The 2013 PTRA Leadership Institute was held in Portland, Oregon July 11-16 and included 3 very full days of learning about NGSS and STEM(agenda).
The first full day of activity was held at the wonderful Vernier facilities by the gracious hosts, David and Christine Vernier. We learned about using iOS devices in the classroom, how to use digital control units (DCU), as well as other engineering tools. Thank you to our PTRA session leaders: Michael Strange, Danielle Spate, Duane Merrill, and Lars Johnson. A big thank you to the Vernier staff for hosting us and helping with the workshop and a special thank you to Matt Washburn, Michele Perrin, and John Gastineau for their help in arranging the logistics.
Friday began with a special guest, Dr. Cary Sneider, Portland State University. The topic for the morning was NGSS and the distinction between science and engineering. Brett Sackett, from PASCO, extended the morning session as we used PASCO equipment and technology to design lessons appropriate for the classroom. The evening session, presented by Jan Mader, Lars Johnson, and Duane Merril, focused on specific lessons used in the Idaho State University workshops. Thank you to Dr. Sneider, Brett, Jan, Lars, and Duane for a great learning experience.
Saturday focused on engineering in the elementary classroom, more iOS devices, and quantum physics (presented by Perimeter Institute). Katya Denisova (http://releases.jhu.edu/tag/katya-denisova/), a PTRA who is currently working with John Hopkins University on a grant designed to implement engineering concepts in Baltimore Schools, guided PTRAs through scenarios she has designed for students in their program. Cathy Barthelemy (Fort Worth Museum of Science and History) also shared the work they have done in designing engineering camps for elementary students (engineering academy).
On Tuesday, Kelli Key (from Texas Instruments) provided a short session on how to use the TI NSpire in the physics classroom. Although the session was brief, it was full of good tips and hands-on experiences and we hope to expand on the use of this powerful device in the science classroom.