Jul. 11  —  Jul. 12, 2022

Science on the Grand 2022

Science on the Grand honors the person and the profession!

We know teachers have the most important job in the world; that’s why we support the whole teacher. This conference was designed by experts and current classroom teachers to provide research-based, classroom-tested, and inquiry-oriented content that supports your classroom expectations, your content standards, and you as a person.

Join us in creating a classroom culture that supports STEAM instruction while also nurturing your own curiosity for personal growth and enjoyment. And during some very challenging times, you’ll see that you’re not alone with many networking opportunities for you to engage with other teachers by grade level and content area.

Because teachers deserve it!

  • Establish a classroom culture to support STEAM instruction
  • Explore standards-aligned lessons by grade level with STEAM integration
  • Network with like-minded educators in your grade and interest area
  • Nurture your own curiosity and personal growth
  • Celebrate the amazing work you do!

Registration includes:

  • Two days of inspiration, exploration, and practical takeaways
  • Opportunities to network with like-minded teachers
  • Breakfast, lunch, snacks, and a happy hour reception
  • Free parking!

Bring a friend and share the experience! Plus, administrators can attend FREE!*

* With the paid registration of a staff member, an administrator from the same building may attend for free. To receive the free administrator offer, administrators must register by phone with the name of a paid registrant. Call 616-234-5528.

Two days, two great keynotes!

Monday, July 11, 2022

Erin Gruwell
Educator & Catalyst for Social Change and New York Times Best-Selling Author of The Freedom Writers Diary

Keynote: Becoming a Catalyst for Change

Erin Gruwell helped 150 of her students—many of whom were written off by the education system—to use the power of education to write a book, graduate from high school and attend college. In her inspiring presentation, Gruwell tells the story of this extraordinary journey—from poverty and despair to hope and promise—with stops at Anne Frank’s House and Auschwitz and then on to Capitol Hill and Congress. She challenged her students to overcome the seemingly insurmountable problems of poverty, racism, and violence. Encouraging tolerance, respect, and cooperation, Gruwell teaches us all how we can become role models and “Catalysts for Change.”

About Erin Gruwell
Erin Gruwell is a teacher, an author, and the founder of the Freedom Writers Foundation. By fostering an educational philosophy that values and promotes diversity, Erin transformed her students’ lives. She encouraged them to re-think rigid beliefs about themselves and others, reconsider daily decisions, and ultimately re-chart their futures. Erin and her students captured their collective journey in The Freedom Writers Diary. Erin founded the Freedom Writers Foundation where she currently teaches educators around the world how to implement her innovative lesson plans into their own classrooms. She created the Freedom Writers Methodology, a progressive teaching philosophy and curricula designed to achieve excellence from all students. Erin continues to fight for equality in education and inspires teachers and students all over the world with her work.

For more information on Erin Gruwell, go to http://www.freedomwritersfoundation.org.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Matt Steensma, M.D.
Associate Professor, Skeletal Disease and Cancer Therapeutics

Keynote: Orthopaedics and Future Scientists
Join Dr. Matt Steensma—surgeon and scientific investigator in the Center for Skeletal Disease and Cancer Therapeutics at Van Andel Institute for Research—as he shares scientific insight around the surgical treatment of primary and metastatic tumors of the musculoskeletal system. Learn about the unique sub-specialty of orthopaedic oncology and the work being done to improve the lives of patients with bone, muscle, fat and nerve tumors. In this program, Dr. Steensma will also bring a scientific perspective on how educators can influence and inspire the next generation of scientists. Educators will gain insight into what it’s actually like to “think and act like a scientist.”

About Matt Steensma, M.D.
Dr. Matthew Steensma is one of the world’s leading orthopaedic experts in the study of surgical management of musculoskeletal tumors. Dr. Steensma is a graduate of the musculoskeletal surgical oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He is a surgeon-scientist with an interest in sarcoma biology and has faculty appointments with Van Andel Institute for Research and Michigan State University School of Human Medicine. In 2014, Dr. Steensma was named as one of the winners of the inaugural Francis S. Collins Scholars Program in Neurofibromatosis Clinical and Translational Research.

