NATS Virtual Unconference

MONDAY April 6, 2020 @ 10am (Central)

TJ McKenna - Engaging & Accessible Phenomena for ALL

Google Slides of Presentation
Ambitious Science Teaching - Just In Time Teaching

Children love talking and reading science with people in their community. Often they are not only excited by the world around them but bursting with questions about the things they see that just don’t seem to make sense just yet. With the potential for students to be learning virtually or just spending more time at home, there is a need for everyone to be able to find high quality and engaging science phenomena to stimulate and encourage learning at home. We will focus on ways of bringing authentic science into our homes – without using a video or worksheet to fill the place of the great work in science that many teachers are already doing in K-12 classrooms.

TJ McKenna is a professor at Boston University, lead facilitator for NGSX ( and founder of

Tuesday April 7, 2020 @ 10am (Central)

Kate Henson - High School Storylines with Inquiry Hub Biology.

Chat Transcript
Google Slides
inquiryHub Website

Introduction to Teaching with inquiryHub Biology

In this session, educators will be introduced to the inquiryHub biology curriculum. We'll preview the storyline for Unit 1: Evolution and focus on the anchoring phenomenon routine as well as classroom discourse and assessment. 

Kate Henson is a former high school biology teacher who recently earned a PhD in science education. At inquiryHub she works to support educator use of high quality, three dimensional science curricula and pedagogy that facilitates equitable participation in science classrooms.

Wednesday April 8, 2020 @ 10am (Central)

Okhee Lee - Convergences and Divergences Across Content Areas

Chat Transcript
PPT Slides

The presentation addresses cross-curricular connections across STEM and language education for all students, including English learners (ELs). While convergences across subjects are highlighted, discrepancies also emerge due to the tradition of subjects remaining in silos from one another. The presentation uses two disciplinary practices as examples to illustrate convergences and discrepancies across subjects: (1) develop and use models (e.g., physical, diagrammatic, mathematical, computational models) and (2) argue from evidence based on claim, evidence, and reasoning. The presentation closes with a call for STEM and language education to harness affordances presented by convergences while addressing tensions presented by discrepancies productively for all students including ELs.

Okhee Lee is an award-winning education scholar committed to reform. She is widely known for advancing research, policy, and practice that simultaneously promote science and language learning for all students, including English learners.  Dr. Lee has previously been the Keynote Speaker for the NATS Fall Conference.

Thursday April 9, 2020 @ 10am (Central)

Abe Lo - Instructional Routines and Strategies to Support Coherent Student Learning

Google Slides
Weather Unit Storyline
Storyline Planning Tool

This session has two main goals: 1) To share instructional routines and strategies that could be useful for supporting coherent, phenomenon-driven science learning and 2) To share principles and tools that can be used to design NGSS Storyline units.

Abe Lo is a Science Educator at BSCS Science Learning, whose expertise involves designing research-driven innovations to support meaningful science teaching and learning.

Friday, April 10, 2020 @ 10am (Central)

Kathy Renfrew - Using Phenomenon in the Elementary Classroom

Google Slides
Shared Models
Phenomenon Template for Families

Kathy Renfrew is an Elementary Educator who has made it a mission to help others learn about using phenomenon-driven units.  She is currently a field editor and adviser to NSTA, an Ed Reports reviewer, and an Education Specialists at the Wade Institute for Science Education.  Ms. Renfrew is also a committee co-chair for the Council of State Science Supervisors.

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