Friday, May 27, 2016

Iowa STEM School+Business Innovation Conference

June 29, 2016
9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Sheraton West Des Moines Hotel (1800 50th St., West Des Moines)
Register Online

This conference will highlight the partnerships across Iowa that are connecting schools to local businesses and other employers. Best practices in aligning education to workforce will be shared by practitioners on the front edge—both industry and school leaders. Among the models to be profiled are the STEM BEST® (Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers) and STEM RLE (Redesigned Learning Environment) partnerships of the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council.

TOPICS featuring...

  • Business roles, incentives and benefits of partnering with schools;
  • How to identify and recruit business partners;
  • How to identify and recruit education partners;
  • Policy and rule inhibitors to expansion of school+business partnerships;
  • Challenges encountered and overcome through school+business partnerships;
  • Co-teaching: roles for business alongside educators in courses and instruction;
  • Implications for teacher education;
  • A unique accomplishment or innovation by current STEM BEST and STEM RLE partners;
  • Building a school-wide culture around school+business innovation;
  • How to start a school+business partnership in your community.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Helping Students Protect the Environment and Live Well Workshop

 "The awareness of where our "stuff" comes from and natural resources used to
produce them is ...vitally important. Kids love to DO something about issues that matter."
--Elem Ed teacher

Part I:  Thursday and Friday, June 16-17, 2016 (9-4)
Part II: Saturday, November 12, 2016 (9-12:30)

Center for Outdoor Learning, Hinton, Iowa

Cost:  $75 tuition fee. You will receive a stipend of $75 when you successfully complete the course, thanks to grant support, making the course free!*

Explore with your K-8 students the products Americans use daily--the "stuff of life." These products have a life cycle. They are extracted, transported, produced, used and disposed of around the globe--including in Iowa. Study how this "stuff" is a primary source of environmental problems, and examine how this relates to life satisfaction. Then, identify individual and collective actions to address these challenges. Course content is real and relevant. Materials introduced are interdisciplinary and classroom-ready. Your students will learn essential skills and concepts from the Iowa Core and NGSS Science and Engineering Practices. 

For more workshop details or to enroll, visit the University of Northern Iowa website.

 *Stipends and the reduced tuition fee are provided through the generous support of the Resource Enhancement and Protection Conservation Education Program and UNI EPSCoR. To receive the stipend, your students will need to complete a community engagement project. Your students' can write letters to the editor, post posters in the hallway for community members' viewing or a number of other options.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Exploring Iowa’s Natural Resources On-line Course (K-12 Educators)

September 18, 2016 – January 15, 2017

The goal of this course is to help you utilize a STEM-based approach that incorporates local natural resources as unifying themes to implement Iowa Core concepts in your curriculum. You will work in small groups and individually to create a network of contacts and resources to teach natural resource concepts. Group and individual assignments will build on each other throughout the course.
Participants will build a project-based learning unit for their personal teaching situation, so you can immediately incorporate the course resources and tactics into your teaching. It is offered for 3 license renewal or graduate credits, and also qualifies for credit for the STEM endorsement through Drake and Grandview.

Registration deadline is September 11, 2016 - you must register electronically (Activity #: 22007499991701). Registration fee: $175 (materials, 3 license renewal credits); $395.00 (materials, 3 Drake graduate credits). This course is being offered by AEA PD Online, a joint initiative by all of Iowa's Area Education Agencies. This course therefore uses AEA PD Online's alternative fee schedule for license renewal and graduate credit. Transcripts and credit will be issued by AEA PD Online instead of Heartland AEA.

For more information, contact:; 515-494-3891.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Iowa Students Recognized for Iowa State-Fish Drawings

Grades 10-12 first place winner
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources partnered with the Wildlife Forever® State-Fish Art® Contest to host an Iowa State-Fish Art Contest.

The State-Fish Art Contest uses art to ignite children’s imagination while teaching them about fish and fishing. Entries showcased students’ favorite Iowa fish in its natural habitat. All entries were original hand-done artwork. Winners were selected based on creative expression, originality, visual appeal, and artistic merit. 

