2015 PAESTA Conference Information

November 14, 2015 following the Regional NSTA Meeting in Philadelphia. These sessions and all of the PAESTA Conference will be taking place in the Philadelphia Convention Center, Room 113A.

PAESTA will have a block of presentations highlighted at the 2015 National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Regional Conference in Philadelphia.  The PAESTA strand of talks will be on Saturday morning, November 14.  The Annual PAESTA Conference will follow in Philadelphia that afternoon.

Each presentation will be a half-hour in length.  The exact order of the presentations has not yet been finalized by NSTA (to be determined in May), but here we share with you the presenters and the summaries of their presentations.

Please note that to attend the PAESTA strand at NSTA, you must register and pay to attend NSTA.  NSTA will be posting registration information at the following page: http://www.nsta.org/conferences/area2.aspx  The Annual PAESTA Conference will continue to be free and require a separate registration on the PAESTA website.

Leveraging the Year of Pluto to Highlight the Practices of Astronomy & Planetary Science 

Christopher Palma, Penn State University - 8AM to 8:30AM

The NASA New Horizons mission will be investigating Pluto during a flyby in July 2015. This will provide enormous new, high quality data on this relatively unknown object. In our research on the Solar System, we have found that there is a real gap in students' knowledge of the practices of astronomy. So in this presentation, I will focus on how teachers can leverage the excitement around New Horizons visit to Pluto to show how the scientific practices unique to astronomy lead to understanding of the nature of all the objects in our Solar System, and Earth's place in the Solar System.

Presentation (PDF - 5.6 MB)

Earth and Mars: Evidence of tectonic movement on other planets

Kathleen Tait, Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School - 8:30AM to 9AM

While teaching the formation of the solar system, the focus seems to always be on the development of earth. As a result, many students are not aware of how similar other planets are to that of earth. Through the advancement of technology and the interest to explore Mars, students now have the ability to view firsthand the pictures of various landforms on Mars. They will compare several major landforms on earth to those developed on Mars. They will compare sizes, features and locations of landforms and delve into the processes which formed them. Students will then write a compare and contrast essay on earth vs. mars using the evidence discovered in the visuals.

Presentation (PDF - 3 MB)

PLC...The Final Frontier in Teacher Collaboration

Gerard Tyson, Walter Wilkinson, Joseph Okonski, Northwest Middle School - 9:30AM to 10AM

Our presentation is based on three areas we feel that are important. A. We want to briefly discuss ways to set up a PLC, when your district may not give you a block of time in your daily schedule to actually sit down and conduct a PLC. For years we found ways to conduct a PLC and most of our administration(s) bought into the way we wished to conduct it. Before school, after-school, tradeoffs for time devoted to the PLC, etc. B. Using the PLC to share ideas, concepts, and strategies. The key things for us is the amount of time it saves us, because we prepare everything together and teach basically the same lessons and use the same resources. C. We can also use this time to meet with administration about our needs and wants...as it pertains to Science. We can have book companies, training, or any type of presentation that will enrich our situations, thus making us better within our craft.

Presentation (PDF - 11 MB)

Policy Matters for Science Educators

Gregory Collins, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education - 10AM to 10:30AM

From the Space Race of the mid-20th century to the current Common Core focus on literacy across disciplines, science education has long been affected by public policy. Increasingly, researchers are employing quasi-scientific methods to analyze the effects of policy changes on societal outcomes. In education, this has resulted in the close examination of student performance and the role of the teacher in aiding student learning. This presentation will review some of the recent policy research as it pertains to science education and educators, with the goal of informing teacher preparation, pedagogy, and involvement in local policy decisions. As some policy matters, such as energy policy and disaster preparedness, are of great general interest, policy can also serve as a motivation for student learning and an opportunity to connect science content to other disciplines. Toward this end, ideas for using science and education policy issues! to advance relevance in the science classroom will also be discussed.

Presentation (PDF - 2.8 MB)

Breaking Down the Silos: Practical Application of Literacy in STEM

Heather Spotts, Central Intermediate Unit #10 - 12:30PM to 1PM

Sources, claims, evidence, argumentation, reasoning, and explanation – these words resound across the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices as well as the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts/Literacy.  Much of the ‘real-world’ is immersed in questionable evidence.  To address this, teachers can support students in analyzing these assertions.  Students will learn to discern between deceiving arguments and convincing arguments based upon evidence.  In this session, participants will be introduced to how reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills can turn the science classroom into a resemblance of a MythBusters-based courtroom in order to push students toward stronger scientific explanations.  This scientific argumentation (not just arguing) is based upon such skills as extrapolating evidence from text(s), writing claims supported with this evidence, discussing and actively considering other claims, and distinguishing fact from opinion.  The presenter will share methods to support these concepts to scaffold for students in upper elementary through high school including Socratic Seminar, Collins Writing, and Krajick and McNeill’s Claims-Evidence-Reasoning (CER) framework.

Using Fiction and Non-fiction Reading to Enhance Science Literacy

Kelly Hunter, Snyder-Girotti Elementary School - 1PM to 1:30PM

In this session, you will be given examples of both fiction and non-fiction readings that can be used in your Earth Science classroom. We will explore how both styles of reading can be utilized in science and reading classes to enhance science literacy. In addition, we will discuss strategies for “talking to the text” which will help students understand difficult readings. “Talking to the text” allows students to become more active in their reading and enhances understanding of difficult science concepts. “Talking to the text” also reinforces higher-level thinking skills and forces students to expand on the reading. We will explore on-line resources for non-fiction readings, as well as, science-themed novels which can be taught as well. This session is geared toward middle and high school classes, but can be adapted to fit the lower grades.

Presentation (PDF - 8 MB)

PAESTA Conference is 1:30PM to 4PM

Understanding your role as a teacher leader in the change process

This session will focus on helping teachers think about how to lead change in the complex system of schools. We will use a game/ simulation to explore what it means to be a teacher leader and attempt to support changes in practice like those laid out in the Next Generation Science Standards. This will be an interactive session designed to get you to think about how change happens in general, and also how you can support specific science teaching changes in your school/district.