Andrea Atkinson (Media Specialist): VMI Stem Conference

Andrea Atkinson attended the VMI Stem Conference, October 6-7, 2015 at the Virginia Military Institute:

I am very grateful for having had the opportunity to attend the 2015 VMI Stem Conference. The conference was opened by Dr. Jeff Goldstein, a NASA Astrophysicist and STEM educator. He was very informational and inspirational. He really helped me understand how important it is to break difficult concepts down for students. When we tell students the sun is a billion miles away, students are unable to comprehend, or visualize a billion. If we tell them it would take us 17 years to take an airplane to the sun, they can then do the math and figure out that they would be 44 years old if they were to take a trip to the sun and back. We are now friends on Twitter. I will continue to learn from him.

I went to a number of informational sessions presented by fellow educators, from whom I gathered many great ideas that I have already implemented with students. I also presented a session with Stephanie Passman. She shared information about using arduinos with students and I discussed information using Scratch in the elementary. The conference was closed by Dr. Arthur Benjamin, a Mathemagician! He was amazing. I learned that math can be fun. He has inspired me to maintain a more positive attitude towards mathematics in general. I have been infusing more mathematical thinking into my everyday teaching! Outside of the conference, I spent time with 3 teachers I hadn’t previously known. My PLN again increased and continue to learn and grow.
— Andrea Atkinson