10 Sessions a High School Educator Needs to Attend at the STEM Forum & Expo

10 Great Sessions for Administrators at the STEM Forum & Expo (5)

At the 5th Annual STEM Forum & Expo, taking place on July 27-29 in Denver Colorado, high school educators can expect to learn more about environments that best facilitate effective STEM integration (both across STEM and non-STEM subject areas) and STEM Career Awareness. Through hands-on experiences and real-world connections high school educators will be able to establish a solid STEM education for students in grades 9-12. Check out the ten sessions below to get a sense of what we’ve got in store, and browse all of the high school sessions here.

How Skyline STEM Academy Stays Current in an Evolving STEM District (Thursday, July 28 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM)

  • We will share how Skyline High School’s STEM Academy, which began in 2007, has been successful in many ways, but must continuously redefine its goals and strategies to stay current.

NCTM Session: NCTM Principles to Action Toolkit: Resources for Supporting the Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices in High School (Thursday, July 28 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM)

  • Engage in resources from NCTM’s Principles to Action Toolkit, created to support implementation of the Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices in high school classrooms.

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10 Great Sessions for Administrators at the STEM Forum & Expo

10 Great Sessions for Administrators at the STEM Forum & Expo

At the 5th Annual STEM Forum & Expo, taking place on July 27-29 in Denver Colorado, administrators can expect to learn more about how they can incorporate STEM into their schools. From roundtable discussions to learning more about the benefits of professional development, the Expo will have everything an administrator will need or want.  Check out the ten sessions below to get a sense of what we’ve got in store, and browse all of the administrator sessions here.

If They Make It, They Will Learn: The Maker Movement and K–12 STEM (Wednesday, July 27 0:00 AM – 0:00 AM)

  • “Making” is more than tinkering, and the Maker Movement offers powerful project-based lessons for learning STEM in K–12 classrooms.

STEM Innovation in Independent and Charter Schools Roundtable Discussion (Thursday, July 28 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM)

  • Join us for an interactive roundtable to share and discuss our best practices for fostering STEM innovation in charter and independent schools.

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10 Sessions at the STEM Forum & Expo for Every Middle School Teacher

10 Great Sessions for Administrators at the STEM Forum & Expo (1)

At the 5th Annual STEM Forum & Expo hosted by NSTA, taking place July 27-29 in Denver, Colorado, middle level educators will find more than 80 sessions specific to their area. A successful middle school STEM program allows students to create, innovate, communicate, and collaborate on projects that are driven by their own interests. Check out the 10 sessions below to get a sense of what we’ve got in store, and browse all of the sessions here.

Engineering Soil: It’s Not Dirt (Thursday, July 28 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM)

  • Go in-depth into a unit that opens soils to the world of engineering and applies STEM concepts to a science discipline not typically integrated with math and engineering.

Games for Engineering Code: Learning by Design (Thursday, July 28 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM)

  • Explore a model for using gaming principles for practicing coding alongside engineering design that was developed in North Dakota for students and adjacently as educator workshops.

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Foster STEM in Young Children with these 10 Sessions at the STEM Forum & Expo

10 Great Sessions for Administrators at the STEM Forum & Expo (7)

At the 5th Annual STEM Forum & Expo hosted by NSTA, taking place July 27-29 in Denver Colorado, lower elementary/early childhood educators will find more than 25 sessions catered to their area. The foundational skills learned and mastered through the integration of STEM during the early years, if done right, will help these students be critical thinkers and makers that can innovate the future they will be a part of. Check out the 10 sessions below to get a sense of what we’ve got in store, and browse all of the  lower elementary/early childhood sessions here.

Creating Scientific and Mathematical Thinkers Through Hands-On Experiences and Open-Ended Questioning (Thursday, July 28 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM)

  • Join us as we explore math and science concepts in an interactive, playful way by sharing a program we’ve designed called “Fun with Math & Science”—which is a parent/child interactive learning opportunity.

