Montana State University
Montana State University >College of EHHD >Science Math Resource Center

College of Education, Health & Human Development

Montana State University
P.O. Box 172940
250 Reid Hall
Bozeman, MT 59717-2940

Tel: (406) 994-4133
Fax: (406) 994-1854

Dr. Lynda Ransdell

Dr. Elisabeth Swanson

Interim Director:
Dr. Irene Grimberg

Admin. Associate:
Annie Mollock

Admin. Assistant:
Jesse Hunter


Science Math Resource Center

College Department
  • Whats Up?
  • Overview
  • Mission, Vision, Values
  • Professional Development
  • Science Olympiad
  • About Us

What's Up?


2013 Montana STEM Educator Needs Assessment Survey Report

Wednesday December 18, 2013

During the Fall of 2013, we conducted a needs assessment survey of K-­-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educators in Montana. The primary purpose of the survey was to identify the educational needs of K-­-12 formal and informal STEM educators and collect information about schools or organizations that could be relevant to the implementation of teacher enhancement programs. The survey was completed by 213 STEM educators from 42 out of 56 counties in Montana. View the report.

2013 Montana Science Olympiad!!

By Irene Grimberg, Dec. 5 2013

Eggs falling from great heights? Unraveling a mysterious disease? Launching gliders? All of this happened at the annual 2013 Montana Science Olympiad hosted by MSU’s Science Math Resource Center on Tuesday, November 26, at MSU-Bozeman campus.


Roughly 1,400 students from 94 middle and high schools throughout Montana participated in the 2013 Montana’s Science Olympiad. The competition included twenty eight events related to science or engineering such as: building a cantilevered structure, identifying insects, constructing magnetically-levitated vehicles, identifying rocks and determining mineral hardness, and data analyses using the principles of genetics. Teams competed in either middle or high school division events, and the winning team of each division has the opportunity to participate in the national tournament, to be held on May 16-17, 2014 in Orlando, Florida.

This year, thanks to donations from members of the Bozeman community and the Montana Science Olympiad, the auditorium of the closing ceremony trembled with roars of joy when winning teams received $1,500 each to help with the expenses required to journey to Nationals. In addition, second-place teams received a gift from the Montana Space Grant Consortium (MSGC) to attend the 2014 MSGC Student Research Symposium to be held on Monday April 7, 2014 at MSU-Bozeman.


The Montana Science Olympiad is much more than a competition; it is an invitation to be immersed in the world of science and engineering in a fun and engaging way! A Fun Night launches the Montana Science Olympiad on the Monday evening prior to the tournament at the Museum of the Rockies. This year, 553 participants, including Olympians, coaches, and parents from 28 different schools in Montana, consumed 831 square feet of pizza, engaged with presenters and participated in activities.Thanks to Angela Weikert –Museum of the Rockies Education Director- and presenters, Montana Science Olympiad participants celebrated science with magic, Planetarium shows, live animals, hands-on activities, and impressive demonstrations of robotics, space engineering, architecture, anthropology, astronomy, and chemistry. The exhibits were open to the public, and as a parent said “ MOR is better than the Smithsonian museums in D.C.” in regards to the quality of the exhibits and programs.


At the 2013 Montana Science Olympiad, Olympians, coaches and parents had the chance to attend some of the 14 talks and tours that showcased cutting-edge research at Montana State University. Subzero Lab, High Altitude Balloon Lab, and Neuroscience Lab tours were packed with public eager to visit the facilities that make it possible to reach new frontiers. The physics of skis, sustainable agriculture, MSU Everest Expedition, honey bees, NASA’s new solar missions, how to train your robot, and turning scientists into filmmakers were some of the many talks that the audience enjoyed.


All of the activities, presentations, and events of Montana Science Olympiad resulted from the collective effort of about 100 volunteer MSU faculty, students and Bozeman community members. Their efforts plus the committed work of the Science Math Resource Center staff including: Bruna Irene Grimberg, Montana Science Olympiad State Director, Kiley Eversole, Montana Science Olympiad Coordinator, Jesse Hunter, Montana Science Olympiad Administrative Coordinator, Annie Mollock, Science Math Resource Center Administrator, and Sarah Hendrikx, Science Math Resource Center Data Analyst made this year’s Olympiad a great success.


Thank you Bozeman and MSU communities for your dedication and passion, it really makes a difference in the future of Montana and our kids!