Individual winners:
Grades K-3
1st Place – Anne S., Homeschool
2nd Place – Madalyn S., St Mary & Mathias Catholic School
3rd Place – Katarina W., Benton Community Schools
Grades 4-6
1st Place – Henri G., St Mary & Mathias Catholic School
2nd Place – Heidi E., Allamakee Community Schools
3rd Place – Elly V., West Marshall Community Schools

Grades 7-9
1st Place – Carmen A., Benton Community Schools
2nd Place – Clayton S., West Marshall Community Schools
3rd Place – Jaiden H., West Marshall Community Schools

Grades 10-12
1st Place – Gayeon C., Regina Catholic Education Center

Artists who placed first in their age group will be honored with the display of their artwork on the prestigious Wall of Fame during the Forrest L. Wood Cup bass world championship on August 5-7 in Huntsville, Alabama. Every participant will receive a Certificate of Recognition. 

Digital images of Iowa’s winning artwork are posted on the State Fish Art Contest website.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Endangered Species Day

Celebrate Endangered Species Day (May 20) by learning more about Iowa endangered and threatened animals and plants.

Iowa’s wildlife has changed tremendously since Euro-American settlement (160 years ago). Many species have been extirpated. Others’ populations have dwindled to the point they now are listed as endangered. Still others have increased in number and range size. Many once extirpated have been reintroduced and now have stable populations. Wide ranging species (e.g., black bear, wolf, mountain lion, moose) occasionally reappear in Iowa as their populations in nearby states increase.

Iowa's endangered and threatened species law was enacted in 1975; 47 animals and 64 plants are listed as endangered (populations are low, scientists feel the species could become extinct). Another 89 plants and 35 animals are listed as threatened (populations are declining, may become endangered). A species can be listed as endangered or threatened at the state or federal level, depending on the extent of the area where the population is declining. Federally endangered species found within a state’s borders automatically are placed on the state list. Endangered species lists constantly change.

Many endangered or threatened species are specialists (have very restrictive habitat needs, eat only a few foods, or require specific kinds or sizes of habitat). The leading cause for a species becoming endangered or threatened is habitat loss.

Endangered or threatened species usually are monitored closely and their remaining habitats are protected. This special attention can pay off. An endangered species can be brought back from the brink and removed from the list instead of becoming extinct (e.g., peregrine falcon). The use of DDT (a now illegal pesticide) is the main reason this bird became endangered. DDT was banned, birds were reintroduced in suitable areas, and they were protected from shooting. After almost 30 years, the peregrine was removed from the federal endangered species list in 1998. In 2000, for the first time in about 40 years, five pairs of peregrines were documented nesting on the cliffs of the Mississippi River. Several of these falcons were identified as originating from Iowa releases or nests. In 2013, 15 territories were active and 13 successful nests produced 31 young around Iowa.

Thanks to a vast number of citizen scientists and volunteers who spearheaded the recovery of peregrine falcons in Iowa, this fascinating species has successfully returned to the state.

Helpful Resources
Living On The Edge: Profiles of Federally Listed Species in Iowa
Iowa's Threatened and Endangered Species Program
National Wildlife Federation
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Endangered Species Coalition

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Teaching STEM and the Iowa Science Standards through an Agricultural Lens

The Iowa Agricultural Literacy Foundation is offering several teacher professional development workshops this summer. Workshop information is listed below. To find out more about workshops in your area, visit, email or call 515-331-4182.

Agriculture Helps meet Next Generation Science Standards
June 1-2, 2016
Fremont-Mills High School, (1114 US Highway 275, Tabor)

This course will give teachers, extension personnel, and others who educate youth the skills needed to implement many of the new Iowa Core science standards. Participants will integrate agriculture into science, social studies, language arts and math to make learning real and relevant for students. During one day of the course, participants will see conservation and energy applied as they tour beef feedlots, an ethanol plant, an algae plant, and a conservation area. Producers, scientists and other experts will showcase how agriculture uses science and management practices to ensure environmental and economic sustainability. The second day of the course will focus on implementing lessons learned and making them relevant to student learners.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Iowa Monarch Conservation and Citizen Science Workshop

Friday, May 6th, 12:30-4:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 7th, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30-p.m.
Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge (9981 Pacific St, Prairie City, IA 50228)

Public participation in science helps scientists answer big questions. Learn how to participate in several monarch butterfly citizen science programs and help researchers learn more about this incredible insect. The University of Minnesota Monarch Lab, in partnership with the Monarch Joint Venture, will instruct this workshop in conjunction with local Iowa habitat experts.

Register at: Cost: $20 Accommodations: Lunch will be provided on May 7th. Small snacks and drinks will be provided throughout the workshop.