Science on the Grand

OVERVIEW

SESSIONS

PRESENTERS

KEYNOTES

JUST FOR YOU!

PITCH TANK

TUITION

LOCATION

EXHIBITORS

Click here to download the conference brochure.

Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI) honors the person and the profession!

We know teachers have the most important job in the world; that’s why we support the whole teacher. This conference was designed by experts and current classroom teachers to provide research-based and classroom-tested content that supports your classroom expectations, your content standards, and you as a person.

Join us in creating a classroom culture that supports STEAM instruction. Develop lessons — by grade level — for inquiry-based STEAM content, and nurture your own curiosity for personal growth and enjoyment. Plus, you’ll see that you’re not alone with many networking opportunities for you to engage with teachers by grade level and content area. 

Because teachers deserve it!

• Establish a classroom culture to support STEAM instruction
• Explore standards-aligned lessons by grade level with STEAM integration
• Network with like-minded educators in your grade and interest area
• Nurture your own curiosity and personal growth
• Win up to $5,000 to supercharge your classroom!
   (see Pitch Tank tab for details)

Register today!

Bring a friend and share the experience! Plus, principals can attend FREE!

Registration includes:
• Two days of inspiration, exploration, and practical take aways.
• One full-year access to NexGen Inquiry — a $48 value!
• Opportunities to network with like-minded teachers.
• Breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

REGISTER NOW

Top 5 Outcomes You’ll Gain at Science on the Grand!
  1. Discover strategies to establish a rich learning environment and to develop strong habits of mind.
  2. Acquire the content knowledge you need to support inquiry-based STEAM content integration at your grade level.
  3. Connect with like-minded educators for an open and honest dialogue about instruction challenges including NGSS, project-based learning, critical thinking, and student engagement in the classroom.
  4. Engage in optional sessions to nurture your own curiosity for your personal growth and enjoyment.
  5. Apply what you learn in a customized take-away action plan ready for you to implement in the next school year!

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PLUS, CONFERENCE ATTENDEES CAN EARN UP TO 11 SCECHs!

Click here to download the conference brochure.

7:30 – 8:30 AM | Monday Sessions

Because Teachers Deserve It (K-12)
Presenter: Taylor Mali | Session Topic: Keynote
“I am not a master teacher,” Taylor Mali says. “I just write poems that make it sound as if once upon a time, I liked to think I was.” Be reminded of why you chose to walk this noble path in the first place from the author of “What Teachers Make” and other anthemic teacher poems.

9:00 – 10:00 AM | Monday Sessions

Project Approach … What Exactly Does that Look Like in an Elementary Classroom? (K-5)
Presenter: Janie Winn | Session Topic: Project-Based Learning
This session will highlight the foundational components needed to create a project approach unit with young children. The project approach works around three phases to assist teachers in developing a solid experience. We will discuss teacher anticipatory webs, student anticipatory webs, literature selection, student/teacher discussions, field trips, documentation, and presentation ideas.

Feedback that Gets Students Begging for More! (K-5)
Presenter: Chelsea McWain | Session Topic: Feedback
We all went into teaching because we are the “masters” of our trade, but at what point do we share too much? We will talk about how difficult it is to provide feedback that guides the students thinking without telling them what to do or giving them information. We will discuss responding to a question with more questions and teaching research methods in order to make learning the students’ responsibility.

Science Fair as Project Based Learning (6-12)
Presenter: Mary Abma | Session Topic: Project-Based Learning
From driving question to authentic audience, science fair projects are the perfect vehicle for project-based learning in the classroom. In this workshop, Mary will share log sheets, rubrics, judging forms, timelines, stories (the good, the bad, and the hilarious), and more. What has traditionally been a home project is now done at school, and the learning is infectious.

Build a Bridge Not a Wall: Creating Ridiculously Strong Relationships on an SEL Level (6-12)
Presenter: Monica Genta | Session Topic: Social and Emotional Learning
Strong relationships with students are the backbone to all learning! Sometimes it feels like students are building walls around growing in this relationship. But where there is a wall, teachers can learn to build a bridge! Come explore how creating an atmosphere that is open, exciting, and fun for students allows them to discover their unique interests, skills, and strengths as individuals. Let’s build a level of trustworthiness among students and learn how to turn a class into a family!

Let’s Play! Lessons from Sports for the Classroom (K-12)
Presenter: Peter Grostic | Session Topic: Project-Based Learning
This session responds to the conundrum that we see in schools on a daily basis: Kids that succeed in sports but not in the classroom. This session will discuss principles of organized sports that every classroom should work to employ: Teacher as coach, performance-based objectives, authentic audiences, and consistent feedback. These principles are also tenets of Project-Based Learning and can be applied K-12.

Inspiring Authentic Student Motivation (REPEAT) (K-12)
Presenter: Luke Wilcox | Session Topic: Student Motivation
In this session, Luke will outline a framework for becoming a Jedi teacher. The key element that pushes great teachers to Jedi level is becoming a master of motivation. Based on real experience, Luke will discuss his top five strategies for getting a student to work beyond their potential: 1) Promote growth mindset over fixed mindset. 2) Develop meaningful and respectful relationships with students. 3) Grow a community of learners in your classroom. 4) Establish high expectations and clear goals. 5) Be inspirational! (REPEAT K-12)

10:30 – 11:30 AM | Monday Sessions

Using Trade Books to Support Science Learning (REPEAT) (K-5)
Presenter: Janie Winn | Session Topic: Literature and Science Connection
Using children’s literature promotes deeper learning and understanding in young children, especially in the area of language development and vocabulary. This session will explore utilizing children’s literature as a teaching tool to facilitate scientific learning in young children.  Additionally, this session will discuss the importance of making connections between printed materials and the real world through experiments, observations, and documentation. (REPEAT)

What’s the Secret to Social & Emotional Learning? Hint: It’s Something You Get to Do Less Of. (K-5)
Presenter: Tracy Horodyski | Session Topic: Social and Emotional Learning
We will create a learning community in this session by practicing our ability to park our own thinking in order to listen to seek understanding vs. listening to respond. Not only will we practice true listening and be listened to with simple strategies that will enable us to do so, we’ll reflect on the experience and uncover the myriad critical thinking processes that are part of such an experience. We will begin to uncover how listening is the key to social and emotional learning and SEL is the key to collaborative cultures and the critical and creative thinking within them.

Learning Collaboration through Classroom Design (6-12)
Presenter: Mary Abma | Session Topic: Collaboration
We strive to get students to collaborate effectively, but how do we teach them to work well in small groups? Mary’s students begin each year by collaborating to design their own classroom learning space. Mary will share strategies for teaching group learning and for creating a well-designed learning environment. Mary will share a thematic approach to this and an open approach. In both cases, student work has always exceeded her expectations.

