Category Archives: professional development

We Win Success by Failing.

I’m bored with talking about success. By any metric, I’ve had the good fortune to enjoy a lot of success in my career as an educator. But I also fail a lot. And I know that I’m not alone. Failure is a significant part of educating kids. I don’t mean kids failing (hopefully that’s pretty diminished), I mean teachers failing to do the things they try to do. Things not working as planned. Mistakes being made. This kind of failure is more than just a thing that happens sometimes, it’s a significant part of the job. And it’s totally normal and expected.

So why do we hide it?

If you look at any public collection of educators, you’ll quickly see that discussion of success is much more common than conversations about failure. Any look at the #eduTwitter-scape or any of the Facebook groups for teachers is basically a wall-to-wall display of success. Kids doing amazing work. Teachers trying new things, and being delighted with the results. Everything working out exactly as planned (or even better than that). Which is lovely, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s not particularly reflective of the reality of teaching. Teaching is hard creative work, and like all hard creative work, people fail a lot.

The issue is even more glaring in science education, where teachers teach a field of endeavor that proceeds by failing. The central role of falsification in the scientific process is so essential that only presenting success not only warps perceptions of reality; it can distort our very understanding of it. And yet, we still pretend like things succeed in our classes more than they fail.

It’s easy to understand why this is the case. Generally speaking, people want to be perceived at their best, and for most people, their “best” is not when things they are trying to do aren’t working. It takes a degree of confidence to be willing to show one’s posterior on a regular basis. But in my experience, giving failure a public perch leads to a level of improvement in practice and product that is just not possible if all you talk about is success. Learning is nothing if not all about correction.

Assuming you agree with the above, the question becomes how to build a place for failure in your public life. I won’t pretend to have all of the answers, but I do have a few ideas that have worked well for me:

  1. Keep everything in Beta. Beta testing refers to the practice in technology development wherein a working, imperfect, version of a product is turned over to a large group of people to use. This everyday usage then provides the developers with a list of imperfections that would otherwise remain undiscovered if the developers were the only ones doing the product-testing. This philosophy is easily applied to education. The work that teachers do and the materials they create should live in a state of constant beta testing. By taking the default stance that work is imperfect, there is less discomfort when the imperfections in that work are discovered. Of course, this type of thinking is only helped by a willingness to make your work available to a vast professional learning network under pretty open terms of usage. Fortunately, in the modern era of easy-to-build webspace and free to distribute licensing, it’s trivial to set up a system wherein you can be a perennial beta tester. All it requires is a willingness to do it.

  2. Keep a Resume of Failures. I first discovered the concept of the resume of failures when I read this article. The example resumes that it included lead me to put up my own. I think more people should do this, and I hope that doing so on my end leads some of the tens of thousands of people who interact with myself and my digital footprint every year to realize that failing is a large part of why I’ve had the career that I’ve had. Who I am as an educator, and what I do is arguably much more a result of the failures that I’ve had in my career than it is of my successes1.

  3. Reflect on failures (and successes). I am a huge fan of reflective practice. My reflection tends to happen in public spaces. I find a lot of value in thinking aloud if for no other reason than that it invites correctives from a maximal number of wise minds. But even if a public airing of your reflective practice isn’t something that appeals to you, the act of reflecting itself is invaluable for learning from your experiences. There are a variety of tools that you can use to help you reflect, ranging from a notebook, a simple .txt file, or something a little more formal like 750Words or a blog. However you do it, the trick is to make sure that you actually stick to a routine of regularly engaging in reflection on the work that you are doing with the understanding that the purpose of that reflection is not to whinge about imperfection, but instead to think about how to improve.

These are three relatively easy ways to build a space for considering failure into your professional life. As always, it might be too much to try to do all three of the above at the same time. But the point isn’t to do everything that’s suggested (or even anything that’s suggested). Instead, it’s to work to make a space in your working life for acknowledging that however good we are as educators, however fortunate we have been in our work, we still fail a lot.

The Times They Are A-changing…

“Come gather around people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
And if your breath to you is worth saving
Then you better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changing”

– Bob Dylan

While the lyrics above may sound a bit ominous, they are also something to consider! It is an exciting time in New York State for science education…but it can also be an overwhelming time! When I started teaching high school science in 1985, communication was much more limited than now. The internet was not readily available, cell phones and text messaging had not yet been developed. For new teachers, developing lessons could be an overwhelming and isolating task. I was fortunate to start my career with a colleague that was more than willing to collaborate and was able to work with her to plan new lessons and work out the “kinks” as I began my teaching career.

