Science teachers from across the United States gathered at three regional National Science Teacher Association (NSTA) conferences this past fall to collaborate and learn best practices in science education.
At each of these conferences, staff from the Institute for School Partnership (ISP) at Washington University in St. Louis shared their experiences in the K-5 classroom. The presentations ranged from how to integrate data into lesson plans at the Richmond conference, to the role science plays in early childhood education at the Orlando conference.
Each presentation was structured around one of 24 units created for mySci, one of the ISP’s cornerstone programs founded nine years ago with the support of the Monsanto Foundation. Through inquiry-based lesson plans and hands-on experiments, mySci works to instill a love and understanding of science at a young age.
For educators that attended the regional conferences, NSTA provided resources created with best practices in mind that they can trust. Richmond conference presenter and ISP engineering educator Kimberly Weaver hoped that each presentation would provide teachers with free resources that they could take back to their classroom.
“There is an overwhelming quantity of curriculum online, with much of it requiring payment in order to access it,” Weaver said. “It is great to have reliable, high-quality free materials that they can access online.”
mySci consists of 24 science units built from both the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the Missouri Grade Level Expectations (GLE) for science. The units are designed for students in Kindergarten through fifth grade and each incorporate an engineering project into the lessons.
Skyler Wiseman, mySci team leader and conference presenter, could relate better than most to those attending her sessions at NSTA. Wiseman began her work with the mySci curriculum with 24 years of teaching experience in K-3 classrooms under her belt.
“I think because teachers wrote, piloted and gave revision suggestions, other teachers recognize the authenticity of mySci and feel comfortable using it,” Wiseman said.
Wiseman said that each session was well attended and that she was encouraged how some teachers applauded the curriculum and how it approached science.