In June 2017, the Brown Education Department underwent a major change: Daniel Bisaccio retired from his position as director of Brown Education Department’s science education and as director of teacher education/graduate studies.
In addition to well-wishers from various departments at Brown, Dan’s wife Mame and daughter Kerry (who flew in to surprise her father) were able to attend our farewell lunch for Dan, which consisted of smiles, hugs, and a few tears.
Dan began his career more than 40 years ago, when he taught science with the Upward Bound Akwasasne/Mohawk community in upstate New York, and ended up at Brown University nine years ago, where Dan took pride every day in creating tomorrow’s teacher leaders by building a community of compassionate educators with his colleagues in the Brown MAT program. Dan has touched countless lives throughout the decades he devoted to both classroom and environmental education. Dan spoke of how proud he was of his students and graduates over the years, and colleagues took turns at the lectern to speak of Dan’s passion for teaching, passion for learning, passion for the natural world, and passion for sharing.
After leading a toast to Dan’s retirement, Chair Wong presented Dan with a framed photo of the Barus Building signed by everyone in the department, and several members of the department noted how much they’ll miss the view of Dan peacefully smoking his pipe outside of the building during the academic year.
Although retired from teaching and administering in our department, Dan is continuing to work on a grant for math education as an adjunct assistant professor for research at Brown, and he also has plans to travel. Everyone at the Brown Education Department wishes him a happy retirement – while knowing that Dan will continue to cultivate opportunities for learning and sharing his passion for science, math, and the practice of education.
Don’t miss our environmental leadership conference next Monday from 6-8 p.m.!
Featuring keynote speaker Cheryl Charles (see her Ted Talk here) and former Children and Nature Network president/CEO, and Rutgers Cooperative Extension 4-H Senior Program Coordinator David Foord, who will present his video, “Inspiring a New Generation: The Pathway to Nature for All.” Free to attend; register here!
At this year’s New England Environmental Education Alliance conference, held in Litchfield, CT from Nov. 4-6, Brown University’s Director of Science Education Dan Bisaccio presented “Mapping Nest Success in Migratory Birds” to educators from around the region. Bisaccio, who is also the director of graduate studies for Brown’s MAT program, instructed fellow educators on using field-based inquiry to visualize nest disturbance data using maps.
Bisaccio helping a student use field-based inquiry
In Bisaccio’s hands-on field exercises, students craft artificial nests and eggs of migratory birds and investigate the impact of forest fragmentation on nesting success. Locations of the nests are then mapped using GPS and nest disturbance analyzed, and the data and process allow students to learn about global habitat connections and conservation issues for migratory birds in an exciting, interactive way. Students as researchers can then share their data with other students around the country using HabitatNet.
Pictured, Prof. Bisaccio poses with Brianna Balke (Science ’13), Warren Predizet (Science ’14), and Beth Leach-Savage (Science ’10). Other MAT alumni in attendance at the conference were Emily Berman (Science ’14) and Natalie Tarr (Science ’15).
Professor Dan Bisaccio, Director of Science Education, presented two workshops at the Rhode Island Science Teachers Association Conference this past weekend (March 12, 2016). His topics included: Using Backwards Design to Identify Instructional Sequences that Prepare Students for NGSS Assessments and Modeling a NGSS Science Lesson using Inquiry and Engineering Practices.
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) call for a shift in teachers’ practices in teaching and assessment of science. It is crucial for science teachers to develop the knowledge and skills in creating and implementing instructional and assessment tasks that align with the NGSS.
We are very excited to announce that the National Science Foundation has awarded a 5 year grant to Professor Dan Bisaccio and his colleagues Charles Steinhorn (Vassar College), Victor Donnay (Bryn Mawr), and Maria Rivera (Barnard College) for “Summer STEM Teaching Experiences for Undergraduates (TEU) from Liberal Arts Institutions”. The TEU program will develop and test a model program that provides undergraduate STEM majors with an immersive summer experience in secondary mathematics or science education. Over five summers, a total of 120 undergraduates (24 per year) will be recruited from a network of 60 liberal arts institutions to take part in a 6-7 week program that integrates a high quality STEM discipline specific pedagogy course with a teaching practicum. Twelve students per summer will participate in a mathematics TEU program at Brown University and 12 will participate in a science TEU program at Trinity College.
Sixty liberal arts colleges and universities have committed to join this project as institutional partners. The majority of these institutions do not currently offer discipline-specific STEM pedagogy courses in their Education programs. The TEU pedagogy course will enhance participants’ discipline specific pedagogical knowledge and skills. In the practicum, which is tightly integrated with the course, participants will create and deliver lessons of their own design to local urban secondary students in a summer enrichment program. The teaching practicum will allow participants to apply the theories and strategies they are learning in their pedagogy course directly to classroom teaching. The TEU participants will be closely supervised in their teaching by master teacher mentors.
The high school students for the Brown TEU will be drawn from the Providence area and will be taking part in Brown Summer High School (BSHS). For the Trinity TEU, students will be the entire class of rising sophomores from the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA). Over the 5 years, roughly 1250 high school students will receive an enriching STEM experience through these programs. This project builds upon a highly successful TEU pilot project focused on math pedagogy held at Brown Summer High School in 2013 and 2014.
Published last week in PLOS Biology, in “Revising the Economic Imperative for US STEM Education,” Director of Science Education Dan Bisaccio collaborated with other authors to examine the presumed relationship between STEM education and economic growth. They contend that the real economic imperative for the STEM pipeline should include empowering students to assess, preserve, and restore ecosystems to increase economic welfare. This article examines the assumptions made about the relationship between STEM education policy and economic welfare, and suggests objectives and projects that could be incorporated into existing educational initiatives.