Improving undergraduate STEM education is focus of new national initiative

Washington University in St. Louis is one of eight Association of American Universities (AAU) member campuses selected to serve as project sites for the association’s five-year initiative to improve the quality of undergraduate education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields at its member institutions, AAU officials announced today.

Physics first approach creates K-12 conceptual links

Physics has a reputation for being the toughest of the high school science courses. But visual models of motion, acceleration, waves, projectiles and other principles help students of all ages build an understanding of physical science concepts. For Jack Wiegers, biology instructor, and Patrick Gibbons, Ph.D., professor of physics, these ideas are a key part of science for students from kindergarten through grade 12. The pair instructs four Science Outreach graduate courses in physical science designed for K-8 teachers. They’ve also worked with high school teachers in short workshops and in year-long professional learning communities.

Biologist offers WUSTL program as way to incorporate genomics into curricula

The next generation of consumers will be the true beneficiaries of the promise of genomics. But how will they make informed choices in a world resplendent with genomics products, including tools to predict disease and the engineered drugs to treat those diseases? The answer, says Sarah C.R. Elgin, Ph.D., WUSTL professor of biology in Arts & Sciences, is more genetics and genomics at every level of American education.

Staying on the same page

Photo by David KilperSt. Louis teachers gather at WUSTL to compare notes.At Washington University in St. Louis, teachers from five school districts are working with science and math education faculty in an effort designed to align curriculum to the NCLB standards and to improve instruction. Their work is supported by $6.5 million from the National Science Foundation, through funding from NCLB.

Curricula that engages students is key to solving nation’s math education problem

Courtesy NASA/JPL-CaltechEngaging students in the power of mathematics is key to a strong curriculum.As parents are taking advantage of back-to-school sales and stocking up on supplies like calculators, pens and pencils, a math education expert at Washington University in St. Louis suggests they also may want to check out the quality of their children’s math education. According to the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, the United States continues to lag further behind other developed nations in mathematics education. A critical part of the solution, says Jere Confrey, Ph.D., professor of education in Arts & Sciences, is for school districts to select and implement a solid curriculum with interesting, compelling and rigorous mathematics and then to carefully monitor and evaluate students’ progress while using that curriculum.