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STEM Today for a Better Tomorrow
NSTA is hosting a fantastic Virtual Conference (http://www.nsta.org/vc) on Saturday, April 25, 2015 . This conference, STEM Today for a Better Tomorrow, explores the best way and best practices for engaging students in authentic STEM experiences. There is a great blog (http://nstacommunities.org/blog/2015/04/14/stem-today-for-a-better-tomorrow-coming-to-you-virtually-april-25/ ) introduces some of the ideas and presenters.
But more importantly we would like to hear your ideas, thoughts, experiences, and questions about this very important topic – before, during and after the Virtual Conference.
“STEM education will determine whether the United States will remain a leader among nations and whether we will be able to solve immense challenges in such areas as energy, health, environmental protection, and national security. It will help produce the capable and flexible workforce needed to compete in a global marketplace. ... It will generate the scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians who will create the new ideas, new products, and entirely new industries of the 21st century. It will provide the technical skills and quantitative literacy needed for individuals to earn livable wages and make better decisions for themselves, their families, and their communities. And it will strengthen our democracy by preparing all citizens to make informed choices in an increasingly technological world. Given its importance, STEM education must prepare and engage all students no matter their gender, race, or background.”
(President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. (September, 2010). Prepare and inspire: K-12 education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) for America’s future. http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/pcast-stemed-report.pdf. )
How can we improve STEM and engage more students in STEM? What problems do you see? What solutions would you propose?
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Thank you Don, for getting us started in this conversation.
STEM fields offer great opportunity to our students, but education is key in these areas for them to succeed. One way to start as teachers is educating ourselves.
See the virtual conference session collections on the "Event Details and Agenda" page of the program at:
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Good morning! I can't wait for this day to begin! The lineup of presenters is outstanding! It was difficult to narrow down what I should do.. so glad to know that I will have access to all of the sessions as archives! Thank you for making this virtual conference a reality!
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You make a good point about the archives. Very useful to have them available to review the conference at a later time.
Hi, I am a neophyte to STEM, but hope to implement a STEM club after school.
One of the problems we have in the elementary school in Georgia, is the fact that science is not an "important" tested subject. More time is often alloted to math and reading with 30 minute slots given for science and social studies. Of course, this is a broad generalization and many fabulous teachers make time for science and social studies, anyway - as do many schools. However, I have been in many schools and this was the norm. For example, I was in a school where the only time they gave to science was to use the science book as an example of non-fiction in the reading group.
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Laura (and all)
First, many thanks to Flavio Mendez, Sr. Director for the NSTA Learning Center in organizing today's virtual conference, and this asynchronous component. A shout out also goes to Don Boonstra, one of our leaders at NSTA for posting a great opening discussion question herein.
I think you ask a fair and relevant question. From a national perspective, we too review surveys and national research that discuss the limited time dedicated for science instruction at the elementary level. Some reports show this as little as 90 minutes across an entire instructional week. That said, with the notion of STEM, there is an increased and renewed emphasis across all levels of teaching, including elementary, where as you say, literacy is a powerful 'in-roads" for teaching science (and vice versa). In February of 2014 the Board on Science Education at the National Academies held a two day workshop on this topic and provides a cool report that may inform your deliberations. The entire conference is also archived where you can see panels and experts discuss how to meld science education and literacy (the two topics are not mutually exclusive). It discussed the intersection between the “Literacy in Science” portions of the Common Core State Standards for English/Language Arts and certain scientific practices in the NGSS, such as “obtaining, evaluating and communicating information.” Check out: http://sites.nationalacademies.org/DBASSE/BOSE/Literacy_for_Science/index.htm.
Finally I might suggest checking out our "Picture Perfect Science Series" that looks to integrate literacy with hands-on inquiry lessons that capitalize on those popular early literacy readers. See: http://learningcenter.nsta.org/search.aspx?action=quicksearch&text=picture%20perfect
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We, too, struggle with providing our students with multiple resources of non-fiction text aligned to the instructional needs of our students. We have used ReadWorks and NewsELA. NPR publishes there articles on-line. The content may be an extension for student learning, but I have found that the articles are a great way for student to learn more about the Nature of Science and connect with "real world" experiences.