Yada Yada Yada: Bring a Little More Seinfeld into your Classroom (6-12)
Presenter: Peter Grostic | Session Topic: Classroom Culture
Ever wonder why “Seinfeld” was so compelling? This session will connect lessons from one of the greatest TV shows ever made to the student-centered classroom. Re-watch some of your favorite clips and dive into the wisdom underneath! This session connects lessons from “Seinfeld” that will help teachers design a student-centered classroom: A class about nothing (but experience!), building trust and dependability, constant collaboration and communication, and beginning with the end in mind.

Formative Assessment Using Tech Tools (K-12)
Presenter: Michael Fine | Session Topic: Technology
How do you check for student understanding and make sure students are engaged in their own learning? This session will focus on easy to use electronic formative assessment applications that will make assessment more fun and more engaging for your students. Come learn how to use these tools to help improve your instructional practice and ensure that your students are learning on the first day of school. By attending this session, you will have access to a Google Folder that will contain complete set-up instructions for each tool demonstrated (Quizizz, Google Forms, Plickers, Padlet).

This Shift Is Crazy! It’s Time to Get Gritty! (K-12)
Presenter: Monica Genta | Session Topic: Growth Mindset
I can’t do this! The famous four words from students, right? What if all the frustration from kids, parents, and teachers could be eliminated with one simple word. Yet! I can’t do this … yet! Come explore how changing the way we think about thinking can change everything! Whoa. Sound too deep for you? We promise this session will be highly engaging, positive, and will leave you headed down the road to Growth-town. Not only that, you will walk away with ideas of how to implement the growth mindset in your classroom to create some grit in your kiddos … and you!

1:00 – 2:00 PM | Monday Sessions

180 Days of Awesome — Celebrating Every Day of Education (K-5)
Presenter: Monica Genta | Session Topic: Classroom Culture
Teachers carry 3 P’s with them every day: Passion, Purpose, Positivity. Because of those essential elements, teachers naturally want to celebrate awesome in their classrooms, but that can be hard. Let’s learn to focus on those little amazing moments that have the power to change everything. Because sometimes it’s the small things that make the biggest difference. This session is full of tips, tricks, stories, solid ideas on how to celebrate education with your students & staff on a daily basis. It is bound to transform the climate and culture of your classroom and school! Based on Genta’s 2017 Book “180 Days of Awesome.” 

Student Ownership Starting in Elementary (K-5)
Presenter: Chelsea McWain | Session Topic: Student Ownership
Chelsea will be talking about how she uses the idea of student choice and learning ownership in all grades (K-8) in order to teach responsibility of learning and intrinsic motivation. When given the challenge of making decisions and guiding the learning, there is a more genuine take to the topic and there is more excitement felt in the classroom. Chelsea will share how to gradually release more and more responsibility as the grade level increases as well as what the structure of the responsibilities looks like. Early elementary teachers no longer have to have all of the answers, along with upper elementary and secondary teachers only having questions to follow up questions.

Creating a Collaborative Cooperative Curious Classroom Culture (6-12)
Presenter: Susan Koppendrayer | Session Topic: Classroom Culture

What five words would students use to describe your science classroom? What practices create a learning environment that is engaging, fosters student ownership while allowing students to implement science practices? This session will provide you with classroom ideas, lessons, and activities to help you create a classroom culture that values evidence-based discussions, fosters inquiry practices and STEAM exploration, and promotes student ownership of learning. 

Every Day Discourse (6-12)
Presenter: Patti Richardson | Session Topic: Discourse
Discourse should be used nearly every day in a classroom to do things like: Engage in argument using evidence, develop models, ask questions, obtain and evaluate information. There should always be discourse around labs, but it also needs to be used when students are just working with content. Participants will act as students and participate in discourse activities. Several strategies will be shared including card sorts, whiteboard prompts, research in progress, mini posters, post it note walks, gallery walks, and present and defends.

Fixing Our Minds on Growth Mindset (K-12)
Presenter: Tracy Horodyski | Session Topic: Growth Mindset
There are many factors that influence students’ mindsets including our own. We’ll examine assumptions about mindsets and our ability to influence them. We’ll explore and expand our views of how to influence students’ mindsets by examining our own behaviors that might be inadvertently shutting student thinking down and what we can do differently to foster students’ beliefs about their ability to learn and do hard things.

Fun with Flipgrid: Student Engagement Made Easy Through Video (K-12)
Presenter: Gary Abud Jr. | Session Topic: Technology
Do you wonder how to best unleash all your students’ potential? Consider the possibilities with Flipgrid. Whether new or experienced with the tool, join us as we explore total participation techniques with video expression across content areas. Bonus: Learn how teachers may offer constructive feedback to drive student learning. Participants will know what Flipgrid is and how it works, understand the value of using video as an engagement strategy in the classroom, and be able to use Flipgrid as a teacher or student to participate in various activities.

2:30 – 3:30 PM | Monday Sessions

Developing and Using Models with Young Learners (K-5)
Presenter: Gary Abud Jr. | Session Topic: Critical Thinking
Take your science demonstrations to the next level using the Science & Engineering Student Practice of modeling. Come see how constructivist approaches to teaching can engage some of the youngest learners and how teachers can teach content through interactive experiences. Participants will know how to help students develop models using discrepancy events, understand how models are developed and deployed in scientific study, and be able to engage elementary school learners in one of the most vital of the NGSS Student Practices.

Using Trade Books to Support Science Learning (REPEAT) (K-5)
Presenter: Janie Winn | Session Topic: Literature and Science Connection
Using children’s literature promotes deeper learning and understanding in young children, especially in the area of language development and vocabulary. This session will explore utilizing children’s literature as a teaching tool to facilitate scientific learning in young children.  Additionally, this session will discuss the importance of making connections between printed materials and the real world through experiments, observations, and documentation. (REPEAT)

Using Inquiry to go from Traditional to Transformed (6-12)
Presenter: Patti Richardson | Session Topic: Inquiry-based Instruction
Participants will think about what the habits of mind are and how they are necessary for students to think and act as scientists. They will be exposed to the VAEI Inquiry model in their planning to transform units in order to create content storylines and allow students to discover the content and build their knowledge through questions and class discourse. Participants will learn how notebooks/journals can help students see their thinking and build their skills in inquiry. Scaffolding will be shared to get students to the point of doing independent research.

