Our History 

Arranged By Ben Thompson, WSST Historian and retired educator (1930-2011)
Please note--The following is a collection of snippets from the Newsletters and do not pretend to be a narrative.

Incorporation: 1956 to 1958

In 1953, Dr. Milton Pella (a professor at the University of  Wisconsin, Madison) visited with science teachers from around the state to see if they were interested in having their own professional organization. These informal discussions led to meetings with Roland Sprecher, Cameron Smith and Calvan Gale, chaired by Dr. Pella in 1954 and 1955. At the 1955 meeting, The Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers, was the name selected. Further meetings to outline objectives and an organizational structure were scheduled.

Recognizing the desire among science teachers in the state for an organization that would work to improve science education in Wisconsin, it was decided then to involve a broad range of interested people inside and outside the teaching profession. In the summer of 1956, Cal Gale chaired a well-attended meeting with guest speaker, Professor James Crow - a world-renowned geneticist. During that period, both  U.S. Senators Proxmire and Wiley offered their support to the 98 paid-up members. Science teachers who were part of the 1957 National Science Foundation programs at UW Madison were invited to participate and became supporting members of WSST.  Most meetings were held at the  Wisconsin  High School  on the UW campus. The success of WSST was assured and its future mapped when Dr. Pella, Cameron Smith, Rueben Hanson, Roland Sprecher, Eugene Gennaro, Carl Pfeiffer, A.B. Stubbe, Calvan Gale and James Busch developed a constitution and specific guidelines for the new organization that was incorporated in 1958.

1958 to 1967

Once WSST had been incorporated, the first goals were to introduce new and more effective instructional techniques and provide guidance in identifying science experiences appropriate for students of various needs and abilities. There was also a concern with the preparation and certification of science teachers. Subject area meetings at the first convention held in Stevens Point, on September 27, 1958 included Biology, Chemistry, Elementary Science, General Science, Physical Science and Physics. In the years 1957 to 1967, a firm foundation for the improvement of science education was established through increases membership, a professional newsletter, affiliation with the National Science Teachers Association, an annual convention and a group of working committees. These moves strengthened the Society and assured its preeminence in our state.

Ties with business and industry were exemplified by the support of the Wisconsin Utilities Association and Wisconsin Bell Telephone Company.  Bell Telephone sponsored Fall WSST meetings for over fifteen years. WSST gained some prominence when the National Directors of Certification adopted its demand for an undergraduate course in investigative science techniques. The period between 1957 and 1967 also saw the launching of the Russian satellite Sputnik and the frantic efforts by the U.S. to radically improve its science education, seen as the underpinning of our efforts to gain superiority in space. As a result, various institutions of higher education, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, developed new science programs for the elementary and secondary schools - all federally funded. Examples were the Chemical Bond Approach, Biological, Sciences Study Committee, CHEMS and Science a Process Approach. During these formative years of drastic challenges to science education, a pattern was set for future efforts to change the courses of science (and math) education in the public and private schools of the United States. To meet this need, WSST provided outstanding leadership through its conventions, workshops, forums, and area meetings designed to familiarize teachers with the new curricula. Teachers, administrators and school boards were all struggling to adapt to and adopt the newest programs.

1968 to 1983

Environmental awareness became the major focus of the WSST between 1969 and 1983. As in the past, the organization supported its members through various activities. The newsletter made it possible for the teachers of Wisconsin to become familiar with and meet their students’ environmental education needs. The 70's were also a period of phenomenal growth in teacher professionalism. WSST benefited from that movement as membership and participation in sponsored activities increased. Eventually, a Friday evening and Saturday morning spring convention would no longer be adequate to meet the interests and needs of its members. Science forums and weekend activities blossomed. WSST furthered progress through support of national movements and organizations such as the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Science Foundation.  This was also the period during which the Wisconsin Junior Academy of Science, the Wisconsin Earth Science Teachers Society and the Wisconsin Science Educators affiliated with WSST. 1973 witnessed a proliferation of drive-in conferences financed by a national effort to improve science and math education. The Center for the Advancement of Science Education (CASE) at UW-Superior, The Wisconsin Implementation Network with centers on many college campuses, and the Wisconsin Academy of Arts, Letters and Science in Madison, were all instrumental in providing the much needed assistance to the teachers of Wisconsin. Leadership in all these activities and organizations came from people who were also active Members in WSST.

