Science on the Grand

OVERVIEW

SESSIONS

PRESENTERS

KEYNOTES

JUST FOR YOU!

PITCH TANK

TUITION

LOCATION

EVENT IN REVIEW

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!

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!

___________________________________________

PLUS, CONFERENCE ATTENDEES CAN EARN UP TO 11 SCECHs!

Monday Sessions | Classroom Culture to Support STEAM Instruction
10:00 – 11:00 AM

Zip Lining into a Growth Mindset (K-5)
Presenter: Andy Losik
No elementary student is too young to develop a growth mindset and an understanding of the design process. Experience how an activity like stretching fish line across a classroom to create a Lego zipline can teach students as young as four perseverance and the steps engineers follow when creating new products.

Adding the R to STEAM (Reading) (K-5)
Presenter: Kathy Mohr
Captain Underpants is a STEAM resource? As the “Read by Grade Three Law” comes into effect and retentions begin in 2019-2020, teachers are scrambling to find time to teach science along with reading curriculum. This session will model a process for using favorite student literature and a reading curriculum to make connections with STEAM.

Science Talks…and Writes, Listens, and Reads (6-12)
Presenter: Annika Miller
How do I infuse literacy tasks into science? How do I encourage students to use scientific vocabulary? Science is a perfect time to introduce authentic reading, listening, speaking, and writing. From interactive notebooks to socratic seminars to science podcasts, the opportunities to integrate literacy in science are abundant.

The Group Project that Actually Requires EVERYONE! (6-12)
Presenter: Chelsea McWain
Project based learning is AWESOME! Hooray for authentic learning! But what about the kids who would rather just sit back and let their groupmates do the work? Let’s talk about how to get everyone involved.

Behind the Curtain: 3 Activities that Support the PBL Classroom (K-12)
Presenter: Peter Grostic
“Student voice and choice” is a pillar of the Project-based Learning environment. Come learn about 15 activities that support this pillar. You will also experience 3 of the activities from the perspective of a student: Pop-Up Debate, Combine+Innovate, and Spider Web Discussion.

Teaching Outside the Box: A Crash Course in Creativity (K-12)
Presenter: Dave Burgess
A fast-paced and fun session designed to teach techniques that will skyrocket creativity. You will learn how to use your  brain like Google, create a GPS system for powerful teaching, and magically create new ideas through Creative Alchemy. In addition, learn how to overcome obstacles that stifle creativity by using the Wedding Photographer Principle. You’ll leave truly believing you are a creative being and inspired to add memorable experiences for students to your lesson plans.

11:15 AM – 12:15 PM

STEM Smart Start (K-5)
Presenter: Andy Losik
While we often hear of the importance of positive culture in the classroom, most teachers just roll the dice and hope kids come pre-programmed to work together. Culture doesn’t “just happen” and must be intentionally cultivated. Explore ways STEM teachers create a culture of creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration.

What Were They Thinking! Strategies to Boost Student’s Critical and Creative Thinking Skills (K-5)
Presenter: Terra Tarrango
Unleash the creative problem-solver and the critical thinker in each of your students. Explore strategies designed to help flex your students’ creative and critical thinking muscles. Discover the importance of a growth mindset when it comes to critical and creative thinking, the teacher’s role in supporting a thinking classroom, strategies to promote critical and creative thinking, and how to create your own classroom’s thinking culture. Leave with strategies and resources to use in your classroom right away.

What if the Graduation Requirments Do Not Make Sense for My Students? (6-12)
Presenter: Rashell Bowerman
As Michigan strives to ensure that all students are “Career and College Ready”, the graduation requirements may need to be modified to meet every learners needs. This session explains the flexibility within the MMC legislation that would support meeting the needs of every student while promoting STEAM integration and STEAM instruction.

How Virtual Reality Impacts Social and Emotional Learning (6-12)
Presenter: Alicia Ray
Let me prove to you how immersion in virtual reality can create kinder, more compassionate students. Join me as I share our three-year journey using virtual reality as an instructional tool and how it has impacted social and emotional learning in my middle school students.

Let’s Play! Lessons from Sports for the Classroom (K-12)
Presenter: Peter Grostic
Why do some students put so much time and effort into sports and clubs, but not into the classroom? Come learn and discuss 5 principles of sports that should be ported over to every classroom immediately! These 5 principles also happen to be tenets of PBL.

