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Educator Perspective [clear filter]
Wednesday, November 14


Developmentally Appropriate Precoding Experiences for Preschoolers
Computational thinking skills and coding literacy will be critical to our children’s success in the future workforce. Join us to explore how to support the development of precoding skills as preschool children engage in play-based learning experiences. Participants will gain understanding of the need for early exposure to precoding experiences, components and benefits of computational thinking, and ways to embed developmentally appropriate precoding activities into preschool curriculum using everyday materials and without increasing screen time. Attendees will participate in examples of activities and useful handouts will be provided.


Joanna Doyle

Director of Training and Education, Clarendon Early Education Services, Inc.

Rosemary Hernandez

Western Regional Director, Clarendon Early Education Services, Inc.

Wednesday November 14, 2018 9:45am - 10:35am
Grand Ballroom North


Project Based Learning Pathways: Reflections on a 6th Grade Public Middle School PBL Classroom Pilot
Project based learning (PBL) is a student-centered learning model that has a long history of implementation in schools, but is still considered to be an innovative teaching method to better prepare students for college, career and life. Research has shown that PBL can be particularly effective in helping students develop 21st century skills such as creativity, collaboration, communication and creativity, as well as improving retention of cognitive skills and knowledge.

In the 2017-18 school year, the Westford, MA public school system decided to launch a pilot 6th grade classroom that would offer a fully integrated (i.e., STEM and Humanities) PBL classroom as an alternative to traditional subject-specific classroom settings. Parents opted into the choice of this classroom for their children, and for some it was a way of trying to re-engage their sons and daughters who were losing interest in school. The session will summarize the results of the pilot in the words of the two teachers who led the class, two of their students from the pilot classroom, as well as an evaluator who conducted a mixed methods assessment during the school year. Topics covered in the session will include an explanation of how the integrated PBL model was implemented, what was needed to make the year a success, and what were the key learnings by looking at the outcomes from the year. Perspectives from students, parents, teachers and the administration will be included in the session.


Malvika Bhardwaj

Student, Stony Brook Middle School

Tristan Caldwell

Student, Stony Brook Middle School

Sandra Femino

6th Grade Humanities Teacher, Stony Brook Middle School – Westford Public Schools

Jane Heaney

Program Evaluator, Westford Public Schools

Sanhita Lothe

Student, Stony Brook Middle School

Jennifer Masterson

6th Grade STEM Teacher, Stony Brook Middle School – Westford Public Schools

Wednesday November 14, 2018 9:45am - 10:35am
Meeting Room B


A Vision for Implementation: Current Initiatives for Supporting Pre-K-12 STEM Education in Massachusetts
The 2016 MA Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework, 2017 MA Mathematics Curriculum Framework, and 2017 Digital Literacy and Computer Science Curriculum Framework, establish a vision for all students. That, all students, regardless of their future education plan and career path, must have an engaging, relevant, rigorous, and coherent pre-K–12 STEM education to be prepared for citizenship, continuing education, and careers. As the STEM Office within the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), we are committed to providing support and guidance to districts and schools that support how they can best engage and support their students in STEM as they progress through the “Pipeline.”

Pre-K–12 educators, coaches, and administrators are invited to learn more about the resources and strategies available, and examples of efforts already undertaken by some districts around providing high quality, rigorous, standards-aligned math, science, and STEM education for their students. During this session, we will highlight the following initiatives:

  • Math and Science & Technology/Engineering (STE) Ambassadors Program
  • Statewide Networks for Instructional Support
  • High Quality Instructional Materials
  • Content Specific Feedback
  • Administrator Guidebooks


Anne DeMallie

Computer Science and STEM Integration Specialist, MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Erin Hashimoto-Martell

Director of STEM, MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Nicole Scola

Science and Technology/Engineering Content Support Lead, MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Leah Tuckman

Mathematics Content Support Lead, MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Wednesday November 14, 2018 10:55am - 11:45am
Meeting Room E


