GLBRC Education & Outreach NewsletterOctober 2012
Greetings & Happy Fall!

We've had been busy summer and fall here at GLBRC Education and Outreach! Here are some highlights of what we've been up to plus information on how to connect with us in the coming months. 
Meet the 2012 RET Program Teachers

This summer our Research Experience for Teachers (RET) Program expanded to include collaborations between researchers and teachers at UW-Madison and Michigan State University. Learn more about the four RET participants and their research projects .
RET participant Travis Tangen presents his lab protocol at the
2012 Bioenergy Institute for Educators
Read more about the RET program. Please email Leith Nye at lnye@glbrc.wisc.edu with questions. 

Bioenergy Institute for Educators: Photo Highlights

2012 Institute participants at Arlington Research Station.
This summer we held our fourth annual Bioenergy Institute for Educators, with 12 teachers and curriculum coordinators representing schools across the country. The stimulating 6-day program featured hands-on sessions with GLBRC education materials, tours of GLBRC research labs, and discussions about best practices in science education. Visit our education programs page for more information about the Institute.
Website Makeover 
We've reorganized our educational materials pages to make it easier to find bioenergy activities that meet your teaching needs. You can now sort materials by topic and quickly locate activities for desired grade level, subject area, time constraints and target concepts. Take a few moments to browse through our classroom materials and find lesson plans that fit your curriculum. 


Coming Soon: New Education Materials

We have a number of bioenergy education materials under development that will be available to educators soon. The projects below were recently featured in the GLBRC general newsletter. 


Bioprospecting Lab: In collaboration with 2011 RET participant Craig Kohn and GLBRC scientists in Cameron Currie's Lab at UW-Madison, we are developing a new lab sequence in which students search for cellulose-degrading microbes. Click the image to view a slideshow on the activity narrated by Kohn.

Bioenergy in the High School Classroom: Bioprospecting Lab
Bioenergy in the High School Classroom: Bioprospecting Lab

Computer Game Simulates Bioenergy Production: Last year we ventured into exciting new territory as we partnered with education researchers and computer programmers to develop an educational computer game in which players take on the role of bioenergy producers.  This fall and spring we will pilot the game in high school and undergraduate classes. View a feature story on the game's development.   

Coming Soon: White Paper on Next Generation Science Standards Framework

In early 2012, the National Research Council released a Framework for K-12 Science Education, which outlines key components of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The NGSS are scheduled to be released in early 2013, and will require a significant shift in how science is taught in U.S. classrooms. Changes will include student engagement in science and engineering practice, covering fewer core concepts in greater depth, and linking crosscutting concepts between scientific disciplines.

In our white paper on the Framework, we aim to help teachers understand and prepare for the expected changes in science education. Stay tuned for a special email and press release in the coming weeks.

Upcoming Events & Professional Development Opportunities

For details on the events below, please visit our  website calendar.    

November 3, 2012
Atlanta, GA

December 7, 2012

March 16, 2013
St. Paul, MN

April 13, 2013
San Antonio, TX

 Staff Updates
Welcome to:


Joyce Parker and Elizabeth de los Santos, both part of the MSU Environmental Literacy Group, will be assisting us with K12 curriculum development and professional development programs for educator.  


Megan Anderson will be taking the lead with our informal education programs and steering outreach efforts for the Wisconsin Energy  Institute. 


Michael Polkoff, an undergraduate at UW-Madison, has joined our team our team working on a variety of education and outreach projects. 


Read more about our new education and outreach staff members.

Farewell to: 

Jonathon Schramm has taken a faculty position at Goshen College. As a collaborator with the MSU Environmental Literacy group, Jonathon has been instrumental in developing education materials related to sustainability, biofuels chemistry and the carbon cycle.

Courtney Severson, our general office and programs assistant since early 2011, has helped with numerous projects and programs and has been indispensable in keeping our office running smoothly. Best wishes to Courtney as she takes on new leadership roles with the Wisconsin Union and completes her undergraduate coursework. 

Find us on Facebook


We encourage you to visit our website at least once a month to look for new materials we have posted. http://www.glbrc.org/education 

Contact Information

Feel free to contact us with questions or feedback at education@glbrc.wisc.edu or 608-890-2828. If you know others who would like to be added to this list, please send their contact information to education@glbrc.wisc.edu including name, e-mail address, institutional affiliation, city, and state.



GLBRC is supported by the Department of Energy and DOE Bioenergy Research Centers