NSTA Virtual Conference

Using Phenomena to Drive Student Learning

Mary Colson Mary Colson

Mary Colson is an eighth-grade Earth science teacher at Horizon Middle School in Moorhead, Minnesota. During her 22 years of classroom teaching, Ms. Colson has worked to engage students with the big ideas of Earth science through authentic explorations in the lab and outdoors in northwestern Minnesota. She has given numerous presentations on Earth science curriculum and on teaching literacy in the science classroom at state and national conferences for teachers of science.

In 2008, Ms. Colson received the Medtronic Foundation's Science Teaching Award for Middle Level Science in Minnesota. Ms. Colson currently serves on NSTA's Council of District Directors, representing Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. She served as board member for, and then president of, the Minnesota Science Teachers Association, 2005-2012. Ms. Colson served on Minnesota's Science Standards Revision committee, 2008-2009. She was a member of the writing team for the Next Generation Science Standards, 2011-2012.

Sara Cooper Sara Cooper

Sara Cooper serves as the Science Education Specialist for the Nebraska Department of Education. In addition to supporting educators as they explore and implement newly adopted 3-dimensional standards, she also leads science assessment development. Her work in Nebraska has included stakeholder engagement and task force meetings to develop a vision for a coherent system of assessments designed to support newly adopted standards. Phenomena and problems are an essential feature within the system. Sara’s work in assessment includes being a member of CCSSOs Science SCASS and a member of Achieve’s task annotation leadership group.

Holly Hereau Holly Hereau

Holly Hereau is a biology and environmental science educator at Thurston High School in Redford, Michigan, and at Macomb Community College, in Warren, Michigan. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Grand Valley State University and studied Entomology at Michigan State University before earning a master’s degree in education at the University of Michigan. As an NGSX facilitator and Next Generation Science Storylines consultant, she works with teachers to build a culture of “figuring out” by using phenomena to motivate student-led learning. Holly is also a member of Achieve Inc.’s Science Peer Review Panel, which helps to ensure that clearly identified, high-quality NGSS-designed materials are available to all teachers, allowing all students access to meaningful science learning opportunities.

Okhee Lee Okhee Lee

Okhee Lee is a professor in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. Her research areas include science education, language and culture, and teacher education. She is leading collaborative research between New York University and Stanford University to develop NGSS-aligned instructional materials to promote science and language learning of elementary students, including English learners. She is also leading collaborative research with MIT and Vanderbilt University to integrate computational thinking and modeling in NGSS-aligned instructional materials. She was a member of the NGSS writing team and served as leader for the NGSS Diversity and Equity Team.

Dr. Lee was a member of the Steering Committee for the Understanding Language Initiative at Stanford University. She was a 2009 Fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), received the Distinguished Career Contribution Award from the AERA Scholars of Color in Education in 2003, and was awarded a 1993-1995 National Academy of Education Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship.

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