Goshen Renaissance: Bringing the Four Core Contents Together with Art (K-12)
Presenter: Annika Miller
Using knowledge of the European Renaissance, the design process, and all four core contents, students connect with local businesses to create a mural to add to the “renaissance” happening in Goshen, IN.

1:30 – 2:30 PM

STEAM Labs and Makerspaces in the Elementary School (K-5)
Presenter: Greg Finke
The MAKER movement has been alive and well for a number of years, but is just recently taking hold in various primary and elementary schools. Our school has had a STEAM Lab for the past three years and a MAKERSPACE for the past two. Discover how these labs are a combination of student choice and voice, and also a place where kids are free to create and collaborate in a safe, educationally-based environment.

Make Time for Science with Project-Based Learning (K-5)
Presenter: Dawn McCotter
If we treat content areas as silos, we’ll never find time for Science! Discover how to create authentic experiences that increase engagement, develop critical and creative thinking skills, and connect across content areas. Be the teacher who creates memorable experiences that engage students in making their world a better place!

Thinking Critically with Tabletop Games (6-12)
Presenter: Alicia Ray
Join the tabletop gaming renaissance and discover the critical thinking and problem solving that gaming offers our students. What started as an extracurricular Game Club quickly took over as a part of the culture in our school! Come and see how tabletop gaming will teach critical thinking skills that your worksheet can not.

Differentiation through Personalized Learning (6-12)
Presenter: Tracy Merica & Danielle Wall
All students have the right to a science education, but how do we teach to the multiple levels of students within our classrooms? During this session, we will show you how use learning menus and learning checklists to differentiate your science content to meet the needs of all learners.

Creative Problem Solving for Any Classroom (K-12)
Presenter: Lynn Larsen
Spontaneous Creativity, Problem Solving and Critical Thinking! Do you want to provide more opportunities for creativity, teamwork, critical thinking, and problem solving but are short on time and budget? In this interactive session, you will learn how to use short, spontaneous problem solving activities with household, inexpensive, and free materials.

2:45 – 3:45 PM

Patriot Picks: Student Voice and Choice (K-5)
Presenter: Greg Finke
If you want to really get students involved in learning, then ask them what their interests are. Then, take one day out of your 180 and teach those classes. Allow students to select from a variety of options and watch amazing things happen. Get your entire staff involved and student choice explodes.

Make Time for Science with Project-Based Learning (Repeat) (K-5)
Presenter: Dawn McCotter
If we treat content areas as silos, we’ll never find time for science! Discover how to create authentic experiences that increase engagement, develop critical and creative thinking skills, and connect across content areas. Be the teacher who creates memorable experiences that engage students in making their world a better place!

I Learn, I Do, I Teach, WE DO! (6-12)
Presenter: Chelsea McWain

We are in a changing environment where students are transitioning from being told what to do to how to do it. It is often difficult to step back and watch students struggle through control. We will discuss how to implement student interdependence into the classroom.

Teaching and Monitoring Collaboration (6-12)
Presenters: Tracy Merica & Danielle Wall
Collaboration is a 21st century skill our students must acquire, but how do we directly instruct and incorporate these skills into our science classroom? This session will show you how to teach and monitor collaboration in your cooperative groups.

Accommodations for Students with Dysgraphia in STEAM (K-12)
Presenter: Lynn Larsen
Students with dysgraphia, or writing disabilities, often struggle with many aspects of curriculum in STEAM classes. Common problems related to dysgraphia include illegible handwriting/numeration, disorganized computation leading to miscalculations, and difficulties with organizing written responses. This workshop will provide an overview of these problems, supportive technology, and appropriate accommodations.

4:00 – 5:00 PM

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
Presenters: Cory Kavanagh and Jon Oosterman
Bring your walking shoes to discover evidence of STEAM all around you with a downtown stroll of Grand Rapids. We’ll take you on an insider’s tour of downtown Grand Rapids’ hot spots including the Medical Mile, Calder Plaza, the Blue Bridge, and more!

Torn Paper Collage
Presenter: Terra Tarango
Learn how to create distinctive images using torn pieces of magazine paper. Choose from a wide variety of sample ideas or create your own design. All materials provided, and no artistic experience necessary! Come with a willingness to try something new; leave with a card or wall-hanging you’ll love!