New concerns stimulating science educators at this time were science instruction for disabled students, incorporation of the metric system, revision of certification requirements for science teachers, the assessment of learning and progress and revision of the Wisconsin Science Curriculum Guide. Continuing to support drastic change in science education, WSST co-sponsored three summer institutes in 1977 with the Department of Public Instruction and UW-Extension on the topic of "Intellectual Freedom and the Young Adult." WSST workshops were held in Platteville, Madison, Milwaukee and  Eau ClaireAlso in 1977, WSST began to recognize elementary, middle and high school science educators, as well as those outside the profession.  The Ron Gibbs Award was created to recognize WSST members with a long record of leadership in science education. Jon Harkess, a physics teacher at  Wausau  was the first recipient of this award. Governor Lee Dreyfuss declared the week of May 7 –May 11th, 1979 as Metric Week. The WSST and the Junior  Academy  of Science became co-sponsors of the Wisconsin Science Congress, making this meeting of high school students presenting their science research an annual event of the WSST Spring Convention beginning in 1979. Unified Science has a small but talented group of disciples in our state. Carl Pfieffer at Monona Grove and Jon Harkness at  Wausau had each developed curricula that reach across the spectrum of science and grade levels. In 1980,  Wausau completed the last of a three-year grant involving fourteen teachers. Ron Showers, an outstanding WSST past president, died on May 24th, 1980 shortly after retiring from Green Bay East. A loving person, Ron was memorialized by a WSST Scholarship sponsored by this family, and later by the WSST Foundation. A brief glance at the 1981 convention program is a refreshing insight into what was important in the 80’s: science for the handicapped (now called disabled), gifted and talented, extended field trips, aerospace education, how to observe UFO’s and model rockets. A concern for the interface of science and society grew at this time beginning with a study of five hundred leaders in education. This theme is one that periodically surfaces as citizens and politicians make important decisions based on very little knowledge and understanding of science. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction in 1982 took a stand regarding religion in pubic schools, specifically targeting the inclusion of “creation science” in the curriculum. The 1982 issue of the WSST Newsletter, was headlined “The Crisis in Science Education.” The crisis was a shortage of qualified science and math teachers; in an NSTA study, principals reported that 50% of newly employed science and math teachers were “unqualified”.  Six hundred Universities reported a 65-77% decline in students preparing for careers in science and math teaching.


Among notable events of the early 1980's was the co-sponsorship by WSST and Wisconsin Power and Light, of the Thomas Alva Edison Foundation Conference in Baraboo. WSST and the Wisconsin  Academy  of Arts, Letters, and Science received a grant from the National Science Foundation to establish six regional centers to assist in the science education of disabled students. The WSST Newsletter continued informing  Wisconsin 's science educators about grants, workshops, trends, institutes, awards, conventions, and issues in science education, thus serving as the primary organ for the dissemination of information about science education in the state. Science World, an important educational innovation, was introduced to the teachers of  Wisconsin in 1983. The goal of this summer workshop for eighth grade students and their teachers was to demonstrate exemplary science instruction for teachers throughout the state. WSST, the Department of Public Instruction and the  Wisconsin  Academy collaborated in the development and maintenance of this program judged by teachers to be the best thing to happen to science education in  Wisconsin. The next year, over three hundred and sixty eighth grade students and one hundred and twenty science teachers were trained by eighteen master teachers in this program. Another way WSST influenced science education at this time was to invite national leaders in science and science education to make presentations at the spring convention. Dan Sheldon, Hans Anderson, Bassam Shakashiri and Bob Yager are examples of the talent to which members were exposed. Dr. Horowitz (UW Madison) gave presentations focused on AIDS - a little known disease with but 2200 cases reported in the U.S. by 1983. WSST and NSTA were in the forefront to present science teachers with information about this disease. The Center for Science Education, an affiliate of WSST, received a grant to train 90 science teachers in the area of genetic engineering, a topic of growing interest at the time. During these years WSST expanded its contacts to include the Wisconsin Science Educators, a group of college science teachers, science educators and school district science consultants. WSST’s national outreach embraced the National Science Teachers Association, The National (and  Wisconsin) Association of Biology Teachers and The National (and  Wisconsin ) Geology Teachers Association. The Center for the Advancement of Science, Education (CASE) received a NSF grant in 1984 to sponsor three workshops on teaching techniques for instruction in genetics and genetic engineering. Science Forums sponsored by WSST with attendance in the hundreds were held in Green BayMadison Appleton Chippewa Falls , and also Pewaukee. Two active WSST members were nominated for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching - Frank Zuerner and  Marilyn Hanson.