Inspiring Authentic Student Motivation (REPEAT) (6-12)
Presenter: Luke Wilcox | Session Topic: Student Motivation
In this session, Luke will outline his framework for becoming a Jedi teacher. The key element that pushes great teachers to Jedi level is becoming a master of motivation. Based on real experience, Luke will discuss his top five strategies for getting a student to work beyond their potential: 1) Promote growth mindset over fixed mindset. 2) Develop meaningful and respectful relationships with students. 3) Grow a community of learners in your classroom. 4) Establish high expectations and clear goals. 5) Be inspirational! (REPEAT 6-12)

Transforming Education from Average to Awesome — Game Changing Ideas that Engage & Motivate (K-12)
Presenter: Monica Genta | Session Topic: Student Engagement
Every student who walks into your classroom deserves to LOVE that experience. In order to do that we have to reflect on the everyday practices we have in place and transform them from average to awesome. A bell ringer is average, but a learning attack is awesome! Collecting homework is average, but Olympic sprinting to gather them is awesome! Small tweaks to the great things we are already doing makes a big difference. Come learn how to be a game changer for kids and for education! Based on Genta’s 2015 Book “Game Changers.” 

Academic Discourse for All (K-12)
Presenter: Wendi Vogel | Session Topic: Discourse
Students engaging in academic discourse requires a teacher to have strong classroom norms and emotional safety in the classroom; however, the payoff is higher classroom engagement and students thinking critically around one another’s ideas. In this session, gain examples of talk formats and reasoning behind how academic discourse, no matter the subject area, will benefit students.

4:00 – 5:00 PM | Monday Sessions

Grading? Done! Planning? Done! Family? Fed! Time for Your Writing? Not! (K-12)
Presenter: Taylor Mali | Session Topic: Poetry
How many great novels, memoirs, and even poems has the world been deprived of because the person who was to write them was a teacher who THOUGHT she’d be able to do so late at night after everything else was done? Come to a real poetry workshop with Taylor Mali and remind yourself that you are more than “just” a teacher. This workshop will be generative (no need to bring a poem you have already written).

Introduction to the Zentangle® Drawing Method (K-12)
Presenter: Amy Kam | Session Topic: Drawing
Come discover the wonderful benefits of the Zentangle® Drawing Method! No art experience is necessary. An easy-to-learn way of creating beautiful images by drawing structured patterns that provides fun, relaxation, expanded awareness, and enhanced focus. All supplies are included!

Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) Tour (K-12)
Presenters: Dr. Brian Haab & Dr. Karsten Melcher | Session Topic: Scientific Research
Ever wonder what a scientist does during their day? Interested in sharing those experiences with your students? Learn the ins and outs of life for a biomedical research scientist as you explore the inner workings of VARI, a research facility committed to determining the epigenetic, genetic, molecular, and cellular origins of cancer, Parkinson’s, and other diseases and translating those findings into effective therapies.

Exploring Grand Rapids: A STEAM Walk-About (K-12)
Presenter: Cory Kavanagh | Session Topic: STEAM
Bring your walking shoes to discover evidence of STEAM all around you with a downtown stroll of Grand Rapids.

Meditation and Mindfulness (K-12)
Presenter: Cheryl Blackington | Session Topic: Mindfulness
This workshop will introduce participants to mindfulness. We will explore the benefits of mindfulness and learn some practices to help bring a bit more peace and calm into one’s life.

6:30 – 9:00 PM | Monday Sessions

The Science of Beer (K-12)
Presenter: VAEI | Session Topic: Conference Perk
Join the group for an optional brewery dinner and tour at New Holland Brewing Company’s Grand Rapids location, The Knickerbocker, where they will deconstruct the making of beer … it’s in the name of science, of course! Dinner and drink tickets are included with your registration; however, space is limited and available to paid registrants only. You will need to reserve your seat prior to the engagement.

7:30 – 8:30 AM | Tuesday Sessions

The Power and Wonder of Science in Education (K-12)
Presenter:
B. Gentry Lee | Session Topic: Keynote
Using his fifty years of working at NASA and his experience with stimulating and inspiring audiences with science documentaries, B. Gentry Lee will bring the excitement and wonder of exploring new worlds to Grand Rapids. By sharing his work on space programs, such as the Mars exploration program, Lee will inspire and challenge educators to answer the question: How can I inspire wonder and excitement for science in my classroom?

9:00 – 10:00 AM | Tuesday Sessions

I Wonder What a Light Bulb Looks Like as it Grows…  (K-2)
Presenter: Janie Winn | Session Topic: Life Science
An actual question presented during a discussion on growing seeds and bulbs with a group of kids. Have you ever thought about how to handle this question or others that seem easy to dismiss? How do you keep the interest alive without shutting children down? In this session, lessons and activities on growing plants will be provided to encourage children as they learn about plants and how they grow. It will include science standards for grades K-3 and incorporate the Project Approach method.

Energy — Yes Your Kindergarten Ice Shade and 4th Grade Balloon Plane Matter! (3-5)
Presenter: Chelsea McWain | Session Topic: Physical Science
Energy is one of the most used words with the least understood definitions. But that could all change, if vocabulary is inserted into your labs. Year after year, energy standards build up, and if students continue to use the vocabulary in the projects that they are working on, they will be leaps and bounds ahead. When you do your creating shade lab, talk about thermal energy! When you create a balloon plane, talk about transforming potential and kinetic energy! Start the vocabulary early!  I will be going through the energy standards, looking at how STEAM projects at each grade level build off of the last one, creating repetition, getting students using the language more often. Teachers know that in other subjects, this is important, so why not in science?! Chelsea will share examples of lessons for how the different types of energy can be scaffolded for inquiry at each grade level, providing the ability to build each year.

Climate Change and Increased Infections: Are they Connected? (6-12)
Presenter: Tamica Stubbs | Session Topic: Life and Earth Science
Why does climate change matter to me? There have been increased reports of infections with symptoms such as gastroenteritis, bloody stools, fever, and dark blisters around the world as temperatures have meandered upward. Learn how to transform your students into epidemiologists whose objective is to assess the impact of global warming on the proliferation of Vibrio (agents of these symptoms). Become acclimated to modern techniques utilized by the CDC that specifically track Vibrio strains over time and their conclusions on population expansions and changing sea surface temperatures. Come and draw your own conclusions with historical data and your simulated results!

A Taste of Genetics: Part One (9-12)
Presenter: Joyce Zimmer | Session Topic: Biology
In this session, participants will extract their own DNA, purify their DNA, and then use PCR to amplify the part of their DNA that is responsible for their genotype for the PTC tasting trait. This is a fast-paced, lab-based, hands-on session. Participants will use micropipets, microcentrifuges, and a Mini-One PCR system that is programmed through a phone app. The session will end with amplified DNA in a PCR tube, but the real results come from attending Taste of Genetics: Part Two, where participants visualize the results of their tasting gene genotype. Thanks to this fast and affordable system, PCR no longer has to be out of reach in the biology classroom!

