AddThis ShareScience teachers to come to Rice for MATS conferenceBY ARIE WILSONRice News staffMore than 300 science teachers from the Houston area will converge on the Rice campus for the Metropolitan Association for Teachers of Science (MATS) 2007 spring conference Feb. 24.Promoting science education for more than 25 years, MATS is a K-12 professional development organization serving science teachers in school districts throughout the Houston area.Wallace Dominey, executive director of school science and technology for Rice’s Center for Education, recently was elected president of MATS. Through his role at the Center for Education, Dominey saw unique potential to rejuvenate the MATS conference.”With assistance from Rice, Harris County Department of Education and Houston ISD, MATS is being revitalized this year after membership had dropped and no annual conference was held last year,” Dominey said. ”This year’s MATS conference is expected to be one of the best conferences ever for the organization, with more than 300 area K-12 science teachers in attendance.”Hosting the MATS meeting at Rice is in keeping with Rice’s theme of engaging Houston, one goal of the university’s Vision for the Second Century, and offers the opportunity to showcase Rice’s campus, Dominey said. Gerald Dickens, associate professor of Earth science, will present the keynote address. He will discuss ”Global Climate Change: Insights from Drilling on the North Pole.” The conference is an opportunity for kindergarten through 12th-grade science teachers to make a presentation at a professional meeting, often for the first time, said Dominey.”The response to the MATS annual meeting this year has been tremendous, and the conference is already near capacity,” Dominey said. ”Part of this huge response can be attributed to hosting the conference on Rice’s campus.” Meeting sponsors include BP America; Lyondell; Texas Regional Collaboratives for Excellence in Science Teaching; Sargent Welch, Science Kit, Ward’s; the AP Summer Institute at the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies; Rice Space Institute; Gulf Coast Consortia Interdisciplinary Bioscience Research and Training; Texas Educational Tools; and Rice’s Center for Education.