The Wisconsin Physics Teachers held a joint convention with WSST in 1984, and in 1985 the WSST introduced Wisconsin to the world of the National Science Olympiad. The first Olympiad tournament was held at the WSST Spring Convention. The Fall WSST meeting in conjunction WEAC featured the following topics by known specialists: “The Future of Power Generation in the USA”, “The Acid Rain Controversy”, “The Radioactive Waste Disposal Problem”, and “Renewables, Exhaustables, Sustainables, Conservation, and the Environment.” These topics are as current today as then. Our organization achieved a first when LeRoy Lee, a past president of WSST was elected president of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). Members attending the 1986 convention in Appleton each received a "Swap Book" with hundreds of science activities. This book contained the favorite, refined, and often original science activities, tricks, and techniques for our members. When the Department of Public Instruction published the new Science Curriculum Guide, WSST members, as in the past, were the key contributors to its creation. This effort carried on one of the original goals of WSST to provide for improvement in science education through curriculum guidance and certification standards. Our continuing linkage with business was exemplified by the Saturday Drive-In Workshops co-sponsored by NASCO and WSST. Another cooperative venture involved WSST and Bell Telephone. Nancy Booth - a past officer of WSST (and active in WEST), published a science activity newsletter called Kaleidoscope, for lower elementary teachers with the assistance of the  Wisconsin Academy. Governor Thompson officially declared a Science Education Week for the spring of 1987 and 1988 this was a first for the state of   Wisconsin brought about through the efforts of Bill Cary and the cooperation of his state representative.  Four Wisconsin Schools went to the National Olympiad in 1988 (Madison West, Milwaukee Morse,  Washington  Park  at Racine and Menomonie Junior H.S. from Schofield). Science World, with the support of the DPI took a new dimension in 1988 with the institution of two-week sessions for the elementary, middle school and high school teacher. Fifteen teachers were selected for each two weeks of instruction. These teachers formed a cadre of science instruction leaders and resource teachers. A study by WSST into the supply of science teachers in  Wisconsin concluded that changes are needed to meet the demand for new teachers. Among the recommendations: class sizes of no more than 24, a maximum of four classes a day, no more that two subjects, and time scheduled for preparing laboratory activities. More news about Science World as it began its seventh season in 1989. There were 64 eighth graders that attended each of the six sessions. Thirty teachers were selected to attend. WSST has participated in the Crane Count for the past ten years and was invited to participate in this the 15th Crane Count.  Ripon  College , together with five other organizations including WSST, has become a major supporter of the Wisconsin Olympiad having hosted the competition for the past four years. In 1989 the DPI informed Wisconsin Schools that latex and Mylar balloons filled with helium are not environmentally friendly objects and should not be part of school projects because of the harm they do to wildlife. As chemical safety becomes more important in science classes, the case of iodine and tincture of iodine came to our attention. It has the highest hazardous rating.  Laboratory safety will become a big topic in coming years as more accidents occur and liability comes to the foreground. And to round out 1989, the Wisconsin Science Educators will convene their 15th joint convention with WSST in  Green Bay. Some topics from their agenda are: “Elementary Science Certification”, “Parkside Science Programs”, “Discovery World”, and “HS Physics Adoption Project”. WEST will hold its very first convention in conjunction with WSST and plans to launch an ambitious program aimed at giving elementary teachers in our state their rightful place in the sun. A more enthusiastic group of teachers is hard to imagine. WEST grew out of a desire of elementary teachers in  Wisconsin to be recognized for their contribution to science education - something the officers of WSST, being mostly secondary school teachers, failed to provide for many years.


President Frank Zuerner wrote in 1990 that the new constitution replaces the appointed Advisory Board with elected District Directors (Combined CESA districts). Vote for officers is a concern with each president. Only about 200-250 of 1700 members exercise this sacred right. The Kaleidoscope is available for $10.00 per issue from the Wisconsin  Academy . This document is jam-packed with activities for elementary teachers. Don Lutz received the Mcauliffe Felowship and about $15,000 with which he will construct an outdoor lab, next to his school. April 22-28th will be Wisconsin Science and Technology week. Al Hovey was selected to the DPI Science Consultant position. Diane Gerlach,  Kenosha, and Russell Gilbert, Soldiers Grove received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Math Teaching. WEST will hold its second conference in  Wausau this March. Designed as a mini- convention it draws elementary and middle school teachers from across the state. WSST continues to provide and also sponsor workshops, field trips, and courses dealing with environmental science. In 1991 DPI Superintendent Bert Grover announced that upon Dave Engelson’s retirement theEnvironmental Education and Science Consultancy will become one. WSST opposes this move as too much territory for one person. BIONET is born under the guiding hand of Sharon Nelson and the UW-Madison Center for Biology Education. Destination Mars, a program open to all H.S. students, is in its fifth year, as teams of students compete to design a Mars space station.