Engaging Students in Meaningful Data Analysis (6-12)
Presenter: Luke Anderson | Session Topic: Data Analysis
Two guiding questions will be asked and discussed at the beginning of this session … How do your students make sense of data? How long does this take? This session will focus on strategies (highlighting, identifying, reorganizing, finding trends, calculating, graphing, and interpreting data). A Google sheet of yeast fermentation data will be provided for each participant and will be used to model the process. Additional technology strategies on Google sheets will be shared. Developing and planning inquiries that promote meaningful data analysis will be discussed.

Shift Happens! How to Meet — and Exceed — NGSS Expectations (REPEAT) (K-12)
Presenter: Randy Schregardus, VAEI | Session Topic: NGSS
The Next Generation Science Standards intend to transform science instruction so that our students learn to think and act like scientists. Learn the shifts required by NGSS, and discover the VAEI model for inquiry-based instruction that will ensure you meet — and exceed — NGSS expectations.

10:30 – 11:30 AM | Tuesday Sessions

STEAM and Literature in K-2 (K-2)
Presenter: Kathleen Mohr | Session Topic: Literature and Science Connection
Classical children’s literature and informational reading books can bring about a large supply of in-depth STEAM learning. We will be discussing: Dino’s for Kindergarten (fossils), First Grade Fairy Tale Engineering, and 2nd Grade Sound and Light.

Inquiry is Elementary: Creating Earth Science Lesson Experiences in the 3-5 Classroom (3-5)
Presenter: Janyce Huff, VAEI | Session Topic: Earth and Space Science
Engage your students to think and act like scientists. Explore the key elements of a 3-5 inquiry-based lesson while experiencing an earth science lesson that you can try with your students. Come with a willingness to inspire learning; leave with strategies and tools to make it happen.

Forces of Flight (6-8)
Presenter: Amanda Ervin | Session Topic: Physical Science
No one is too old to enjoy making gliders! In this session, Amanda will share how students can use gliders to investigate unbalanced forces and how they impact flight. Students begin by investigating how to control pitch, roll, and yaw, before designing their own inquiry-based investigations to improve a glider. 

Taste of Genetics: Part Two (9-12)
Presenter: Joyce Zimmer | Session Topic: Biology
In this continued session, participants will use restriction digest and gel electrophoresis to determine their genotype for the PTC tasting gene. The real surprise in this session is the utilization of a gel electrophoresis system that is much quicker, easier to use, and allows for real time visualization of the bands all within one “class period.” Note: Participants who could not attend the first Taste of Genetics session are encouraged to attend and will be given some DNA to work with in order to use the gel electrophoresis system.

Thermochemistry Phenomena and Storylines (9-12)
Presenter: Luke Anderson | Session Topic: Chemistry
This session will focus on developing storylines that are useful to explore and explain chemistry phenomena. Discussion and activities will incorporate VAEI and NGSX training topics including messing about activities, student-designed inquiry, developing and critiquing models, student talk, present and defend, and summary tables. A developed thermochemistry storyline will be shared, explored, and discussed.

Art/Science Collaborations in the Classroom (K-12)
Presenter: Mary Abma | Session Topic: STEAM Integration
Mary will take participants through two STEAM projects that she has completed. Both projects, major science-based art installations, designed and completed by students, led to multi-disciplinary, collaborative learning. Twenty-first century learning is at the forefront of such projects, which foster curiosity, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity. They usually unfold over several weeks. They incorporate the knowledge and assistance of local experts, have real-world applications, and authentic audiences. Mary will provide practical information, rubrics, timelines, and scaffolding tips.

1:00 – 2:00 PM | Tuesday Sessions

Inquiry is Elementary: Creating Earth Science Lesson Experiences in the K-2 Classroom (K-2)
Presenter: Janyce Huff, VAEI | Session Topic: Earth and Space Science
Engage your students to think and act like scientists. Explore the key elements of a K-2 inquiry-based lesson while experiencing an earth science lesson that you can try with your students. Come with a willingness to inspire learning; leave with strategies and tools to make it happen.

All in the Family — Save Time by Teaching Across the Curriculum (3-5)
Presenter: Chelsea McWain | Session Topic: Cross-Curricular Connections
Chelsea will take NGSS standards and align them with reading and math standards to show how using science content and strategies to teach other standards allows for learning on many levels, and how students can gain in responsibility for their learning in reading and math, which are generally less inquiry-based topics. Math and reading can have student driven inquiry too!

Revising Models: Where the Learning Really Happens (6-12)
Presenter: Wendi Vogel | Session Topic: Modeling
Engage in a Physical Science Activity in order to show how an initial model might be revised after unit and lesson phenomenon are engaged in by students. The use of Science and Engineering Practice #2 (Developing and Using Models) will be the focus; however, others will be utilized.

Capturing Curiosity by Pairing Inquiry Investigations (6-12)
Presenter: Luke Anderson | Session Topic: Inquiry-based Instruction
Sequencing and planning inquiry activities can be overwhelming. This session will focus on a practical strategy that uses a teacher-guided activity to introduce a specific concept which is then followed by a student generated inquiry. Three examples and demonstrations will be shared: 1) A dialysis bag demonstration followed by a dialysis bag design challenge. 2) A potato core guided inquiry followed by an open fruit/vegetable inquiry. 3) A guided cell size agar activity followed by an agar design challenge.

Using the Bundle Model to Incorporate Engineering and Earth Sciences into an Integrated Science Class (9-12)
Presenter: Catherine Molloseau & Robin Vanderwel | Session Topic: Earth and Space Science
While striving to bring more engineering into the high school science classroom and also incorporating the NGSS Earth and Space Science Standards, a freshman level integrated science class was redeveloped using a “Bundle” model. The new curriculum incorporates the VAEI inquiry model, engineering principles, and other standards that support the mission of the school. You will hear from both the STEAM director involved with the redevelopment as well as the teacher that has used the curriculum in order to learn more about student engagement and success as well as techniques for creating alternative assessments as well as encouraging collaboration and student choice.

Capturing Student Voice with Flipgrid, SeeSaw & Anchor.fm (K-12)
Presenter: Peter Grostic | Session Topic: Technology
Student reflection is vital to solidify new learning. Too often, learning is lost after the best of lessons because students are not given the opportunity to reflect on what they’ve learned. Come discuss how to leverage technology to capture student reflections! Tools include Flipgrid, a video discussion tool, SeeSaw, an online journal, and Anchor.fm, a podcast creation tool. Participants will experience each tool and discuss applications for the classroom.

2:30 – 3:30 PM | Tuesday Sessions

This is a Particle Accelerator … Excuse me? (K-2)
Presenter: Janie Winn | Session Topic: Engineering Design
This session will look at 4 different lessons for teaching simple machines and include model design and simple documentation and the “defense” or sharing of designs with others. Additionally, discussion will be focused on child lead exploration and sharing of ideas with their peers. The lessons will incorporate science standards for engineering design, mathematical standards for shapes, and literacy standards for student documentation.