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Looking forward to today's virtual conference on STEM education!
NSTA Virtual Conferences are a wonderful way to do amazing Professional Development from the comfort of home.
As a Science Curriculum Specialist (K-12), I hope to discover many new STEM teaching innovations to bring to science teachers in my region.
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What STEM activities/units/programs have you implemented in Wisconsin?
There are several STEM initiatives in WI
STEM WI Website http://www.wistem.org/
WI Dept of Instruction (DPI) STEM website http://stem.dpi.wi.gov/
There is also movement towards STEM Academies and STEM charter schools in many WI communities.
In my work as a Science Curriculum Specialist, we just pilot tested the "Defined STEM" software http://www.definedstem.com/ with teachers and Gifted & Talented students in 14 of our rural school districts. The GT grant focus was on improving CCSS-ELA Argumentative Writing skills in engaging STEM topics. The teachers thought this software provided easily accessible tools for GT differentiation and acceleration. Students found the writing prompts challenging and loved the STEM topics and problem-solving projects.
As a classroom teacher, I'm excited to learn some new ways to incorporate STEM into my classroom. I am also encouraged by the addition of the administrator portion to this conference. Because of the archives, I can share the information with my principal so he can know how to support his teachers.
How are others going to share this information with their district?
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Starting a thread for NW STEM teacher networking... What are you all doing? What questions do you have?
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I am creating a k-5 STEM program this year for our school. My biggest challenges have been projects that students are engaged in and ideas for k-2 students. I love the Makers in Schools mindset and think I am going in that direction next year. It is very open with students picking projects that they would like to build, from robots to clothing.
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Northshore SD will be providing a workshop at our summer institute on engineering design challenges as a frame for learning science content. It'll be August 18 and 19. We don't have the exact location yet, but it will be somewhere in the Northshore School District. It's for our teachers, but representatives from local districts are certainly welcome to join!
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My email is firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss STEM in WA state or Maker Movement in schools.
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Georgia Boatman here. I am the Regional Science Coordinator at ESD 123 in Southeast Washington. We are doing quite a bit of STEM work in our region and part of my job is working with administrators and teachers, district and community to help them get STEM education implementation going in our region. Washingtonians, you might also want to nudge your districts toward the Washington LASER STEM Education Leadership Institute. We are full for this year but will likely do another institute next year. I am a lead faculty and it has been a real tipping point for districts and schools to move forward with STEM.
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I am at a K-5 Elementary STEM program and our librarian just put a Makerspace into our library this year. It is AMAZING! She did a lot of research on how to create the program and have it tie into our science and engineering lessons. She uses MakeyMakey, Raspberry Pi, old lego NXT robotics kits, donated K'Nex kits, Scratch coding, Lego WeDO robotics kits, a 3-D printer, and a building area. If you are interested I can give you her email and she can send you a brief overview of the program. It might give you more ideas seeing how we are doing it in a very limited space with little budget!
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By the way, my e-mail is email@example.com
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We had a great Opening session with Captain Barrington Irving this morning. Here is a link to the Flying Classroom to learn more about opportunities in STEM:
What do you think about Captain Irving's presentation today?
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This virtual conference is providing all of us with amazing knowledge of STEM. I hope NSTA continues developing this kind of opportunities. Thank you for inviting us to share our experiences.
This link will take you to our network's live binder, in which schools have their information and resources.
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John Graves energized participants during his Teaching Science and Engineering Practices in the Elementary Classrooms virtual conference session. John used discrepant events to "hook" teachers in identifying and becoming comfortable locating NGSS standards, and fostering and encouraging well developed student questions.
This session will be a valuable resource as I guide, instruct and mentor new colleagues!
Thank you John & NSTA
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