ComSciCon16 K-12 Session Guidelines

During the K–12 session at ComSciCon16, practicing scientists (our graduate student attendees) will work together with professional educators (teachers, museum staff, and other science education specialists) to develop new curriculum materials bringing cutting edge research into classrooms and informal learning environments. This year, we will be focusing on developing materials for high school students.

Before the workshop, the graduate student attendees will draft a piece of writing targeted at a high school 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 high school science classroom. The output products will contribute to an online database of these pieces for teachers across the nation to use.

Preparation for teachers and 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 K–12 session, graduate student attendees will be required to write a short piece for a high school audience. Please see examples and guidelines below.


Example attendee submission (BiteScis)

Example lesson plan after working with teachers at the workshop


Pre-workshop deadline: Wednesday, June 1st

Example: See the example above for guidance on form and content.

Content guidelines:

  • Reading for students:

    • 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). Identify an interesting aspect of the paper or topic that relates to a core concept in your field. The core ideas should be something that are covered in a typical high school science class. Example, a paper on a new gene sequencing technique could relate to DNA replication and mutation. If you are unfamiliar with a standard curriculum check out the MA standards (pages 66–end) and NGSS standards (pages 65–end).

    • In a few brief paragraphs (~400–600 words), using language appropriate for a 10th grade reading level, explain the research, its connection to the core concept, and its importance to your research field.

    • Include relevant figures and tables. When at all possible, images/figures should be open source, original, or easily replicated by a graphic designer.

    • Do your best to list the relevant NGSS and MA standards. We’ll refine the standards alignment during the workshop.

  • Scientist profile: A mini-biography (about four sentences) about yourself and your research. Include a photo of you, in the lab or in the field if possible.

  • Activity ideas: Each student reading will be accompanied by a lesson. The lesson plan could involve a hands-on activity, or a more “paper and pencil” activity. Brainstorm at least three ideas for demos, experiments, hands-on activities, labs, or data analysis questions that relate to your piece and include a short summary or web link to them.

Formatting guidelines:

  • At the top of the student reading, please include:

  • Name: Your first and last name

  • Topic: The science topic(s) of your piece

  • Classes: What classes you think your piece could be adapted for—high school biology, Earth science, chemistry, or physics. Also think about whether your work has a data analysis component that could be used in a math class (algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, statistics).

  • Put any key words and vocabulary in bold. Be sure to clearly identify each bolded term.

  • Include a reference to the original paper.

Submission: Attendees will receive instructions by email specifying how to submit and upload pieces.