Science Math Resource Center Receives Award from MSTA

Thursday October 17, 2013

On October 17th,  the Science Math Resource Center was happy to be honored by the Montana Science Teachers' Association at the MEA conference held in Belgrade, Montana.  The Science Math Resource Center received an award from MSTA for "Superior Achievement in Science Education for 2013" for qualities of innovation and creative teaching, content expertise, enthusiasm and leadership, which contribute to excellence in promoting science education in Montana.


Science Math Resource Center: Making Science Fun!

Saturday September 21, 2013

Annie Mollock, Jesse Hunter, Kiley Eversole, and Irene Grimberg represented the Science Math Resource Center and the Montana Science Olympiad at the Montana Science and Engineering Festival held on September 21 at Bobcat Stadium. In an effort to publicize the Montana Science Olympiad to the community and engage the public in science and engineering we had hands-on activities and flyers that explain what the Center does for STEM education in Montana, and volunteer opportunities offered by the Montana Science Olympiad. 235 people visited our booth to play with magnets, decipher optical illusions, and explore the intricacies of mass and inertia. The activities were very well received, and adults and kids both had fun. Teachers of the area requested resources for their classrooms, and many MSU students pledged to volunteer for the Montana Science Olympiad, on November 26 at our very own MSU campus! 

In addition to the Montana Science Olympiad booth the Science Math Resource Center along with faculty of Plant Science and Plant pathology, Land Resources and Environmental Science, College of Agriculture, and MSU-Extension had a booth to disseminate their research on integrated pest-management in crops. Together, we have a number of USDA grants to investigate multitrophic pest interactions and cropping system management.  The Science Math Resource Center is in charge of the educational component. At this booth sheep and microscopes greeted visitors and even children played virus and cells in a virus-tag game!!


Family Fun, Food, and Learning Night: Better than Christmas!!

Monday April 22, 2013

There is vast research supporting the idea that reading and parental engagement in school activities are critical factors to facilitate students' learning in ALL content areas. Moreover, reading or being read to during the summer months is very important to enhance or retain students' literacy level. Any reading material, and reading in any way -picture or text based books, and doing hands-on activities- is beneficial.  The important thing is that students pick their books!

The Science Math Resource Center in partnership with Hopa Mountain organized a powerful and transformative educator training to engage school students and their family in a Family Fun and Learning Night program.  Dr. Bonnie Sachatello-Sawyer, Hopa Mountain director, led the training focusing on: how to implement this family learning program in a school, storytelling and reading aloud-techniques, exploratory science-activities, and give-away books to children. Bonnie modeled a rock sorting activity inspired by the book "If You Find a Rock" by Peggy Christian and Barbara Hirsh Lember. Then teachers examined different ways to use this activity in their classroom, not only to address science content but also to reinforce reading comprehension and explore mathematical concepts. 

A picture astronomy book "There's No Place Like Space" by Tish Rabe and Aristides Ruiz was introduced along with night observations and recording of moon phases.  Ideas to extend this hands on-reading aloud activities to parent conference settings or school family nights, such as Astronomy Night and Science Night, were also discussed. The teachers received lesson plan packages for the rock and astronomy programs with descriptions of activities for students, parents and students, tips for parents for reading aloud and literacy activities at home, a book list.  The training concluded with teachers picking books for their classrooms and their students including: rock books; books about the moon, night sky, and Sun; books about Spring, about dogs, and many more!!

If you want to receive the activity packages and /or the books please visit the Hopa Mountain website, or e-mail Bonnie: If you need assistant and ideas to implement these activities in your classroom, or during parent conferences or family nights please contact the Big Sky Science Partnership teachers: Tanya Anderson (Hardin Intermediate), Devon Flamm (Hardin Intermediate), Reba Strom (Hardin Elementary), Dorcella Plain Bull (Pretty Eagle), and Michelle Jefferson (Pretty Eagle).


Big Sky Science Partnership (BSSP) Teachers in the News!

Tuesday April 9, 2013

Little Big Horn News, a Hardin newspaper, made an article about BSSP teachers trip to the 2013 NSTA Conference in San Antonio, Texas. To read more please go to the story link.


Picnic TableThe Science Math Resource Center (SMRC) is devoted to the advancement of science and mathematics teaching and learning. We provide professional development for a new generation of K-12 educators of tribal, rural, and urban communities; conduct educational research; and coordinate the statewide annual Science Olympiad that is held at Montana State University in Bozeman.