Appleton took three of the top four places at the Olympiad competition. This year’s trials were held at UW-Oshkosh for the fifth year. District reps. were given lists of members in their districts and charged to get at least one WSST member in each of its schools. Presidential Awards go to Kathy Lee, Madison and Barb Salvo, Racine. In a daring move away from the population centers, Eau Claire  will host the 1992 convention. Wisconsin Science and Technology Week will be held in the spring of 1992by proclamation of the Legislature. Educational opportunities galore continue to be offered in our state and announced in our Newsletter. Genetics, Earth Science, Chemistry. Environmental ed., Astronomy and meteorology are few. President Floyd Henschel congratulates the 
Eau Claire members for an outstanding 1991 convention. He encourages members to be active in committees which are the glue holding WSST together. Floyd continues with another term as president because of a resignation and continues to urge members to take part in WSST’s many offices, committees and member activities.

WEST will formally incorporate middle school teachers in their organization. WSST has a new home at the Science Outreach Office at the UW-Oshkosh in which our Executive Director Ed, Mueller will have an office. After three years of planning, the WSST Foundation has been approved by the Board. The sole purpose to the Foundation will be to provide funding for activities to improve science education. Besides projects the Foundation will provide scholarship money to WSST members. The Foundation is the brainchild of Floyd Henschel, Ed Mueller and Ben Thompson. In 1993, WSST Forums are being planned for 

Milwaukee Madison and  Oshkosh. WEST will hold its annual WestFest in  Wausau during February 1993. BIONET has evolved into eleven sharing groups serving biology teachers across the state. IKE (Eisenhower) funds will support twenty-one elementary-middle school science projects in  Wisconsin. It was feared there would be no IKE Funds. WINET serves 40 states from a UW-Madison computer to make innovative approaches to science teaching widely available via the Internet. Retired WSST members Meeting met at the spring convention in  Stevens Point. Begun at the  Eau Claire convention this continuing event allows retirees to keep connected to their profession. Ken Dowling, a legend among WSST members, is retiring and the topic of an article in theNewsletter. Ken has been an active professional for over forty years and will be truly missed. He plans to retire in  Florida Wisconsin can be proud of the National Mole Day Foundation, run by volunteers and created to celebrate Mole Day each October 23. It is the brainchild of a teacher in Prairie du Chien,  Wisconsin. Mole Day kits are available. Don Byerly, our 93-94 president brings our attention the new Science World video and the successful conclusion of another summer at Pigeon  Lake . Don has resigned from his position as Director of Science World because of a chronic bout with Lyme’s disease. High School students in the Wisconsin Science Congress will meet in  La Crosse at the WSST convention. Past NSTA President LeRoy Lee becomes NSTA treasurer. Dues increase to $15.00 here at home. It is now 1994 and Floyd Henschel is WSST President again. His message to members remains the same: “get involved in a great organization.” Floyd is a People Person. His columns are verbal hugs for members who make WSST run. The District Directors (Combined CESA Districts) are now giving reports of their activities in each Newsletter. The WSST Foundation has assets of over $19,000 and is looking for projects to fund. Sharon Nelson, our president speaks of the possibility that Science World will be dropped by the DPI and the possibility that the DPI itself will be dismantled. Not a happy inauguration for  Sharon. But there will be a 1996 Science World. She tells us IKE funds may disappear too.  Sharon asked each District Director to host a meeting within their district to bring teachers needs and wants to light for the benefit of WSST as it plans for the future. The Madison Area Safety Council will offer a free program to area science teachers on the safe handling of chemicals. WSST has worked hard to make the 1996 National Science Content Standards available to WSST members. They will cost $20.00 by mail, or pick a copy up at the  Fond du Lac Convention for $5.00. Three sessions at the convention addressed the use of the Standards.  As usual, WSST made available to its members numerous opportunities for summer workshops, courses and institutes.  Morse  Middle School  has once again made it to the Olympiad national finals.

The Wisconsin State Supreme Court is deciding the fate of the DPI. Will it be fractionated or kept intact? The Thompson Administration wants to make the superintendent’s position a political appointee. Sharon Nelson reported Superintendent Benson will hire science, math and language arts consultants. This political warfare is not good for education.  In response to this unfortunate event, WSST will establish means to become pro-active in respect to threats to science education. A WSST External Affairs Committee was established for this purpose. The National Academy of Sciences has released the National Science Education Standards.  These K-12 standards deal with content, curriculum, teaching, professional development and assessment - among other things. NSTA spearheaded the effort to develop the standards and will provide materials for their implementation.

