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!