Our professional development programs are delivered face-to-face and online to facilitate the formation of teachers' learning communities and to provide access to teachers in remote areas.  Our programs focus on science and math content and research-based practices with a strong emphasis on the cultural context of the school community. The SMRC is a proud partner of the Montana
Science Teachers Association
(MSTA), working together to
promote the advancement of science education to all students in
Montana through providing support to preK-12 science teachers. The faculty and university students associated with the SMRC conduct educational research for online learning and teachers' education. At the SMRC we facilitate professional experiences for graduate students interested in STEM teaching and learning in tribal and rural K-12 schools.  The SMRC supports the Montana Science Olympiad Corner, a year-round site dedicated to Science Olympiad coaches and students with resources, tips, and news.

Science Math Resource Center Mission, Values, and Vision



Science literacy provides the foundation for a competitive and creative working force, and collective well-being. The Science Math Resource Center (SMRC) is committed to promote teaching and learning excellence in K-12 formal and informal settings in the State of Montana. In collaboration with other state science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational organizations, the Center will deliver professional development for teachers and other youth educators. Programs will address STEM content, community culture, instructional approaches of current educational reforms, and the development of leadership skills among educators.


Science Math Resource Center will increase the science literacy of K-12 students by using formal and informal opportunities for science learning. SMRC will provide professional development for K-12 educators of tribal, rural, and urban communities. The Center will provide professional assistance to other STEM educational organizations of the State of Montana and be recognized for its advocacy of high quality STEM education in the State. Echoing the land-grant mission of MSU, the Center will facilitate the integration of the University and K-12 STEM education communities in Montana.


Based on the principles of fairness and inclusion, the advantages of a high quality education should be available to all students and teachers in Montana.
K-12 Student Success
Educational systems, teaching practices, and resources should be available to facilitate the success of all K-12 students.
All educators in Montana should have the support necessary to provide the highest attainable quality education.
Communities should be able to sustain high quality education for their future generations.


The Center will be recognized for its coordination of the Montana Science Olympiad, and for mentoring Science Olympiad students and coaches.
The Center will be involved in interdisciplinary programs that integrate STEM fields and appropriate educational pedagogy for faculty, local communities, and K-12 school systems.
The Center will seek public and private funds to conduct programs for the advancement of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education in Montana.
The Center will provide assistance to STEM organizations in the State of Montana in regards to teacher professional development data collection and analysis.
The Center will facilitate partnerships between the Montana State University community and schools throughout the state of Montana to engage K-12 students in cutting edge science, engineering, and mathematic inquiry and career-related experiences.
The Center will document its impact in K-12 formal and informal STEM teaching and learning, conduct educational research, and disseminate findings in professional venues.

Professional Development


A Predictive Model to Increase Adoption of IPM of Mite-Virus Disease Complex
in Wheat

This regional project -involving communities from Texas, Montana, Nebraska,
Oklahoma, Colorado, and Kansas- focuses on the development and dissemination of
an accurate forecasting model of wheat viruses in order to improve the sustainability
of wheat production. SMRC in collaboration with researchers of Land Resources
and Environmental Science and Plant Science and Plant Pathology departments at
Montana State University and Department of Entomology of the University of Nebraska-
Lincoln, use science core ideas of the model to develop educational curriculum,
organize students field experiences, and deliver teacher professional development.
The curriculum is organized in online modules including science content background,
simulations, animations, games, video clips of mite's microscope views, and scientist
interviews. In turn, the modules are deployed to develop student (graduate,
undergraduate, and G-12 students) and science teachers learning opportunities based
on the management of this wheat-mite-virus complex to demonstrate the principles of
biology, ecology, and engineering. Teacher on-site professional development and G4-20
students field experiences are conducted in Montana and Nebraska.


Integrating Environmental Education Throughout the Curriculum (IEETC)

IEETC is a professional development program focused on increasing G2-8 teachersí abilities to integrate local environmental and indigenous topics into science content teaching. The program is delivered in two tribal communities, Salish Kootenai and Crow, and is centered on STEM topics. IEETC combines tribal members' presentations and panel discussions of local environmental issues, on-site workshops about inquiry-based activities, and online discussions allowing teachers to share teaching approaches and lesson ideas. The training is provided in collaboration with faculty of Montana State University, Little Big Horn College, and Salish Kootenai College. Teachers that participate in IEETC learn about the environmental issues facing their studentsí communities from scientific and tribal-historical perspectives. IEETC impacts about 20 teachers and 400 students. IEETC is funded by the Montana Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education, Educational Talent Search program.


