Al Byers

As a Visiting Scholar in STEM Education at, I help build intra-university collaboration across the schools of education, engineering and life sciences with the goal to leverage VCU's assets, resources, and researchers to bring high impact STEM experiences for students (and the teachers who serve them) in the highest needs districts across the commonwealth of Virginia. This is done in cooperation with government agencies, state and local departments of education, universities, and foundations. Prior to this I worked as an Associate Executive Director for 15+ years at the National Science Teachers Association. Before this I served as an education specialist for the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and prior to that I taught sixth and eighth grade physical science at Robious Middle School in Chesterfield, Virginia.




Virginia Commonwealth University

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Recent Posts by Al

Wed Dec 12, 2018 1:51 PM in How to Motivate
Alex I appreciate your query and see that others are responding. Outstanding! So for what's it's worth, I'll chime in and add my 2 cents.. I'm located at Virginia Commonwealth Univesity, which is an urban facing institution, with over 40% of our students from diverse backgrounds. We collaborate with some of the "highest needs" schhool districts in the area, e.g., Richmond City Public School...

Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:23 AM in Inquiry based learning in Elementary Schools
Annedee I appreciate your question, and the nature of the challenge behind it? I might ask, how are you allocating your time now, and what is the "dedicated" time for science (if that even exist)? I am married to a 5th grade elementary teacher, who teaches reading, and I think some of the "strategies" I see her use is an integrated approach, whereby, mathematics, literacy, and an inquiry of...

Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:52 AM in Virtual vs Physical Learning
Hollie This is a good question, and I suspect there is no one right answer, as it may depend on the context of the situation, the target audience, and what you are trying to assess. I think items and activities that attempt to demonstrate an applied understanding of a disciplinary core idea within an authentic context of a real life situation that may be relevant to many is one target to ai...

Recent Reviews by Al

Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:21 PM
5 Love those simulations
This SciGuide has some nice movies, animations and simulations you can use directly with your students to help them learn the difficult concepts of Newton’s laws. The air track simulation in Newton’s third law allows you to control the mass and piston force, and zoom when you launch the carts. You can pause to take measurements as well. This is very helpful, especially if you do not have the physical tracks. Even if you do, compare and contrast the simulation to the real thing! If you need help on the concepts or laws, check out the free Science Objects for Newton’s Laws. The SciPack for Force and Motion provides unlimited email support from a content mentor and the ability to take a final assessment to demonstrate your content knowledge.

Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:16 PM
4 Love the coral reefs sims
This guide contains a list of pertinent URLs as well as some nice lessons plans on reefs. What I think teachers will find cool is they can access simulations to use in their classroom that can be used full screen. The Create a Reef is one of my favorites!

Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:14 PM
5 Bill Robertson Live (almost): Just as good
If you love the Stop Faking book on Force and Motion, you'll really enjoy this web seminar archive of Bill himself highlight difficult science topics in the same. He has a dynamic presentation and humorous presentation style and if Flash simulations are used during the session, they come back up for you to use live the archive. Good stuff.

Recent Public Collections by Al

Self-Directed Online Professional Development

7 Resources

This series of research articles look at various theories, support strategies and interaction desired by adults completing self-directed e-PD

Online learning Learner characteristics and their approaches to learning.pdf
Type: User uploaded resource

Hands-on at a Distance Evaluation of a Temperature and Heat Distance Course.pdf
Type: User uploaded resource


4 Resources

These resources provide examples of lessons related to the use of catepillars in the classroom, and similar patterns of metamorphisis with mealworms.

Catepillar Metamorphosis Video
Type: User uploaded resource

The Early Years: Collards and Caterpillars
Type: Journal Article

Earth Sun and Moon

10 Resources

Exploring Tides Simulation (Explore Learning)
Type: User uploaded resource

Science 101: What causes tides?
Type: Journal Article