Invention Education and STEM: Preparing Students from Diverse Backgrounds for the Innovation Economy
This joint presentation by the Academy of Applied Science and leading invention educators addresses the urgent need for greater diversity among the ranks of leading innovators in the U.S. and partnerships needed between K-12 educators, the higher education community and others to ensure that new learning opportunities are afforded to students in K12 all along the education continuum. Participants will examine invention education as a strategy for attracting more students from underrepresented backgrounds into STEM college/career pathways. The ways educators have structured invention education programs in both formal and informal settings and information about the alignment with state standards will also be shared. We will review a seven week asynchronous online project-based learning pedagogy course preparing educators to begin an invention program. Presenters will discuss strategies used to create partnerships within local communities and beyond to support students’ and teachers’ work. Examples of teachers’ journeys into invention education and what it has meant for students will be explored.


Nicole Bellabona

Director, Young Inventors’ Program/Invention of Northern New England, Academy of Applied Science

Diane Dabby

Professor of Electrical Engineering & Music, Olin College

Veronica Lewis

Student, Georgetown Middle High School

Mary Lyon

High School Creativity/STEM Educator, Georgetown High School

Frank Xydias

Engineering Faculty, Milford High School

Wednesday November 14, 2018 10:55am - 11:45am
Meeting Room C


Job Simulations: An Exercise Connecting Students and Employers in a Meaningful, Time-efficient Way
In today’s diverse STEM economy, students pursue a wide variety of careers critical to the scientific enterprise. However, it can be challenging for students to learn about career options due to time, financial and logistical constraints. Here, we present an educational model for experiential learning developed as part of our National Institutes of Health BEST (Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training) grant:  #MicroSim job simulations.  #MicroSims connect students with employers in a meaningful interaction that takes just a few hours. Each simulation activity replicates a task common to the career role, giving the student an opportunity to consider their own career fit. The student shares their job simulation product with an employer in an informational interview or small group discussion setting, helping both student and professional deepen the conversation and build a more meaningful connection. We developed job simulations as a component of our Career Pathways Communities (CPC), which are career-themed learning communities connecting employers and Ph.D. students. We anticipate that the #MicroSims model could be applied to students across STEM disciplines and at various educational levels. In this session, we will share strategies for development and implementation of #MicroSim job simulations and facilitate an audience discussion of potential applications in other contexts. Joining us will be an employer who helped to develop and facilitate a job simulation, and a student who experienced the program, sharing their perspectives about the experience and the benefits for all parties.


Spencer L. Fenn

Assistant Director, Center for Biomedical Career Development, UMass Medical School

Cynthia Fuhrmann

Assistant Dean, Career & Professional Development, Center for Biomedical Career Development, UMass Medical School

Jennifer Griffin

VP, Industry Programs & Relations, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center

Heather Yonutas

Career Pathways Curriculum Intern, Center for Biomedical Career Development, UMass Medical School

Wednesday November 14, 2018 10:55am - 11:45am
Meeting Room D


The Flipped Internship: A New Partnership Strategy between Technology Companies and High Schools
High School Internships in technology companies are difficult to find. As a result, students often miss out on opportunities to learn, first-hand, about careers in technology. To solve this problem, MITRE and Burlington High School (BHS) collaborated and created a new strategy to provide High School Seniors with technology and career-related experiences in the “Flipped Internship.” Students were given an opportunity to propose and complete a career-related project while remaining in school. Industry mentors met with students once a week, and introduced them to software development methodologies such as Agile and Scrum, development tools like GitHub and Trello, emerging fields like Cybersecurity, and new software development platforms. Additionally, using technologies like Trello and Github enabled both teachers and off-site mentors to have insights into student progress and obstacles. Because the interns remained in the classroom, a large number of students were able to participate and work as colleagues, supporting and learning from each other. Weekly Mentor meetings were scheduled during lunch, and MITRE employees from different departments were able to meet and traveled together, creating a sustained engagement with the school that offered employees both structure and flexibility. Two lead engineers from MITRE’s NextUp group and two computer science teachers from Burlington High School will describe their experiences, share lessons learned, and provide a framework for other schools and businesses who would like to use this model.