As we begin the transition to NYSSLS and three-dimensional teaching and learning, the shifts in our classroom can be difficult to navigate alone. While some districts are actively working to begin the shifts, others are moving forward more slowly. If you are fortunate enough to work closely with a collegial department, you may have the support needed to begin to convert your lessons. For those of us that are the only discipline-specific teacher or work in a less than perfect department, there is a need to find resources and effective means of networking. The internet is a wealth of resources and information, but there is nothing like collaboration with another teacher to ease the burden of lesson-planning and gain professional expertise!

NOW is the perfect time to consider joining STANYS and encouraging your colleagues to join as well! STANYS has been at the forefront of providing professional development opportunities directly related to incorporating the new standards into classroom practice. The annual conference in November is only one of many opportunities. The Suffolk section has also provided local conferences for the past several years and is actively seeking ideas for providing the best possible support and professional development for its members. Membership has its benefits including:

the opportunity to network with science teachers across the state
reduced cost of attendance at conferences a chance to have your voice heard in science education concerns in NYS publications that will increase your awareness of issues concerning science educators reduced joint cost of membership in NSTA

We are looking for your input and feedback! Involvement at the local level of STANYS is an ideal way to learn more about NYSSLS and to increase your professional network of enthusiastic teachers. In this time of change, STANYS can be the support that you are looking for. If you are already a member, try to commit to attending a meeting or a conference to learn more about what we do. Approach your district for funds to attend the state conference. Encourage your colleagues, especially elementary teachers, to consider joining! If you are not a member, follow the link below to join! (Membership in the state level includes membership in the section level.)

Join STANYS Today!

Live the Science, Don’t Just Teach the Science

Over the years I have realized that there is more to teaching science than just sitting in a classroom.  We should live it.  The environment of Long Island has so much to offer.  There is something for each one of our disciplines, and all we have to do is look to our waters.  As a Professional Association of Diving Instructor (PADI) Dive instructor, I have been teaching students about the wonders of diving.   Being an AP Physics 2, Physics, Chemistry, and Living Environment teacher brings so much more to this activity.

My uncle Billy was an avid scuba diver.  I remember him telling me stories of all his diving adventures from around Long Island.   Because of him, I joined the diving club, Aquanuts, at the Hampton Dive Shop.  There I learned about so many other possible diving adventures to go on locally.  Often people think that scuba diving off of Long Island isn’t very good because visibility isn’t very good, but I learned that when you know where and when to dive there is so much to see and do.

As a first year AP Physics 2 teacher a lot of things dawned on me.   The unit I teach on fluids in AP physics 2 includes everything I teach in my “open water diver” and specialties of diving classes.  Once this realization hit me, I started applying many of the concepts of diving to AP physics 2.   Many of the demonstrations and discovery activities I use in the classroom where inspired by diving.  For example, my students calculate the amount of air required to generate buoyant force to lift things off the floor, they calculate the volume of a sealed bottle at different depths, and the students develop ideas about air consumption at depths.  Because of this, all summer I have been trying to develop labs where students can go on a field trip to the Dive Shop to test and discover these principles.   I want the students to learn from real life action in the pool.   I want the students to model the phenomena and discover and explain what is happening.

Educators should explore their curiosity and try something new.   Find a dive shop and experience what you teach.   The more you experience the better you will become as an educator.   For example last year I dove the Oregon wreck.  On March 14, 1886, the Oregon collided with another ship and sank to the bottom of around 100-foot depth just off the coast of Fire Island.   She was the fastest ship of her day using sails and steam engine.   Before the dive, I was told that all that was left was a three story high steam engine and boilers.   I did not think there would be much to see.   During my plunge into the Atlantic, the steam engine came into sight in all of her majesty.   Then I spent the next 3o minutes or so lost in all of the biology and wonders hidden in all of the nooks and crannies.  I was getting lost in the science and thinking of the history and people who were on that ship that fateful day.

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Another dive was of the USS San Diego.  On July 19, 1918, the Sand Diego was sunk by German Submarine U- 156 just south of Fire Island and was the only major ship lost during WW1.   She sits upside down on a sandy bottom at about 100-foot depth.  The dive was awesome and visibility was about 40 feet.   This ship has been underwater for about a 100 years and my curiosity got the best of me once again.   The holes that Mother Nature put in her gave me great areas to look inside and see the life of that now calls her home.