The Foundation hopes to provide ten grant opportunities in 1997. WSST participated in a Science Standards Taskforce appointed by DPI Superintendent. Benson. 

Shelly Fisher, a past president of NSTA, is the new DPI science consultant. The State Supreme Court has moved to retain an elected DPI superintendent and its structure will remain intact. The Foundation has published a full color booklet tracing the emergence WSST in regards to membership, finances, impact on science education in the state and many more things. The main purpose of this booklet is to inform businesses and industries of the Foundation and its need of their support.

To replace Joe Bruenig who has left the state in 1996, Bruce Smith, Appleton, was appointedNewsletter editor. President Steve Pike announces that Dick Pinney has our own webpage up and running. Northern States Power and Hutchinson Technology are each providing $500.00 grants through the Foundation for 1997. These are the first corporate sponsors for the Foundation’s program. A draft copy of the  Wisconsin Science Content Standards appears in the Sep/Oct issue of theNewsletter. They contain guidance for content, performance and proficiency. Many feel standards are a key to future improvement of science education. Our president, Steve Pike mentions that Lieutenant Governor, Scott McCallum is heading a drive to inject into science, concrete knowledge-based oriented academic standards. The Thompson Administration (employed at the public’s expense) appoints a politically aligned “Think Tank” to study proposals and is guaranteed supporting results. In the case of science, the person who reviewed the proposal totally lacked credentials in science and science education. When brought to his attention at a public forum in Eau Claire McCallum refused to respond. The Lt Gov. is also attempting to eliminate the Wisconsin Environmental Education Board and environmental education grants. McCallum is creating a task force to “synthesize” the Wisconsin Standards. W.L. Gore (Gortex) will offer a $500.00 grant through the Foundation for 1997 The IKE grants will continue for one year and there is the promise of increased funding for these programs.

Carol Pollard, Wausau, has a whole page commentary in the Newsletter on the nationally common practice of principals to place elementary trained teachers in middle school science positions. She questions the ability of these teachers to teach what they do not know or only know slightly. Going into 1998, Science World is accepting applications for the 16th summer session. Revised  Mission and Strategic Goals statements appears in the Nov/Dec 1997 issue of the Newsletter. The Foundation will provide seven $500.00 grants in 1998 and invites applications. The Wisconsin Association of School Boards was treated to demonstrations by twenty-two WSST members and their students in  Milwaukee on Jan 21-22, 1989. In its third year of operation, 5,500 teachers were impacted by the training in science, math and technology offered by the Wisconsin Academy Staff Development Initiative (WASDI).

Sue Whitsett, WSST President for 1998-1999 announced the publication of a revised Strategic Plan. Sue announced a new feature of the convention, “Celebrate Success”, where awards and honors are to be presented. The Lake Geneva committee has entered the high-tech age by creating the first website for a convention. WSST lost a friend and staunch leader when death claimed Don Byerly Jr. after a long illness. Don had been fighting the results of a severe case of Lymes disease for a number of years Floyd Henschel published a eulogy to our fallen colleague. WEST will host six WEST Works meetings in 1998.  Madison  area WSST members will host a Forum in February 1999 on the Processes and History of Science. WSST will become involved in the 1999 Rainforest adventure in  Belize . The office of Executive Secretary will be replaced with an Executive Director in 2008. When approved by the membership it will be funded as a part time position. In time, Ed Mueller assumed the post and continues to this day. A 1999 campaign to save Science World came to naught when the DPI stopped funding the program. WSST members wrote to their representatives to no avail. NSTA will hold a regional convention in Milwaukee in 2000. The Foundation now has over $50,000 in assets and has awarded over $11,000 to twenty-five members in project grants and scholarships.


