NGSS STEM 2020 Conference Sessions
Saturday, March 7, 2020 • 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Opening Plenary Session | Earth Systems Science: Where ocean, land and sky meet!
Earth Systems Science is the study of the interconnected components of our environment and how they interact with and influence one another. For our plenary session, we've invited three science experts: an atmospheric scientist, a soil scientist, and the co-leader of the nationwide Ocean Literacy Campaign to discuss the interconnected components of the earth's systems from their perspectives. How do these systems affect each other? How are specific systems impacted by current environmental challenges? Why is it important to view science through a systems lens? Come find out the answers to these questions and learn more about Earth System Science from our expert panel!
- Suzanne Pierre, Exploratorium
- Craig Strang, Lawrence Hall of Science
- Eugene Cordero, San Jose State University
- Host: Jessica Parker, Exploratorium
Balancing Earth’s Energy (grades 6–12)
Presented by Julie Yu
Earth’s processes are driven by energy, and the majority of Earth’s energy comes from the sun. We’ll investigate how this energy is balanced and what happens when one part of the system changes. We’ll also do activities exploring the power of the sun.
- Earth's Energy Budget (PDF)
- Watt's Hitting the Earth (PDF)
- Oil Spot Photometer Science Snack
- Output of a Solar Cell Science Snack
Changing the Carbon Cycle (grades 6–12)
Presented to Lori Lambertson
Carbon cycles between living things and nonliving things. Using NOAA atmospheric carbon dioxide data as an anchor phenomenon, we’ll explore our changing atmosphere and its effect on the carbon cycle. What signals in the data can be attributed to cyclical interactions between living and nonliving systems? What signals can be attributed to human impacts? Additionally, we’ll use a sequencing tool developed by the Teacher Institute to develop an NGSS-aligned instructional unit for this topic.
- Changing the Carbon Cycle (PDF)
- Changing the Carbon Cycle Presentation Slides
- Our Changing Atmosphere Science Snack
- Follow the Carbon Science Snack
- Ocean Acidification in a Cup Science Snack
Engineering Your Own Ecosystem (grades 4–12)
Presented by Zeke Kossover
Teachers often ask students to build a model of an ecosystem, but having students actually create and care for a little world forces them to determine the services provided by the ecosystem’s different components. Starting with an easy-to-maintain worm box, students advance all the way to making sealed aquaria where the only input is light. Nothing motivates your students to figure out earth systems like trying to generate these systems themselves.
Plate Tectonics and its Driving Force (grades 6–12)
Presented by Eric Muller
Don’t get stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to sea-floor spreading and continental drift. Join us and be part of the upper crust as we investigate the driving force of plate tectonics. We'll gather evidence and find out how the cooling of the earth’s interior drives its exterior plate motion.
- Plate Tectonics and Its Driving Force (PDF)
- Inverted Bottles Science Snack
- Pie-Pan Convection Science Snack
Snails and Their Response to Habitat Change (grades 3–8)
Snails are hardy classroom creatures that can help students learn about the needs of living things and how they respond to changes in their habitat. Find out how you can incorporate these tough-but-tender gastropods into your classroom.
Stream Tables: Highlighting the Three Dimensions of NGSS (grades 3–5)
Come explore the three dimensions of the NGSS through a professional learning experience about stream tables. We’ll use several Science and Engineering Practices and apply the crosscutting concept of Systems and System Models to figure out what factors impact erosion.
The History of Life on Earth (grades 3–8)
The evidence for millions of years of evolution lies underneath our feet, waiting to be uncovered. In this workshop, we’ll explore how the cycling of earth’s materials helps us understand the history of life on earth.
Why is it Colder in Winter? (grades 3–8)
In this workshop, we’ll use a series of investigations about the seasons to consider how to use students’ common-sense thinking and reasoning to help them make sense of the world around them. Take part in a phenomenon-based sequence of activities and models about the relationship between the earth and sun to determine the real reason that it’s colder in winter. We’ll also consider how this earth-and-space system sequence can be connected to ecosystems and the atmosphere.