Sue Hall

STEM coordinator/instructor @ Nova Southeastern UniversityFt. Lauderdale

Presentation Title: Bringing the Outdoors In: Ecosystems in a Bottle

Abstract: On a cold, windy, winter’s day in Chicago, it is difficult to take your class outside to observe aquatic and terrestrial habitats. The solution is to bring the outside in! In this breakout session, participants will learn how to build an aquaterrium, an aquarium/terrarium hybrid. Using this aquaterrium, students can observe the interactions of water and land, model the water cycle, understand the concepts of niches and more. Use of the aquaterrium encompasses all core disciplines (Life, Earth/Space and Physical Sciences) and cross-cutting concepts, as put forth by the Next Generation Science Standards. In addition, the aquaterrium provides students with exposure to all eight science and engineering practices. These practices include:

  1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
  2. Developing and using models
  3. Planning and carrying out investigations
  4. Analyzing and interpreting data
  5. Using mathematics and computational thinking
  6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
  7. Engaging in argument from evidence
  8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

This project-based, hands-on curriculum provides students with the tools necessary to study ecosystems first-hand. The lessons are easily adapted for all grade levels. Other ecosystems will also be discussed and modeled. Participants will leave with instructions for building the aquaterrium, lesson plans for use and student handouts. No matter what the weather, we can bring the outside in!

Biography: Sue Hall is a Middle School STEM teacher at King Philip Middle School, Norfolk, Massachusetts and a doctoral candidate at Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Through her concentration in STEM Education, Mrs. Hall collaborates on numerous projects integrating all the STEM disciplines at all grade levels. She is currently writing a curriculum to integrate more engineering and technology activities into the new Massachusetts Science Curriculum and Technology/Engineering Framework. She collaborates with PTC, Inc, a software company in Needham, Massachusetts, to bring 3D modeling to classes and instruct teachers in the writing of STEM curriculum. Mrs. Hall works for Camp Reach, an all-girls STEM camp at the prestigious Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she writes curriculum and aides seventh grade girls using STEM to solve community problems. In her spare time, she enjoys participating in STEM activities with her granddaughter Bella, age 3.