Attending the AAAS Conference in Boston was like being in a candy store for science. As a guest, sponsored by Subaru and AAAS, and made possible by Susanne Thurston, I have loaded my teacher toolbox with a wealth of knowledge, ideas for using digital media, lessons, and strategies to use with my students and fellow science teachers in the VILS team. I was very fortunate to be accompanied by a colleague, William De’Wayne Simpson, the technology/liaison for our VILS team. Together, we learned, discussed and proposed ways to deliver what we have learned to our colleagues. As a Tech Ed school, we strive to stay on the cutting edge of educating our students and developing 21st Century Life-Long Learners.
As a Science teacher in a Tech Ed school, I particularly enjoyed the Scientific Symposia, Engaging Students in Complex Science Learning Via Games and Simulations. I love using games and simulations but I have never seen anything quite like the way augmented reality was used in a field-trip setting. Jody Clarke Midura, from Harvard Graduate School of Education, discussed ways to use augmented reality and probes to have students investigate the world around them. My mind was churning with ideas and ways to implement augmented reality inside or outside my school! With the NGSS on its way, these games and simulations meet the inquiry standards and allows the students to ‘do’ science.
Ice Sheets, Sea Level and Other Surprises: Benefits of Understanding Some Beautiful Places, presented by Richard Alley enlightened us with research about the effects of ice sheets melting and rising sea levels. What piqued my interest most was learning that the sea level could only rise a couple of inches. It was rewarding to be the student in this session as I listened and watched simulations as he described them on the screen. I also became better informed about wind turbines and how they affect ecosystems. Seeing the research and listening to the theories and knowing our world is in constant change, I feel better equipped to present up-to-date information to my students.
During the time I spent in the Exhibition Hall, I talked with representatives for Science Net Links, WolfRam Alpha,NASA and NOVA ScienceCafes.org just to name a few. The knowledge I gained is astronomical! Each evening, I sat down and explored the exhibitors’ websites and used some of their resources to write some lesson plans.
I would be remiss not to mention R2-D2 and his appearance amongst attendees and children who attended Family Science Days, an event full of hands-on science.
One of my items on my “bucket list” is to write a book for children about science. I love science and have a passion for it like no other, so I thought. However, when I was privileged to be a guest at the 2013 AAAS/Subaru Science Books and Films (SB&F) Prize for Excellence in Science Books, I heard the same words coming from Terrie M. Williams, author of TheOdyssey of KP2: An Orphan Seal, a Marine Biologist, and the Fight to Save a Species and prize winner of the Young Adult Science Book award. I spoke with her and she encouraged me to continue teaching our youth with love and compassion and to follow my dream of writing a science book for children. Being amongst these authors was awesome!
This conference has inspired me in so many ways. I enjoyed meeting the VILS teachers from Massachusetts and New York and had such a pleasant time as we came together to discuss our common bond of teaching students. The one thing that amazed me most was how small our world really is. I met so many people that live within fifty miles of my home and many of them have become another expert or resource I can add to my teaching repertoire. It was like being in a candy store for SCIENCE!!
Angelina Joy Long
Science Teacher, Middle School, grades 6-8
Prince George's County Public Schools
- AAAS blog.pdf (223.0 K)