6:00 – 10:00 PM

Dinner & Cocktails on Us… featuring Pitch Tank
Conference attendees are invited to a fantastic dinner with signature school-themed cocktails—who’s in the mood for a “Snow Day?”—at New Holland Brewing Company’s Grand Rapids location, The Knickerbocker. Dinner and cocktail tickets are included with your registration, but you will need to reserve your seat prior to the engagement. This event will feature our Pitch Tank competition with teachers presenting their ideas to transform their classrooms for a chance to win up to $5,000!

Tuesday Sessions | Lessons to Support Inquiry-Based STEAM Content
9:30 – 10:30 AM

Trashy Gliders: Exploring Elements of Flight through Building (K-5)
Presenter: Andy Losik
There is a big difference between learning about science and DOING science. In our elementary STEM program students conduct experiments by following testing protocols while discovery the elements of flight. Learn the processes we follow while building and flying gliders made from 3D printed parts.

This STEM stuff is “For The Birds”! (K-5)
Presenter: Jodi Sikema
The outdoors is a great place for teachers and students to partner in “We Wonder” activities. Let me show you the many (free) resources available through The Cornell Lab K-12 education that I have used to guide kids through the world of inquiry while getting them outside thinking like scientists, engineers, and mathematicians.

State of Sustainability (K-5)
Presenter: Paul Solarz
Help your students take an in-depth look at how your state is progressing on six of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) through STEAM activities, research, and the creation of a whole-class book! I’ll share the experiences of my 4th graders and give suggestions for implementation in your classroom.

Earth Science: Bringing the National Parks to the Classroom (6-12)
Presenter: Chelsea McWain
Earth and Space Science comes with such broad overarching concepts, and where is the best place to learn these things? Sure, the national parks may be far away, but why not create them in your own classroom?

STEAM Ahead Engineering Vehicles: Designing More than Just Cars (6-8)
Presenters: Susan Koppendrayer & Amanda Ervin
Students love to build and test moving vehicles. In this seminar, participants use a Makerspace model to design and build bobsleds, cars, gliders, and boats to teach physical science principles in the middle school classroom.

Engaging Students in PTC Genetics (9-12)
Presenter: Rebecca Brewer
Want to incorporate model development around a case study into your biology course? Looking for a faster, simpler approach to doing electrophoresis? Join us for a hands-on investigation using the MiniOne system that challenges students to construct explanations of the biology behind bitter-taste perception.

Capturing Student Voice with Flipgrid and SeeSaw (K-12)
Presenter: Peter Grostic
Student reflection is vital to solidify new learning. Come discuss how to leverage technology to capture student reflections! Tools include Flipgrid, a video discussion tool, and SeeSaw, an online journal. Participants will experience each tool and discuss applications for the classroom.

10:45 – 11:45 AM

The Art in Life (K-5)
Presenter: Kathy Mohr
“Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me, I’ll remember. Involve me, I’ll understand.” In this session, we will focus on life science projects…that aren’t alive. Join me for this make and take session that will help you to put some “life”in your lessons.

Meet Some Nature Engineers (K-5)
Presenter: Jodi Sikema
The animal kingdom has some amazing engineers. Come meet some of those creative creatures and try out a few design challenges as we talk about connecting STEM to the natural world.

Implementing STEAM Like a PIRATE (K-5)
Presenter: Paul Solarz
Participants will discover how to implement STEAM units & activities in a student-led classroom that focuses on the six tenets of “Learn Like a PIRATE”: (1) Peer-to-Peer Collaboration, (2) Improvement Focus, (3) Responsibilities, (4) Active Learning, (5) Twenty-first Century Skills, and (6) Empowerment. Examples from 4th and 5th grade will be provided.

Parachute Design Challenge (6-12)
Presenters: Susan Koppendrayer & Amanda Ervin
Drop in on this hands-on inquiry lab and be challenged to design the best parachute, just as your students would be. In addition to designing a parachute, you will see how to incorporate student choice, discourse and collaboration among your students, as they think critically about their parachute.

From Cookbook to Inquiry: How to Make Your Labs more Inquiry-Based (6-8)
Presenters: Danielle Wall & Tracy Merica
We know that inquiry is the best way to teach science and most professional development presentations stress the importance of it and what inquiry instruction is; however, we are not shown how to make our instruction more inquiry based. This session will show you how to take any cookbook lab and make it more inquiry-based.

Teaching Coding for Teachers Who Aren’t Coders (9-12)
Presenters: Joe Phillips, Gerry Verwey & Rick Mushing
Learn how to quickly get students coding actual websites or video games even if you don’t have any programming experience yourself.

