It is always a pleasure for Caroll and I (Rachel) to share with you many creative ideas of teaching science in the classroom. Although it may focus on elementary and intermediate levels, just understand that many of these activities can be used for different levels. Today, I will not be sharing an activity. Hopefully, there will be an activity up tomorrow or next week. Instead, I would like to tell you about my experience with Illinois Science Teacher Association (ISTA). Attending a college in Illinois, I had the privilege of attending one of their state conferences focusing on Science. Although the association does focus mainly on science benefiting the secondary levels, they also invite teachers who work with Kindergarten to Middle school levels.
October 28 and 29 of 2011, ISTA hosted a conference at Tinley Park, Illinois. It was located approximately 30 minutes south from Chicago, approximately 3 hours north from Springfield, an hour south east from Aurora, and and hour from Kankakee (all cities from Illinois). This is my second year of attending the ISTA conference. Caroll was able to attend it last year, but was not able to attend this year, due to her Sedimentary Field trip. So what did I do at the conference as a Pre-service elementary teacher? Well, besides receiving free stuff,such as many lesson plans, activities, materials, and more. I was able to hear other ideas from various teachers about teaching science. I was able to help out presenters with setting up and getting their "workshops" put in order. By doing this, I was able, as a student, to hear lectures, get free membership, and free materials.
I'm guessing you are wondering what do these presenters have that would be important for me (more from the minds of pre-service teachers). These presenters either focused specifically on science, or introduced the integration of science with math, reading, social studies, foreign language, and more. There were exhibit booths that had so much information, catalogs, and materials that are beneficial for you and your classroom. I must admit, some teachers may say it is not free. There is a fee when you become a member of ISTA and receive various materials from companies. But once you are part of it, you receive various newsletters, ideas, and resources for the classroom. Again, pre-service teachers, if you volunteer at an earlier time in college, there is a greater opportunity of activity collections.
For those who do not live in Illinois, go find a science teacher conference that you can attend. There is also the National Science Teacher Association (NSTA). It is a great way for teachers to come together, learn, and share their pedagogy used in their classroom. YAY teachers!! We live to learn and teach everyone else about what we were taught. (:
By the way, NSTA has a conference this March. It is possibly the 22nd, 23rd, 24th. So go sign up. It'll be worth your time.