Engineers in the Block Area: How Building with Blocks Fosters the Growth of a Child’s Scientific Mind (Thursday, July 28 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM)

  • Learn how to analyze block play as a global tool that can be used to develop a child’s scientific, mathematical, and engineering frame of mind.

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10 Sessions at the STEM Forum & Expo that show the Importance of Partnerships

10 Great Sessions for Administrators at the STEM Forum & Expo (4)

At the 5th Annual STEM Forum & Expo hosted by NSTA, taking place July 27-29 in Denver, Colorado, attendees will learn how important it is to leverage partnerships. As the Nation recognizes the importance of STEM education to our economic future, collaborations in STEM education between PK–16 and business and cultural communities are becoming increasingly prevalent. Check out the 10 sessions below to get a sense of what we’ve got in store, and browse all of the sessions here.

The High Tide Lifts All Boats: Value of PreK–20 Partnerships for Teaching and Learning (Thursday, July 28 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM)

  • Join in for an interactive session that explores the best practices for effective STEM PreK–20 partnership development and sustainability.

Kids Code: A University/K–12/Community Partnership to Engage Underrepresented Youth in Computer Science and Technology (Thursday, July 28 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM)

  • Strengthen CS education through partnerships! University computer science faculty and students + STEM outreach educators + IT professionals = powerful technology experiences for underrepresented youth.

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10 Upper Elementary Sessions at the 2016 STEM Forum and Expo

10 Great Sessions for Administrators at the STEM Forum & Expo (6)

At the 5th Annual STEM Forum & Expo, hosted by NSTA, taking place July 27-29 in Denver, Colorado, upper elementary educators will share quality learning activities and experiences that spark curiosity, promote confidence, support the rigor of current standards, and develop competence in STEM subjects. The Forum will showcase programs and instructional strategies that support STEM and have been successfully integrated into the elementary core curriculum. From roundtable discussions to learning more about the benefits of professional development, the Expo will have everything an administrator will need or want.  Check out the 10 sessions below to get a sense of what we’ve got in store, and browse all of the sessions here.

Making Math Words STICKY! A Visual, Whole-Brain Approach to Learning Key Math Terms and Concepts (Thursday, July 28 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM)

  • Discover simple steps that provide students with opportunities to describe, discuss, and interpret images as they master new math terms and make real-world connections.

Reimagine CODE: Computational Opportunities Delivered in Elementary (Thursday, July 28 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM)

  • Explore how over 400 elementary-aged students received interdisciplinary computational thinking lessons embedded as part of their regular school day.

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Connecting with families

Establishing close communication with families is an objective for early childhood educators and the programs they work in (NAEYCECERS-RHead Start). You might be connecting with family members when greeting children at the door to the classroom in the morning or at pick-up time at the end of the day, sending email and paper newsletters, posting on school social media sites, and holding school open houses and parent-teacher conferences. A consistent connection at drop-off can ease the transition from home to school.

In the April/May 2016 issue of Science and Children I wrote about a practice at the Clarendon Child Care Center in Arlington, Virginia where teachers use a “Question of the Day” to connect with families in the morning drop-off time and stimulate children’s thinking about a topic. The questions are written on a large pad of paper where families can draw or write, if they choose, during morning arrival. The topics of the questions can refer to an on-going investigation or recent weather event, be a prompt for a new activity, or be a question asked by a child. Here are examples from the early childhood program. Click on a photo to see a larger version:

2016-04-25 11.17.50 [2]

I might ask, “What does foam look and feel like?” when we are exploring how bubbles form and sponges absorb water. Or “What change might happen next in the growth of the Paw paw tree?” 

What additional questions would you add to a list for your program?

 

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Are You and Your Students Ready for the Astronomical Event of the Decade?

On August 21, 2017, the United States will be treated to the first total eclipse of the Sun visible in the country in almost 40 years.

1999 Total Solar Eclipse as seen from France (image by Luc Viatour / www.Lucnix.be)

Because the 2017 total eclipse will be visible only in the United States, it is known as The All American Total Solar Eclipse.

Image by Tyler Nordgren (TylerNordgren.com)The spectacular total eclipse will only be visible in a narrow band about 60 miles across, stretching from a beach in Oregon to a beach in South Carolina.