Big Sky Science Partnership (BSSP)

BSSP focuses on the design and implementation of science teachers' professional development in American Indian reservations in Montana. BSSP is comprised of partners from five tribal communities, three institutions of higher education, and forty-five K-8 schools on and around the Flathead, Northern Cheyenne and Crow Reservations. The goals of this multi-year project are: 1) to increase teachers' science content knowledge, 2) to improve science instructional practices and culturally congruent teaching, 3) to improve students' science achievement, and 4) to form a cadre of teacher leaders that will assist other teachers in their own community. BSSP professional development is implemented in three content areas: Earth Science; Astronomy and Weather and Climate; and Physics. All instruction in these areas are framed by culturally responsive teaching approaches. The professional development is delivered face-to-face and online, such that teachers attend monthly face-to-face workshops and participate in online semester-long courses that deepen the face-to-face topics and facilitate the formation of a teacher's learning community; attend a two-week summer institute focused on the integration of science, pedagogy, and culture; and participate in a summer cultural camp experiencing tribal American Indian culture. Being in its last year, BSSP impacted about 100 teachers plus 15 American Indian pre-service teachers, and 2000 students in grades K-8. Approximately 60% of these students are American Indians living on Montana's American Indian reservations. BSSP is funded by the Mathematics and Science Partnership program of the National Science Foundation. More infomation


Science Inquiry Learning in the Classroom (SILC)

SILC was a professional development program for K-6 teachers of urban and rural school districts in Montana, aiming to increase teachers' science content knowledge, to promote inquiry-based teaching, and to facilitate classroom implementation of the resources identified by Montana Office of Public Instruction Indian Education For All (IEFA) program. In partnership with the Montana Learning Center, Montana State University, Montana Regional Education Services Area IV, and Helena and Bozeman school districts, SILC delivered a blended model professional development including: face-to-face monthly inquiry academies, teachers' webinars, online coursework, scientists classroom virtual visits, and instructional coaching. The inquiry academies, webinars, and online coursework addressed the Montana Standards for Life Science and Physical Science, and inquiry-based pedagogical practices. Instructional coaching involved working on an individual basis with each teacher at least once a month encouraging the use of age-appropriate content and inquiry. Classroom virtual visits facilitated scientist and student dialogs centered on the concept of energy. SILC impacted 60 teachers and approximately 1300 K-6 students. SILC was funded by the Mathematics and Science Partnership program of the Montana Office of Public Instruction.


E-Mentoring for Students Success (eMSS)

eMSS is an online mentoring program for science and mathematics teachers. eMSS started as a partnership comprised of NSTA, the Science Math Resource Center and the Burns Telecommunications Center at Montana State University, the NSF Center for Learning and Teaching in the West, the New Teacher Center at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a number of school districts in Montana and California. The primary goal of eMSS is to develop a national online, content-rich, mentoring system to improve the skills of, and provide support for novice middle and high school science teachers.  eMSS  develops an online network of mentor teachers, science and math educators, and scientists and mathematicians who support beginning teachers in their efforts to provide high quality instruction to their students. Joining California and Montana, eMSS gradually incorporated other states reaching up to 16 states in the nation. eMSS was funded by National Science Foundation and currently is self-supported by user districts and administrated by the New Teacher Center.


Center for Learning and Teaching in the West (CLTW)

The CLTW is a consortium of five universities: Portland State University, Montana State University, the University of Montana, Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado, in partnership with Ft. Belknap College (MT), other community and tribal colleges, the Portland Public Schools, and 68 rural and reservation schools in Montana and Colorado. This partnership arose from shared interests on improving teacher preparation; delivering high quality professional development; providing advanced degree programs in education; developing science and mathematics education research; exploring innovative delivery systems; and documenting experiences in systemic collaboration. Sixty-two graduate students (51 doctoral and 11 master students) completed their studies in the frame of CLTW. Research work supported by CLTW includes studies on: K-12 student achievement differences; cultural issues affecting student performance and participation; professional development to promote teacher knowledge, and community and capacity building; distance education; and access to and success in higher education. CLTW was funded by the National Science Foundation.


Systemic Teacher Education Preparation (STEP)

STEP is a project for the improvement of STEM education of pre-service teachers in the state of Montana. Based at MSU, the STEP project has formed a collaborative partnership between the university system campuses, Montana's seven tribal colleges, and numerous K-12 field sites throughout the state. STEP redesigned mathematics, science, and methods courses for pre-service teachers, using model field sites as "living laboratories" for research on effective pre-service training. As a result of these initiatives, the number of minority students preparing to teach in STEM fields significantly increased, and a distance-based mentoring system for new teachers in a rural state was piloted. STEP was funded by the National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education program.