Inventing by Design (3-5)
Presenter: Kathleen Mohr | Session Topic: Engineering Design
In this lesson, we will cover the lessons Kathleen uses to solidify the design process for her students in grades 3-5. This challenge is based on the recycling and repurposing of products that are usually thrown away to make the models of inventions. The inventions must serve a purpose and perform a task. In grade 3, Kathleen’s students research and create designs of historical landmarks with castles, 4th grade is challenged to create a project with electrical circuitry, and in fifth grade the students can combine repurposed, deconstructed, or new inventions from common household materials.

Newton’s Laws and Egg Cars (6-8)
Presenter: Amanda Ervin | Session Topic: Engineering Design
In this session, Amanda will show how a well-known project of building an egg car can be used to intentionally challenge students to use what they discovered, through scientific inquiry, about Newton’s Laws of Motion. The students will be challenged to build an egg car that will meet specific criteria, as well as pass distance and collision tests.

Build a Box: Engineering Food Dye Electrophoresis for NGSS (6-12)
Presenter: Tamica Stubbs | Session Topic: Engineering Design
In this hands-on workshop, participants will use science and engineering practices to study something from their everyday lives — food dyes! They will learn how to navigate students into engineering a protocol that separates and identifies food dyes using a do-it-yourself electrophoresis box. In doing so, they will gain practical insights and develop strategies to integrate NGSS into their regular classroom practices. This interactive learning opportunity includes modeling, explanation, argumentation, and engineering practices. It’s a colorful way to introduce pipetting and electrophoresis skills in addition to chemistry and physics concepts to a biological technique with well-known applications (DNA fingerprinting, etc.).

Helping Students Become Computational Thinkers (6-12)
Presenter: Catherine Molloseau & Robin Vanderwel | Session Topic: Technology
In recent years, the need for students to understand basic computer science principles has become evident. As such, there are many products available on the market devoted to teaching these skills, yet it can be difficult to know which will work best for a particular class or subject. This session will provide examples of how one school has tackled this challenge in order to meet both NGSS and ISTE standards. This session will require the use of a digital device (laptop, Chromebook, or IPad) with internet access. Come prepared to “amp” up your own coding skills in order to be a “rock star” in the classroom (no prior experience necessary).

Shift Happens! How to Meet — and Exceed — NGSS Expectations (REPEAT) (K-12)
Presenter: Randy Schregardus, VAEI | Session Topic: NGSS
The Next Generation Science Standards intend to transform science instruction so that our students learn to think and act like scientists. Learn the shifts required by NGSS, and discover the VAEI model for inquiry-based instruction that will ensure you meet — and exceed — NGSS expectations.

4:00 – 5:00 PM | Tuesday Sessions

Pitch Tank (K-12)
Presenters: Jerry Callahan, Terra Tarango & Temple Rosenberger | Session Topic: Conference Perk
Come watch as selected teachers pitch their ideas to transform their classroom. The teacher with the winning idea will win up to $5,000!

REGISTER NOW

Mary Abma
Mary Abma (BA, BEd), is an experienced teacher, curriculum coordinator, and professional artist who has taught all grade levels from primary to college. Mary is an expert in teaching 21st-century skills and in using project-based learning initiatives. A hiatus from classroom teaching to pursue her art career provided Mary with proficiency in bringing science and art together in the classroom. Mary teaches art and science in grades 6-8 at Sarnia Christian School.

Gary Abud Jr.
Gary is an educational consultant, speaker, and writer in southeast Michigan. He specializes in helping individuals with ADHD to succeed in school and life by offering coaching and workshops to educators, students, and families. Previously, Gary has served students in K-12 schools as a high school STEM teacher, curriculum specialist, and elementary school principal. In 2014, he was selected as the Michigan Teacher of the Year.

Luke Anderson
Luke has been teaching high school science for 14 years. Luke earned his undergraduate degree in Biology from North Park University and has a Master’s degree in educational technology from Western Governors University. Outside of the classroom Luke enjoys most things outdoors including canoeing, mountain biking, grilling, golfing, home brewing, and suburban chicken farming.


Cheryl Blackington

Cheryl is a staff member at The Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness. She began her mindfulness teaching with teens, offering mindful stress reduction classes to teens. Since then she has trained extensively in many different areas and her teaching has branched out considerably. She has taught mindful parenting classes, mindful self compassion for teens classes, and college aged mindfulness classes. She also helps train area teachers and has taught in area schools. In addition Cheryl and her teaching partners offer a family mindfulness workshop four times a year, with the last one being offered at Frederik Meijer Gardens. She enjoys working with all ages and has taught 1st grade through adult ages. It is gratifying for her to be able to offer these important life skills and to see the immense benefits that participants experience.

Amanda Ervin
Amanda Ervin is a Middle School Teacher in Phoenix, AZ. She graduated in 2002 from Dordt College with a BA in Elementary Education and a Middle School Endorsement. After spending three years teaching 4th grade, she has spent the last 12 years teaching 7th & 8th grade students science, math, art, and computers. She is always seeking to better engage her students in ways that require them to use the concepts they are learning.

Michael Fine
Mike Fine holds of Bachelor of Science degree from Alma College Master’s in Educational Leadership from Grand Valley State University. Having worked as a Research Scientist, High School Science Teacher, Middle and High School Principal and currently as a Science Consultant with the Ottawa Area ISD, Mike understands the value of keeping students and staff engaged in their learning.


Monica Genta

Monica is the author of, Game Changers and 180 Days of Awesome, a middle school science teacher, and nationwide educational consultant/motivational speaker. She has earned a Masters in C&I, Masters in Educational Leadership, and is a National Board Certified teacher.

Her goal is to transform teachers, leaders, and schools from seeing education as an ordinary job into an extraordinary adventure. Genta feels that every person who walks into a school deserves to love their experience! She is a believer in finding awesome and celebrating life every day! Genta is full of energy, full of passion, and full of love for helping others on their journey in life and learning.

Peter Grostic
Peter is the Director of Professional Learning for Communications by Design, a K-12 technology integration organization based in Ada, MI. Previously, he worked as a Mathematics teacher in Kentwood Public Schools. Peter is a Ph.D. student in the K-12 Educational Leadership at Western Michigan University and holds Master’s and Educational Specialist degrees in the same program.


Brian Haab
Brian Haab, Ph.D., searches for new ways to diagnose and stratify pancreatic cancer based on the chemical fingerprints tumors leave behind. Part of the problem Haab aims to solve is that cancers often look and behave normally—until after they’ve started making people sick. Haab is sleuthing out clues to build a library of diagnostic tools that will help providers diagnose tumors earlier and optimize treatment.