For more information on Dr. Matt Steensma, go to https://steensmalab.vai.org/lead-investigator/.

Monday, July 11, 2022

7:00 – 8:00 AM: Breakfast

8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

 

Keynote: Becoming A Catalyst for Change

Erin Gruwell

Erin Gruwell helped 150 of her students—many of whom were written off by the education system—to use the power of education to write a book, graduate from high school and attend college. In her inspiring presentation, Gruwell tells the story of this extraordinary journey—from poverty and despair to hope and promise—with stops at Anne Frank’s House and Auschwitz and then on to Capitol Hill and Congress. She challenged her students to overcome the seemingly insurmountable problems of poverty, racism, and violence. Encouraging tolerance, respect, and cooperation, Gruwell teaches us all how we can become role models and “Catalysts for Change.”

9:30 – 10:30 AM

 

STEAM Like a PIRATE

(Grade Level K–5)

Paul Solarz

Set sail on a grand STEAM adventure in this session where participants learn how to make their teaching memorable, meaningful, and fun! Teachers will discover how to implement STEAM units & activities in a student-centered classroom that focuses on the six tenets of “Learn Like a PIRATE”. Examples from 4th and 5th grade will be provided.

 

Do You Want to Build a Snowman? Using Pop Culture to Increase Student Interest

(Grade Level 6–8)

Jeanine Wilson

Discover how to create engaging lesson plans with a pop culture twist! In this session, we’ll draw inspiration from movies, cartoons, and games to enhance existing lessons that meet your learning standards and content needs. Bring your science plan with you and leave with strategies to help your students excel!

 

Soil with Soul: Place-Based Learning in HS Science Education

(Grade Level 9–12)

Emily Umbarger

There is no better way to learn about the world around us than by actively engaging with our natural environment. Learn how students in one Agricultural Science class used the newly created, grant-funded, RB Annis Botanical Laboratory and community garden to explore regenerative agriculture. This session will demonstrate how students can dig deep, learn about soil, and so much more!

 

Two Keys to Student Engagement: Credibility and Relatedness

(Grade Level K–12)

Peter Grostic

Working to engage students is a career-long project for educators, but what if there was a way to make it a little easier? Join us as we learn about the two keys to student engagement and receive practical strategies that you can start implementing tomorrow!

10:45 – 11:45 AM

 

Blended Learning: Incorporating Technology Into the Modern Day Classroom

(Grade Level K–5)

Betsy Weston

Do you struggle with incorporating technology into your everyday classroom? If so, this session is the one for you! Based on the four blended-learning models identified by The Christensen Institute, this session will help you find practical ways of providing students with meaningful AND engaging experiences using technology.

 

Building Engineering into your Curriculum!

(Grade Level 6–8)

Jon Oosterman
Randy Schregardus

Engineering can feel like a separate unit or idea you have to teach. But did you know engineering can help you engage your students, differentiate instruction, nurture scientific skills, all while integrating seamlessly into your current instruction? In this interactive session, you will explore a research-based engineering model that integrates a process of engineering design with a rich learning environment while nurturing scientific habits of mind. Be ready to think creatively and critically as you get hands-on with an engineering design challenge and leave with practical strategies and resources that work for you! Are you up for the challenge?

 

Water, Water, Everywhere, Nor Any Drop to Drink

(Grade Level 9–12)

Gregory Dykhouse

Can our students provide solutions to global challenges? In this session, we’ll explore how teachers and students can work together to understand the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Participants will brainstorm ways to build connections between classrooms and the greater community. Then, they’ll consider ways to encourage student interest in public policy, and devise strategies for building a better, more confident classroom.