It’s Never too Early to STEAM (K-12)
Presenter: Chelsea McWain
Engineering is a term that is hot in the high schools right now, but what if you could get your kindergartener learning the process? We will go through a unit that is learned first in kindergarten and progresses through middle school to show that engineering is applicable at all ages!

1:00 – 2:00 PM

STEAM + StoryWalks = A Perfect Match (K-5)
Presenter: Alicia Ray
Are your students’ eyes glazed over before you even get started? Get them up and moving! Discover how I got our students pumped for class and asking for more with StoryWalks and STEAM. Leave with a plan to implement immediately!

Keepin’ it Real: A Practical Approach to Connecting your Students with the World (K-5)
Presenter: Jamie MacPherson & Ben Talsma
We all know the importance of finding authentic audiences for student work. But how can busy teachers find the time to create and implement lessons that break out of the classroom walls and have a powerful impact on their communities? Come with a willingness to inspire authentic learning, leave with strategies and tools to make it happen.

Evolution Activities that Examine the Evidence (6-12)
Presenter: Rebecca Brewer
Explore the use of interactive evolution manipulatives and engaging kits that get students figuring out evolutionary concepts, while enjoying learning. Emphasis will be on “designed to discover” evolution activities.

Helping Students to Think and Act Like Scientists! (6-8)
Presenter: Susan Koppendrayer
Science fair and the NGSS are a perfect pair. Learn how the science fair provides students with an established outlet for hands-on inquiry and real science and engineering practice that integrates CCSS and NGSS.

Showering on Mars: Utilizing Solar Power to Heat Water (9-12)
Presenter: Cory Kavanagh & Jon Oosterman
Explore the challenges of living on Mars, and have your students be part of the solution! Design, test, and build a solar water heater to be used on the red planet. Work within the proposed criteria and constraints to successfully heat water to shower where no one has taken a shower before! Learn additional real-world applications of solar power to share future possibilities of this renewable resource with your students.

Doing STEAM with Empathy for Others (9-12)
Presenter: Chelsea McWain
STEAM is a key topic for educators all over the world, but can we teach our kids that engineering is both fun for us and helpful for others? Let’s talk about building empathy in the STEAM world.

2:30 – 3:30 PM

Oil Spill! Inquiry and Engineering in the 3-5 Classroom (K-5)
Presenter: Ben Talsma
Disaster! An intraplate earthquake has ruptured an oil pipeline on the Grand River and put our drinking water — the key component in our incredible beer — at risk! Put your engineering skills to the test to design a solution while discovering how inquiry-based science and engineering can make learning come alive in YOUR classroom! Come with a willingness to inspire critical and creative thinking; leave with strategies to make it happen.

Blow Your House Down! Inquiry and Engineering in the K-2 Classroom (K-5)
Presenter: Jamie MacPherson
I’ll huff and I’ll puff…. Will your house be left standing? Put your creative and critical thinking skills to the test as you design and build a home strong enough to withstand the forces of air. While doing so, discover how inquiry-based science and engineering can engage your students and capture their imaginations. Join us for this fun-filled session and leave with strategies to inspire creativity, curiosity, and critical thinking in your classroom.

Citizen Science and NGSS (6-12)
Presenter: Susan Koppendrayer
Hear how citizen science provides students with an established outlet for real scientific practice and application that meets the NGSS. Participants will view web resouces, sample lessons, and learn to integrate real-life science into their existing lessons and units.

Teaching Coding for Teachers Who Aren’t Coders (6-8)
Presenter: Joe Phillips, Gerry Verwey & Rick Mushing
Learn how to quickly get students coding actual websites or video games even if you don’t have any programming experience yourself.

Gone with the Wind: Turbines and the Future of Energy (9-12)
Presenter: Cory Kavanagh & Jon Oosterman
“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” We do need to care about where our energy comes from and its impact on our environment. Energy should not be gone with the wind, but harnessed from it! Explore wind energy as a possible solution and discover how to build a wind turbine using everyday materials. Learn different real-world applications of wind energy that can be brought to life in your classroom.

Stop Creating Lesson Plans: Start Creating Learning Experiences (K-12)
Presenter: Randy Schregardus
Engage your students to think and act like scientists and engineers. Be the teacher that transforms everyday lesson plans into authentic, memorable learning experiences with inquiry-focused instruction. Come with a willingness to inspire learning; leave with strategies and tools to make it happen.