To open 2000, Don Lutz, WSST President points to some great people in history such as Einstein, Newton, Darwin, Pasteur, and Galileo to emphasize the great profession we have inherited and that we should take pride in being science teachers. Science World will continue for another year. This magnificent program seems to be living year by year and this is a shame. The WSST Foundation headed by Al Stawicki will host a golf outing to raise money for the Foundation (No-go because of small enrollment). WESTFest 2000 will again be held in  Stevens Point with a list of 13 top-notch breakout sessions. The Don Byerly family has donated $5,000 to the Foundation for grants to schools and children north of HWY 8.  WASDI will train six new lead teachers with a grant of $600,000 from the NSF at the urging of Dave Obey. This follows a six-year grant from NSF. The La Crosse Convention was a big hit. However, we did not have the aerial view and photos, of members forming WSST on the ground as last time. NSTA will hold the regional convention in  Milwaukee, but not without the help of WSST. Are you ready to freeze your buns off at the 2001 convention? No sweat, for it will be held in  Duluth  Minnesota  with the Minnesota Science Teachers Association - WSST will charter buses for those in the south. A Richard Haney Scholarship has been established by Richard and Dawn Haney. $1,000 will go to a student in the Milwaukee Department of Curriculum and Instruction who intends to become a science teacher. Sharon Nelson becomes the Teacher in Residence at the DOE.  Sharon has also established and funded within the Foundation, a First Year Teacher Grant, which pays most convention expenses for a first year science teacher.

Gary Krueger, our president, is encouraging members to participate in the NSTA program,Building a Presence for Science-Wisconsin that will have a contact person in every

Wisconsin school. He also asks members to become acquainted with NSTA Position papers, especially the one on evolution. Believe it or not, the 2001  Duluth convention was a HOOT (Success that is) with lots of good programs and a different approach to fun. A cutting edge presentation of Nanotechnology by UW Madison was very fascinating.  Northland  College  has offered to be the new home for Science World. Now we have to find funding. Bruce Smith retires as Newsletter editor after six years and Brian Bartel will take on the job. The WSST Foundation gave the Wisconsin Science Congress new life by sponsoring the student research program for the year 2001. WSST will become its permanent sponsor after 2001. Began in 1957 and headed for many years by Jack Seroogy, its future was in doubt when Jack recently retired from teaching. The NABT Outstanding Wisconsin Biology Teacher Award goes to Dave Burbach, Markesan H.S. The Foundation provided $3,000 in awards in 2001. President Mark Poggensee announced that the DPI will not fund Science World for 2002. Earthwatch Institute will form a Wisconsin partnership; Rachel Egan and Jeannie Stabb are the contact people. Ten WSST members will receive 2/3 funding for the summer of 2002.  Marshfieldstudents win the First State Oceanographic Bowl. Shelley Lee received the NSTA Distinguished Service Citation for distinguished service in the Search for Excellence program and Curriculum Planning in Science.  Shelly is the DPI science consultant. WSST Forums are alive and well. The three held at the convention in 

Madison were well attended. President Peter Watts is concerned about the 20% voting record for WSST officials, a recurring concern of every president since WSST was formed. Wisconsin Science Congress, with the help of the WSST Foundation, is charged up for the 2003 convention thanks to the work of Don Bogdanske, Ripon H.S. and Thomas Eddy, Green Lake H.S. WSST Adventures under the leadership of Rachel Egan and Jeannie Staab are asking you to join them in an Apostle Island workshops having just brought a group of WSST members alive from Brazil. Sue Whitsett, BIONET Director reminds us this biology-sharing network established by Sharon Nelson in 1991 is an active and productive WSST sponsored organization in  Wisconsin. In 2002 ten high schools participated in the Lake Sturgeon Bowl, an offshoot of the National Ocean Science Bowl. Nanotechnology rises to our attention through a UW MRSEC, Discovery World and NSF Internship program. Long-term exemplary service to WAEE brought the Aldo Leopold Award to our own Pat  Marinac. The WSST Foundation will be having their first annual Silent Auction at the 2003 convention. The WSST Foundation is requesting proposals and at the same time suggesting this is a good pace to remember someone with a memorial. This is the year for nature study adventures in other places. A host of opportunities are available. The annual banquet at our spring conventions has been named The Milton O. Pella Banquet to honor Dr. Milton Pella, the person most instrumental for bringing WSST into existence. President Peter Watts salutes those of our organization who have offered the kind of leadership making WSST as great as it is. He also congratulates Dick Seng and his crew for the fabulous convention at the Dells.

