NSTA National Conference in Atlanta:
Science on My Mind
Focusing On Evidence of 3-D Learning
States continue to develop and adopt standards that build on a three-dimensional approach, which calls on students to use disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts to explain real-world phenomena and solve authentic problems. Three-dimensional learning allows students to connect science to their everyday lives and helps prepare them for future careers. This approach is fully realized only when instruction leads to tangible evidence of three-dimensional learning through authentic student products. This strand will help teachers, whether they are 3-D novices or experts, expand their understanding of three-dimensional teaching, learning, and assessment. Sessions in this strand will target participants with a beginning, intermediate, or advanced level of familiarity with three-dimensional learning.
Imagining Science as the Foundation for STEM
STEM education has become a priority for many states as we seek to provide today's students with the real-world, innovative skills that they will need to be successful in tomorrow's world. STEM instruction that builds on the foundation of core science ideas provides students with opportunities that equip them to make sense of the world in which they live, hone their critical-thinking skills, and spark their sense of innovation. Sessions in this strand will allow participants to develop their understanding of how to plan and teach collaboratively within these integrated learning environments.
Reflecting On Access for All Students
Just as science encompasses diverse fields of learning from astronomy to zoology, science educators are called upon to equitably meet the needs of and engage ALL learners. Research has identified the unique challenges of a number of underserved groups, including students from urban areas, rural areas, English language learners, students with low socioeconomic status, those with special needs, gifted and talented students, and students from diverse cultural backgrounds. Cultivating a culture of equity and inclusion for all students not only aligns with the NSTA mission statement and the vision put forth by A Framework for K–12 Science Education but also prepares students for future career opportunities in a global society. This strand increases participants' understanding of the unique needs of various types of learners and helps them reduce barriers to full participation in science.
Comprehending the Role of Literacy in Science
A great number of personal and societal issues require citizens to draw upon a foundation of scientific knowledge, technological understanding of problem solving, and the ability to design scientific solutions to obtain, evaluate, and communicate information in order to make informed decisions. Engaging ALL students in science, beginning in the early years, is the way to develop students' skills in thinking creatively, expressing themselves, and investigating their world. As college- and career-ready students investigate natural phenomena, they should be able to communicate their argument-driven claims based on data-driven evidences. Science core ideas can be developed by using current technology and media to create, refine, and collaborate through reading, writing, listening, and speaking. This strand will allow educators to become advocates of literacy in preK–12 science and engineering, to see the connections between science and literacy, and to learn literacy strategies that encompass active student engagement.