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NSTA's Virtual Conference - Teaching Controversial Topics | Posted in Professional Learning

Hi Mary, I have had the opportunity to participate in several virtual conferences. The most amazing part of it is getting to hear firsthand from the experts on a topic. When I attended the solar eclipse one, I was blown away by all the great information that was shared. I was so well prepared to participate in the total eclipse in Carbondale this past August because of what I learned at the virtual conference. I also attended the Climate Virtual Conference where they had atmospheric scientists and meteorologists from NOAA (who actually study climate change) share their expertise. Then we had experienced educators share how to present engaging lessons to our students. Your brain leaves the day's conference filled to the brim with fresh new ideas. I love going to NSTA conferences like the one coming up in Atlanta, but it is a totally different experience. The virtual conferences are such a great value for the money. All those experts on one specific topic are gathered together for the day just for us! I am especially interested in the March 3rd virtual conference because I am looking forward to learning some new strategies for teaching controversial topics in science, AND the other emphasis, according to the overview, is about having a better understanding of the nature of science. Hope to see you there! Carolyn


Carolyn Mohr

STEM programs | Posted in STEM

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. I don’t believe that this should be thought of as a new concept because we teach students science and math almost every day, and they encounter these subjects every day. Students walk outside, and there’s science all around them. Students use math every day to pay for drinks or food, simple addition or subtraction, and counting. They use technology every day too with cell phones, laptops, Ipads, etc. These topics aren’t hard for the students to learn because they already know things about them and encounter them every day. We just need to turn them into an educational teaching that promotes higher thinking.

I would implement STEM within my class by having my Kindergarten students work on simple yet, challenging experiments. For example, my students need to build a bridge for 21 elephant counters. All of my students know how to count to 100, and they all know how to make and build things like bridges, towers, cutouts, etc. Now they need to use trial and error to see if what they think works (science). They would then need to count how many elephants they can fit (math) on the bridge they built (engineering).  In the end, the teacher can help the students record their finding on video or add the audio to a picture using an Ipad (technology).


Lindsey Huynh

classroom management during experiments | Posted in Early Childhood

Hi Selena! I am currently a student teacher in a math and science classroom, and I get the chance to watch my mentor teacher enforce the most effective classroom management skills I have ever seen. She uses positive reinforcement constantly. The school I am at has a reward system where they give "merits" and "demerits" for behavior. These are backed up by a system where if students accumulate a certain amount of merits, they can choose to spend them in the classroom "store" or save them for a special privilege. My mentor says things out loud to the class like "I appreciate how ___ is following my instructions, I am going to give them a merit." or "These students are showing patience as they wait for the next activity quietly, I will give them a merit." Sometimes it is while some students are off tasks, so they will redirect their actions so that they can also receive merits. If it doesn't help, she will give demerits after fair warning. Another really great technique is giving access to science experiment materials after modeling and giving explicit instructions on what they are expected to do with them. First, tell them what to do, then tell them the voice level you expect them to be at. Showing appreciation for those that followed instructions constantly. I hope this helps! Good luck!


Bianca Balderas

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