Emily Holt

Cyber Security Engineer, MITRE

Dylan Phelan

Visualization and Computer Graphics Software Engineer, MITRE

Shereen Tyrrell

Computer Science Teacher, Burlington High School

LeRoy Wong

Student Help Desk Instructor and Instructional Technology Specialist, Burlington Public Schools

Wednesday November 14, 2018 10:55am - 11:45am
Meeting Room A


EcoMOD: Blending Computational Modeling and Virtual Worlds for 3rd Grade Ecosystems Science
In recent years, the field of education has challenged researchers and practitioners to incorporate computing as an essential focus of K12 STEM education. Widely recognized as a “basic skill” necessary for economic opportunity and social mobility, integrating computing within K12 STEM supports learners in applying computational thinking while co-developing practices essential to mathematical and scientific expertise. The EcoMOD research project is an example of such an integration. EcoMOD is a 3rd grade science curriculum that blends scientific modeling tasks and computer programming within an immersive virtual ecosystem.

The EcoMOD curriculum interweaves a 3D virtual ecosystem and a visual block-based programming and modeling environment such that the epistemic goals of science are visible to learners. In EcoMOD, students explore an immersive virtual forest ecosystem from multiple perspectives; collecting data, embodying behaviors of focal animals using an immersive point-of-view tool, documenting change caused by the arrival of two keystone species (beavers and woodpeckers), and, finally, developing theories to explain those observed changes. Students test their theories by constructing and refining computational models of the ecosystem. Model outcomes help students link individual organism behaviors to indirect and emergent system level impacts, in turn scaffolding the development of more sophisticated theories regarding the complex causal relationships within the ecosystem.


Amanda Dickes

Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Shari Metcalf

Project Director, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Wednesday November 14, 2018 1:45pm - 2:35pm
Conference Room 210


Exciting Students in STEM: STEM Week Reflections and Lessons Learned
The Commonwealth’s inaugural STEM Week in October highlighted the importance of engaging students at all levels in STEM education, activities, and connections to the state’s workforce. In this session, STEM Week hosts, including educators, industry, and non-profit leaders, discuss strategies for building interest and excitement in STEM subjects, and specifically, how they planned STEM Week activities that galvanized students’ attention and energy. The session will also look ahead to STEM Week in 2019 as participants discuss lessons learned and their ideas on how to make STEM Week successful in the years to come.


Erin Hashimoto-Martell

Director of STEM, MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education


Chakara Cardillo

8th Grade STEM Teacher, Randolph Community Middle School

Stacey Kaminiski

Executive Director, CONNECT Partnership & Southeast Regional STEM Network

Greg Mullaney

Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education, Quinsigamond Community College

Rochelle Willis

Business Development Manager, Skanska

Wednesday November 14, 2018 1:45pm - 2:35pm
Grand Ballroom South


The Shrinking STEM Workforce: Capitalizing on the Expanding K-12 EL Population as a Solution
Could the need for workers in the STEM pipeline be mitigated by capitalizing on the growing numbers of English Learners (ELs) children and young adults entering the MA K-12 system?

Yes, if we are proactive with assessing incoming ELs’ numeracy skills when they enter the K-12 system and determine what they already know, we could meet them where they are academically in their math and science numeracy skills and provide them with proper supports so that they do not fall behind in these subjects as they learn and become proficient in the English language.

  • Learn about the MA Numeracy Assessment Protocol for Students with Limited and Interrupted Education (SLIFE) who are disproportionality ELs.
  • Learn how the interactive MA Mathematics Progression Chart helps: (1) identify the numeracy skills embedded in the rigorous MA Framework for Mathematics and (2) with proper placement in math and science classes.
  • See an exemplar numeracy skills assessment developed for the extreme case of lack of common language.
  • Have access to all of the above tools.