Shipwreck USS San Diego

Wrecks are not the only things to see locally when diving.  The Ponqugue Bridge provides a beach dive that offers so much ecology and goes a max of 30-foot depth.  Right at Shinnecock inlet, you can spend 40 minutes underwater and your wonder and amazement will grow.  Just to see how all of the creatures interact and how they hide and even the human impact of the environment and the symbiotic relationship that exist between humans and sea life.  The two bridges offer a home to the sea life.   They are attracted there for the food source and protection they offer.   Including the utility cable that lies on the floor of the canal.   You will find more and more hiding places for sea life.   The more I dive the site the more I find.

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Some of the fun is investigating the areas that you are going to explore.  There is so much history just sitting there on the sea floor.   I try to learn about the history before I dive the location.   I do this to pre plan my activity for safety, but also to learn where a ship had been, what people were on that ship and how that ship came to meet the sea floor.   If I did not dive our local stores I would never know of the German Submarines, artificial reefs and other ships that went down for various reasons.   It is so interesting to learn about the history and to compare the original diagrams of the ship to what they look like now.

What I am trying to say is that it’s great to venture out of the classroom not just in field trips but rejuvenate our love of the subject.   Try something new each summer vacation to get out of your comfort zone to feel more alive.  The more you learn and experience and the more ways you will have to provide the information to the students.  For more information please email me and if you have any ideas for labs you would like to see developed.   Also if you would like to set up an experience or get your certification please let me know.

Bibliography
http://njscuba.net/

Registration Information for the STANYS Fall Regional Science Conference at Hofstra

In order to register for the conference at Hofstra on Monday, October 16th, participants have three options:

Option A: Online Registration via Credit Card

Participants would be able to choose their workshop preferences while they register, on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that the online registration is not currently supported by mobile devices.

Option B: Registration by Purchase Order

School districts are encouraged to call Hofstra University in order to discuss the purchase order process (516-463-5750). The registration form below (Form A) must be used by each participant on the purchase order in order to provide workshop preferences and must be included when the purchase order is submitted to Hofstra. All purchase orders and workshop registration forms must be faxed together to 516-463-6006. Again, workshop registration preferences will be entertained on a first-come, first-served basis.

Option C: Registration by Phone

Individual participants that would like to register by phone can call Hofstra University (516-463-5750). Registrants would email or fax the registration form below (Form B) after registering over the telephone.

FORM A – STANYS FALL REGIONAL SCIENCE CONFERENCE

FORM B – STANYS FALL REGIONAL SCIENCE CONFERENCE – PHONE REGISTRATION

STANYS State Conference – More Change is Coming!

Science education in NYS is changing, so is the annual State Conference in Rochester!

Come join us November 4th through November 6th, as we roll out workshops focused on the transition to the new New York State Science Learning Standards (NYSSLS). In addition to these several workshops, the Directors-at-Large have collaborated with Subject Area Representatives (SARs) from each section from all over the state to develop half-day institutes that will immerse participants in three-dimensional style teaching and learning.

One noted change that you may observe as you register is the openness of the registration process. Besides the half-day institutes, breakfasts/luncheons, and the Paul Andersen Monday Institute, all workshops will be open enrollment for you to pick and choose your sessions using the official conference app. You must formally register for the three special events (institutes, Paul Andersen, and breakfasts/luncheons), but let your feet guide you to whichever other workshops you may be interested in. For example, if you are inspired by the Chemistry Institute Saturday morning and would like to learn more about chemistry phenomena, you are now free to change your entire conference schedule to find workshops that would meet this new need. You are no longer locked in to particular workshops, so the possibilities are endless!

Please be sure to visit the conference website to view the workshops. The conference app will be pushed out to registrants in early October to start building your custom schedule!

Many of the tried and true events are still happening, like the Wards Giveaway and the Wine and Cheese Reception, so come join us for three days of fun (and a little bit of learning too)!

Fall Regional Science Conference

The Suffolk Section of STANYS, in partnership with Hofstra University, is proud to announce that the STANYS Fall Regional Conference will be held at the Mack Student Center on Monday, October 16th! Morning registration starts at 7:30am, and the cost of the day is only $65!

Our distinguished keynote presenter will be Professor Joseph Krajcik, the Lead NGSS Writer for Physical Science and Director for the CREATE for STEM Institute at Michigan State University.  Since the publication of the Next Generation Science Standards, Professor Krajcik has played an integral role in the development of formative assessments through the Concord Consortium. You can check out the following video from the National Science Teachers Association, where Professor Krajcik discusses the vision of the NGSS.

The Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation of Science Standards challenges the science education community to support students in developing deeper, useable knowledge to make sense of phenomena or solve problems. This will only occur when students make use of the three dimensions – disciplinary core ideas, scientific and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts. The Framework and the NGSS refer to this as 3-dimensional learning. Three-dimensional learning shifts the focus of science classrooms from environments where students learn about science ideas to places where students do science by exploring, examining and using science ideas to explain how and why phenomena occur and designing solutions to problems. Doing science to learn science helps students form useable knowledge to explain phenomena and make sense of problems. In this session, Professor Krajcik will provide an overview of each of the dimensions and show how they work together to enable students to explain phenomena or design solution to problems. Woven throughout his remarks, he will discuss the opportunities and challenges of engaging learners in three-dimensional learning.

After the keynote address, participants will be able to choose workshops in three separate sessions, with a provided lunch in between. We will be offering two unique double session workshops, where attendees can choose to attend Professor Emily Kang’s workshop on Implementing the NYSSLS/NGSS or to participate in an authentic modeling scenario with Donghong Sun from STEMteachersNYC. Representatives from the Right Question Institute will also be offering two sessions on the Question Formulation Technique, which is one method that STEM teachers could develop students’ ability to ask their own questions.

Besides the double sessions, teachers can also choose from a variety of other workshops from Long Island teachers and college professors focused on improving science education for all students! To check out the full list of workshops, please click here. The link for registration will be active soon for payment by credit card. District purchase orders will also be accepted. Please check back by September 8th for more information on registration!

Deeper Dive into NYSSLS

Note:  Check out more pictures from this event here.

This past week, STANYS and the New York State Master Teacher Program co-sponsored  professional development workshops in three regions in New York State. The first of its kind model, allowed for teachers from across the state to experience the same two-day workshop. The consistency of the professional development was helpful as New York teachers came together to start to build a collection of lessons and ideas using a common understanding and template.  Key to any professional development is the quality of the presenter. Luckily, for New York, Paul Andersen, who has created countless videos on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and has led teacher training sessions all over the world was on hand to provide a deeper dive into New York State Science Learning Standards (NYSSLS).

The workshop began with “The Wonder Tube”. During this exercise, teachers wore their “student hats” to experience firsthand modeling instruction from the other side of the desk. Teachers were provided with a demonstration of the Wonder Tube and individually developed a model for what they perceived to be the mechanism by the which the tube functioned. Key to utilizing phenomena such as this is that students are not able to google the answer and find out how it works. Participants individually drew what they believed the model to be, followed by group questioning of each individual’s model to understand what that person was thinking when they made that model. Teachers had a hard time with this task, wanting to state what they thought was happening. The pedagogical shift calls for group members to come to a consensus through the constant questioning of individual group members regarding their model, with no one group member simply telling “the answer”.  Models were presented, and the audience was given the opportunity to ask questions.  Amazingly,  no two models were the same. Paul asked the entire group to find similarities and differences within the models.  Modeling instruction is one vehicle by which teachers can begin to incorporate science practices into our classrooms. For more support with modeling, the American Modeling Teachers Association runs workshops to assist teachers.

Another teaching tool introduced by Paul called Question Formulation Technique calls for students to generate a list of questions surrounding an observable event; a phenomena. To do this participants observed termites following black lines that created the pattern of Olympic rings. Participants then brainstormed as many questions they could about the regarding the behavior of the termites they had just witnessed for five minutes. This was followed by labeling the questions as open or closed and determining which open ended question the group should investigate. The technique is easily applicable to teachers who would would like to try a NYSSLS aligned student driven inquiry approach.

Another means of rolling out NYSSLS to the participants was the Claim, Evidence, Reasoning (CER) framework, which focuses on the conclusion component of a laboratory report. After the students have completed the experiment, in essence collected their evidence, they are ready to make a claim. The teachers had the opportunity to experience this framework by investigating the question: “Are skew dice fair?” Groups then created large posters with their claim as well as a display of the supporting evidence via words, tables and graphs, followed by the reasoning which included scientific principles surrounding the experiment. Posters were stuck to the wall and shared with others through  a gallery walk and critique with post-its by other groups. Paul also provided his inquiry lab format as a resource to assist teachers in NYSSLS implementation via CER. This starts with an explanatory model, students then sort the variables in order of importance, after which comes data collection, a graphical representation and then the exercise concludes with the CER framework.  

