Nancy Ledbetter

STEM Specialist @ International School @ Gregory

    1. 50-minute breakout session
      Presentation Title: Rockets to the Rescue

Abstract: Finding ways to use the Engineering Design Process in the classroom while still meeting standards based goals and objectives can be a challenge. Using free NASA resources and inexpensive or recycled materials provides a myriad of opportunities for engaging, content focused, engineering design challenges. This hands-on session will provide participants with tools and strategies to use the engineering design process successfully in their classes. This session has three main objections. First, to give teachers knowledge of STEM resources that are free and relevant to their curriculum. Second, to provide teachers a hands-on opportunity to learn how to build and use different types of rockets across grade levels and content areas. Third, to give teachers a solid understanding of the engineering design process and how it can be used across the curriculum. Participants will have an opportunity to experience hands-on problem-solving as they follow the design process to respond to challenges. Pop rockets, foam rockets, and straw rockets can be used to engage students of any ability level. Each challenge will have participants using science and math in an engaging and understandable context. The activities can be adapted to any classroom at any level. These challenges are also easily related to events in the news. Participants will have a chance to see how these activities were inspired by lessons from NASA and other resources; and how these resources can be adapted so students can utilize the engineering design process and 21st Century Skills.

    1. 50-minute breakout session
      Presentation Title: Math is a Foreign Language
      Abstract: Math is the language of Science, Technology, and Engineering. It is an integral part of STEM. However, for many people math is a struggle because they truly do not understand the language of math. For these people, the teacher might as well be speaking in a foreign language and they are in desperate need of a way to translate math into something understandable. STEM puts math in a context where it makes sense. Students who were previously clueless can experience that AHA moment that lets what they are learning about fall into place when the math is taught within STEM challenges. It can sometimes be difficult to know if students can actually apply the math concepts they are learning. STEM allows students to put their math to use and the Lesh Translation Model is a great tool for assessment. It is time to apply a different lens to the teaching of math, because it is a language and it needs a proper context. Those who attend this presentation will have a chance to experience math taught in context and walk away with strategies they can use in their classrooms no matter what grade level they teach.

Biography: Nancy Ledbetter is an educator with 30 years teaching experience. Her current position is as a STEM Specialist in a K-8 magnet school. She has taught at the community college, high school, middle school, and elementary school levels. Her degrees include an A.S. in Computer Engineering, B.S. in Political Science, and in Journalism, M.Ed. in Secondary Education, and in STEM K-8, and has recently completed her doctorate in STEM K-8.