2023 Kansas City National Conference

October 25-28, 2023

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Grade Level



Session Type


FILTERS APPLIED:PreK - 5, Hands-On Workshop, STEM Haven | Computer Science, Physical Science


Rooms and times subject to change.
4 results
Save up to 50 sessions in your agenda.

Supporting Meaningful Sensemaking Before, During, and After Science Investigations

Thursday, October 26 • 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Kansas City Convention Center - 2201

STRAND: Students and Sensemaking

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The purpose of this session is to engage participants as learners in the process of making sense of a phenomenon through engaging in scientific practices. The modeled lesson provides attendees with a shared learning experience similar to that of a typical science classroom, seeded with instructional strategies designed to support their sensemaking before, during, and after an investigation. Attendees will be introduced to a phenomenon, provided materials to carry out an investigation, given a model scaffold to record their thinking, and a talk tool to support equitable idea sharing and listening. They will reflect on their experience as learners, debriefing sensemaking strategies, and using the four attributes of sensemaking (phenomena, science and engineering practices, student ideas, and science ideas) to reflect on the model lesson and their classrooms.

Attendees will walk away with a greater understanding of how key science practices work in tandem to support student sensemaking and will experience tools like model scaffolds, driving question boards, and talk tools designed to support learners in explaining phenomena.

Alex Gerber (Instructional Specialist: University City, MO), Heather Milo (Washington University in St. Louis: St. Louis, MO)

Seaworthy STEM in a Box: Naval-relevant K-12 Activities to Support Sensemaking in STEM

Thursday, October 26 • 2:20 PM - 3:20 PM

Kansas City Convention Center - 2206


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Seaworthy STEM in a Box activities were developed through collaborative efforts between STEM education specialists at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division and master teachers participating in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Albert Einstein Distinguished Education Fellowship Program. Seaworthy STEM endeavors to inspire and prepare the next generation of STEM professionals by supporting teachers’ efforts to engage students – from early childhood through high school – in more hand-on science inquiry and engineering design. Activities are organized around grade bands with Naval-relevant themes and involve simple phenomena that support student sensemaking around key science and engineering concepts. Our workshop will allow teachers to practice several hands-on activities from the Seaworth STEM suite and will provide strategies for classroom integration, including content selection, standards alignment, materials acquisition, and tips for classroom implementation.

In this hands-on workshop, teachers will explore several Seaworthy STEM in a Box activities and receive teacher background information on NGSS standards alignment, career connections, and relevant Naval and physical science concepts. Links to classroom-ready lesson materials will also be provided.

Stephanie Klixbull (Penn State University: No City, No State), Tom Jenkins (Greenon Junior/Senior High School: Enon, OH), Melissa Thompson (Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship: No City, No State), Suzy Otto (University of Missouri)

Building student excitement in the classroom: How the engineering design process increases student excitement for science and math

Friday, October 27 • 1:20 PM - 2:20 PM

Kansas City Convention Center - 2102 A


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STEM learning activities have been shown to increase student engagement (Fredricks et al., 2003) and learning (English, 2016). Because we are currently experiencing huge growth in STEM fields, we need to grow student interest in future STEM careers. STEM careers, which combine aspects of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, are growing exponentially (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2021; Ramaley et al., 2005; Scott-Parker & Barone-Nuget, 2019). To be globally competitive in a technologically diverse society, educators and policymakers aim to build scientific and mathematically literate students who are prepared for integrated STEM career fields. Employers not only need future employees to be literate in math and science, but they also need students to develop creativity and critical thinking skills; these are skills that cannot be replaced with computer or robotic technology. Development of student interest in STEM is critical for future generations.

Teachers and administrators will see how the incorporation of STEM activities can be used to increase student engagement and excitement in the classroom. Lesson plans and connections to science and math standards are included.

Leslie Sauder (Northern State University: No City, No State)

NSTA Press: Universal Design for Learning Science

Friday, October 27 • 2:40 PM - 3:40 PM

Kansas City Convention Center - 2215 C

(Only registered attendees may view session materials. Please login with your NSTA account to view.)
Session Slides

STRAND: Research to Practice

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Universal Design for Learning Science: Reframing Elementary Instruction in Physical Science (NSTA Press, 2020) -- With this practical book, teachers can learn from experienced elementary school educators about how to make physical science both challenging and accessible for a diverse range of students. In our session, authors will be sharing examples and experiences with using the 5E instructional framework and principles of Universal Design for Learning to transform their science instruction. Participants will learn how to identify barriers to students' learning within their curriculum/lessons and develop solutions for their specific students using the 3 principles of UDL. Participants will also use a storyline lens to examine the conceptual coherence of their lessons. We'll use a combination of personal testimonials, small group discussion, and team "teaching tasks" to prepare attendees to create more inclusive science learning. Attendees do not need copies of the book to participate.

Participants will learn how to use Universal Design for Learning and the 5E Learning Cycle to create learning experiences that are accessible for all students, especially students with disabilities, and that support student sensemaking through coherent conceptual storylines.

Debi Hanuscin (Western Washington University: Bellingham, WA)

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