Path of totality goes through center of US, but everyone will see a partial eclipse

However, everyone in North America will see a partial solar eclipse, where a “bite” will be taken out of the Sun.

2014 Partial Solar Eclipse as seen in California (Image from NASA)On August 21, 2017, some school districts will already have started the fall semester, while others will still be on summer break. If you are planning to travel to see the total eclipse, it may be too late, as many of the hotels and campgrounds in the eclipse path have already been reserved by astronomy enthusiasts.  However, now is the right time to start planning for how you can make the solar eclipse a centerpiece of your science teaching during the coming year.

First of all, you will want to download the free 8-page Eclipse Observing Guide published by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).

This will give you all the basic information you need: The cause of eclipses, where and when you can see the 2017 eclipse, what time it will happen in each part of the United States, and how to help students observe it safely (including how to get inexpensive, but safe glasses). Feel free to share copies of the booklet or its URL with colleagues, plus students and their families.  (When you look at the map of the total eclipse path, if you find you have relatives or friends in that zone, now may be the time to start being REALLY nice to them.)

Next, you can start deciding how to incorporate the Sun, Moon, and eclipses into your 2016-17 curriculum, so you can make the most of this wonderful teachable moment.  NSTA realized that this would be great timing to publish a book full of hands-on experiences and teaching resources for educators, Solar Science: Exploring Sunspots, Seasons, Eclipses, and More.

Solar Science | Details at http://www.nsta.org/store/product_detail.aspx?id=10.2505/9781941316078Solar Science provides detailed experiences and information that will not only prepare you and your students for the eclipse, but also give you the tools you need to convey key science concepts associated with the eclipse: the motions of the Moon and Sun in the sky, the causes of the Moon’s phases, how these relate to the causes of an eclipse, and the reason we had to wait 40 years to see another total solar eclipse in the United States.  All of experiences in the book are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)  and use the 5E instructional model.

But we hope your eclipse teaching activities will not be limited to your students.  We know that people learn best what they teach others, so please consider having your students become eclipse experts to their families, to other classes, or to your whole school.  If you get ambitious, they (and you) could link up with your local library or community center to become a resource to the entire community.  You could:

  • Host an eclipse observing party at your school that includes information, demonstrations, and safe observing. For example:
    • Start the party before the eclipse begins and have eclipse glasses or materials available for everyone to make their own pinhole sun-projector.
    • Connect with your local amateur astronomy group to see if they will set up telescopes to observe the eclipse. Check out the Night Sky Network to find if there is an amateur astronomy group near you.
    • Follow the instructions in the NSTA Observing Guide to have binocular stations to project images of the Sun.
    • Sell eclipse viewing glasses as a school fundraiser (See web links for bulk purchase of glasses in the Eclipse Observing Guide).
  • During the weeks leading up to the eclipse, offer to do public sessions at the local library or community center, where you share ways to observe the eclipse safely or have them build pinhole sun projectors. This is another place to set up binoculars to show how to safely view the eclipse and/or to sell eclipse viewing glasses.

No matter what you decide to do, we wish you a cloudless, safe eclipse, and an educational event that will be remembered by your students for the rest of their lives.

Dennis SchatzDennis Schatz was for many years the Senior Vice President of the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, and is the author of 23 science books for children. He was program director for science education at the National Science Foundation from 2011 to 2015, before returning to Pacific Science Center as Senior Advisor.  (See www.dennisschatz.org for more information)

 

Andrew FraknoiAndrew Fraknoi is the Chair of the Astronomy Department at Foothill College in the San Francisco Bay Area and a former Executive Director of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.  He is the lead author of a college astronomy textbook and appears frequently on local and national radio programs explaining astronomical developments.

Solar Science is published by NSTA Press and is available in the NSTA Science Store.


The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.

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Health Wise: Helping Students Cope With Dyslexia

blog head reading "Alexander Graham Bell, Pierre Curie, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Michael Faraday are often said to have had dyslexia, but they were not assessed with current diagnostic methods."

