OK, I admit it. I’m crazy. Standing in the registration area at 6:45 IN THE MORNING (!) at the NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Nashville, I was handing out postcards (OK, it was more like hawking at a sporting event) advertising the National Middle Level Science Teachers Association’s “Meet Me in The Middle Day” on Saturday. I’m calling out, “Middle school science teachers? Anyone a middle school science teacher?” Some pretended they didn’t hear me (I’m used to that teaching middle schoolers.) and some gave me “that look.” You know it. The “Do I LOOK crazy?” look. Some came right out and said, “I’m not that crazy.” or “Thank goodness I got out of there last year.” The greatest, however, were the people that raised their hands (Yes, actually raised their hand!) and said, “Me! I am!” with a huge smile on their face. My people. The special, caught in the middle people. Middle level—the place that I love with people I enjoy being with (at least most of the time). I feel like a kid in a candy store when it comes to “Meet Me in the Middle” day. I mean, A WHOLE DAY JUST FOR US! Where else can you talk to people that understand your job, meet folks from around the country, compare notes, get some already tested ideas to use on Monday when you’re back at school, and maybe even win a door prize?!?! (I’m not that lucky.)
Probably my absolute favorite part of the day is the Share-a-thon that happens in the afternoon. I love walking up and down the aisles (more than once, I admit) full of lessons, ideas, and freebies (I love freebies!). Everywhere I looked people were smiling and having a good time. Hands and bags were carrying ‘treasures’ they had found. People were doing labs, playing games, learning about a different way to present a concept. (Did you know you can make a cloud in a 2-litre bottle using a bicycle pump, a stopper and some rubbing alcohol? Or how about putting UV sensitive beads bags, rubbing different brands of sunscreen on the bags, exposing the bags to light and then relating it to wearing sunscreen and skin cancer? Or learning about contests that can be part of I/E time, Genius Hour or differentiation in the classroom? Or the authentic ways to combine ELA and science? How about a classroom you can collaborate with?) You get the idea. I could go on and on but I know you have assignments to check.
You can be a part of this. It’s happening in Los Angeles at the NSTA conference next year. You have an idea to share (Really, you do!) and you will walk away with new friends and new ideas to use in your classroom. And you’ll know that middle school teacher crazy is the best kind of crazy there is to be.
Author Peggy Perdue is on the board of directors of the National Middle Level Science Teachers Association
Join today and receive Science Scope, the peer-reviewed journal just for middle school teachers; connect on the middle level science teaching list (members can sign up on the list server); or consider joining your peers for Meet Me in the Middle Day (MMITM) at the National Conference on Science Education in Los Angeles in the spring of 2017.
The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.
Future NSTA Conferences
5th Annual STEM Forum & Expo, hosted by NSTA
- Denver, Colorado: July 27–29
2017 Area Conferences
- Baltimore, Maryland: October 5–7
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin: November 9–11
- New Orleans, Louisiana: November 30–December 2
- Los Angeles, California: March 30–April 2, 2017
- Atlanta, Georgia: March 15–18, 2018
- St. Louis, Missouri: April 11–14, 2019
- Boston, Massachusetts: March 26–29, 2020
- Chicago, Illinois: April 8–11, 2021
2016 and 2017 NGSS Workshops