K-12 session guidelines

During the K12 session at ComSciCon15, practicing scientists (our graduate student attendees) will work together with professional educators (K12 teachers, museum staff, and other science education specialists) to develop new curriculum materials bringing cutting edge research into K12 classrooms and informal learning environments.

Before the workshop, the graduate student attendees will draft a piece of writing targeted at a K12 audience.  The educators will join ComSciCon’s graduate student attendees for the Saturday session of ComSciCon.  Students will have the opportunity to interact with them throughout the poster session.  Saturday afternoon, the students and educators will work together to revise their writing and further develop it into an activity suitable for a K12 classroom.  The output products will contribute to an online database of these pieces for teachers across the nation to use.  

Preparation for K12 teachers and educators: For educators, no preparation is required before the workshop.  During the workshop, you will read and help to revise pieces written by the graduate students.

Preparation for graduate student attendees: In preparation for the K12 session, graduate student attendees will be required to write a short piece for a K12 audience.  Please see examples and guidelines below.



  1. Pre-workshop deadline: Friday, June 5th
  2. Example: See the example above for guidance on form and content.
  3. Content guidelines:
    1. Scientist profile:
      1. Length: about 4 sentences
      2. Please include a mini-biography about yourself and your research.
      3. Include a photo of you, in the lab or in the field if possible.  
    2. Reading for students:
      1. Length: 400 words or less
      2. Choose a specific research paper or topic related to your research (it does not have to specifically about your research, but must be in your field)
      3. Identify an interesting aspect of the paper or topic that relates to a concept of fundamental importance in your field
      4. In a few brief paragraphs, using language appropriate for your target grade level, explain the concept and its importance to your research field
      5. You are encouraged to include figures and, if your activity involves data analysis, tables listing the relevant data
      6. If you already have ideas for demos, experiments, hands-on activities, labs, or data analysis questions that relate to your piece please include a short summary or web link to them
      7. If you are familiar with the Next Generation Science Standards and/or the Common Core Standards feel free to link your piece to relevant standards.  If you are not familiar with them, don’t worry about it. We’ll be working on this part of the piece during the workshop!
  4. Formatting guidelines:
    1. At the top of your document please include:
      1. Name: Your first and last name
      2. Topic: The science topic(s) of your piece
      3. Grade: The grade level of your intended audience (eg elementary, middle school, high school)
      4. Classes: What classes you think your piece could be adapted for?
        1. For example, elementary science, middle school science, biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, statistics.
        2. When thinking about math classes, even if you are writing a science focused piece, think about whether your work has a data analysis component that could be used in a math class).
    2. The formatting of the scientist profile is unimportant.  Just put it at the bottom of the written piece and we’ll take care of the rest.
  5. Submission: Attendees will receive instructions by email specifying how to submit & upload their piece.

comscicon15_k12_example_electronegativity_activity_after.docx77 KB
comscicon15_k12_example_electronegativity_activity_before.docx52 KB