Parent groups have claimed that the specific needs of students with dyslexia—a learning disorder affecting the ability to read—are often unaddressed because educators don’t know enough about the condition. The parents also say schools can be reluctant to use the term in relation to learning disabilities addressed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Recently, parent groups have been using the Twitter hashtag #saydyslexia to draw attention to their claims (see “On the web”).

The grassroots effort elicited a response from the federal government, saying that states, school districts, and educators should not avoid describing a particular student’s learning needs as related to dyslexia (OSERS 2015).

A step in the right direction

“There is nothing in… IDEA that would prohibit the use of the [term] dyslexia… in IDEA evaluation, eligibility determinations, or IEP [individualized education program] documents,” according to OSERS’s “Dear Colleague” letter to educators (OSERS 2015).

A student’s IEP “must be accessible to the regular education teacher and any other school personnel responsible for its implementation, and these personnel must be informed of their specific responsibilities related to implementing the IEP and the specific accommodations, modifications, and supports that must be provided.”

Dr. Bill Cassidy, a U.S. Senator from Louisiana, says the OSERS response “is a step in the right direction, but there’s still more work to be done. Scientific data shows that we can help students with dyslexia reach their educational potential by providing them with an evidence-based curriculum” (Cassidy 2015).

A common misconception

A common misconception about dyslexia is that letters or words seem reversed, such as the letter b appearing as d, says Dr. Mary Lou Gavin, senior medical editor for KidsHealth.org. “But the major problems with dyslexia are phonemic awareness, phonics, and rapid word recognition,” she says. “Dyslexia is not a visual problem. Dyslexia occurs because of subtle problems in information processing, especially in the language regions of the brain.”

To a person with dyslexia, Gavin says, words may seem like this:

Thew ord sare n otsp aced cor rect ly.
We spell wrds xatle az tha snd to us.
Sometimesallthelettersarepushedtogther.

Up to 17% of U.S. school-age children have dyslexia (Shaywitz 1998). When a comprehensive evaluation indicates a diagnosis of dyslexia, Gavin says, teachers can take steps to help, including

  • offering reading assignments in audio formats;
  • offering extra time for tests and homework;
  • providing outlines, sharing notes, or recording lessons;
  • providing customized learning aids and computer software; and
  • connecting them with trained tutors.

“Students with dyslexia are often the target of bullies,” Gavin says. “Bullying and academic struggles could result in low self-esteem. It might be helpful to gently remind a student with dyslexia who’s struggling in class that the condition doesn’t mean he or she can’t achieve success in science.”

Famous people with dyslexia include Nobel Prize–winning molecular biologist Carol Greider, paleontologist Jack Horner, and polar explorer Ann Bancroft (YCDC 2016). Alexander Graham Bell, Pierre Curie, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Michael Faraday are often said to have had dyslexia, but they were not assessed with current diagnostic methods.

Michael E. Bratsis is senior editor for Kids Health in the Classroom. E-mail him with comments, questions, or suggestions.

On the web

For educators:
Factsheets on dyslexia, dyscalculia (learning problems related to math), dysgraphia (learning problems related to writing), and 63 other conditions that can affect learning: http://bit.ly/1TQalLl
Neural mechanisms in dyslexia: http://bit.ly/1Xg7kE8
SayDyslexia (SD): www.SayDyslexia.org
Study strategies for students with dyslexia: http://bit.ly/1Q5z2Uz
Teacher with dyslexia offers insight to fellow educators: http://bit.ly/1WaZ6vE
TED-Ed lesson on dyslexia: http://bit.ly/1y9Pfif
The Big Picture documentary film:
http://bit.ly/1aucmJ2

For students:
Bullying: http://bit.ly/1PM4Yep
Dyslexia: http://bit.ly/1T3FA4Y
Learning disabilities: http://bit.ly/1SG32qC
Self-Esteem: http://bit.ly/1dvg6pK

References
Cassidy, B. 2015. Cassidy: OSERS guidelines on dyslexia is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done. http://1.usa.gov/20kpwfK
Shaywitz, S.E. 1998. Dyslexia. The New England Journal of Medicine 338: 307–312. http://bit.ly/1SEESN6
U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS). 2015. Dear colleague: Dyslexia guidance. http://1.usa.gov/1MJaskM
Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity (YCDC). 2016. An index of successful dyslexics. http://bit.ly/1xtRg8v

Editor’s Note

This article was originally published in the April/May 2016 issue of The Science Teacher journal from the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).