 

Science IN the Grand: Linking Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Science to Real-World Learning

(Grade Level K–12)

Joseph Phillips
Eileen Boekestein

Looking to inspire students into becoming citizen scientists? In this session, we’ll discuss how to use free resources to gather data on local streams and watersheds and even upload these results for analysis by others. You’ll walk away with the knowledge to link chemistry and biology to student’s real-world learning!

11:45 AM – 1:00 PM: Lunch and Lunch Break Walk-and-Talks

1:00 – 2:00 PM

 

Make It Matter: Using PBL to Make Learning Memorable, Meaningful, and Fun!

(Grade Level K–5)

Paul Solarz

Curious about how PBL might work in your classroom? Or, looking for some pro tips on how to up the PBL game with your students? You won’t want to miss this session! Get practical and engaging strategies through the lens of two different PBL units designed to put students at the center of their learning — all while making the world a better place.

 

STEM-gagement: Leveraging the Power of STEM in ANY Subject!

(Grade Level 6–8)

Jamie MacPherson
Ben Talsma

Teachers and students love STEM because of its power to engage students in hands-on, inquiry-based learning. In this session, you’ll discover practical, teacher-tested tips for using STEM principles to deepen student engagement in math, ELA, and social studies across the entire curriculum! Come ready for adventure, and leave with a basketful of ideas you’ll be excited to implement with your students.

 

Make it Phenomenal!

(Grade Level 9–12)

Sharifa Ned

Ready to let your students drive the lesson? Learn how you can use natural learning connections to help students own their learning. Join this session and be ready to teach phenomenonally with phenomenon!

 

What Were They Thinking! Strategies to Boost Student’s Critical and Creative Thinking Skills

(Grade Level K–12)

Terra Tarango

Unleash the creative problem-solver and the critical thinker in each of your students. Explore strategies that can be applied within the context of a lesson to deepen student understanding. Then discover activities that can be done at any time to enrich a thinking culture in the classroom. Leave with strategies and resources to use in your classroom right away.

2:15 – 3:15 PM

 

STEAM for ALL Language Learners

(Grade Level K–5)

Michael Bleyle

Have you ever wanted to learn how 3D design/printing and STEAM activities can empower students in the realm of language? In this session, we’ll cover how to model and apply both web-based and hands-on activities in a way that benefits language students of all levels. It’ll be the perfect stop for all things linguistic!

 

Middle School Engineering & Computer Science

(Grade Level 6–8)

Jeff Spisak

Uncover the joy of teaching Engineering and Computer Science to middle school students. Expose yourself to strategies with hands-on experience building and coding. Find out how to build simple and complex machines with VEX and how to code with ROBOTC and VEX Virtual Reality. Additionally, expand your teaching toolbox with ways to implement Microsoft micro:bit hardware and software into your classroom.

 

3D Modeling for the Life Sciences

(Grade Level 9–12)

Corey Kapolka

In this session, participants will learn how consumer-grade filament and resin 3D printers can be used to produce low-cost, high-quality models for Life Science classes. Browse through your choice of subjects including anatomical structures, proteins, and molecular models, as well as the processes for DNA translation and antibody-antigens.

 

Rest: Wonderful and Relational

(Grade Level K–12)

Graham Schultze

The last few years have been a wild ride for educators, and prioritizing weekly rest is now more important than ever. But how do we make time for ourselves in the midst of so many new challenges? And how do we strike a work-life balance that is both beneficial to our personal health and professional success? Join an important discussion and brainstorming session on how to build rest into our schedule in a way that enhances instruction and positively impacts our relationship with students.

Curiosity Hour 3:30 – 4:30 PM

 

Van Andel Institute for Research Tour

Marie Adams, Ph.D.
Rachael Sheridan, Ph.D

Ever wonder what a scientist does throughout their day? Are you interested in sharing those experiences with your students? Discover the ins and outs of life for a biomedical research scientist as you explore the inner workings of VARI, a research facility committed to determining the epigenetic, genetic, molecular, and cellular origins of cancer, Parkinson’s, and other diseases and translating those findings into effective therapies.

