National Science Teacher Assocation Regional Conference
Here are the reflections from some members of the ESMS Science Department.
One of the best sessions that I attended at the NSTA conference was “A Vision and Plan for Science Teaching and Learning”. Brett Moulding, Director of Partnership for Effective Science Teaching and Learning, was the presenter. He emphasized that student performance expectations should use all three dimensions of NGSS, which include Science & Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts. Students should not be asked to just learn about science, but they should be ENGAGED in science performances. It’s not about teaching students to LEARN core ideas, but about having students USE core ideas to explain phenomenon.
Engage students by presenting a phenomenon.
(Clouds appear to form in patterns in the sky)
Students formulate questions about it.
Then they gather information/research.
Evaluate / reason about their findings.
Communicate/ model the results
Out of all the sessions I attended over the three days at the NSTA conference two really stick out in my mind. The first was Zombie Apocalypse sponsored by Texas Instruments. The Zombie Apocalypse sparked an interest and I honestly was just expecting a sales pitch. While it was a sales pitch, it was also so much more. TI was using their new tech and popular culture to combine standards in a number of different ways. They covered diseases (science), finding slope (math), and reading a possible infection scenario (ELA). The Zombie Apocalypse was eye-opening as it showed how easy it is to incorporate a number of different standards into to one lesson. This is important as we move towards the Next Generation Science Standards, which stresses combining subjects into every area.
The second was Integrating Technology into the Inquiry-Based Classroom. This session was presented by two individuals from John Thomas School of Discovery in Nixa, MO. The school is in the process of moving towards 1:1, but has the reputation of being a very tech forward school. They shared a few ways that they are including technology to help with inquiry at their school, many of which we are currently also using. The largest take away from them wasn’t an app or a project but a quote that they shared:
“When information and expertise are no longer scarce, teachers must offer a different experience in the classroom if students are to engage”-Unknown
This really hit home as something that we need try to accomplish. Our students can get their information in so many ways, but it’s up to us to be engaging and relevant so they want to get it from us.