Tracy Horodyski
Tracy Horodyski is a proud Michigan educator who began her teaching career and lifelong learning journey in Grand Rapids Public Schools. She has since served in Kenowa Hills Public Schools as an elementary teacher, reading interventionist, and instructional coach who continuously seeks to make the joyful work of learning, “…more about them and less about me.” Tracy also served as the 2017 Michigan Teacher of the Year advocating for equity in education.

Janyce Huff
Janyce earned her Bachelor’s degree from Albion College in Biology, Chemistry, and Music, and her Master’s degree from Aquinas College in Science Education. She spent 11 years teaching Chemistry and AP Biology at East Grand Rapids High School. During her tenure, Janyce worked in partnership with VAEI to create innovative student-led independent research projects with her AP Biology students. She also integrated the VAEI Inquiry-Based Science model into her Chemistry classes. Prior to becoming a teacher, Janyce was a microbiologist and food technologist for 12 years in the food, drug, and medical devices industries. Janyce has spent the last five years developing and delivering professional development programs at VAEI.

Amy Kam
After discovering the Zentangle® Method on her own, Amy W.M. Kam felt called to share this relaxing and transformative drawing practice with many others. She pursued certification by Zentangle founders Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts. As an avid “Tangler,” runner, gardener, and breast cancer survivor, Amy seeks to share the life lessons embedded within the patterns her students learn through simple step-by-step instructions and the outcome of beautiful pieces of art.

Amy derives her greatest joy as an instructor when a student uncovers a new appreciation of their own uniqueness and embraces the diverse beauty of different patterns they see around the table.
Amy serves on the Big Brother Big Sister Advisory Council at D.A. Blodgett-St. Johns, is a founding member and treasurer of Sole Sisters, and serves the Sunday Assembly at Dominican Center at Marywood Chapel in multiple ministry capacities.

Cory Kavanagh
Cory’s passion for learning and helping others learn is obvious in his role as Instructional Specialist at Van Andel Education Institute. He has worked in a laboratory setting for the past 13 years, starting with chemistry labs at Grand Rapids Community College and transitioning to biology lab work at Van Andel Education Institute. Cory received two Associate’s degrees during his time at GRCC. He then moved on to Grand Valley State University where he pursued his Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Management. Cory has been an informal educator for the past three years. As an Instructional Specialist for VAEI, Cory works with students of all ages delivering a variety of science content.

Susan Koppendrayer
Susan Koppendrayer is a middle school earth, physical and life science teacher at Calvin Christian School in Minneapolis. She is also a Honeywell Corporation Science Education Ambassador and the Christian Schools International Science Curriculum and Instruction Specialist. She has a Master’s Degree in Education from Michigan State University and completed her post graduate science education course work at the University of Minnesota. Previous experiences include Assistant Dean at Calvin College and Vice Principal at Immanuel Christian School and Durham Christian High.

B. Gentry Lee
B. Gentry Lee is chief engineer for the Solar System Exploration Directorate at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. In that position, Lee is responsible for the engineering integrity of all the robotic planetary missions managed by JPL for NASA. His major recent work includes the engineering oversight of the fantastically successful and popular Curiosity rover mission to Mars in August 2012, the Dawn mission to the asteroids Vesta and Ceres, the Juno mission to Jupiter and the GRAIL missions to the Moon. Previously, Lee provided guidance and oversight for the engineering aspects of the Phoenix and twin rover missions to Mars as well as NASA’s successful Deep Impact and Stardust missions.

Lee was chief engineer for the Galileo project from 1977-1988 and, after working in a variety of positions on the Viking project from 1968-76, was Director of Science Analysis and Mission Planning during the Viking operations. The historic Viking mission was mankind’s first successful landing on another planet.

From 1976 until 1981, Lee was the late Carl Sagan’s partner in the creation, design, development and implementation of Cosmos, the highly successful science documentary series for television that won several Emmy’s and the prestigious Peabody Award. In July 2009, Gentry Lee was the featured performer/narrator in Are We Alone?, a two-hour Discovery Channel documentary about life in the solar system.

Taylor Mali
Taylor Mali is one of the most well-known poets to have emerged from the poetry slam movement. He is one of the few people in the world to have no job other than that of “poet.” Articulate, accessible, passionate, and downright funny, Mali studied drama in Oxford with members of The Royal Shakespeare Company and puts those skills of presentation to work in all his performances. He was one of the original poets to appear on the HBO series Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry and was the “Armani-clad villain” of Paul Devlin’s 1997 documentary film SlamNation. His poem “What Teachers Make” has been viewed over 4 million times on YouTube and was quoted by the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman in one of his commencement addresses.

Mali is a vocal advocate of teachers and the nobility of teaching, having spent nine years in the classroom teaching everything from English and history to math and S.A.T. test preparation. He has performed and lectured for teachers all over the world; and in 2012 he reached his goal of creating one thousand new teachers through “poetry, persuasion, and perseverance.” Based on the poem that inspired a movement, his book of essays, What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World, is his passionate defense of teachers drawing on his own experiences, both in the classroom and as a traveling poet.

Chelsea McWain
Chelsea is an alumnus of Aquinas College, with degrees in biology and physics and a secondary teaching certification. She gathered her passion for experientia- based learning and student responsibility while student teaching at Blandford Nature Center. She taught one year of high school in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she fine-tuned her classroom and behavior management skills. Now the K-8 Science Teacher at Corpus Christi Catholic School, she has now found her niche in creating passion for science in all grade levels.

Karsten Melcher
Karsten Melcher, Ph.D., studies molecular structure and cellular communication, which have implications for finding new treatments for serious health threats including cancer, diabetes and obesity. His expertise extends beyond human cells—his research into plant hormones may one day lead to heartier crops that resist drought and help meet the nutritional demands of a growing global population.


Kathleen Mohr

Kathy Mohr’s twenty-three year teaching career began with a BA from the University of Michigan. With degrees in Fine Arts, Literature Arts, and English, she used her love for science to serve on the MiClimb Elementary Science Committee while completing certification in Elementary Science and a MAT from Marygrove College. She teaches STEM, Music, Health, and Character Education to K-5 students, serves on the Genesee Area Math and Science Committee for NGSS standards, and heads the Science team at Barhitte Elementary.

Catherine Molloseau
A Michigan native, Catherine graduated from Michigan Technological University in 1995 with a degree in Material Science and Engineering (MSE).  After completing graduate school at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, PA (earning her MS and Ph.D. degrees in MSE), she moved to Portland, OR and worked in the steelmaking and semiconductor manufacturing industries for four years.  Feeling a call to be back in the classroom, Catherine began volunteering in a local high school science classroom and made the switch to high school teaching the following year.  Armed with 15 years of teaching experience in science, math and engineering, she is now the STEAM director at Catholic Central High School in Grand Rapids. Catherine has been married for 22 years and feels blessed to have three wonderful children.  Her passion is for the outdoors, experiential education, student led research, and a new found love of coding.