 

Exploring Grand Rapids: A STEAM Walk-About

Jon Oosterman
Randy Schregardus

Bring your walking shoes to discover evidence of STEAM all around you with a downtown stroll of Grand Rapids. We’ll take you on an insider’s tour of downtown Grand Rapids’ hot spots.

 

Doodle Does It

Terra Tarango

Whether you’re wanting to create a stunning piece of artwork or just give your mind a meditative rest, doodling just might be your new best friend. In this session, I’ll walk you through a simple process for creating doodle art. You can create a simple abstract or an intricate depiction of your favorite subject matter, the choice is yours. All skill levels welcome—really, EVERYONE can do it!

4:30 – 6:00 PM: Happy Hour Reception

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

7:00 – 8:00 AM: Breakfast

8:00 – 9:00 AM

 

Keynote: Orthopaedics and Future Scientists

Dr. Matt Steensma

Join Dr. Matt Steensma—surgeon and scientific investigator in the Center for Skeletal Disease and Cancer Therapeutics at Van Andel Institute for Research—as he shares scientific insight around the surgical treatment of primary and metastatic tumors of the musculoskeletal system. Learn about the unique sub-specialty of orthopaedic oncology and the work being done to improve the lives of patients with bone, muscle, fat and nerve tumors. In this program, Dr. Steensma will also bring a scientific perspective on how educators can influence and inspire the next generation of scientists. Educators will gain insight into what it’s actually like to “think and act like a scientist.”

9:30 – 10:30 AM

 

Making Progress through the Pandemic: Using Real-Life Experiences to Reignite Learning

(Grade Level K–5)

Jean Maala

Need help navigating the shifting world of post-pandemic teaching? Join us for a session where we explore ways to create realistic learning experiences and foster student growth after years of virtual-only lessons. Explore fun and valuable insight into the future of education!

 

ROVe the Great Lakes

(Grade Level 6–8)

Joy Argones

Dive into the science and history of the Great Lakes! Your middle school students can experience the engineering process, learn about maritime history, and participate in underwater exploration all while designing and testing their own Remotely Operated Vehicles. Join us to learn how you can bring this ROV adventure to your own classroom and help protect our Great lakes.

 

Reflectional Assessment Strategies

(Grade Level 9–12)

Laura Foreback
Dave Piggott
Fred Hingst

This session will explore options for both formative and summative assessment in an inquiry-based secondary science classroom. High school science teachers will share their experiences with alternative models for assessment, including self and peer evaluation and standards-based assessments.

 

Leveraging Technology to Capture Student Thinking Processes

(Grade Level K–12)

Peter Grostic

In this session, participants will learn how technology can support student thinking and showcase the process of learning. This session will showcase technology tools that help students both organize their thinking (Jamboard and Google Drawing) and present their processes of thinking (Google Sites and Recording Tools). Where applicable, participants will leave with templates they can use right away.

10:45 – 11:45 AM

 

Elementary Engineering: Using Environmental Issues to Teach Engineering Concepts

(Grade Level K–5)

Sara Syswerda

In this session, elementary teachers will think about how they can use local environmental issues as a catalyst to teach science content and engineering practices. Work through case studies of environmental engineering problems that align with the Michigan Science Standards and begin your plans for protecting the planet!

 

Inquiry and Enrichment at the Zoo…or In Your Own Classroom!

(Grade Level 6–8)

Chloe Becker

Discover how the John Ball Zoo keeps their animals physically and mentally active throughout the week. Participants will see how regular enrichment can encourage natural behaviors like swimming, climbing, and problem-solving. We’ll also showcase how animals respond through live animal demos paired with exciting pictures and videos.

 

Student-Driven PBL

(Grade Level 9–12)

Zach Ripley

During this session, participants will explore problem-based learning approaches to grow student ownership and creative problem-solving. Strategies will focus on students driving ideas and generating and sharing problems. These include using collaborative tools like Flipgrid and Google Slides/Jamboard for students to share and solve problems. Participants can expect an interactive session responsive to their teaching contexts.

