle school science teacher, and myself, a former science teacher now working on my Ed.D. at UMass.

Meeting Format

  • All meetings provide time for members to discuss classroom or educational topics of personal concern such as:

    • Classroom management issues

    • Relating lessons to the frameworks

    • Assessment techniques

    • Planning tips

    • MCAS discussion

    • Resources (including best web sites, etc)

Vision of the Group

  • Create a Peer Mentoring Environment which fosters:

    • Support

    • Sharing of Ideas

    • Sounding Board

    • Gain Resources (classroom, personal, professional)

Being a New Teacher

  • University course to support new teachers

  • Hybrid on-line/face-to-face

    • Five regular class meetings

    • Use of web-based environment (WebCT) for discussions, assignments, feedback

Being a New Teacher


  • Classroom management

  • Assessment

  • Inclusive pedagogy

  • Special education

  • Web-based instruction

  • Teacher research

Being a New Teacher

Sample assignments:

  • Written reflections on readings

  • Classroom Management Plan

  • Case study

  • Construct a website

  • Final Presentation/Showcase of teaching

Professional Licensure

MA requires new teachers to obtain the “Professional License” by the end of the 5th year of teaching.

The Professional License requires substantial work in the subject area.

Professional Licensure


  • Advanced subject matter courses are not usually offered when teachers can take them (after school or summers)

  • Advanced subject matter courses usually are not designed to meet the subject matter needs of practicing teachers.

    [Academic discipline ≠ School subject]

Professional Licensure

Solution: Research Experience for Teachers

  • Model includes spring semester before and fall semester after summer RET.

  • Teachers get graduate credit in the discipline for their participation in the RET.

  • Teachers learn engage in authentic science practices on NSF-funded research projects.

Acid Mine DrainageResearch Experience for Teachers (RET)

Klaus Nusslein, Microbiology

Richard Yuretich, GeoSciences

Sarina Ergas, Civil and Environmental Engineering

David Ahfeld, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Allan Feldman, Education

NSF funded interdisciplinary project

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Teacher Participation

  • Spring – Journal Club (1 credit)

  • Summer – 160+ hours of field work/lab research in microbiology and civil and environmental engineering ($2500 stipend and 9 credits)

  • Fall – Journal Club (1 credit)

    • Curriculum Development (3 credits)

  • Spring – Implementation of developed curriculum (3 credits)

Davis mine

Drainage below tailings pile

Tailings pile

AMD Project Goals

  • Research aims to understand the natural biogeochemical processes involved in the remediation of acid mine drainage.

  • Outreach focuses on involving teachers in real research experiences to aid in classroom instruction.

Stream confluence up close

Measuring well water depth

Preparing enrichment media under anoxic conditions.

Opening sediment jars and inoculating sediment into media bottles under anoxic conditions

Incubation and observation

Enrichment bottles with Postgate’s medium at

pH 3.0 4.0 5.0 7.0

  • Microscopy using a live/dead bio-stain with this fluorescent microscope. Pictures were taken.

Postgate pH 7.0 sediment from Well 4

Thread-like filament

Classroom Curriculum Topics

  • Metals / nonmetals and chemical cycles

  • Mineral formation

  • Topography

  • Microbiology: micro-organisms in stream water

  • Enrichment media technique

  • Water quality tests: pH, ions (Fe, SO42-, Ca), hardness test, dissolved O, N, C, P.

  • Soil test – capillary action

Importance to Education

  • Practiced full scope of developing and implementing a research project.

  • Different perspective on science and what it means to really do research.

  • More of a supporter for science than before.

  • New respect for what it takes to earn a Ph.D (motivation, patience and resilience).

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