Rashell Bowerman

Rashell Bowerman is an educational consultant with the Michigan Department of Education. With an emphasis in the areas of instruction and intervention, her position allows her to support Michigan’s school districts as they strive to improve achievement for all students. Previous positions held include teaching at the university level as well as within the K-12 public education system. Her strong background in special education supports work at the department with initiatives such as multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS), competency-based pathways (CBP), and the personal curriculum (PC) among others.

Rebecca Brewer

Rebecca Brewer teaches AP and 9th grade biology in southeastern Michigan. She co-authored a high school biology textbook called Biology Now, works for a biotechnology company, and creates educational digital resources for Science Friday and PBS NewsHour Extra. Rebecca is also the director of Michigan’s Outstanding Biology Teacher Award program, and a former honoree. She also serves as a teacher ambassador for the National Center for Science Education and for the Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science.

Amanda Ervin

Amanda Ervin is a middle school teacher in Phoenix, AZ. After spending three years teaching 4th grade, she has spent the last 13 years teaching 7th and 8th grade science, math, art, and computers. She is always seeking ways to better engage her students in ways that require them to use the concepts they are learning.

Greg Finke

Dr. Greg Finke has been the principal of Independence Elementary School in the Lakota Local School District near Cincinnati for the past 16 years. As an educationally progressive school, Dr. Finke has led his team in the development of a STEAM Lab, MAKERSPACE, Innovation Lab, and various flexible seating and meeting options for students. Additionally, the school has been in the forefront of innovative education practices focused around student voice and choice, while still maintaining educational excellence on state and district assessments.

Peter Grostic

Peter Grostic is the director of professional learning for Communications by Design. He partners with schools to create and implement professional development plans around educational technology, project-based learning, and mindfulness. He has presented at many conferences including MACUL, ISTE, and Edmodocon.

Cory Kavanagh

Cory Kavanagh’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. 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. Previous experiences include assistant dean at Calvin College and vice principal at Immanuel Christian School and Durham Christian High.

Lynn Larsen

Dr. Larsen earned licenses in elementary, music, and special education from Calvin College. She earned her Master’s degree from Purdue University and her doctorate in Special Education from the University of Maryland after teaching special education. She has been faculty at Brandman University since 2004. She was a coach for Odyssey of the Mind, an international creativity program, for ten years. She has served as volunteer state director for SoCal OM for six years.

Andy Losik

Andy Losik is an elementary STEM teacher in Hamilton, Michigan. During his career he’s been recognized as an Apple Distinguished Educator, a Google Certified Innovator, and as Michigan’s Technology Teacher of the Year in 2009. Andy also loves designing and leading professional learning experiences for teachers across the country.

Jamie MacPherson

Jamie MacPherson has 13 years experience teaching elementary students. Over that time, she has taught developmental kindergarten, kindergarten, and 4th grade. During her teaching experience, Jamie worked closely with VAEI as her school transformed their science programs to meet the needs of 21st century learners. She is an enthusiastic adopter of inquiry-based instruction.

Dawn McCotter

Dawn McCotter has devoted over 12 years to teaching high school earth science, physics, astronomy, and project science. During her tenure, Dawn has worked with diverse learners from various academic and personal backgrounds. She started her career as a Science Olympiad coach and proceeded to become heavily involved in curriculum and instruction for the district. She served as a district Design Team Chair for eight years.

Chelsea McWain

Chelsea McWain is an alumnus of Aquinas College, with degrees in biology and physics and a secondary teaching certification. She gathered her passion for experiential-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 found her niche in creating passion for science in all grade levels.

Tracy Merica

Tracy Merica has 24 years of experience teaching middle school science. She served as an educational consultant with Ohio State University and trained a cohort of teachers on inquiry-based learning. She is proud to have started an all-girl Energy team which has won local, state, and national awards for their work in clean energy.

Annika Miller

Annika Miller is a 6th grade science teacher at Goshen New Tech Middle School in Goshen, IN, for the past four years. Before that, she taught english in Barcelona for a year. She has experience teaching english language arts, social studies, math and science.

Kathy Mohr

Kathy Mohr started teaching elementary as a mother of three, added a girl and earned a MAT. She has taught a middle School science and english language arts, as well as every elementary level with the exception of kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades. Currently she teaches music and art, but for what she’s done that’s just a start! Health, STEAM, Musical Theater to Mime, she also wrote for Elementary Science for the State’s MiClimb. Kathy served on Genesee County’s Science Leadership team, presenting at 2018’s “On the Grand” was quite a dream!

