2023 Kansas City National Conference

October 25-28, 2023

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Grade Level



Session Type


FILTERS APPLIED:6 - 8, Hands-On Workshop, STEM Haven, Biology


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

Exploring Symbiosis: Parasitoid Wasps

Thursday, October 26 • 3:40 PM - 4:40 PM

Kansas City Convention Center - 2102 B

STRAND: Students and Sensemaking

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Symbiosis and Other Relationships is a multimedia curriculum module that uses a three-part symbiosis between a wasp, its caterpillar host, and a virus to highlight the varied and sometimes complex ecological relationships. It includes an opportunity for students to analyze data through a simulated experiment, interweaving this example with more general information. Students learn about competition, predation, parasitism, commensalism, and mutualism through examples of 2-way relationships, and tease out the types of relationships at play in examples of 3-way relationships. The module’s materials can be used independently to supplement existing curriculum materials, or used alone in a suggested sequence over 1-2 weeks of class time. Workshop Outcomes • Where to access a free NGSS-friendly, multimedia middle school curriculum module on ecological relationships. • Teasing apart 2-way and 3-way ecological relationships reveals a number of strategies organisms employ to survive.

How to access and use a free module that includes an opportunity for students to analyze data through a simulated experiment involving the wasp parasitoid and its host, interweaving this example with more general information in a way that builds an understanding of complex ecological relationships.

Molly Malone (The University of Utah: Salt Lake City, UT)

Making Meaningful Connections to Social Emotional Learning Alongside the NGSS

Friday, October 27 • 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Kansas City Convention Center - 2201

STRAND: Research to Practice

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Since the NGSS, science teachers have been increasingly considering how to effectively engage students during science lessons using science and engineering practices (SEPs). In order to engage in these practices deeply, students need to have effective social and emotional skills. Therefore, embedding social-emotional learning (SEL) can be a tool that teachers use to build a classroom community that deeply engages in the SEPs. This session will engage students in three science activities (one elementary, one middle school, and one high school) that promote 3D learning and SEL. For example, the high school activity will consist of us doing a simulation where participants will act as animals getting "food". We will use it to connect SEL to HS-LS2-8. We will then have participants reflect on SEL teaching strategies such as explicit/reflective SEL questions (Bahnson et al., 2020) in order to demonstrate how to meaningfully embed SEL into 3D NGSS lessons.

You will learn strategies to teach SEL in existing NGSS lessons.

Kathryn Borton (Science Teacher: Nevada, IA), Jesse Wilcox (University of Northern Iowa: Cedar Falls, IA)

All Systems Go: The Human Body as a System

Friday, October 27 • 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Kansas City Convention Center - 2214

STRAND: Students and Sensemaking

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Learning science can sometimes focus on concepts often challenging to engage in due to the scale of being too small to be seen or too large to comprehend. This NGSS-designed unit offers tools to engage ALL students and connect micro and macro concepts around systems to develop concrete understandings. This 20+ lesson unit is driven by phenomena guiding students toward the concept of a “system,” from the cell level to a global level. Students explore the system at a cellular level through real-world connections and then build models of interacting subsystems. The disruptions of these systems are experienced through the examination of a viral illness and its effect on human systems. Students engage in argument with evidence to support a claim of the interdependence of systems. This concept is then applied to Earth systems and how disruption in a part of an Earth system affects the whole. Participants experience this unit through a 5E format and leave with the unit and resources.

Attendees will construct an explanation for how parts of a system are interdependent both at the micro level and the macro level.

Julia Smith (Riverside Unified School District: Riverside, CA), Heather McDonald (Riverside Unified School District: Riverside, CA)

Ecology and Ethology in the Schoolyard: Students Conduct Original Field Studies

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

Kansas City Convention Center - 2105

(Only registered attendees may view session materials. Please login with your NSTA account to view.)
Abstract, Note to participants, references
Across front m the conference
Slide presentation (background and agenda)

STRAND: Students and Sensemaking

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A seventh grader writes: “I have learned about watching my surroundings and how every part of the school has an ecosystem that stretches far beyond most people’s understanding.” Searching, finding, observing, and describing living things in students' environment connects them with their place. Questions worth investigating arise with ease and abundance. Developing and implementing systematic protocols help students reach more deeply into ecological phenomena. Animal behavior observed “in the wild” fosters natural engagement. Students’ questions and focused inquiries can lead to original insights that strengthen a sense of place. In this workshop, we will try our hand at the initial stages of a focused field study; perhaps tracking the behavior of urban birds, surveying the diversity of urban spiders, or mapping the travel of urban ants. The goal will be for teachers to relate the workshop experience to the potential of their own schoolyards for study. Samples of student work will inspire.

The local environment of the schoolyard and neighborhood offers great potential for students to practice authentic and original field science.

Richard Frazier (retired)

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