#NSTA18 Atlanta: Day 1

Sketch notes from day one of the 2018 National Conference on Science Education

What a day! If your shoulders are not throbbing, bags not over-flowing, and brain not racing… you may have not been at the same conference as I was. I teach middle school Earth & Space Science and Environmental Science at an Independent school in Miami, Florida–Gulliver Schools. I still consider myself a newbie at NSTA “conferencing,” but having attended the NSTA STEM Forum & Expo this past summer in Orlando, my expectations are rightfully through the roof. Back in the summer I walked away from the STEM Forum with my passion ignited, with projects I am currently using to infuse my class with the type of lessons that may have other teachers asking me to “CLOSE MY DOOR” like Ron Clark mentioned this morning in his keynote. But that was exactly the type of makeover my classes needed. I’m here this week because I got a taste of NSTA and was hooked!!

Needless to say, Day 1 did not disappoint. I walked into the Georgia World Congress Center this morning with heart open to absorb all that was about to come at me. It began with Rob Clark’s keynote!

My Top Takeaways

  • Take time to genuinely check-in with people in your communities, schools, and classrooms.
  • If you feel it in your heart, DO IT!
  • Thank the RUNNERS in our lives who drive the “bus” forward, pulling and inspiring us in their wake.
  • And be willing to take different paths.

His session left me energized for my own presentation with my SEEC Crew from Space Center Houston.

The main goal of our session was to share a lesson we created to help educators to use the engineering design process while teaching about the Orion Mission in a simple and entertaining way. Giving teachers the chance to ideate, build, test, and fail refreshed our perspective–being on the other side of the desk.

In the rush of “not missing sessions” and logging conference mileage on my imaginary fitbit, I gave myself the opportunity to simply talk to other attendees! Just like Ron suggested, I asked “How are you”? Their answers reminded me that no matter our subject, grade level, state, years in the “biz,” we are all here on a quest for to make sense of what we see and wonder what makes our students curious. Like Melanie from Tallahassee, I want my students to explore Argument-Driven Inquiry to differentiate my classroom and get NGSS standard-connected lessons. Like Cecilia from NYC, I want to find lessons I can apply right away and am looking to refuel my teaching spirit. Like Sheila from Broward, Florida, I’m here for the hands-on workshops that will get my kids moving, jumping, and falling in love with my subject. Like Joshua & Ranell from Northern Illinois, I’m here for content to back up the fireworks! I want to find ways for my students to delve deeper into topics with access to real DATA. Like Carl from West Virginia who works with inner city youth, I too want to connect my students with the real world career goals that will inspire them to “push through” when obstacles come up in their lives. And we can all admit we will never forgo some out-of-this-world/ready-Use/teacher approved activities that can be tweaked for #MAKINGMondayGREAT!

Why We Exist as Educators

Stephen Hawking passed away yesterday, having dedicated his life to inquiring “Why it is that we and the universe exist…?” Conferences like these may not hold the answers to life’s most probing questions, but I hope they remind us why we exist as educators. May we never stop being curious or infusing our classrooms with the type of curiosity that inspires students to grow into adults who live with passion. “We need to be the phenomenal teachers that we are lacking in our country in order to inspire the next generation of scientists who can change the world!” – Ron Clark

So tomorrow, I can’t want to see you bright and early! ( Here are some Tips in case you missed them for Hacking “Conferencing”: https://youtu.be/ETkFclxoWV4.) With comfy shoes, reset fitbits, charged devices, and recharged internal batteries! Make some space for all the emotional, intellectual, and physical goodies you will gather! Most importantly though, make time to CONNECT with each other!

Looking forward to Day 2!

Valeria Rodriguez
Creator. Educator. Mentor 
“Design the Life you want to live”-Rachel Roy

More About the 2018 National Conference on Science Education

cover of the program preview for the 2018 national conference on science educationBrowse the program preview, or check out more sessions and other events with the Atlanta Session Browser/Personal Scheduler. Follow all our conference tweets using #NSTA18, and if you tweet, please feel free to tag us @NSTA so we see it!

The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.

Future NSTA Conferences

2018 STEM Forum & Expo
Philadelphia, July 11–13


2018 Area Conferences

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1 Response to #NSTA18 Atlanta: Day 1

  1. Shelley Roy says:

    Keep being curious- it is the one thing that keep us young forever.

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