Science on the Grand 2019

Registration Cost:

Aug – Dec 31, 2018: $125

Jan 1 – May 31, 2019: $150

June 1 – July 15, 2019: $225





Pitch Tank


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 other 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)

Registration includes:

  • Two days of inspiration, exploration, and practical takeaways.
  • Opportunities to network with like-minded teachers.
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

Register today!

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

* With the paid registration of a staff member, a principal from the same building may attend for FREE.

Two days, two great keynotes!

Monday, July 15, 2019

Dave Burgess

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

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

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

Keynote: Epigenetics and Future Scientists
Join Van Andel Institute’s Director of the Center for Epigenetics 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

When & Where

Monday, July 15–Tuesday, July 16, 2019
7:30 AM–3:30 pm*

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

*Optional sessions and events to support personal growth and enjoyment will be offered beyond 3:30 pm. Details coming soon!

Hotel Accommodations

Hotel prices coming soon. May we suggest the following hotel options:

   Homewood Suites by Hilton
   161 Ottawa Ave. NW
   Grand Rapids, MI 49503
   0.6 miles away
   Phone:  1.616.451.2300
   Rates: $179/night + tax. Rate good through June 1, 2019 

   Courtyard by Marriott
   11 Monroe Ave. NW
   Grand Rapids, MI 49503
   0.9 miles away
   Phone: 877.901.6632
   Rates: $179/night + tax. Rate good through June 14, 2019

   JW Marriott
   235 Louis St. NW
   Grand Rapids, MI 49503
   0.4 miles away
   Phone:  616.242.1500
   Rates: $199/night + tax. Rate good through June 14, 2019


Free parking available in the GRCC lot on the corner of Bostwick and Lyon. Validation cards will be distributed at registration.


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

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, 2019. Entries may be sent to 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 2019. 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, 2019.
  3. If selected as a finalist, present your case to a panel of judges in front of a live audience on July 15, 2019!

*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!

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

Registration includes…

  • Two days of inspiration, exploration, and practical take aways.
  • Opportunities to network with like-minded teachers.
  • Breakfast, lunch, and a special dinner!

Individual Tuition

  • August–December 31, 2018: $125
  • January 1–May 31, 2019: $150
  • June 1–July 15, 2019: $225 

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.

Highlights from Science on the Grand 2018:
Event Photos:

Watch your art installation come to life!
Taylor Mali’s Keynote Address:
Gentry Lee’s Keynote Address: