Last week, science teachers Kim Kiest and Kande Williston attended the National Science Teachers Association 2014 National Conference in Boston. This exciting program was designed to challenge participants' teaching knowledge and strategies. Learn more about Kim and Kande's trip below.
KK: We hit the town for an all day field trip. Our first stop was the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. We learned about studies being done in the estuary to determine whether the marshes are a sink for greenhouse gasses, in addition to seeing first hand how marshes are migrating inland as sea level rises. Our second stop was Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institution, the first marine institution in the U.S. (Cape Cod). We went over the research work currently being done there, as well as the experimental methods, and saw two of the deep water submersibles as they are in various stages of upgrades. We also attended presentations by researchers from NOAA, who are tracking the most endangered whale species (North Atlantic Right Whale). They gave us a great app to download, and now I can keep track of the whales live on my iPad!
KW: I didn't go on any field trips, but I did attend some great workshops! On the first day, I participated in a workshop on Project-Based Learning. With colleagues, I got to brew up some new activities for the classroom by examining the effects of a material upon controlling the temperature of coffee.
That evening we met up with several York alums currently living in Boston! It was great to see them and to see them networking with each other too.
KK: The next day I had a half day field trip to Northeastern University's Marine Science Center in Nahant, where we conducted some field research in the tide pools (I discovered a simple, inexpensive tool for measuring salinity - the tool I use now is too expensive to have multiples for lab groups). We also had a geology and history lesson. And later, I learned about the clean-up of Boston Harbor via the waste water treatment facility that now uses waste methane for fuel.
KW: I attended a talk on how to flip a chemistry classsuccessfully. We explored a blend of digital and hands-on activities that allow students to review content as "homework" so you can devote valuable classroom time to inquiry activities, assignments, and assessments. I also attended a workshop put on by Flinn Scientific which gave me ideas for some amazing and easy demos, such as showing the thermite reaction using two large rusty iron balls and some aluminum foil.
KK: Saturday morning I attended a session on neurophysiology using cockroach legs to measure action potentials. I then spent time in the exhibit hall checking out new gadgets for the lab. Then off to the New England Aquarium to learn that the Monterey Bay Aquarium is still superior :)
KW: Keeping the classroom engaging is important, so I attended a talk demonstrating how to use mystery stories to promote student-led inquiry-based learning. They walked us through ways to use illustrations to guide students through the interactive investigation of cases, helping them understand basic principles of forensic investigation and chemistry.