Physics & Physical Science Demos, Labs, & Projects for High School Teachers

NSTA Blew Me Away

Posted on: March 21, 2010

It was in fact my first science teacher conference.  NSTA was overwhelming (1600 sessions to chose from) and outstanding all at the same time.  I met great people, learned so much from them, and came away with tons of ideas and demonstrations.  It was like visiting my home planet.

I was there for a lot of reasons; I need a senior level astronomy textbook, an advanced physics textbook, lab equipment to move into the AP world, a planetarium maybe (how awesome is that?), robotics course ideas, teaching demonstrations, and of course, a mental recharge. I got all of that and more.

Deb Carder was terrific, although she has way too much energy (her web site is on my Blogroll).  She did a wonderful session on demonstrations and activities.  I saw a similar talk by a NASA engineer, and PASCO’s outstanding Friday night demonstration spectacular.  So many teachers assume that if you are older and losing (or lost) most of your hair, you’ve been teaching forever.  I’ve only been teaching for 7 years, and I heard “you all know this one” about 8 times, only to be followed by something I’ve never seen before.

I’m going to be posting some gems, the best of which is how students can use robotic telescopes for free.  You’re just going to have to wait for me to write it up, that one alone was worth the price of admission.

The GM people had the Volt chassis there and an engineer that was just fascinating to talk to.  I’m going to be posting a GM entry along with some links, again, you’ll have to wait a couple of days.  I have some picture of that one.

Robotics is a large part of STEM, I had very useful conversation with the Office of Naval Research and LEGO.  There is so much going on that I didn’t know about.

From the show floor, all the government outreach means lots of free posters.  You can never have enough posters.  I just love NASA, they are the best, but a close second is USGS with their earthquake map.

And sadly, no takers on a reader meet up.  Did anyone else attend?


4 Responses to "NSTA Blew Me Away"

I know what you mean about being blown away. I couldn’t make it this year, but I went several years ago when it was in Atlanta (I’m in Savannah, GA) and it was overwhelming. I enjoy the state meeting, but there are so few physics workshops-NSTA was full of stuff related to what I do. So many wonderful ideas and interesting people to meet and talk to! I hope it swings south again soon. I’m looking forward to your future posts about what you saw and learned.

I was thinking about the regional meeting, but I’ve also not been to the AAPT meetings. I hate that they put those over three-day holiday weekends. My son usually has soccer tournaments those weekends. Maybe I’ll do one of each next year.

I didn’t think about the fact that an area meeting doesn’t have very much physics. I’ll keep an eye on the NSTA site. For me, the next area meeting is in Baltimore on Nov 11-13.

One thing that I didn’t like; the Earth and Space track lectures were at a hotel about 7 blocks away. The shuttles ran, but took a while in city traffic. As a result, there were a few sessions I hoped to attend but bailed on last minute because I couldn’t get from one to the next without missing quite a bit.

I met a great new astronomy teacher friend at that hotel, he complained that his wife was at the convention center while he was at the other hotel all day long. He hardly got to the show floor because of the distance. I can’t imagine there was any other way to deal with 12,000 attendees.

Scott – I am looking forward to your post about GM and the Volt!!!! I believe I remember meeting you! Glad to hear you enjoyed NSTA!!!

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