Sara Nino

SPED and EL Coordinator, MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Meto Raha

Math Content Specialist, MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Wednesday November 14, 2018 1:45pm - 2:35pm
Meeting Room B


Best Practices in STEM Space Design and Use
How can we engage students through the design and use of STEM learning spaces across grades K through 12? This session is centered on a presentation of initial findings of a review of best practices for K-12 STEM learning spaces commissioned by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA). The review is looking at K-12 academic STEM learning spaces, including elementary classrooms, science labs, and makerspaces, to provide recommendations for the sizing, configuration, outfitting, management, maintenance, and use of STEM learning spaces. Panelists will reflect on the importance of thoughtful STEM space design, the affordances and limitations of design for STEM learning opportunities and programming, and potential implications of initial findings. Participants will consider and reflect on how their STEM space design enables or limits local STEM programming and goals.


Jake Foster

Owner & Founder, STEM Learning Design LLC


Amy Fish

Innovation Studio Facilitator, Bourne Public Schools

Laura Smith


Autumn Waldron

Assistant Project Manager, MA School Building Authority (MSBA)

Wednesday November 14, 2018 2:55pm - 3:45pm
Meeting Room E


Co-constructed STE Curriculum in Head Start: Partnership-Based Research for Program Improvement
The Readiness through Integrative Science and Engineering (RISE) project focuses on the purposeful engagement of preschool teachers and children in both the explanation-seeking behavior of science and the problem-solving behavior of engineering and technological endeavors. Specifically, RISE seeks to develop ecologically valid, culturally relevant integrative science, technology and engineering (STE) preschool curriculum components and home-school connections (HSC), forged through exploration of family knowledge, activities, and routines related to STE, to support young dual language learning (DLL) children’s school success. Three Head Start teachers will provide brief presentations about how their curriculum concerning the concept of Living vs. Non-living Things unfolded. These presentations will provide the audience with clear examples of how curriculum implementation can align with, yet vary within, larger national and state frameworks, how a co-construction approach to PD can empower teachers and families, and how evaluation of curriculum and PD programs can measure fidelity to an approach rather than fidelity to a specific curricular script. Implications for application in other settings will be discussed, especially as relevant for informing culturally inclusive curriculum.


Christine McWayne

Professor of Child Study and Human Development, Tufts University


Heidi Chait

Early Childhood Mentor/Coach, ABCD Head Start, Malden, MA

Suzane Croteau

Lead Teacher, ABCD Head Start, Boston, MA

Cynthia Parker

Lead Coach for the RISE Project, Tufts University

Wednesday November 14, 2018 2:55pm - 3:45pm
Meeting Room D


Collaborative Design for Engaging STEM Volunteers in Middle Grades Class Projects
Citizen Schools’ Apprenticeship model has been shown through external evaluation to increase middle school students’ interest in STEM careers and proficiency in Math (comparable to 4 additional months of learning).

Citizen Schools’ design team has been working to develop a pilot that will allow us to engage more students in this style of learning as part of their science classes. Taking what we have learned about developing high interest, project-based learning courses with STEM in the out of school time, we set out to design an in-school model co-designed by science teachers and STEM volunteers.

This session will share the key volunteer engagement strategies we’ve developed for inclusion in our project-based learning units and model the design –based research methods we’ve used to evaluate and refine our resources for the model.

Come with an idea you have for a student project to workshop. The final component of the session with guide participants in a protocol to brainstorm their own curricular units they may want to develop (using our templates and online resources) that would be bolstered by the relevance, rigor and joy that volunteers can add to a project for middle school students – We’ll work in small groups to identify roles that STEM professionals could potentially play in supporting student’s authentic project work, and potential sources for recruiting those volunteers to bring the project to life!


