Science in the Middle

doing 6th grade science – outside the box!

Starting a Science PLN

Today, my social media reminded me that 5 years ago today, I was notified of my acceptance as a NOAA Teacher at Sea! Being part of the 2012 Cohort was a defining moment in my teaching career and in beginning an ever expanding Professional Learning Network. Although I had tried to be a real-world-connections type science teacher, my NOAA Teacher at Sea research cruise opened up a whole universe of possibilities for the classroom.Sue with Stratus 12 in the background

Here’s how it went: I was intrigued by joining researchers on a ship to learn from them, and sharing that experience with students. In the application process, I had to consider how long I was willing to be away, in what regions of the world, and which areas of scientific research I was open to. I signed up with no limitations! About a month later, I found out I was going to South America and the Southeastern Pacific ocean on an atmospheric research cruise.

This is how my Twitter Handle @sueatsea was born! Although technology at the time did not allow me to live tweet from the R/V Melville, and Twitter was put on a back burner until a couple of years later, joining in the hard work and research was some great learning.

My start in reaching outside of my classroom to meet and learn from science contacts was a huge event that not everyone will have. However, there are many grants out there with organizations looking to partner with teachers to amplify STEM careers and connections. Becoming a member of NSTA or a local Science Teachers’ Organization will lead you to publications highlighting many grants in one location or publication. This one grant led to working in the NOAA Booth at NSTA in November, 2012; presenting at this conference; and connecting with National Weather Service and American Meteorological Professionals in the NOAA Booth. The following year, I was contacted to be a Teacher Co-Chair of WeatherFest 2014, recommended by a NWS meteorologist from the NSTA Conference. From there, many more opportunities seemed to present themselves. Winning a science grant puts you in the loop of finding out about so many more grants and opportunities.

More reachable yet, is Twitter itself. So many industries have education arms, outreach departments, and professionals ready to see what your students are doing and how they can help. Each week, I try to join in a twitter chat to meet new teachers and professionals and share ideas. I’ve obtained some of my best classroom resources there! And each week, browsing tweets and current events, I find at least one more person or organization to follow that could be a great resource or connection for my students.

I am so grateful for the opportunity from NOAA to pop the top on fresh enthusiasm (still going strong!) for the classroom and hope that other teachers will catch the same bug. Let’s grow together. See you on Twitter!IMG_5587


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