Rick Mushing

Associates in Bible and Church Ministry- from William Tyndall College was Kathy’s first degree. Bachelors in El. Ed- U of M, Marygrove College- MAT, Kathy’s been teaching 24 years at (Burton) Bentley. She loves to make connections to make the learning fun and combining arts, literature, and science is what her plans have done.

Jon Oosterman

Coming soon…

Joe Phillips

Joe Phillips is an instructor at Kent Career Tech Center. He teaches Design Lab, a class focused on combining science, technology, engineering, and math with career exploration. He has been a classroom educator for over a decade. Prior to his career in education, he worked for Perrigo Company, a global pharmaceutical manufacturer. He is excited to combine his experience in industry and education to inspire students to explore their future.

Alicia Ray

Alicia Ray is a veteran educator of 13 years from North Carolina. She has taught Pre-K through 8th grade students and currently serves as a digital learning coach and media coordinator in a STEM magnet middle school. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Appalachian State University, a Master of Arts in Education in Instructional Technology and a Master of Library Science from East Carolina University. She blogs frequently at aliciaray.com and is active on Twitter as @iluveducating.

Randy Schregardus

Randy Schregardus offers 27 years of teaching experience with a diversity of students—disadvantaged to gifted and talented—including 16 years teaching middle school general science, earth science, and space science; 4 years teaching high school earth science, biology, and physics; and 7 years teaching biodiversity and human health at VAEI. As an early adopter of inquiry-based teaching methods, Randy brings inquiry-based learning into the classroom and demonstrates real-world connections of material to the world beyond the classroom.

Paul Solarz

Paul Solarz has been teaching at Westgate Elementary School in Arlington Heights since 1999. He is a vocal advocate for student-centered teaching practices and a focus on twenty-first century skills attainment. His students spend time each week pursuing personal interests during Passion Time (a.k.a. Genius Hour) and maintain personal ePortfolios of their work in class. Paul published a book entitled, “Learn Like a PIRATE,” which gives teachers ideas for empowering students to collaborate and become stronger leaders while effectively leading the classroom. In 2015, he was named a Top 50 Finalist for the Varkey GEMS Global Teacher Prize, and was also named the 2014 Educator of the Year by Illinois Computing Educators.

Ben Talsma

Ben Talsma spread a love of learning to students from kindergarten through sixth grade over the course of 15 fabulous years in the classroom. He built a STEAM program at his school to cultivate the next generation of builders, makers, and creators. He also started a chess club, led teams for Destination Imagination, edited the student newspaper, and coached Cross Country and Track and Field for K–12 students. He was honored to be a semifinalist for Teacher of the Year in 2018.

Terra Tarango

Terra Tarango is an accomplished executive in the education industry with more than 15 years of experience in educational publishing and services. Prior to joining VAI, Terra served as president of SDE, one of the largest providers of professional development for pre-K through 12th grade educators in the U.S. Before that, she developed award-winning print and digital curriculum with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the largest educational publisher in the nation. She is an expert in instructional climate and culture and has devoted her career to increasing curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking in the classroom.

Gerry Verwey

Gerry Verwey serves as a career readiness consultant, STEM consultant, and program director for a new teacher mentorship program at Kent ISD. In his role as a career readiness consultant, Gerry works with local educators to integrate career exploration and soft skills into their classrooms. As a STEM consultant, he provides STEM curriculum training, development, and implementation services for K-12 educators. He was a science teacher for 16 years, most recently at Kent Innovation High. He has been nominated for the Michigan Teacher of the Year, Michigan Science Teacher of the Year, and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science.

Danielle Wall

Danielle Wall is an intervention specialist at Graham Middle School in St. Paris, Ohio. Her career began as a middle school science and social studies teacher until realizing her heart belonged to special education. Regardless of her role, she continually advocates for the needs of all learners in any classroom setting through the use of inquiry-based learning and differentiated instruction.

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.

At Science on the Grand, We Celebrate Educators

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 Science on the Grand just for you. Registered attendees will receive email invitations to opt in to any or all of these optional experiences. All expenses are included with your registration.