Amy Hoffmaster

Director of Program Innovation, Citizen Schools

Nell Kisiel

VP of Strategy and Business Development, Citizen Schools

Wednesday November 14, 2018 2:55pm - 3:45pm
Conference Room 210


Creating Fun and Engaging STEM Learning with Toddler and Preschool Children
Get ready to have some fun! Filled with “A-HA” moments, this workshop is designed to promote simple science, technology, engineering and mathematics in toddler and preschool settings.  Through hands-on exploration with our fun and engaging experiments and activities, participants will take away great ideas and strategies that can easily be incorporated into their classrooms.


Krissy Cannizzo

Outreach Coordinator, Professional Development Trainer, Children’s Museum in Easton

Wednesday November 14, 2018 2:55pm - 3:45pm
Junior Ballroom


Cybersecurity Education Standards: Partnership Between Industry and Education
Using cybersecurity as an example, this session will examine the relationship between industry and education stakeholders as they developed computer science education standards. The session will follow two threads of conversation: one based on the specifics of cybersecurity and the other focused on the process. This session will examine: 1) how the sub-concept of cybersecurity was elevated to main concept status; 2) how the Standards Committee ensured that the standards include content and skills that were relevant to a fast-changing industry as well as being cognitively appropriate for the designated grade bands and; 3) the process of balancing the needs of industry and education.

The chair of the Rhode Island Computer Education Standards Advisory Committee will moderate a panel composed of a defense industry association education specialist, a high school teacher and a cybersecurity expert. They will discuss how experts in content and experts in pedagogy and educational administration worked together to develop the cybersecurity standards that were endorsed in May 2018 (as part of a larger set of CS standards) by the Rhode Island Board of Education and are currently being implemented.

After a very brief introduction to Computer Science for Rhode Island (CS4RI) and the development of the CS education standards, the panel will discuss the following questions:

  • Why should cybersecurity be a stand-alone core concept in the standards?
  • As risks continually evolve, how can cybersecurity be taught so it is age appropriate and relevant?
  • How are content and/or perspective differences resolved?


Carol M. Giuriceo

Director, Rhode Island STEAM Center @ Rhode Island College


Simon A. Cousins

Principal Client Specialist, FM Global

Linda Larsen

Director of Education Outreach & Workforce Development, Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance (SENEDA)

Joe Mazzone

Career and Technical Education Instructor, William M. Davies Jr. Career and Technical High School, Lincoln, Rhode Island

Wednesday November 14, 2018 2:55pm - 3:45pm
Meeting Room C


What Can Your Library Do for STEM?
North Andover’s Public Library and Elementary Schools have each received grants to expand STEM resources available to students, educators, families, and the greater community. These resources include manipulatives that encourage learning through play and experimentation while developing a coding and engineering mindset. This workshop will give K-12 educators practical advice in creating a partnership between organizations and give educators the opportunity to explore new or deepen existing partnerships with local organizations.

Participants will learn about the collaborative efforts of these seemingly disparate groups and how they have used STEM materials across the curricula. Presenters will bring manipulatives and engage attendees in an interactive demonstration of how STEM materials were incorporated into a lesson on poetry. Examples of effective ways students have demonstrated their learning using STEM tools will also be shared. Attendees will have access to lesson plans to download.

At the conclusion of the session, participants will brainstorm possible partnerships and how they can use these ideas in their own roles. Additionally, they will have hands-on time with manipulatives such as robots, circuits, and building materials.


Courtney Ahearn

Library Media Specialist, North Andover Public Schools

Charlotte Arrendondo

Head of Children’s Services, North Andover’s Stevens Memorial Library

Kara Larcome

PK-12 STEM Director, North Andover Public Schools

Dale Osborn

Library Media Specialist, North Andover Public Schools

Liz Sinclair-Fisher

Library Media Specialist, North Andover Public Schools & Stevens Memorial Library

Wednesday November 14, 2018 2:55pm - 3:45pm
Grand Ballroom Center