Can’t Miss Next Generation Science Standards sessions at NSTA14

The 2014 National Science Teachers Association national conference is coming up in Boston. If you’re attending, there’s a good chance you’re interested in learning more about the Next Generation Science Standards. With eleven states and the District of Columbia having adopted the standards and over 25% of US students now living in an “NGSS state,” it’s safe to say they will be a hot topic at the conference.

Here’s a short list of “can’t miss” NGSS sessions at NSTA14.

Featured Presentation: Science Standards Through the Years

Thursday, April 3 2:00–3:00 PM

Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, Grand Ballroom

Presenter(s): Stephen L. Pruitt (Senior Vice President, Achieve, Inc.: Washington, DC); Rodger W. Bybee (Executive Director Emeritus, BSCS: Colorado Springs, CO)

While this one is not strictly focused just on the NGSS, Stephen Pruitt is the NGSS ringleader and if you’ve never had a chance to listen to him speak in person, you’re in for a treat. Rodger Bybee has literally written the book(s) on STEM education and implementing the NGSS, among many other notable achievements.

NGSS Pathway Session: Making Connections Between Engineering, Technology, Science, and Society in Your Local Community

Friday, April 4 1:00–3:00 PM

Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, 206 A/B

Presenter(s): Cary I. Sneider (Portland State University: Portland, OR); Mariel Milano (Orange County Public Schools: Orlando, FL)

Engineering is a topic that many of us are going to need to learn more about in order to successfully implement the NGSS. This looks like a promising session to get started down that path, with great presenters as well.

Planning an NGSS Curriculum (NGSS@NSTA Forum)

Saturday, April 5 9:30–10:30 AM

Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, 210 A/B

Presenter(s): Matt Krehbiel (Kansas Dept. of Education: Topeka, KS)

All of the NGSS@NSTA forum sessions (scroll down for the full agenda) look promising, but I imagine the topic of this one will be near the front of most of our minds.

Translating the NGSS for Classroom Instruction (NGSS@NSTA Forum)

Saturday, April 5 11:00 AM–12:00 PM

Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, 210 A/B

Presenter(s): Rodger W. Bybee (Executive Director Emeritus, BSCS: Golden, CO); Kim Bess (San Diego County Office of Education: San Diego, CA)

Also part of the all-day NGSS@NSTA forum. If you aren’t in the business of planning curriculum, you are likely going to be implementing the NGSS in your classroom. This session should help get you started.

The Future of Assessment with NGSS (NGSS@NSTA Forum)

Saturday, April 5 3:30–5:00 PM

Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, 210 A/B

Moderator: David L. Evans (NSTA Executive Director: Arlington, VA)

Presenter(s): April McCrae (Delaware Dept. of Education: Dover, DE); Lee Ann Nickerson (Jefferson County Public Schools: Louisville, KY); Susan Tierney (Measured Progress: Dover, NH); Peter J. McLaren (Rhode Island Dept. of Education: Providence, RI); Chris Lazaro (The College Board: New York, NY)

If you haven’t been following the recent information on science assessment for the NGSS or don’t have the time to read up on it, this session should get you caught up.

Last but not least, a few random conference tips:

  • Make your schedule ahead of time, using NSTA’s handy online scheduler. My preferred method is to use the keyword search and filter by particular days and times. It’s not a bad idea to have a top choice and a backup choice scheduled, just in case.
  • Use the #NSTA14 hashtag on twitter to see what others are saying, share updates from the conference, and connect with other science educators. There will even be a #NGSSChat session live from the conference at 9 PM ET, Thursday April 3.
  • Know what you can be getting into if you attend sponsored sessions. The descriptions are written to be very attractive, but the quality of information is often not good, and there’s generally some kind of sales pitch in there. On the plus side, they do often have free giveaways :).
  • The Sunday morning sessions are less hectic but can have some hidden gems- even if conference fatigue has set in, try going to a few if you don’t have to head out early.

 I’m sure I missed some great sessions- what are you looking forward to at #NSTA14? Any conference tips to share?

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