Philadelphia has a long history of being a center for scientific research from the days of Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush and the founding of the American Philosophical Society through to the city’s hosting of important conferences on science and being home to important scientific and medical advances. Several of our colleagues attended the NSTA conference in Philadelphia last week. This opportunity to see what is new and test our own assumptions about our science program proved valuable. I asked Larry, Samantha, and Leslie to share their top takeaways from the conference.
For Samantha, attending a workshop on the use of case studies as a means of combining the teaching of concepts gave her much to consider in her own approach. She writes, “I attended a lecture on amphibians and fungal infections. The researcher and teachers involved combined the use of ecology and immunology in a very fluid way. Their case also gave great context and concrete data that could be used as well.”
Larry enjoyed meeting with colleagues at other schools to discuss Physics First. As one of the originating schools in this approach to sequencing, he had much to share and learn from others. He was also taken with a version of the Science Olympiad for Astronomy and is considering how to incorporate this into next year’s new Astronomy class.
Leslie writes, “The biggest takeaway was . . . the Let’s Get Helical talk from Dr. Tim Herman. He was a great presenter and introduced some terrific teaching concepts that we could use in our biology classrooms, from intro bio to advanced molecular [biology]. He discussed ways to bring the science to the beginning students and ways to build in complexity for the more advanced students. His department in the Milwaukee School of Engineering has partnered with the company 3D Molecular Designs and other educators to create AWESOME models for use in the classroom. The 3D Molecular Models display space at the NSTA conference floor together with his talk inspired me to pursue some professional development this summer for next year’s increased number of biology classes.”