The Foundation is in its seventh year and giving more to WSST members that ever. Xcel Energy, our most loyal contributor, has provided WSST with a $500 grant for each of the seven years of existence. The Website has some tremendous additions. Dale Basler, our web master says check wsst.org for a discussion Room, Safety Updates, Science in the News, Professional development, and Links to Resources. Also look for convention registration and presentation applications on-line - another service of our webmaster. President Dick Seng wants us to mark our calendar for the NSTA regional in 

Minneapolis and the WSST spring convention in  Appleton. The No Child Left Behind Act has replaced the IKE Grant Money. Wisconsin Science Congress calls for high school students to apply to present papers at the 2004 WSST Appleton convention. WEST will have its annual breakfast which will be followed by a “Make and Take” session at the convention. President Dick Seng announced that WSST has adopted what is called “Strands” to help members procure funds to attend professional development programs. Our “Strands” are consistent with NSTA “Strands”.  Last year the Foundation raised $700 during the silent auction at the convention. We will try again in 2004. WSST Adventures takes you to  Costa Rica in 2004. IMPACT will be a new addition to the Newsletter in which members will respond to questions or relate events that had an impact on their teaching career. Brian Bartel will head this activity. Mary Oehler wants you to support Mole Day. Thousands of high school chemistry classes celebrated Mole Day on October 23rd. Not only do the Mole Day folks in Prairie du Chien provide packets, but also now Awards are given. WSST can be proud it started here. Keeping elementary teachers involved in WSST is a chore, and President Elect Bob Boone will work with WEST to that end. The first selection for IMPACT deals with wearing safety goggles. Modeling by the teacher and “funky” glasses seems to be the most popular avenue to their use. The second issue was funds for science equipment, supplies and field trips. They are drying up. President Elect Dale Basler is all about computers, talking about SnipURL, Backup software, and Removable Flash Drives, Google and etc. The word is “Get on board or be attacked by vicious electrons.”

Frank Zuerner, a past president and long-time contributing member of WSST, passed away on September 24, 2004. Very few of us have taken a more active part in WSST than Frank - who served on many committees and commissions as well as numerous elected positions. Frank was especially active as a member of the WSST Foundation. The First Year Teacher Award will be renamed to the Frank Zuerner New Teacher Award. The Northeastern WSST Forum will be held in Green Bay on Oct. 5. WAEE, Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education will hold its 2004 conference in Telemark on Oct. 28-30. NSTA says schools are struggling to fill science positions. President Bob Boone alerts us to the evolution/creation topic. WSST has adopted the NSTA Position Paper on the subject “While we generally support the belief that Creationism is a belief, and should not be taught as science….. I feel that religion and science can and should co-exist.” WSSTs’ Letter to the Grantsburg School Board outlines the organization’s objections to teaching “alternative scientific models/theories” (Of origins). The letter states the only one viable theory in this area is evolution. It is feared teachers will be pressured to teach "creation science” which is a religious effort to support “special creationism” through the methods of science. IMPACT Questions: “What professional development did you do over the summer?” (Leadership camp) and: “What is the best book you read over the summer?”  (Napoleon’s Buttons: How 17 molecules changed History)

Bob Boone has coached an Olympiad team for 25 years and laments the decline in support by Wisconsin’s science teachers for this event. We have slipped from 65 to 36 schools in just one year. A constitutional change makes the office of WSST President a three-year journey of dedication. The change allows the president elect to learn from the president and then share their experience as Past President.  The  La Crosse convention will have something for everyone with 47 general science, 10 elementary 23 middle and 48 high school level sessions. IMPACT - In response to the question about teaching evolution, no one took an extreme view but said science is science and religious beliefs are just that and while we must respect people’s beliefs they must stand the test of science to be taught in the science classroom. James Huhn, in a letter to the editor traced the history of the evolution debate within WSST and concluded that the WSST Board neglected to adopt the Document Review Committee’s Report emphasizing that the alternate views should be neither endorsed nor condemned. Jim feels the Board’s position excludes all WSST members who embrace creation or Intelligent Design. Tim Wanamaker,  Appleton, enjoys teaching about evolution but feels that religious conservatives have been increasingly successful in attacking evolutionary theory and the intimidating science teachers to avoid the topic. “The key to evolution as science is thoughtful instruction, quality education.” (The Grantsburg Board did change its position after considerable national notoriety and Jim Huhn did present the alternative view at many following conventions without hindrance by convention committees. Historian’s note, 2007). President Bob Boone, like all retiring WSST Presidents expresses his astonishment at the work WSST members contribute to making our organization as great as it is and urges still more member participation. The Foundation established a new category of Grants in 2005. The Founder’s Grant is used for special programs and has a limit of $500. The funds for this grant come from member contributions. President Dale Basler has a host of suggestions for members who want to improve WSST as a service organization: sponsor a forum, join a committee, nominate a person for office, have a sharing session in your district and so on with more information in another part of the Newsletter.  Mercury Marine through the work of Floyd Henschel has provided a $500 grant to the Foundation for someone in the  Fox  Valley  area. Thanks Mercury Marine. NOTE. Each page of the Newsletter has from two to four pages of Educational Opportunities and Professional Development for our members. There is not room to include them but this is an important contribution of the Newsletter and WSST to the improvement of science education in Wisconsin. In addition almost every Director has a Newsletter report of activities in their District.