Dinner & Cocktails On Us… featuring Pitch Tank

Monday, July 15, 2019 | 6:00 – 10:00 pm

Conference attendees are invited to a fantastic dinner with signature school-themed cocktails—who’s in the mood for a “Snow Day?”— at New Holland Brewing Company’s Grand Rapids location, The Knickerbocker. Dinner and cocktail tickets are included with your registration, but you will need to reserve your seat prior to the engagement. This event will feature our Pitch Tank competition with teachers presenting their ideas to transform their classrooms for a chance to win up to $5,000!

Sessions to Nurture Your Own Curiosity

Torn Paper Collage Workshop
Monday, July 15, 2019 | 4:00 – 5:00 pm
Presented by: Terra Tarango

Learn how to create distinctive images using torn pieces of magazine paper. Choose from a wide variety of sample ideas or create your own design. All materials provided, and no artistic experience necessary! Come with a willingness to try something new; leave with a card or wall-hanging you’ll love!

Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) Tour
Monday, July 15, 2019 | 4:00 – 5:00 pm
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
Monday, July 15, 2019 | 4:00 – 5:00 pm

Presenters: Cory Kavanagh and Jon Oosterman
Bring your walking shoes to discover evidence of STEAM all around you with a downtown stroll of Grand Rapids. We’ll take you on an insider’s tour of downtown Grand Rapids’ hot spots including the Medical Mile, Calder Plaza, the Blue Bridge, and more!

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 July 6, 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 July 6, 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!

*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

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.

Here’s what you missed at Science on the Grand 2018! Get a head start and register today for Science on the Grand 2019 coming July 15-16, 2019!

REGISTER FOR 2019 NOW!

Event Photos

VIEW ALBUM

Download conference handouts.
Watch your art installation come to life!

Taylor Mali’s Keynote Address

Calling All Presenters!

We are looking for dedicated professionals like yourself, who have a passion for authentic learning and/or STEAM education, to share their knowledge and expertise with fellow educators.

All presenters will receive:

  • A $150/session stipend
  • Free tuition to all conference sessions
  • All meals provided, including an offsite dinner on July 15th
  • A chance to share your best practices with hundreds of teachers

We ask that each potential presenter submit 2-4 session ideas based on topics provided for Day 1 and Day 2 of the conference. Day 1 topics focus on the development of a classroom culture that supports STEAM integration.  Day 2 topics focus on lessons that support inquiry-based STEAM content.  Each session will be one hour.

Day 1 Topics (Classroom Culture)

Project-based Learning Student Choice/Ownership
Critical Thinking Perseverance
Student Engagement STEAM Integration
Literacy and Science Connection Growth Mindset
Collaboration and Small Group Instruction Keeping Curiosity Alive
Social and Emotional Learning Classroom Management
Developing Student Independence and Self-direction Assessment/Grading/Homework
Discourse/Collaboration/Teamwork Or any other topic that fits within our Day 1 Classroom Culture theme

Click here to submit proposals for day 1 topics (Classroom Culture)

Day 2 Topics (Lessons that support inquiry-based STEAM content)

Grades K-5 Grades 6-8 Grades 9-12 Grades K-12
Life Science Life Science Biology NGSS Practices, Storylines, etc.
Earth and Space Science Earth and Space Science Chemistry NGSS 3-D Assessments
Physical Science Physical Science Earth and Space Science Coding Across the Sciences
Engineering Design Engineering Design Physics Tech Tools
    Engineering Design  
    Connecting STEAM to the Workplace  

Or any other topic that fits within our Day 2 STEAM content theme

Click here to submit proposals for day 2 session topics (STEAM content)

Please note, all session proposals must be received no later than March 1, 2019.

For more information, questions, or to submit a video to support your sessions proposals, please contact Dawn McCotter, Teacher Programs Manager at dawn.mccotter@vaei.org.

Two days, two great keynotes!

Monday, July 15, 2019

DAVE BURGESS
Teacher

New York Times best-selling author of Teach Like a PIRATE

Keynote: Teach Like a PIRATE!
Join New York Times best-selling author Dave Burgess for a high-energy, entertaining, and inspirational program that will transform the way you look at your role as an educator. Learn how to dramatically increase student engagement, design wildly creative lessons, and build a course that is a life-changing experience for your students. Using a unique combination of magic and humor, he will reignite your passion for the education profession and show you exactly how to make school an amazing place that has students wanting to knock down the walls to get in.