Patti Richardson
Patti attended Western Michigan University earning a Bachelor’s degree in Biology & Secondary Education, then a Master’s degree in Science Education. Her 21 years of teaching occurred in Honolulu Hawaii, Kalamazoo, and now Forest Hills Central in Grand Rapids. There she teaches Biology and AP Biology. She has taught Human Anatomy and Physiology, Chemistry, and Earth Science. Patti enjoys sharing her knowledge of science education and has presented at the MSTA conference, NSTA conference, and NABT conference.

Randy Schregardus
Randy Schregardus holds a Bachelor’s degree from Hope College and a Master’s degree in Science Education from Western Michigan University. Randy offers more than 30 years of teaching and professional development experience. He has worked with a diversity of students – disadvantaged to gifted and talented, including sixteen years teaching middle school general science, earth science and space sciences; four years teaching high school earth science, biology, and physics; and seven years teaching in the Van Andel Education Institute’s student programs. He has also coached Rocketry, Science Olympiad, and First Robotics Teams. Randy has spent the last five years developing and delivering professional development programs at the Van Andel Education Institute.

Tamica Stubbs
Tamica Stubbs is a former middle and high school science educator of seventeen years in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg district. She was formally educated at Clarion University of PA where she obtained two degrees in science education and an enthusiasm for teaching. Tamica left public education in 2015 but currently supports science instructors in the capacity as a Curriculum and Training Specialists for Bio-Rad laboratories and students as an online instructor for the John Hopkins CTY program.

Robin Vanderwel
Robin currently works at Grand Rapids Catholic Central as the Advanced Integrated Science teacher. Prior to the opportunity at CC, she worked with at risk youth through Success Virtual Learning Center. Robin graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor of Science in biology, minor in earth science and an endorsement in integrated science. Outside of the classroom, Robin enjoys spending time outdoors with friends and family, including her two dogs.

Wendi Vogel
Wendi Vogel is the Science Consultant for Kent Intermediate School District. She has a Master’s Degree in Science Education and is an NGSX Facilitator, a MiSTAR PLF, the President of MSELA, and a veteran teacher of 18 years. Prior to her current position, she taught Middle School in Kentwood Public Schools. Wendi also co-runs a twitter feed @NGSS_tweeps, a rotating account where teachers share their NGSS implementation in their classroom.

Luke Wilcox
Luke Wilcox is a math teacher and teacher leader based out of West Michigan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a teaching degree in math and physics and did his graduate work at Grand Valley State University. Luke’s teaching has been recognized with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) and was most recently honored as the 2017-2018 Michigan Teacher of the Year.

Janie Wynn
Janie Ashcraft Winn is a Michigan Educator, teaching for the past 20 years in the Utica Community Schools District, and is a Part-time Faculty Member at Wayne State University teaching a course focusing on the Project Approach. Passionate about learning, Janie earned a B.S. from Michigan State University in Social Sciences, a Masters of Education from Saginaw Valley State University and a Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education from Oakland University. Janie lives in Washington, Michigan.

Joyce Zimmer
Joyce Zimmer has been a science teacher in Greenville, Michigan for 28 years. She has taught a wide variety of science courses over her career ranging from remedial general science to AP biology and AP chemistry. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Aquinas College and her Master’s degree in science education from Western Michigan University. While her favorite course to teach is anatomy and physiology, she finds the areas of genetics and molecular biology the most fascinating topics in AP biology. The fact that discoveries currently being made in these fields make every textbook in print instantly outdated is what particularly fascinates her. She loves how discoveries made in these fields are improving human health by discovering new ways to treat various diseases. More recently she participated in Van Andel’s Partners in Science program and spent two summers doing original research work in Dr. Jiyan Ma’s lab studying alpha synuclein’s role in Parkinson’s disease. On a personal note, Joyce is married with two adult children. Her son, Justin, currently is in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons. Her daughter, Taylor, just graduated from Hillsdale College and is taking a gap year before entering medical school in the fall of 2019.

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Two days, two great keynotes!
Monday, July 16, 2018

TAYLOR MALI
Acclaimed Performance Poet

Education Advocate
Author of What Teachers Make

Keynote: Because Teachers Deserve It
 “I am not a master teacher,” Taylor Mali says. “I just write poems that make it sound as if once upon a time, I liked to think I was.” Be reminded of why you chose to walk this noble path in the first place from the author of “What Teachers
Make” and other anthemic teacher poems.

About Taylor Mali
Taylor Mali is one of the most well-known poets to have emerged from the poetry slam movement. He is one of the few people in the world to have no job other than that of “poet.” Articulate, accessible, passionate, and downright funny, Mali studied drama in Oxford with members of The Royal Shakespeare Company and puts those skills of presentation to work in all his performances. He was one of the original poets to appear on the HBO series Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry and was the “Armani-clad villain” of Paul Devlin’s 1997 documentary film SlamNation. His poem “What Teachers Make” has been viewed over 4 million times on YouTube and was quoted by the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman in one of his commencement addresses.

Mali is a vocal advocate of teachers and the nobility of teaching, having spent nine years in the classroom teaching everything from English and history to math and S.A.T. test preparation. He has performed and lectured for teachers all over the world; and in 2012 he reached his goal of creating one thousand new teachers through “poetry, persuasion, and perseverance.” Based on the poem that inspired a movement, his book of essays, What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World, is his passionate defense of teachers drawing on his own experiences, both in the classroom and as a traveling poet.

For more information on Taylor Mali, go to taylormali.com.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

B. GENTRY LEE
Chief Engineer for Solar System Exploration
Partner for Carl Sagan’s Cosmos
Renowned science fiction novelist

Keynote: The Power and Wonder of Science in Education
Using his fifty years of working at NASA and his experience with stimulating and inspiring audiences with science documentaries, Gentry Lee will bring the excitement and wonder of exploring new worlds to Grand Rapids. By sharing his work on space programs, such as the Mars exploration program, Lee will inspire and challenge educators to answer the question: How can I inspire wonder and excitement for science in my classroom?  

About B. Gentry Lee
B. Gentry Lee is chief engineer for the Solar System Exploration Directorate at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. In that position, Lee is responsible for the engineering integrity of all the robotic planetary missions managed by JPL for NASA. His major recent work includes the engineering oversight of the fantastically successful and popular Curiosity rover mission to Mars in August 2012, the Dawn mission to the asteroids Vesta and Ceres, the Juno mission to Jupiter and the GRAIL missions to the Moon. Previously, Lee provided guidance and oversight for the engineering aspects of the Phoenix and twin rover missions to Mars as well as NASA’s successful Deep Impact and Stardust missions.