Get Involved With NSTA!

Cover of the April/May 2016 issue of The Science TeacherJoin NSTA today and receive The Science Teacher, the peer-reviewed journal just for high school teachers; to write for the journal, see our Author Guidelines and Call for Papers; connect on the high school level science teaching list (members can sign up on the list server); or consider joining your peers at future NSTA conferences.


The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.

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2016 STEM Forum & Expo

2016 Area Conferences

2017 National Conference

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Sound inquiry–open exploration and direct teaching?

As early childhood educators, no matter what program we teach in or administer, we want to help children build knowledge of the world through experiences, teacher-supported investigations, and direct teaching. A conversation I had recently with a teacher made me think about how we balance direct teaching with open exploration:

Teacher: So, as I thought more about your question about what scares me about teaching this new science unit, I think I crystalized it more. I hate to be the one shoving information down to the children. I love it when they discover new things—learn something exciting. When I don’t know the information as well, I am not as comfortable with their discovery process. I’m sure that’s being an old dog learning new tricks, but I think that’s more what I’m feeling.

Peggy: One thing that comforts me when I am teaching children and I want them to get science content knowledge as well as experience, is remembering that this is just a beginning not high school graduation. They will have time to learn more facts and understand the concepts. I am not their only chance! Thank you for being brave and exploring new territory. The NSTA position statement on Early Childhood Science Education affirms that children are capable, often more capable than we teachers realize. When we check for understanding through conversations, reflecting on photographs, or having them draw and talk about their picture, we can find out if our teaching is effective.

I was reminded of how children will continue to build their understanding as they move through their school years when following a discussion on the NSTA physical science education listserv about teaching ninth graders about sound. I thought, “Children begin that work in infancy and I help them build on it in their preschool years!” The NSTA member listservs provide a wonderfully supportive community for growing as a teacher of science.

Given how much the two-to-three year olds that I work with love to use musical instruments, I thought exploring how metal objects sound in water would capture their interest and focus. This activity was inspired by the work of Alec Duncan, early childhood educator (and musician) in western Australia, who uses many instruments, makes instruments and explores sound in unique ways. Alec has a wealth of information and experience that he generously shares on his social media sites, including a blog post and video about making sound at the water table.

Children stirring the water and metal bowls in a sensory/water table.

Very interestingly, both the 2-3 year old and the 4-5 year old children did tap on the metal bowls but they were mostly interested in stirring and mixing and creating imaginative meals! While stirring and pouring, they observed the flow of the water and we briefly discussed volume–how much water could fit, interweaving science and math into the imaginative play about making meals. I wonder what the next step might be? Add measuring cups with numbers on them? Make the water deeper? Add real drumsticks instead of chopsticks to promote more tapping?

Like the teacher in the conversation quoted above, I feel I may be going too fast, trying to impart information before the children have had time to understand the properties of the objects and water through open exploration. I’m going to re-read the “Resources” section in Exploring Water with Young Children (Young Scientist series) by Ingrid Chalufour and Karen Worth to refresh my understanding of science inquiry in early childhood. “Inquiry is about questions, but it is hard for children to ask questions about something if they haven’t had a change to get to know the thing or the materials or the event, whether it is balls rolling, snails, or water flow. So the first stage in the framework is to engage, notice, wonder and question—it is a time for children to play, to see what they already know, to mess about in a rich environment with little direct guidance or structure.”

What next steps would you suggest?

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Chalufour, Ingrid and Karen Worth. 2005. Exploring Water with Young Children (Young Scientist series) St Paul, MN: Redleaf Press.

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