NSTA National Science Conference Notes



NSTA National Science Conference Notes
Forming Foundations for the Future-- Teaching
science through literature, music, etc.
Zack's Alligator- discuss characteristics of
living and nonliving (use one of the little gators
you put in water and they grow, kids can make
Miss Nelson is Missing- camouflage and adaptations
Frog and Toad Are Friends- classification, same and different
Oil Spill- (nonfiction book about Exxon Valdez oil spill)- ecosystems, allow students to
put feathers in the oil and then try to clean them with dish detergent, writing- letters to
the president, or have students debate, math- volume,
Song "Big Yellow Taxi"- students have to pick a side, paradise vs parking lot, then
students have to argue the opposite side
Over in Australia- camouflage, animals, habitats,
geography, poetry, their place in the world (paper plate
Science Moments- fitting in science concepts
whenever you can, good idea to come up with some really interesting in facts to share
with students any time you have a minute just to get them interested.
If girls don't buy into science by middle school they probably will not go into a science
Lots of people argue that teaching science well is expensive-- 2 solutions: parents and
grants (some take only a few minutes to write)
Steve Spangler- grants and experiment ideas via email
For teachers that don't consider themselves "science teachers," go into the cafeteria with
multiple classes and have one teacher lead an activity and all the other teachers on the
team work as helping hands.
Prizes frozen in a huge block of ice- kids have to try salt, sugar, vinegar, baking soda,
etc. to try to remove the objects from the ice
Assessment- science notebooks
(Kids have to choose important
words to go around the boarder)
CSI Projects-Teachers from all over the country worked together to plan project over Skype and
blogging (wiki pages, glogster), then students were able to blog to share clues and data
with other classes
Made up a story line- band on tour, they get sick, track it to water contamination, look
for connections between the locations they visited (Ex. Bass Pro Shop headquarters,
sponsored fishing tournament, etc.)
Idea- All three schools work together via blogging to solve a mystery. We develop some
videos with characters that tell different clues in the mystery. All three stem classes
could do some experiments that would eliminate suspects to solve the mystery.
Preliminary idea: one of the state championship trophies got stollen during a mascot
practice at the high school. Our bear, fox, and raccoon are suspects along with several
other mascots. Perform experiments with fingerprinting, water sampling, footprint
comparisons, etc.
Goal: We will have about a 4 week project in place to do in the late fall.
ePals Global Community- finding other teachers on the web
Infusing Design Projects into the Early
Elementary Classroom
Presenter teaches preservice elementary
teachers and because most preservice
teachers don't consider themselves science
people so he started the year out with a
design project to understand the design process. Used NASA and Design Squad (On
the Moon) projects. They completed the project and then discussed how it could be used
to teach the science standards.
Created a balloon rocket according to design squad instructions then discussed the
lesson and shared ideas.
Inquiring Minds Want to Know
Inquiry based instruction- Student centered,
Emphasis on how we've come to know
instead of just knowing
Levels of inquiry- structured, guided, and
open (slowly builds confidence)
5 E Model Learning
Cycle- engage, explore,
explain, elaborate,
Force and Motion: Red Birds Racers (Angry Birds)
(See lesson plan with recording sheets)
Discovering Friction- testing sand
paper vs wax paper to see which one
will allow the bird to be projected
further to knock down the pig.
Kinetic and Potential Energy Lab
Hold tennis ball on you of basketball and drop.
Hypothesize: What do these have in
Now test it!
Light energy- bracelets to compare
solar and glow-in-the-dark beads
Both absorb the light and omit it.
Science, Reading, and Math Oh My! The
Courage to Integrate
Content integration- "Education should
increase understanding of the
interconnectedness of knowledge."
Quad D examples for elementary
from international center for
leadership in education
Text in the science classroom should be rich and meaningful and actually further the
students' understanding!
Planning an Integrated Lesson:
-standards (look at standards from various subjects side-by-side and find common
themes such as classifying, sequencing, inferencing, etc.)
-expectations (create goals for the project)
-create (have the students produce something to demonstrate deep understanding of the
Showing Young Children the Art of Science
Process Skills are more important than
content standards- observe (using senses),
communicate (discuss science with others),
compare (look for similarities and differences),
measure (quantify characteristics), organize
(group, classify, sequence, etc.)
Lots of discussion on the fact that students (even at pre-k and k level) are afraid to take
risks. You have to give kids a chance to try and fail in a safe place so that they become
more willing to try with an unknown outcome.
Art and Science Ideas-
Argumentation Strategies for Elementary Science
Group participation rulers- students
can self-assess throughout the
Discussion EtiquetteSpeaking Up
Adding to Ideas
Leading to More Questions
Collaborative Learning Roles- materials manager, investigator, recorder, reporter
Scientific Argumentation Cycle- observation, questions and preliminary claims, claims,
supporting evidence, reasoning
Great Example for Discussion:
Discuss all of the properties of Pop Rocks
Then discuss properties of the objects in your
Open confidential envelope:
So we find out that all of our
clues describe super heros
We found two pieces of evidence to prove that our clue described whatever super hero.
Oobleck, Slime, and Dancing Spahetti:
Using Children's Literature to Enhance
Your Science Curriculum
Bartholomew and the Oobleck
Create 3 different types of Oobleck
(practices liquid measurements)
Compare the three types (stretch, bounce, laying on the table and take down data)
Talk about variables such as water, older kids can formulate a new recipe by changing
one variable
Students start a corporation and market their Oobleck recipe, then students did market
research (created survey questions and adjusted their recipes accordingly), budgeting
limitations (cost/profit)
What's Smaller than a Pygmy Shrew?
Build an editable atom (carbon atom has 6 protons)
Gumdrops for protons and neutrons
Toothpicks with marshmallows for electrons
The witch "pops her top" a lot in the book
Alka-seltzer and water in a film canister
Change variables and take reaction time data (room temp, cold, and hot water), graph
Amazing Growing Glove-
Neoprene glove, polyurethane foam solution (part
a and part b), pour each into glove and spread
them out into the glove, when it starts getting
warm you have to put it down
Strega Nona
Making Angel Hair Pasta Dance!
Water with vinegar, baking soda, pasta
Chemical reaction
One of the butterflies is
made of newspaper. If you
look on the back you can
see the shadows.
Family Science and Engineering Night
Family Science and Engineering Night1. Self-directed openers
2. Facilitated Engineering Challenges (keep project introductions quick but do introduce
the science behind these activities, train volunteers to work with families to make sure all
of the students are engaged- not boys more than girls, older more than younger, or
parents more than students)
Everything in the books can be done without kits but kits are available, especially good if
you are writing a mini-grant.
Assembly Line
Taking apart and putting back together pens
Optimization of a process

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