When starting the workshop, Paul asked for what the teachers wanted to get out of the professional development and on the second day, he came back to address the topics that were of greatest interest to the attendees. One such NYSSLS concern was how to incorporate engineering design in your classroom by first defining criteria, followed by developing a solution and then refinement of that solution. Anderson suggested an activity that gave the participants the task to make a tower as tall as possible with only two pieces of computer paper, 10 cm of tape and five minutes. All participants were engaged as the clock displayed in the front of the room counted down the time. All groups frantically rushed  and at the end Paul claimed that was just the prototype and now participants were given the same task after observing what other groups had done to engineer the actual tallest tower. The activity could be utilized in any STEM classroom and adapted to a variety of tasks.  

Teachers are eager to learn about what assessments will look like with the new standards. There are a variety of resources available to help teachers get started. Paul recommends starting by printing out  cards with practices and crosscutting concepts to help generate ideas for student assessments. On the second day of the workshop, teachers of the same content area worked to create an assessment aligned to one specific performance expectation. By laying out the cards on the table, teachers were able to unpack the the practices and cross-cutting idea that could be used to assess the particular disciplinary core idea. Large posters of assessments were created and hung on the walls. Groups then gallery walked and gave feedback with post-its to improve the questions which were photographed and collected in a google drive to serve as a resource as teachers present go out and turn-key aspects to their colleagues. For additional resources on assessments, Paul suggested looking into ngss.nsta.org and nextgenscienceassessment.org for NGSS bundles and storylines for example assessments.

If one thinks of the level of comfort of the new standards, there is still much growth for all parties involved. Paul discussed how the implementation of any new teaching methodologies have an initial dip prior to rise is success rate and the same should be expected as teachers start to incorporate the NYSSLS approach. The workshop concluded with groups of the same discipline creating lessons using a common template.

Are you interested in diving even deeper? Then consider joining your fellow STANYS members at our state conference this November 4th- 6th in Rochester, where teachers will have the opportunity to learn more through a more extended content specific teacher institutes. Additionally, on the Monday of the conference, Paul Andersen is slotted to provide further workshops on NYSSLS. If you are unable to travel to Rochester please consider attending the Suffolk STANYS Fall Conference, which will be held on October 16th at Hofstra University where there will be more opportunities to learn about some of the NGSS best practices through modeling and questioning workshops.

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Attendees work together to create NYSSLS assessments.
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More attendees having an (obvious) good time!
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Teachers utilize Paul’s cards for science practices and crosscutting concepts to design assessments.
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Paul provides feedback on teacher created assessments.

Change is Blowing in the Wind

This past December the NYS Board of Regents approved the New York State Science Learning Standards (NYSSLS); STANYS was one of the lead partners in developing NYSSLS and the plan for implementation in New York.

STANYS’s Annual Conference held in Rochester spans three days with workshop opportunities over ten sessions, keynote speakers, exhibits, and field trips. The 122nd STANYS Annual Conference, November 4-6, 2017, will be the best place in New York State to find out what is going on in science education. The focus of the Conference will be on Science – Now in 3-D (Three Dimensional Learning) as teachers begin to prepare for the NYS Education Department’s implementation of the NYSSLS. What better place to learn about this new constructivist approach!

At the Annual Conference’s Exhibit you will have an opportunity to meet with company representatives and learn about their company’s:

  • Advancement of scientific products / technologies aligned with the NYSSLS
  • Impact on the environment
  • Educational programs/activities for K-12 science teachers and or students
  • Scholarships for high school to attend summer science workshops / research programs

We hope you will make every effort to attend this year’s Conference so you will be able to share the information you acquire with you colleagues.

Upcoming Summer Professional Development

Summer is almost here! While summer is most definitely a time for relaxation and recharging, it is also a time for reflection. It is the ideal time, away from papers to grade, meetings to attend and the many distractions that can interrupt the creative process, to think about how to improve our lessons and expand our knowledge of pedagogy. While the first week or two of summer, we may just be exhausted and need to unwind from the hectic pace of the school year, mid-summer is the perfect time to start thinking about how we would like to elevate our instructional practices for the upcoming school year.

