Why Should Middle Level Teachers Join NSTA in St. Louis in April?

So I can inspire more students to love science!” That’s why middle school teacher Katherine W. told us she wanted to come to our national conference. Inspiration is high on the list for most people who come to an NSTA conference, as is the best science ed PD you’ll find anywhere, plus lots of amazing people. Here are eight more things middle level educators won’t want to miss at #NSTA19 in St. Louis this April.

  1. Meet Me in the Middle Day—Friday, April 12, 10:15 AM–4:30 PM
    Join the National Middle Level Science Teachers Association (NMLSTA) for an amazing day designed just for middle school educators. The day’s events include 15 workshops and presentations, two roundtable networking sessions featuring a variety of topics, and an afternoon share-a-thon with up to 100 presenters swapping ideas. You’ll walk away with new friends and ideas you can use in your classroom next week!
    (See page 10 of the program preview for more information.)

  2. Show your NSTA St. Louis Conference Badge and receive complimentary admission to the Butterfly House for a self-guided tour, courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden. Great care was taken in the design and engineering of the 8,000-square-foot glass conservatory garden to assure a natural and safe habitat for the butterflies. As many as 80 butterfly species and 150 tropical plant species are exhibited.
    (See page 20 of the program preview for more information.)
  1. Dozens of sessions will be led by middle school educators. Below is a small sampling of what you’ll find when you search the session browser for events targeted for middle level science teaching: 
    • Middle School Science Fair: Tips and Tricks
    • Ice, Ice, Baby: An Integrated 3-D Storyline Unit for Middle School Science Using Instant Ice Packs
    • Stratospheric Ballooning for Middle School Students
    • All Kids Have a Voice: Using Protocols and Other Activities in the Middle School Science Classroom to Build Equity
  1. Association for Multicultural Science Education (AMSE)-Sponsored Session: How to Be a DonorsChoose Rockstar—Using Crowdfunding to Get a Killer STEM Space!Saturday, April 13, 3:30–4:30 PM
    Grow your STEM program in this session. Learn how to fill your space with learning tools, supplies, and more to complete your three-dimensional learning space.
    Click here to see more AMSE-sponsored sessions.

  2. Teacher Researcher Day Session: Using Argumentation with a Social Justice Aspect to Improve Scientific LiteracyThursday, April 11, 2:00–3:00 PM
    Most people cannot remember their middle school science classes. By adding a social justice aspect for argumentation, students are able to see how science impacts not only their daily lives but also the lives of others in a global context.
    Click here to see more Teacher Research Day sessions.

  3. Learn how to get published in Science Scope (NSTA’s middle level journal) or any of NSTA’s journals.—Saturday, April 13, 9:30–10:30 AM
    Meet the editors of NSTA’s four grade-level teaching journals. Find out what types of articles they’re looking for, why it’s important to use your own classroom experience as the subject matter, how the review process works, and more. Would-be authors will find that it’s not so daunting to share their great ideas with peers.

  4. Meet the authors of your favorite NSTA Press books and share ideas for using their innovative strategies in the classroom. All NSTA Press sessions will be held in America’s Center. Click here to see all NSTA Press sessions.

    Many of the sessions are particularly useful for middle school teachers, including the following:

    • What Is the Difference Between Weather and Climate?
      Thursday, April 11, 2:00–3:00 PM
      Laura Tucker, co-author of the popular Uncovering Student Misconceptions series, will share student responses to address this key concept for teaching climate change.
    • Instructional Sequence Matters—Structuring Lessons with the NGSS in Mind
      Thursday, April 11, 5:00–6:00 PM
      Learn how to be an explore-before-explain teacher who structures lessons so student evidenced-based claims are the foundation for learning and promote long-lasting physical science understanding.
    • Reading Nature—Engaging Biology Students with Evidence from the Living World
      Friday, April 12, 9:30–10:30 AM
      Engage adapted primary literature using an NSTA Press publication that allows biology students to not only understand core ideas, but understand how they are justified.
    • Once Upon an Earth Science Book
      Sunday, April 14, 9:30–10:30 AM
      Want your students to read and write more effectively? Join Jodi Wheeler-Toppen, author of the Once Upon a Science Book series, for lessons that integrate literacy and Earth science content.
  1. The Exhibit Hall—Daily
    Some call NSTA’s exhibit hall the “science teacher’s playground,” and while it truly is fun, you’ll also pick up a lot of PD and get to try top-notch science ed resources while there. Check out this blog to see what happens there (and only there)—from the whacky to the wonderful. View the exhibit floor and plan your route here (and don’t forget to leave room in your suitcase for all the swag).

  2. Meet your fellow middle school teachers at the First-Timers Session—Thursday, April 11, 8:00–9:00 AM.
    This may be last on our list, but it should be first on yours. You’ll find tables marked “Middle School” (among other topics you may choose from like STEM and NGSS), where you can meet other attendees with similar interests, get to know the NSTA leadership, win prizes, and have a lot of fun. It’s the best way to kick off your conference experience!

Can’t Attend But Want the Experience?

Follow along on Twitter and Instagram using #NSTA19, like NSTA on Facebook and check out our St. Louis album, or follow the Science Scope editor on Twitter for middle school–specific information about the conference and other happenings at NSTA.

Pro Tips

Check out more sessions and other events with the St. Louis Session Browser. Follow all our conference tweets using #NSTA19, and if you tweet, please feel free to tag us @NSTA so we see it and share.

Need help requesting funding or time off from your principal or supervisor? Download a letter of support and bring it with you.

And don’t forget, NSTA members save up to $90 off the price of registration. Not a member? Join here.

Future NSTA Conferences

8th Annual STEM Forum & Expo, hosted by NSTA
San Francisco, July 24–26, 2019

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

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