NASCAR 2022-23

2022 Chicago National Conference - Sessions




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Friday, July 22
8:00 AM - 9:00 AM
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Engaging students in problem-based learning through environmental innovation challenges

McCormick Place - W195

The Innovate to Mitigate (I2M) project empowers teachers to employ a problem-based learning approach to incorporate climate change education in their classrooms. Teachers, regardless of whether they teach language arts, science, engineering, or math, work with students to identify potential causes of climate change and to develop a prototype as a potential solution. Collaborative student teams, utilizing the various strengths and interests that they bring from diverse backgrounds, design and develop their projects and finally create a competition pitch. I2M provides a structure for teaching climate change throughout the school year, supports students to discuss their developing mitigation ideas with peers across the nation, and provides an outside incentive for them to work towards an end goal. We propose a mini-simulation of the competition experience where teachers, acting as students, participate in the sensemaking promoted by the competition. Teachers read a short article about an aspect of climate change, brainstorm in small groups to propose a solution that mitigates the problem, and discuss mitigation ideas with other workshop attendees. Facilitators present ideas for collaboration among their students and across the hall with other teachers, identify key NGSS integration opportunities, provide examples of student projects, and help teachers think about integrating such a project into their own classrooms.

Takeaways: Teachers will learn how to identify entry points for climate change education that capitalize on student desires to make a difference about climate change, support collaboration, and incorporate three-dimensional sensemaking.


Santiago Gasca (TERC: Cambridge, MA), Natalie Stapert (Master Reading Coordinator: Potomac, MD)

Friday, July 22
10:40 AM - 11:40 AM
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Discussion-Based Learning: How to Use Talk as a Tool

McCormick Place - Skyline W375b

Academic discourse is a vital part of promoting student sensemaking. Learn how discourse can be used to promote equity and access in the science classroom.

Takeaways: Attendees will learn how to use discussion strategies in the classroom to move student thinking forward, use talk as a formative assessment, and build a classroom culture that promotes student discussion.


Kristin Rademaker (NSTA: Arlington, VA), Cheryl Knight (Orland Junior High School: Orland Park, IL)

Saturday, July 23
2:20 PM - 3:20 PM
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Going Beneath the Surface: Using socioscientific issues to help students engage in 3D learning.

McCormick Place - W185a

Socioscientific issues are scientific topics that require students to engage in meaningful discussions (Zeidler & Nichols, 2009). Additionally, engaging students in socioscientific issues can promote equity, diversity, and help students question biases (Goldsmith et al., 2021). Importantly, these issues are often most likely to promote inclusivity if students have a connection with them. Considering we live in the Midwest, we often use socioscientific issues surrounding agricultural practices. We start with a phenomenon that introduces the example socioscientific issue by showing a video about tilling. We then ask, “Should farmers till the land?” To explore this question, we engage participants by jigsawing four different hands-on activities related to the soil. Participants will explore compact vs. loose soil, reducing water erosion, reducing erosion caused by wind and snow, and the effect of a heat lamp on the temperature of soil. Participants will use science and engineering practices such as planning and carrying out investigations and analyzing and interpreting data. We will debrief the activities and model how we help students make sense of the science ideas. We will finish the presentation by discussing how to find suitable socioscientific issues, include culturally responsive teaching practices, and provide some strategies for integrating with the NGSS.

Takeaways: Participants will learn about how to use socioscientific issues and culturally responsive practices to engage students with social issues that require scientific knowledge.


Jesse Wilcox (University of Northern Iowa: Cedar Falls, IA)