Webmaster Dale Basler has created a WSST Discussion Room where members can start or contribute to a discussion among members. Foundation changes tactics and will have a “ticket raffle” at the convention to raise money with donated items. Al Hovey attended a workshop in India “Space Based Resources”, where they utilize distant learning via satellites and computers in the schools. In the next few Newsletters, the WSST Historian will present an article on the history of science education in the  USA. More Computer stuff for WSST. The WSST Lab Table is a collection of news stories and useful links available through our web site.  IMPACT had a limited response to the question about the president's endorsement of Intelligent Design for the public schools. Dick LeClair thinks there is not room for more in the curriculum. The Rumford Memorial Award was created to recognize a WSST member who has given dedicated service to the organization for at least a decade. The Foundation will select the winner. A gift of 150 new one-dollar bills goes with the award. Another article by the Historian titled “What You Don’t Need To Know To Be A Science Teacher?" Our President Dale Basler suggests RSS feeds or podcasting to get a much-needed dose of science news from Google Reader.

IMPACT’s favorite joke edition. There were seven. Shortened version by Rick Bronic, Elissa Hoffman and Bruce Smith: “An anion and cation are walking down the street. The cation looks worried. “What’s the problem?” asks the anion. “I lost my electron” says the cation”. “Are you sure”, asks the anion. The cation replies “yes, I’m positive”.  Two first year teachers, Jason Brazzale, Prescott and Katie Bahl, West Allis received the WSST Foundation Frank Zuerner New Teacher Awards. President Dale Basler is nettled by Alternate Careers in Teaching, which turns career professionals with B.S.degrees into teachers. Dana Krejcarek, Fond du Lac, received the 2005 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching. Another article by the WSST Historian, this dealing with the Alphabet Soup Curriculum projects from the 70’s and 80’s. Are Agriculture Classes science? A DPI taskforce (including Rodd Dymesich and Cindy Edlund) is investigating whether to grant science course status to Agricultural courses counting as science credit for graduation. At an AF/ACS summer camp, Kari Pezzi lectured on laboratory techniques, electrochemical methods of analysis and noble gases. President Dale Basler expresses a concern about various programs used to block access to the Internet especially the 2006 Deleting Online Predators Act passed by the House of Representatives. He is concerned that, in his words, “Any site that allows users to create an online journal could be blocked….. even NSTA’s SciLinks. For students Yes, for Teachers in the school, No.  Amy Dopp, has been the Olympiad coach at Marshfield for the past four years. And declares that “nothing brings kids together than solving a Hardy Weinberg problem.” She approaches the Olympiad as a science club and last year, with outside help covered 22 events in which  Wisconsincompetes. Amy’s message is give it a try. The  Green Bay convention and attending field trips to the Packers Hall of Fame and such like other athletic halls of fame, brings a question to our president’s mind. Where are all the Halls of Fame dedicated to great scientists?  Not only is science not big on our populations mind the knowledge of science they possess is frightening. Dale ends by reminding us that we are the first to introduce science to children and though the odds are against us we can make a difference. A WSST Podcast currently called Periodicity and is available, discussing science education in the state.  52 episodes are produced, and can be found on iTunes. The Golden Age of WSST is an article by Dick Seng about the 2008 convention in Lake Geneva. This will be our 50th anniversary, and he wants everyone to know that it will be a very special event as conventions go. On leaving office as president, Dale encourages all members to become active in the affairs of WSST. Historian Ben Thompson’s history of science article took a swipe at the current national leaders in science education and the politically driven reforms they espouse. President Brian Bartel deals with teacher turnover in his inaugural message lamenting the fact that 50% of new teachers leave the profession in five years. He goes on to remind us that beginning teachers are usually given the least desirable assignments and flounder for lack of personal mentoring. His suggestion is to put yourself in the place of a first year teacher and make their life enjoyable by mentoring. The WSST Foundation has two $1,000 awards to grant this year One from Xcel Energy and another from the Kohler Foundation. In addition there will be Founder’s grants, a Byerly Grant, the Frank Zuerner New Teacher Grant and the Rumford Memorial Grant. An initial WSST History article appears tracing the organization’s progress from its inception in 1956 to incorporation in 1958 and events of importance up to 1967...


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