2023 Kansas City National Conference

October 25-28, 2023

Grade Level



Session Type


FILTERS APPLIED:Research to Practice, Informal Education


Rooms and times subject to change.
3 results
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Authentic Learning Opportunities in the Science Classroom

Friday, October 27 • 9:20 AM - 10:20 AM

Kansas City Convention Center - 2204

STRAND: Research to Practice

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Authentic learning (AL) in the classroom is not new, however it is underutilized in the science classroom. We will present current research on the topic of authentic science learning and its efficacy in developing scientific literacy. Through this presentation we will inspire teachers to provide more real-world scientific experiences and interactions with real scientists to their students. We will also provide educators with ready-to-use materials to use in the classroom. The presentation will include the definition of authentic learning and what types of teaching strategies qualify as 'authentic' with a focus on project-based, inquiry-based, and problem-based teaching methods. Also included in the presentation are the interwoven connections between authentic learning opportunities, socio-scientific issues and citizen science, and the natural connection between AL and NGSS Science and Engineering Practices.

Educators will walk away with an understanding of Authentic Learning and what authentic learning opportunities look like in the science classroom. Attendees will have access to pre-made activities to use immediately with minimal preparation.

Kristen Benton (Kenesaw Public Schools: Kenesaw, NE), Bailey Johnson (Hastings Public Schools: Hastings, NE)

Power Up With Gamification

Friday, October 27 • 10:40 AM - 11:40 AM

Kansas City Convention Center - 2214

STRAND: Research to Practice

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Countless studies have found that teachers are struggling to support students in maintaining focus, finding self-worth, and being intrinsically creative learners. Gamification provides the building blocks for engagement, community, healthy competition, and self motivation, and works with any grade level and any subject. With gamification, students can use their creativity in learning choices and earn incentives based around curricular and extracurricular themes. Student examples from a sixth grade science classroom include reviewing challenges that emphasize content and game elements. Participants in this session will gain the initial building blocks to create their own game for their classrooms that is manageable and can be enhanced over time. Activities will include defining gamification and creating their own game theme. During the session, the participant will participate in a game challenge by using a choice board to explore and expand the strategies and methods of gamification.

Participants will begin the journey of gamifying their classroom right away. They will also leave with resources to use to continue their gamification journey.

Michelle Simmons (Klahowya Secondary School: Silverdale, WA)

NASA Science Activation Strategies for Creating Authentic STEM Learning in Rural Communities and Classrooms

Saturday, October 28 • 1:20 PM - 2:20 PM

Kansas City Convention Center - 2202

(Only registered attendees may view session materials. Please login with your NSTA account to view.)
NASA Rural Presentation.pptx

STRAND: Research to Practice

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Curious about establishing sustainable relationships within rural communities? Join NASA Science Activation members who live and work in rural communities for an interactive discussion about building reciprocity, relationships, and project sustainability while enhancing NASA STEM education experiences for learners of all ages. To broaden participation and learn about the vast knowledge and practices shared among the members, NASA conducted interviews with the awarded project members working with rural communities, coded their stories, and found emerging themes. NASA Science Activation aims to share the lessons learned, solutions, challenges, and recommendations of these projects, which may assist you by providing best practices for engaging your community; providing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility tips for reaching underserved audiences, and providing opportunities to enlist NASA support and bring subject matter experts into your classroom or school district.

Participants will receive connections to NASA subject matter experts working with rural communities as well as virtual resources and future opportunities for classroom support and collaboration.

Rachael Arens (Curriculum Specialist: Bennington, NE), Matthew Cass (Physics and Astronomy Instructor: Sylva, NC)

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