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How Educators Learn_ July 2017 SC STEM Regional Newsletter

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There’s a PD for Every Need

Mary Trent, NW STEM Region Manager, and colleagues from AEA Learning Online share resources.
In the spirit of a true summer festival, the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council hosted Iowa’s first STEMpalooza on July 17-21 at Waukee’s Innovation and Learning Center.
The impetus for the event came a guideline in the STEM BEST program, which requires teachers to target PD that bridges school and business partnerships.
“We received feedback that schools didn’t know who was offering opportunities,” said Dr. Jeff Weld, director of the state initiative. “This showcase provides samples from STEM PD around the state. It provides those connections. If you see a PD you like, you can contract with them for your district.”


Deb Dunkhase, Executive Director of the Iowa Children’s Museum presents the DoS tool to enhance STEM activities to palooza participants.
All participants got a dose of DOS (Dimensions of Success), which is an observation tool for measuring the success of STEM programming. It’s typically applied to out-of-school programs, but has relevance to traditional classrooms, also.
DOS takes activities that are fun, like hands-on projects, and ensures principles of concrete learning exist within the experience. Building a tinfoil boat that floats maybe fun, but learning the principles of buoyancy and liquid displacement leads to a learning experience that builds cognitive connections for the future.  DOS also allows students to use an inquiry-based, goal-oriented process of learning.

“This changed the way we do programming,” said Deb Dunkcase, Director of Iowa’s Children’s Museum, putting more intention behind all they do. She is a certified DOS facilitator and uses it to create programming and design exhibits. She created a video using their slime workshop as an example:

“Everyone loved making slime, but we realized we needed to do a better job of showing the learning behind it.” Instead of a make-and-take mental, the slime workshop was student-driven and goal-based. “You have to give up some control to let student inquiry happen, but the kids are more excited and engaged in the learning.”
Going forward, Dunkcase is offering four DOS PDs this fall: September 22 in Grinnell and October 12 in Atlantic. Both will offer an introductory and a more advanced session, running from 10am-2pm each day. They’ve also created a Wiki Site, and they hope to gather the best DOS lesson plans and create an online library open for those who participate in the PDs.
“The goal is to change the face of afterschool STEM,” said Dunkcase. “There’s a saying: The rising tide floats all boats. We want to nurture and help each other develop fabulous STEM.”
Weld encourages participants to look at curriculum as a whole, not broken into the layers of S-T-E-M. A key question he poses when considering curriculum is: “Why isn’t the day prep structured like the day that awaits?”
At the close of the week, teachers will go back to their schools and talk about all the PD opportunities available across the state. Weld wants participants to walk away from the experience with two things: “First, I hope they realize all of the great opportunities available in the state. Second, I hope participants are picking up an extra dose of STEM that they can use with their students.”
Iowa’s STEM Network gains strength as PD participants carry their connections back to home districts.


STEM BEST proposals are due September 15. If you’d like to learn more, please visit: or contact Dr. Sarah Derry at


Previous Issues


June 2017 SC STEM Hub Newsletter

Summer STEM on a Budget (SC Iowa STEM Regional Newsletter May 2016)

Create Your STEM Space — 2017 SC STEM Regional Newsletter

PreK-College March 2017 SC STEM Regional Newsletter

February 2017 SC STEM Regional Newsletter

Scale-Up Announcement — January SC STEM Hub Newsletter


Holiday Greetings!_ SC STEM Newsletter 2016

November is Makers Month_ SC STEM Newsletter 2016

SC STEM October Newsletter 2016

August 2016 SC Iowa STEM Regional Newsletter

Summer STEM–Hot Like the Weather! (SC Iowa STEM Regional Newsletter July 2016)

The BEST of Iowa STEM! (SC Iowa STEM Regional Newsletter June 2016)

Summer STEM on a Budget (SC Iowa STEM Regional Newsletter May 2016)

SC Iowa STEM Hub Newsletter April 2016

Spring STEM Opportunities (SC Iowa STEM Regional Newsletter March 2016)

A February Full of STEM (SC Iowa STEM Hub Newsletter February 2016)

2016-17 Scale-Up Programs Announced! Apply now! (SC STEM Hub January Newsletter)


Cheers to 2015 STEM (SC Iowa STEM Hub Newsletter December 2015)

Code Iowa_ Celebrating the Coolness of Computer Science

NEW! November 2015 SC STEM Hub Newsletter (landscape)

Awards, Applications and All Kinds of Awesome! (SC Iowa STEM Hub Newsletter October 2015)

SC Iowa STEM Hub Newsletter September 2015

SC Iowa STEM Hub Newsletter August 2015

SC Iowa STEM Hub Newsletter July 2015

SC STEM June Newsletter 2015

Awesome Summer STEM Activities! (SC STEM May Newsletter 2015)

SC STEM April Newsletter 2015

SC STEM March Newsletter 2015


SC STEM January_February Newsletter 2014

SC STEM December Newsletter 2014

SC STEM October-November Newsletter 2014

SC STEM September Newsletter 2014

SC STEM August Newsletter 2014

SC STEM July Newsletter 2014

SC STEM June Newsletter 2014

SC STEM April Newsletter 2014

SC STEM March Newsletter 2014

SC STEM February Newsletter 2014

SC STEM January Newsletter 2014


SC STEM December Newsletter 2013

SC STEM November Newsletter 2013

SC STEM September:October Newsletter 2013

SC STEM August Newsletter 2013

SC STEM July Newsletter 2013

SC STEM June Newsletter 2013

SC STEM May Newsletter 2013

SC STEM April Newsletter 2013

SC STEM March Newsletter 2013

SC STEM February Newsletter 2

SC STEM February Newsletter