 

The Science of Self-Discovery: Teaching Students Inquiry Skills in the Context of SEL

(Grade Level K–12)

Monica Hong-Steigner

SEL involves students engaging in science-driven metacognition. By opening their behavior and drives up to scientific inquiry, students can perceive metacognition as an integral part of their learning. Learn about the concept of metacognition within the context of SEL and explore effective tools and strategies educators can implement in the classroom.

11:45 – 1:00 PM: Lunch and Lunch Break Walk-and-Talks

1:00 – 2:00 PM

 

Differentiate with Digital Choice Boards

(Grade Level K–5)

Wendy Bockstahler

Choice is a very powerful motivator. Using Universal Design for Learning, join us in learning about and creating choice boards to differentiate instruction and actively engage students in selecting an activity which displays their understanding of the content. This is one fun session you won’t want to miss!

 

Techtonic Shifts: Jumping into the EdTech World

(Grade Level 6–8)

Jeanine Wilson

Many of us aren’t tech savvy, but that doesn’t mean we can’t shift our teaching just a bit to incorporate easy to use EdTech tools! Students enjoy using technology to show learning and you can too! Join us for a collaborative session where we take on the basics of tech learning and how we can explore new tools alongside our students.

 

Make It Stick: Using Inquiry in Tough Chem Concepts

(Grade Level 9–12)

Carl VanFaasen

In traditional Chemistry, lab experiences are shared with students after the concept has already been taught. A technique which simply confirms the concept they already knew. By employing the QPOEE Habit of Mind, flip a few traditional labs and use them as an exciting introduction to a new concept. Explore the concepts of Kinetics, Thermodyamics, and many more!

 

Argument Strategies in the Science Classroom

(Grade Level K–12)

Zach Ripley

Foster logic and rhetoric in your STEM lessons. Participants will explore strategies to engage students in collaborative debates and inquiry-focused arguments. Strategies will include Dave Stuart Jr.’s Pop-Up Debate, the Bracket Challenge, and more. The session will include adaptations for all grade levels.

2:15 – 3:15 PM

 

STEAM It Up! Engage Your Students through Science and Engineering, and So Much More

(Grade Level K–5)

Shayla Fountain

Come collaborate with fellow educators over the latest hands-on project-based STEAM learning! This presentation will challenge attendees to think outside the box as they learn how to effectively implement objective-based teaching with their students. There will also be a demonstration on how to create content language objectives with elementary standards to engage students within an enriching learning environment.

 

Building Community through PBL

(Grade Level 6–8)

Grace Kelley

Building classroom community is one of the most important ways to engage students and encourage life-long learning. Join us as we learn how to incorporate project-based learning strategies and social-emotional lessons to build a lasting connection among students of all ages.

 

Girl Power: Powerful Ways to Motivate Girls in STEM

(Grade Level 9–12)

Dawn McCotter
Erin Williams, Ph.D

Although there have been strides to reduce the STEM gender gap over the last 50 years, progress has been slow, with women making up only 28% of the STEM workforce. Recent career assessments have found that female high school juniors and seniors have remarkably higher aptitude for STEM careers than interest in their pursuit. How do we boost their interest to mirror their aptitude? In this session, we will share practical strategies and ideas to inspire and empower our future female scientists, engineers, and mathematicians to make their mark in these much needed fields.

 

Say Goodbye to Teacher Burnout

(Grade Level K–12)

Juliann Frangella

Right now educators are struggling. The teacher shortage in the US is at an alarming low, and many of us are stressed and burnt out. However, we cannot help others until we first take time to help ourselves! This presentation will focus on teacher trauma and how to help ourselves be well. Take this opportunity to stop, rest, and recharge!

I am a 5th and 6th grade science teacher in Wind Point, WI. I have taught in public, private, international and online schools for twenty-two years. I love problem based teaching and learning with my students. Experiencing that “A-ha!” moment is the best part of teaching!