Science Olympiad

Corvallis Students

The Montana Science Olympiad is devoted to improving the quality of science education, increasing student interest in science and providing recognition for outstanding achievement in science education by both students and teachers. The Science Math Resource Center at Montana State University in Bozeman hosts the annual Montana Science Olympiad in conjunction with the National Science Olympiad.

The Science Olympiad goals are accomplished through the dedication of Montana science teachers and parents who organize classroom activities, research, and after school training clubs. The main focus of the competition is to elevate science education and learning to a level of enthusiasm and support that is normally reserved only for varsity sports programs.

The Science Olympiad tournaments are rigorous academic inter-scholastic competitions that consist of a series of individual and team events. In grades 6-12, a Science Olympiad team functions much like a football or soccer team, requiring preparation, commitment, coaching and practice throughout the year. Other competitions follow the format of popular board games and TV shows. These challenging and motivational events are well balanced between various disciplines: biology, earth science, chemistry, physics, computer science and technology. There is also a balance between events requiring knowledge of science facts, concepts, processes, skills and science applications.

2013 Montana Science Olympiad Results:

For more information visit the National Science Olympiad site or the Montana State Science Olympiad site.

About Us

Irene Grimberg

Contact Information:
401B Linfield Hall
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59715

Irene Grimberg is an associate research professor at the Science Math Resource Center (SMRC) and an affiliate research scientist at Montana State University (MSU) Department of Physic. Currently she serves as the interim director of SMRC. Irene has experience in designing and delivering professional development for science teachers in rural areas and American Indian reservations in Montana. Her research interests are in science teaching and learning, specifically argumentation and science discourse in the classroom and online settings, technology education, and curturally responsive teaching. Irene serves on several national education boards. Read more



Annie Mollock
Administrative Associate

Contact Information:
401 Linfield Hall
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59715

Annie Mollock is the administrative associate for the Science Math Resource Center. She provides a variety of administrative support, customer service, and fiscal management duties in support of the Center including managing the day-to-day operations; assisting in developing policies and procedures for the Center; tracking information and interpreting data; resolving bookkeeping transactions; monitoring and reconciling varied funding; preparing forms and documents; and helping with the coordination of the annual Science Olympiad.



Sarah Hendrikx
Data/Research AnalystSarah

Contact Information:
401B Linfield Hall
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59715
(406) 579-7486

Sarah is the Data/Research Analyst for the Science Math Resource Center. She is a qualified Environmental Scientist with over 12 years of experience working in the environmental field in New Zealand, South East Asia, Antarctica and the United States. Sarah is analysing the data and preparing the report for a Science, Engineering and Math Needs Assessment Survey which is being sent to more than 400 STEM educators throughout the state of Montana. She is also maintaining the on-line forum for Science Olympiad Coaches and helping with the coordination of the annual Science Olympiad.



Jesse Hunter
Administrative Assistant

Contact Information:
401 Linfield Hall
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59715



Currently an undergraduate in the MSU College of Engineering, Jesse is the office’s student aide. He assisted in hosting the last three Montana State Science Olympiads. In addition he provides the office with data entry services and web maintenance, including this webpage and the Montana State Science Olympiad website.



Kiley Eversole
Montana State Science Olympiad CoordinatorKiley

Contact Information:
401 Linfield Hall
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59715

Kiley is the State Coordinator for the Montana Science Olympiad.  She is a firm supporter of informal and “out of the box” education.  Kiley was a Science/Math Teacher for an internationally traveling high school based around the sport of whitewater kayaking.  She feels it is invaluable to provide students with the opportunity to experience education outside of the formal classroom setting and that the Science Olympiad is an ideal vehicle for this type of learning.  Kiley assists in the coordination of MSU faculty, staff and students; teachers across Montana; and members of the community coming together to provide a location and the support necessary for the students of Montana to demonstrate their knowledge and efforts in STEM education.


Science Math Resource Center Staff




Science Math Resource Center Advisory Board

  • Beth Burroughs

  • John Graves

  • Irene Grimberg

  • Marilyn King

  • Nick Lux

  • Jill Martz

  • Robin Miller

  • Annie Mollock

  • Lynda Ransdell

  • Peggy Taylor