Lee was chief engineer for the Galileo project from 1977-1988 and, after working in a variety of positions on the Viking project from 1968-76, was Director of Science Analysis and Mission Planning during the Viking operations. The historic Viking mission was mankind’s first successful landing on another planet.

From 1976 until 1981, Lee was the late Carl Sagan’s partner in the creation, design, development and implementation of Cosmos, the highly successful science documentary series for television that won several Emmy’s and the prestigious Peabody Award. In July 2009, Gentry Lee was the featured performer/narrator in Are We Alone?, a two-hour Discovery Channel documentary about life in the solar system.

For more information on B. Genry Lee, go to www.apbspeakers.com/speaker/b-gentry-lee.

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Just for you!

We want to honor the profession … and the person! As a thank you for all that you do, we’ve built in some unique sessions and experiences to the event. Upon registering, we will send you an email to opt in. All expenses are included with your registration.

Dinner and Drinks on Us

The Science of Brew
Join the group for an optional brewery dinner and tour at New Holland Brewing Company’s Grand Rapids location, The Knickerbocker, where they will deconstruct the making of beer … it’s in the name of science, of course! Dinner and drink tickets are included with your registration; however, space is limited and available to paid registrants only. You will need to reserve your seat prior to the engagement.

Sessions to Nurture Your Own Curiosity for Personal Growth and Enjoyment

Grading? Done! Planning? Done! Family? Fed! Time for Your Writing? Not!
Presented by: Taylor Mali
How many great novels, memoirs, and even poems has the world been deprived of because the person who was to write them was a teacher who THOUGHT she’d be able to do so late at night after everything else was done? Come to a real poetry workshop with Taylor Mali and remind yourself that you are more than “just” a teacher. This workshop will be generative (no need to bring a poem you have already written).

Introduction to the Zentangle® Drawing Method
Presenter: Amy Kam, CZT
Come discover the wonderful benefits of the Zentangle® Drawing Method! No art experience is necessary. An easy-to-learn way of creating beautiful images by drawing structured patterns that provides fun, relaxation, expanded awareness, and enhanced focus. All supplies are included!

Meditation and Mindfulness
Presenter: Cheryl Blackington
This workshop will introduce participants to mindfulness. We will explore the benefits of mindfulness and learn some practices to help bring a bit more peace and calm into one’s life.

Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) Tour
Presenters: Brian Haab, Ph.D., Cancer Immunodiagnostics and Karsten Melcher, Ph.D., Structural Biology and Biochemistry
Ever wonder what a scientist does during their day? Interested in sharing those experiences with your students? Learn the ins and outs of life for a biomedical research scientist as you explore the inner workings of VARI, a research facility committed to determining the epigenetic, genetic, molecular, and cellular origins of cancer, Parkinson’s, and other diseases and translating those findings into effective therapies.

Exploring Grand Rapids: A STEAM Walk-About
Bring your walking shoes to discover evidence of STEAM all around you with a downtown stroll of Grand Rapids.

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What would you do with $5,000 to supercharge your classroom?*

You now have a chance to make this a reality! Be a part of our Pitch Tank at this year’s Science on the Grand Conference. Submit an application and pitch your ideas to transform your classroom. The teacher(s) that are most convincing can leave with up to $5,000 to turn their classroom dreams into realities!

If you’d like to participate, please let us know!
Download VAEI’s Pitch Tank Submission Form for more information. Individuals and/or teams will be selected to enter the tank. Submissions are due by June 25, 2018. Entries may be sent to information@vaei.org. For official rules and regulations, click here.

If selected as a finalist, you will state your case to a panel of judges at the Science on the Grand Conference on July 17, 2018. The intent is to have fun while sharing your ideas in front of the judges and a live audience!

Three Steps to Enter:

  1. Register for the conference.
  2. Tell us what you would do with the money via VAEI’s Pitch Tank Submission Form by June 25, 2018.
  3. If selected as a finalist, present your case to a panel of judges in front of a live audience on July 17, 2018!

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*Concept is based on a popular tv show, but is not affiliated with it in any way, shape, or form. This is just an effort to put some fun in funding!

Register Today!

Bring a friend and share the experience! 
Registration is $100 until May 18, 2018. Plus, principals can attend FREE!+

Registration includes…

  • Two days of inspiration, exploration, and practical take aways.
  • One full-year access to NexGen Inquiry — a $48 value!
  • Opportunities to network with like-minded teachers.
  • Breakfast, lunch, and a special brewery tour with dinner!

Individual Tuition

  • Until May 18, 2018: $100 per person
  • Starting May 19, 2018: $200 per person

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All prices per person. Registrations cannot be shared.

+With the paid registration of a staff member, a principal from the same building may attend for FREE. Free principal registrations are nontransferable. To receive the free principal offer, principals must register by phone with name of paid registrant. Call 616.234.5228.

Click here to download the conference brochure.

When & Where

Monday, July 16 – Tuesday, July 17, 2018
7:30 AM – 3:30 pm*

Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI) Campus
333 Bostwick Ave. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
616.234.5528

*Optional sessions and events to support personal growth and enjoyment will be offered beyond 3:30 pm. Go to the “Just for You!” tab for details.

Hotel Accommodations

Guests have their choice of lodging options in downtown Grand Rapids with special conference pricing available until June 15, 2018.

Homewood Suites by Hilton
161 Ottawa Ave. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Rate: $159/night + tax conference rate available until June 15, 2018.

Click here for reservations or call 1.616.451.2300 and ask for the Van Andel Education Institute conference rate.

Courtyard by Marriot
11 Monroe Ave. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Rate: $173/night + tax conference rate available until June 15, 2018.

Click here for reservations or call 877.901.6632 and ask for the Van Andel Education Institute conference rate.

Amway Grand Plaza Hotel
187 Monroe Ave. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Rate: $193/night + tax conference rate available until June 15, 2018.

Click here for reservations or call 800.253.3590 and ask for the Van Andel Education Institute conference rate.

Parking 

Validated parking for both days is available in the Grand Rapids Community College parking ramp located at the corner of Bostwick Street, NE and Lyon Street, NE. The parking ramp entrance ramp is located at Bostwick Street NE.

Shuttles

Complimentary shuttle service will be provided between campus buildings and parking lot throughout the conference.

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Conference Exhibitors

Exhibitor spots are FULL for the 2018 Science on the Grand Conference. We are very excited about our 2018 exhibitors. Come check out everything they have to offer.

  • John Ball Zoo
  • Bio-Rad Explorers
  • School Zone Publishing
  • GR Center for Mindfulness
  • The Peaceful Pen
  • North Star Teacher Resources
  • Battle Creek Outdoor Education Center
  • The MiniOne Systems
  • Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

If you are interested in exhibiting next year, please let us know at information@vaei.org.