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Education, Academic

Pam Nolan-Beasley and class
Fall 2014

Pam Nolan-Beasley ’88—Physics for five-year-olds

“People don’t realize how much you can teach science at a kindergarten age,” says Pam Nolan-Beasley, a teacher at Waitsburg Elementary. But these kids are inquisitive little sponges, ever curious and energetic, she adds: “It’s a perfect time for science.”

Nolan-Beasley’s success at getting five- and six-year-olds—and their families—interested in science recently garnered her the Presidential Award in Mathematics and Science Teaching, an honor for the nation’s top math and science teachers provided through the National Science Foundation. One of two teachers in Washington to earn the honor, she was nominated by her superintendent who also credited her with convincing the school board to make … » More …

Summer 2014

Machine in the classroom

New tech tools engage young scientists

In a familiar classroom scene, lab partners take turns squinting into a microscope. They spy a wriggling paramecium, if the organism doesn’t swim away from the field of view. These days they also peer into an iPad to watch videos and access digital textbooks. Engineer and entrepreneur Jeff Stewart sees a happy marriage between these old and new technologies in science classrooms.

Stewart and his colleagues at Exo Labs have enhanced that connection with an accessory that connects any microscope to an iPad, where students and teachers can take pictures and videos, measure objects, and quickly share … » More …

Milky Way in eastern Washington
Summer 2014

A Washington childhood

As spring surrenders to summer, so must we yield our state to its youngest residents, approximately 1.15 million children and teens who will soon take over our communities, yards, pools, beaches, and parks.

milky way
One of my early memories is of exploring a campsite on Mount Rainier. I remember roaming around the spot on a cool June morning, exploring a paved road dusted with pine needles and peering into the wet shadows of the woods. Laced into my first hiking boots, I followed my parents along the Sunrise Nature trail, an easy 1.5 mile loop … » More …

Winter 2013

A poor showing in children’s books

Jane Kelley pulls a picture book from a shelf in her office and, flipping through the pages, shows a story of a little girl living in a graffiti- and trash-covered apartment complex. The book, Something Beautiful, tells how the girl takes charge of her own environment and cleans up her home to make it more beautiful.

Such depictions of poverty in realistic children’s fiction are unfortunately rare, says Kelley, an associate professor in the College of Education and a scholar of children’s literature. Despite the historically high prevalence of poverty in the United States, that fact of life for many kids is underrepresented in the … » More …