2022 Chicago National Conference

July 21-23, 2022

Grade Level



Session Type


FILTERS APPLIED:PreK - 5, Hands-On Workshop, No Strand, Engineering


Rooms and times subject to change.
3 results
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Science + Engineering + Math = Parachute STEM Activity

Thursday, July 21 • 9:40 AM - 10:40 AM

McCormick Place - W181a

STRAND: No Strand

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The basic physical science principles of gravitational force and air resistance are explored as students design, build, test, and evaluate parachutes. K-W-L charts are used to assess students’ knowledge of the engineering design process and the scientific method. The book, “Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot” by Margot Theis Ravin, is read to students and they discuss whether the pilot acted like an engineer as he wanted to share sweets with children during the Berlin Airlift. The students are presented with a problem, getting food and water to islanders whose homes and roads have been damaged by hurricanes. Simple materials such as paper napkins, paper towels, crocheting thread, and paper clips are used to build the parachutes. The students use the five ‘E’s’: engagement, exploration, explanation, evaluation, and elaboration as they compare their various parachute models. Students learn that air contains particles, and it is these particles that place forces on bodies moving in the air and counteract the force of gravity. Students use math in the analysis of their models. Students learn that models representing parachutes can be designed in many ways and may behave differently when tested. Students learn the many ways engineering and science are used to explore and explain nature and are employed in manufacturing and technology processes.

Student groups learn that the engineering design process and the scientific method are circular processes as they design, build, test, and evaluate a parachute model then improve it.

Suzanne Cunningham (Purdue University: West Lafayette, IN)

Using Picture Book to Inspire STEM Learning, K–5

Thursday, July 21 • 2:20 PM - 3:20 PM

McCormick Place - Skyline W375c

STRAND: No Strand

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Learn how to integrate STEM and literacy through the use of high-quality STEM-related picture books.

Learn strategies for integrating STEM and literacy through the use of picture books in the K–5 classroom.

Kim Stilwell (BIOZONE Corp.: Parker, CO)

NASA Space Technology: Robotics and the International Space Station

Saturday, July 23 • 9:20 AM - 10:20 AM

McCormick Place - W185d

STRAND: No Strand

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This session highlights an activity from NASA’s Learning Launchers: Robotics (https://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/stem-on-station/learning_launchers_robotics) teacher toolkit part of a series of Educator Guides with lessons and activities to help bring the International Space Station into the classroom. This session will focus on the “I Want to Hold Your Hand” activity that engages participants to build and test a robotic-like hand and understand how NASA uses robotic explorers to collect information about places where humans cannot travel. After watching videos "Robotics and the International Space Station" & "Benefits For Humanity: From Space to Surgery" participants will work in teams to construct a robotic-like hand and test their robotic hand by picking up an empty soda can or other lightweight objects. The “I Want to Hold Your Hand Activity” is aligned to national standards for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) (i.e., NGSS, ISTE). The focus of the “I Want to Hold Your Hand” activity ties Engineering Design and NGSS science and engineering practices of defining problems, developing models, and planning and carrying out investigations. This session connects participants to how NASA uses robots in many ways as well as benefit humanity with its robots’ doing science and experiments aboard the International Space Station.

1. Attendees will explore NASA STEM Educator Guides that are standards-aligned and provide detailed information and resources on how to implement NASA STEM engagement learning experiences in the classroom. 2. Attendees will gain hands-on minds-on experience with implementing a NASA STEM engagement activity in their classroom using everyday materials that encourages students to construct a robotic-like hand and demonstrate how data are collected when using robotic technology. 3. Attendees will gain insights into how humans and robots are working hand in hand to expand the horizons of space exploration and how robotic research that has helped make advances in medicine, auto manufacturing, among other things. Without robotics, major accomplishments like the building the International Space Station, repairing satellites in space, and exploring other worlds would not be possible.

LaTina Taylor (NASA Educator Professional Development Collaborative (EPDC): Flossmoor, IL)

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