Chloe Becker is a zoo educator at John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids. In the last seven years, she has worked with several other zoos, including Binder Park Zoo and Potter Park Zoo, and has a master’s in education from Michigan State University. She is passionate about making wildlife accessible to everyone, and helping people (especially children) form empathy for animals that are commonly seen as “less charismatic.”

Michael Bleyle (Bly-Lee) received his Doctor of Education and Master of Education at Olivet Nazarene University, focusing on STEM and ELL students. Michael has 16 years of teaching experience between 1st and 4th grade. He is currently a K-4 STEM instructor in a school district south of Chicago with a rapidly growing ELL population. Michael believes that STEM allows students to develop self-confidence while working outside their comfort zone in a controlled environment.

I am currently the Director of Technology Integration in a K – 8 district located in Midlothian, IL. Previous to this position, I was a Technology Coach and 2nd grade teacher for 8 years. My professional philosophy of student ownership & active participation includes finding ways to engage, enhance, and extend the learning of all children through meshing high impact teaching strategies and technology tools. I also hold Master’s Degrees in Educational Technology and in Educational Leadership.

Eileen is the Environmental Education Coordinator for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. She holds a BS in Environmental Biology from Cornerstone University and MS in Environmental Studies from Green Mountain College. Eileen has 15 years of experience in environmental education, science communication and civic engagement spanning nature centers, local and state government, and college classrooms. She is currently one of 30 CEE-Change Fellows with the North American Association for Environmental Education.

Hello! I am Gregory Dykhouse. The academic year 2021-2022 marks my twenty-sixth with Black River Public School. Our school is located a couple of blocks south of Hope College, in beautiful Holland, Michigan, home of the annual Tulip Festival in May. I lead high school freshmen, this year in person, in five sections of “The Big History Project: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity.” I also lead upper-class students in Advanced Placement: European History. I completed my Ph.D. in Theatre at Louisiana State University, my MA in German at Bowling Green State University, and my BA at the University of Michigan, where colleagues and I established German-language theatre productions, which remain staged annually at the Residential College. I serve as Mentor Leader with the OER Project (formally, “The Big History Project”) and table leader for scoring examinations in AP European History.

Laura taught math and science, primarily in middle school, for 19 years in DeWitt Public Schools before transitioning to her new role as STEM Academic Specialist for the district. She holds a Masters in Interdisciplinary Biological Science from Michigan State University where she also completed her undergraduate work.

After receiving my Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education at Illinois State University in 2010, I immediately applied my talent within an inner-city, urban school population. After 10 years within public education, my family relocated back to our rural hometown in IL. My primary focus as an educator is to consistently raise student achievement and effectively lead. I have furthered my education in graduate school at Eastern Illinois University, with a masters degree in Educational Leadership.

My name is Juliann Frangella and I have been an educator in the south suburbs of Chicago for 26 years. My undergrad degree is from St. Xavier University and my graduate degree is from National Louis University. In my years of teaching in Midlothian , IL I have taught 3rd-6th grade. Currently I teach 5th grade. I run an engaging, hands-on, project based classroom. The more my students “do”, the better they learn. I try to incorporate visual, auditory and kinetic lessons in most of my units of study. Over the years I have attended Quantum Learning workshops to help foster a welcoming atmosphere for my students and several science workshops lead by a team of science educators at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Most recently, I have studied the effects of trauma in teachers, the difference between “teacher burnout” and “teacher trauma” and ways we can support ourselves. In order to help our students be well we need to be well.

Pete has been working in the field of education since 2006. He is the Director of Professional Learning at Communications by Design and a former mathematics teacher at Kentwood Public Schools. He also is a Mindful Schools Certified Mindfulness Teacher. He earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University in 2020. He is passionate about using his experience to support students and teachers.

