professional development · STEM

Scaling STEM: Strategies That Engage Minds

Today I attended the Scaling STEM conference in Durham, primarily to present with one of my colleagues about our school in the Innovative Schools & Districts sessions. What I wasn’t expecting was that it would be an inspiring and exciting look at the future of education.

The day was kicked off with an NSCU student named Anthony Williams who spoke about how STEM education (and Project Based Learning) changed his life. What he shared had such an impact on me… and really, though I am new to the STEM world, he spoke about all of the things I have been working to provide for my students throughout my career. I couldn’t help but think of all the kids I have worked with over the years and how important the work I do can be to the children I teach. It’s a big responsibility. It made me feel very proud. Have a listen for yourself…

It got even better from there. During the opening session, Todd Kern and Bryan Setser of 2Revolutions spoke about trends in education and what learning may look like in the future. I was fascinated. Here’s a video to illustrate what they shared:

Following the opening, I sat in on a talk by some teachers from Central Elementary School in Orange County, NC in the first of the Innovative Schools & Districts sessions. They shared how they use the Engineering Design Process throughout the curriculum and even in their lesson planning. I haven’t received specific training in STEM education so this provided me with a completely different way to look at the EDP. Good stuff!

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They shared a chart that outlined the stages of the EDP in different areas that was really helpful. I took a photo of it and retyped it to share with my team. You can view the file here. Once we work through it and edit it to meet our needs, I’ll repost it.

The next session was us!

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After that, I attended a couple of other sessions that gave me access to a whole bunch of useful apps and I had the opportunity to engage in some hands on STEM activities. I met a lot of great educators and people working in STEM fields and left feeling inspired and full of hope.

At the end of the day, we were treated to a chat with Vivian Howard. She’s a very talented chef who owns the fantastic Chef & the Farmer, a farm to table/farm to fork restaurant in Kinston, NC. PBS also shares her story in the documentary series, A Chef’s Life. She spoke about STEM from her perspective as a chef and business owner. Like so much of today’s content, SO very interesting. It related so much to the work I did at LdVCS and I loved hearing what she had to say about nutrition and eating farm grown food. A video of her talk is available here.

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