Teach Like a PIRATE has sparked a full-scale revolution in the educational world and has inspired teachers from all over the globe to achieve new levels of excellence in their schools and classrooms. This program is your chance to experience the one-of-a-kind presentational style of unbelievable intensity and outrageous energy that has transfixed audiences at packed venues across the nation.

About Dave Burgess
Dave is an award-winning teacher from San Diego, highly sought after professional development speaker, and the author of Teach Like a PIRATE: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator. He has been voted a faculty standout for 17 consecutive years in categories such as Most Entertaining, Most Energetic, and Most Dramatic. In 2014 he was recognized by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences with the BAMMY award for Secondary School Teacher of the Year.

For more information on Dave Burgess, go to https://daveburgess.com.

Tuesday, July 16, 2018

Dr. Andrew Pospisilik
Director and professor at Van Andel Institute’s Center for Epigenetics

Keynote: Epigenetics and Future Scientists
Join Van Andel Institute’s lead investigator Andrew Pospisilik for an informative session on the latest research in epigenetics. Learn about the non-genetic mechanisms that make us different. Dr. Pospisilik will explain the genetic mechanisms that translate environmental factors into developmental and physiological differences that change our sensitivities as humans towards a disease, regardless of our genetic profiles.

In this program, Dr. Pospisilik will also bring a scientific perspective on how educators can best prepare students with the skills necessary to succeed in science, technology, engineering, and math careers. Educators will gain insight into what it’s actually like to think and act like a scientist.

About Dr. Andrew Pospisilik
Dr. J. Andrew Pospisilik is a leading expert in the study of how the epigenome regulates complex trait variation as well as disease susceptibility and heterogeneity. In 2018, Dr. Pospisilik joined Van Andel Research Institute as a director of its Center for Epigenetics and a founding member of its Metabolic and Nutritional Programming group. He is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, including the 2016 Novo Nordisk Helmholtz Young Investigator Award, the 2015 GSK Award for Basic Medical Research, the 2013 EASD Rising Star Award and the 2011 RISE1 Award from the Epigenesys Network of Excellence. He also is a member of the World Economic Forum faculty.

For more information on Dr. Andrew Pospisilik, go to https://pospisiliklab.vai.org/lead-investigator-pospisilik/.

Call for Presenters

Calling All Presenters!

We are looking for dedicated professionals like yourself, who have a passion for authentic learning and/or STEAM education, to share their knowledge and expertise with fellow educators.

All presenters will receive:

  • A $150/session stipend
  • Free tuition to all conference sessions
  • All meals provided, including an offsite dinner on July 15th
  • A chance to share your best practices with hundreds of teachers

The conference dates are July 15-16, 2019. We ask that each potential presenter submit 2-4 session ideas based on topics provided for Day 1 (July 15) and Day 2 (July 16) of the conference. Day 1 topics focus on the development of a classroom culture that supports STEAM integration.  Day 2 topics focus on lessons that support inquiry-based STEAM content.  Each session will be one hour.

Day 1 Topics (Classroom Culture)

Project-based Learning
Student Choice/Ownership

 

Critical Thinking
Perseverance

 

Student Engagement
STEAM Integration

 

Literacy and Science Connection
Growth Mindset

 

Collaboration and Small Group Instruction
Keeping Curiosity Alive

 

Social and Emotional Learning
Classroom Management

 

Developing Student Independence and Self-direction
Assessment/Grading/Homework

 

Discourse/Collaboration/Teamwork
Or any other topic that fits within our Day 1 Classroom Culture theme

 

Click here to submit proposals for day 1 topics (Classroom Culture)

Day 2 Topics (Lessons that support inquiry-based STEAM content)

Grades K-5
Grades 6-8
Grades 9-12
Grades K-12

 

Life Science
Life Science
Biology
NGSS Practices, Storylines, etc.

 

Earth and Space Science
Earth and Space Science
Chemistry
NGSS 3-D Assessments

 

Physical Science
Physical Science
Earth and Space Science
Coding Across the Sciences

 

Engineering Design
Engineering Design
Physics
Tech Tools

 

Engineering Design

 

Connecting STEAM to the Workplace

 

Or any other topic that fits within our Day 2 STEAM content theme

 

Click here to submit proposals for day 2 session topics (STEAM content)

Please note, all session proposals must be received no later than March 1, 2019.

For more information, questions, or to submit a video to support your sessions proposals, please contact Dawn McCotter, Teacher Programs Manager at dawn.mccotter@vaei.org.