TIES Weekly Update – February 21, 2017

Bertha Vazquez

The Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science (TIES) stresses the importance of promoting teacher leadership in the United States. Here at TIES we feel that our fellow teachers are our own best resources. We are looking for high school and college biology educators who are interested in presenting our TIES workshops to middle school science teachers in their state. Our reasoning is that a middle school science teacher will typically cover many areas of science within his/her annual curriculum, including earth science, physical science, and life science. It is virtually impossible to become an expert in all of these areas, at least not initially. The purpose of TIES is to inform interested middle school science teachers about the most up-to-date concepts of natural selection, common ancestry, and diversity in order for them to confidently cover the topics in their classrooms and fulfill their curriculum requirements. In addition to providing science teachers with innovative professional development opportunities, TIES also has ready-to-use online resources for the classroom, including presentation slides, labs, guided reading assignments, and an exam.

We are excited by the wonderful work being done by Bertha Vazquez and the TIES Program, which was founded by the Richard Dawkins Foundation. Here area couple of recent activity reports to help introduce you to this important project.

  1. We got three more workshops this week. Two are from Kenny’s zoo outreach. The other is a district-level workshop in North Carolina through one of our more active TTCs.
    • March 30, 2017: District-Level TIES Workshop, Raleigh, North Carolina presented by Kathryn Green
    • April 15, 2017: Evolution for Educators, presented by Hannah Kistner, Education Associate, Santa Barbara Zoo, Santa Barbara, CA
    • April 19, 2017: Evolution for Educators, presented by Melanie Fernandes, Curator of Education and Corey Shumaker, Program Coordinator, Capron Park Zoo, Attleboro, Massachusetts
  1. More workshops to be announced soon. New Mexico is coming together.

    We sent in a proposal for the annual Texas Science Teachers Conference.

  1. Quantitative data: I reached out to the TIES network.
    • I have some quantitative data for the CFI board. It is a small sample focused entirely on how TIES workshop content corrected teachers’ teleological misconceptions. The results are positive but the focus is very specific.
    • I also have two teachers willing to do pre- and post- tests on their workshop participants. One teacher can also provide pre-and post- on over 100 students when the teachers return to their classes.
    • I have a TTC who is a college professor who is willing to help us create a tool for true statistical analysis. Ideally, it would require comparing students who receive TIES curriculum with those who receive non-TIES evolution curriculum.

Bertha Vazquez

Bertha Vazquez has been teaching middle school science in Miami-Dade County Public Schools for 24 years. She has BA in Biology from the University of Miami and a Master’s in Science Education from Florida International University. A seasoned traveler who has visited all seven continents, she enjoys introducing the world of nature and science to young, eager minds. An educator with National Board Certification, she is the recipient of several national and local honors, including the 2014 Samsung’s $150,000 Solve For Tomorrow Contest and The Charles C. Bartlett National Excellence in Environmental Award in 2009. She was Miami-Dade Science Teacher of the Year in 1997 and 2008 and was one of Florida’s 2015 finalists for the most prestigious science award in the country, The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.