Polk teachers share thoughts following trip to national science conference

Published 8:00 am Friday, July 13, 2018

Seven Polk County Science teachers attended the National Science Teachers Association Conference in Atlanta earlier this year, thanks to a Priscilla and Ellis D. Slater Excellence in Teaching Fund grant from the Polk County Community Foundation.

The conference brought together science teachers from all over the nation to attend informational sessions designed to help improve their classroom instructional efforts.

Polk County High School teachers Ethan Abbott, Jennifer Allsbrook, Shannon Haynes and Leslie Rhinehart, Polk County Middle School teachers Stephanie Luedi and Elisa Flynn, and Polk Central Elementary teacher Andrea Walter attended the conference.

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Thoughts from the teachers attending the conference included:

Ethan Abbott

“One session I really enjoyed was on scientific literacy. The presenters led the participants through a strategy to encourage deeper engagement and comprehension when reading scientific articles. The strategy is called an anticipation guide.”

Jennifer Allsbrook

“I was able to return to PCHS with a wide variety of strategies for conducting micro-scale chemistry experiments, the use of manipulatives like Legos to teach concepts like balancing of reactions and determining limiting reagents, to laboratory safety and project ideas.” 

Shannon Haynes 

“This was the first conference I have ever attended. While I was always told of the amazing ideas and strategies shared at these conferences, I could never finance a trip to one on my own. . . I was thrilled to find out that not only would I be attending the conference, but that I would get to do so with my colleagues to help guide and share the experience.”

Leslie Rhinehart

“While exploring the exhibition hall, I was able to make new contacts for possible resources for my students, both in engineering and chemistry as well as Science Olympiad. Other sessions I attended focused on increasing girls in STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] fields by bringing in female mentors in uncommon fields to encourage girls to approach and conquer STEM careers. Overall, the conference both affirmed my path as a teacher as well as gave me ideas and focus for future teaching and learning experiences.” 

Stephanie Luedi

“At this conference, I gathered tremendous amounts of ready to go lessons that will save me large amounts of time. I also got very good advice on how to incorporate reading skills into science, a few I have already used and were successful. I love to stay up to date on the research that is being conducted and also on how to share with the students the ‘real’ data that is being collected. I have many resources now that will allow students to use data in the classroom.”

Elisa Flynn

“Science is the one subject that changes by leaps and bounds with every new innovative discovery, especially with technology. Earth sciences change the more we learn about carbon and its effects, new discoveries about crustal plates and new life forms. This conference was an engaging experience that allowed us the chance to learn about these new developments in the world of science.” 

Andrea Walter

“A few highlights from my experience… Developing my content knowledge about the core ideas in science — many sessions provided an excellent overview of current concepts, theories, technology and best practices.”

– Submitted by PolkStudents.com