Paul Anderson working with teachers at the American School in Dubai

Suffolk STANYS and the New York State Master Teacher Program are co-sponsoring a visit by Paul Anderson to “Take a Deeper Dive into NYSSLS” this summer. The conference will be offered at three locations. The first will take place July 31-Aug 1 at Stony Brook University, followed by August 2-3 at SUNY Adirondack in Queensbury and August 4-5 at Monroe Community College in Rochester. The cost of registration is $125, which includes continental breakfast and lunch both days. Twelve hours of CTLE credit is available. Space is limited, so register ASAP!  You can register here.

If you are not familiar with Paul, you may want to check out his vast array of videos on all fields of science and science education at his website,  or on his YouTube channel. Paul was a classroom science teacher in Bozeman, Montana for twenty years and has created countless videos for his students. Paul has shared his informative and engaging videos on all four basic science classes, including videos for science topics at the AP level. Both teachers and students have found his videos to be helpful additions to the classroom experience. Paul also collaborated with SCSTA’s own David Knuffke on a podcast “Horizontal Transfer” available on iTunes, and other podcast places. For more information on the podcast visit their website. Paul now consults on science education at schools around the world and has offered professional development in New York State at the STANYS Conference and at the Commack High School STEM conference in November 2016.

Paul’s website offers several videos that explore the NGSS including the Science and Engineering Practices and Cross-Cutting concepts as well as a close look at the Disciplinary Core Ideas for physical, life and earth and space sciences. The videos are an easy way to gain an understanding of the NGSS, which are the basis for the NYSSLS and are recommended viewing whether or not you are able to attend this summer’s professional development. The videos are relatively short in length and focus on one central theme…a perfect accompaniment to your morning coffee and an easy way to become familiar with the NYSSLS!

Paul is an engaging speaker and you will most definitely leave this program with a deeper understanding of how the new standards will influence the future of science education in New York State. You will have a better idea of how to transform lessons to align with the NYSSLS approach to science education. You will have an opportunity to meet fellow content area teachers and share ideas to bring back to the classroom. I was present when Paul spoke at the annual STANYS conference in Rochester in November of 2016 and held the entire audience of science educators captive with his keynote presentation on “Unlocking the Power of the NGSS”. As his presentation started to wind down and the hour for dinner was approaching, the entire room remained attentive and came away excited to make the changes to our lessons that would not “kill the wonder” of science. I can honestly say that his keynote address was among the best professional development that I have ever attended! I can guarantee that you will both enjoy this conference and return home excited about the transition to the NYSSLS!

Spring Conference Recap

On Friday, April 21, Suffolk STANYS held their annual “Spring Into STEM” conference at Brookhaven National Laboratory.  Attended by over 140 science teachers from around Long Island, it is one of the premier events for science educators of all grade levels and content backgrounds.  Presenters came from a variety of organizations and institutions, including the Long Island Association for Chemistry Teacher Support and the Long Island STEM Education Leadership Association.  Participants had the opportunity to participate in a wide array of workshops – there was even a Makerspace!

One of the overarching themes of the conference was informing and preparing teachers about the New York State Science Learning Standards (NYSSLS).  With its roots in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), NYSSLS is not just a change in content; NYSSLS will change how educators teach science to their students.  As a result, STANYS made sure to offer sessions in these methods such as question formulation technique, science and engineering practices, and modeling.  here was even a session that discussed the possible upcoming changes to science assessments that educators could expect see.

Since this conference is held at Brookhaven National Laboratory, educators had several experiences that are unique to the lab.  Teachers were able to tour the National Synchrotron Light Source II, which is currently the brightest synchrotron in the world! Additionally, Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Office of Educational Programs also offered a variety of workshops that were in the spirit of the NGSS.

 One of the highlights of this conference was our feature keynote speaker Chris Paparo.   Not only is he the manager of SUNY Stony Brook’s Southampton Marine Science Center’s web and the center’s resident naturalist, he is a well-respected speaker and advocate for Long Island’s natural environment.  His talk, “From Plankton to Whales – Why Our Local Waters Are Worth Protecting”, captivated many of our attendees, especially since he included many of his personal photographs of Long Island.  Many of his photographs, as well as his adventures with his red-tailed hawk Emmy, can be seen on his online photo gallery, Fish Guy Photos.  It can be found on both Facebook and Instagram.    

In closing, the conference was a success.   Special thanks go out to our Vice President of Programs, Matthew Christiansen for all his hard work putting this conference together, the STANYS Suffolk Board for volunteering in assisting in this conference, and all the presenters who came together to offer a high-quality conference.  We hope to see you soon at our fall conference, which will be taking place on October 16, 2017 at Hofstra University.  Be on the lookout for a postcard this September with more details!