I might have accidently fallen asleep at 1 a.m. Why? Excellent question. I was up fixing my presentations until super late and had no idea it was after midnight. I’m an idiot. But I woke up nervous and excited for the last day of the STEM Forum.
Here is my day in a nutshell:
- MakerEd: This presentation was a panel of 3 who discussed their experience with the process of MakerEd. Great session. Lots of good reflection of a process that works.
- Science vs Engineering: This was a session I hosted. I essentially walked teachers through the difference between science and engineering, the V model of systems engineering as well as how to use it in their class. Super pumped that so many awesome educators wanted to come to this session and learn, through my struggles and failures, about this process. Gotta give a MAD shoutout to my husband, who helped me take this engineering process and bring it into the classroom.
- Experimental Design for Students: This was the final session I hosted. I shared with teachers a method for how students can design their own experiments. Again, I was so flattered that so many not only came to my session, but engaged, stayed, asked questions and chatted with their colleagues about this process. I feel so honored to be in a field where so many dedicated and caring teachers, administrators and trainers come together to share and learn.
- Engineering Your World: This session, led by Cheryl Farmer, shared an awesome engineering curriculum that seems rather turn key that can be used at the high school level. AWESOME! They provide teacher training and continual support. The course is very project based and touches on most fields of engineering to give students the opportunity to taste the engineering process and engineering field. They offer dual enrollment elective credit. J This is something I would love to see at the school I teach at. Great Program...link is HERE.
- Build a Mini Van De Graaff Generator: OMG! Joseph Sencen is not only an amazing presenter, but he showed up how to make a this awesome generator, had enough supplies for everyone to make their own and even offered to ship components to people if they needed some!!!!! I can tell that he is an incredible science teacher. His students are soooooo very lucky to have him for chemistry. I just wish I could take his chemistry class. I might have enjoyed chemistry. J NSTA, please bring more presenters like Joseph! He wasn’t trying to sell me anything!!!!! He was just sharing great resources. THANKS Joseph. Your workshop was the highlight of my day. Oh, and did I tell you that he helped me better understand how a Van De Graaff works? Glass on top of belt makes it POSITIVE!!!!
FINAL TAKEAWAYS: I am extremely excited yet cautious about what is and will be happening in STEM education. There is a confusion about what STEM really is. One of the panelists cautioned that if we are not careful we will have HAMSTER (humanities, arts, math, science, technology, engineering, reading). I laughed then realized this was a bit scary. We need to have a clear idea as educators as to what STEM is and is not.
There is still a huge need for quality STEM activities and training opportunities for k-5.
AFter talking to lots of people, engineering is still making people scratch their head.
I was overjoyed to see how many administrators came to this conference. Makes me happy to see these professionals coming to conferences like this.
Apparently lots of districts are starting to hire science educators/experts to help facilitate this process of implementing STEM/NGSS into their schools. Super excited.
Got to network and meet lots of awesome people.
But now....I'm gonna get ready for food and then sleep because if you have ever been to any NSTA conference, you know that it is exhilarating AND exhausting.
Thank you NSTA for putting together an excellent STEM Forum. Thank you for allowing me to share some of my best practices. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to attend excellent workshops and meet amazing people. NSTA, YOU ROCK!