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NESSP Offers Opportunity for Montana Teachers


June 24, 2020

The Northwest Earth & Space Science Pipeline (NESSP) grant will be providing registration funding for fifty Montana teachers to attend distance learning through the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) that supports students’ sense-making. The topic of this summer’s NSTA virtual program is distance learning strategies and assessment.

NESSP partners, the Montana Office of Public Instruction and Montana Tech, understand that given the current teaching environment, teachers will be more likely to reach the goals of the NASA-funded grant if they are equipped with the background knowledge in virtual learning with strategies and assessment for science. From that understanding, a four-part web seminar series was conceived: Distance Learning That Supports Student Sensemaking.

This four-part program is being offered twice this summer. Session One will run on July 6, 9, 13, and 16 from 1-2:30 p.m., while Session Two will take place on August 4, 11, 18, and 25 from 5:15-6:45 p.m. Each session will fund 25 teachers.

Interested teachers need to apply by June 26, 2020. Anyone with questions, should reach out to Rayelynn Brandl at Montana Tech by emailing or calling 406-490-5191.

Brandl is the Program Director of the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program at Montana Tech, a position she has held for the past eleven years. Among her several honors, Brandl has received the NSTA Distinguished Informal Award sponsored by the United States Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) and was a winner of the 2019 NSTA Teacher Awards program, which honors K–12 teachers, principals, professors, and other science education professionals for their outstanding work and achievement in science education.

In the four-part web seminar series, teacher participants will explore ways in which they can continue to give students experiences with relevant, intriguing phenomena to create engagement in science learning using distance-learning strategies. Although the focus will be on synchronous and asynchronous online learning, the program will also consider how to connect students to their learning communities through smartphones and local computers (no internet access).

Designers of the web seminar series have named three objectives:

• Choose sensemaking tasks or improve existing tasks to engage students in science learning through distance- and home-learning

• Utilize a suite of tools to create a learning community where students are virtually working together (synchronously or asynchronously)

• Provide feedback to students


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