Biology teacher since 2006 at DeWitt High School in DeWitt,MI

Monica Hong-Steigner is currently teaching grades 3-4 at Capital Preparatory in Tallahassee, Florida. Prior to teaching at Capital Preparatory, she has worked with public systems and private institutions serving students from kindergarten to university in four different countries as a teacher, teacher trainer, assessment & curriculum specialist, and consultant on a local and national level for the past 13 years. She holds an MA in Exceptional Education from the University of West Florida and a BA in Literature and Media Studies from New York University.

Corey is a science teacher at East Grand Rapids High School. He was a 2014 WW Teaching Fellow at Michigan State University, and worked for six years in high-need urban schools teaching a variety of life science courses. Prior to his career as a secondary educator, he studied biology at GVSU, worked as a scientist in industry, and specialized in restoration ecology while completing a Master’s thesis in Environmental and Plant Biology at Ohio University.

My name is Grace Kelley. I graduated from GVSU with a BA in Psychology (minor in Spanish). I obtained my teaching license in 2020 with endorsements in K-6 Elementary, K12 Spanish, and 6-12 English. I currently teach English and Spanish at Big Rapids High School. I teach online through Outschool in the evenings and weekends. Prior to this year, I taught 4th grade and 6th grade.

Jamie MacPherson has 13 years of experience teaching developmental kindergarten, kindergarten, and fourth grade. During her time as an educator, Jamie worked closely with VAI as her school transformed their science program to better meet the needs of 21st century learners. Inspired by the way inquiry-based instruction positivly impacted her students, Jamie was eager join VAI as a Learning Solutions Specialist and become a part of their mission to foster curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking in classrooms everywhere.

Dawn McCotter is a passionate educator with over 20 years in the profession. Before joining the Van Andel team, Dawn devoted her time and talents to the high school science classroom. She truly believes that creating a rich learning environment is the key to unlocking student potential and success. As Teacher Programs Manager at Van Andel Institute for Education, Dawn provides professional development and support to teachers across the country through inquiry-based instruction and authentic learning practices.

A current Curriculum Studies Doctoral Candidate, Sharifa Ned is a 17 year science teacher veteran. While she has taught mostly life sciences the classes that she most enjoyed teaching is Biology and Art, AP Environmental Science and Scientific Research. She is the Director of The STEAM Academy for Advanced Academics at Pebblebrook High School in Metro Atlanta. The Academy has been created and implemented under her directions and she enjoys the freedom in curriculum and learning strategies. Outside of formal education, she serves as a science communicator, hosting panels by organizations for general public by helping keep science conversation in the forefront in a fun and relatable way. Utilizing her Masters in Environmental Education (formal and informal) is where her personal interests and education collide. She believes that education is all around and is a strong proponent for Experiential Learning and Outdoor Inclusive Education. She received her undergraduate degree in Biology from Bethune Cookman University. An HBCU that showed her the diversity of STEM careers and instilled the strong work ethics specifically in regards to serving and teaching the BIPOC and underrepresented communities, something that she has done her entire career.

Jon Oosterman spent six years teaching middle school science while also serving as the head coach of Science Olympiad. In addition to teaching, he helped his school transition to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) as a way to create a broader and more comprehensive understanding of STEM. As a VAI Instructional Specialist, Jon endeavors to create learning experiences that are fun, dynamic, and memorable for all students.

Joe Phillips is a curriculum coordinator at Kent Career Tech Center. He has over a decade of teaching experience in math and science including developing courses focused on STEM initiatives. Prior to his career in education, he worked for a global pharmaceutical manufacturer. He is excited to use his experience in industry and education to create unique experiences that combine student interests and STEM concepts that inspire students to explore STEM careers.

Dave has 16 yrs experience teaching chemistry and physics. He holds a Bachelors degree in chemistry and physics from Western Michigan University and a Master’s Degree in Physical Science Education from Michigan State University.

Zachary Ripley is a professional learning consultant and instructional coach with Communications by Design, supporting K-12 schools and educators in areas such as technology integration, instructional growth, project-based learning, and student engagement and motivation. Prior to joining Communications by Design in 2016, Zachary taught high school English and History at the West Michigan Aviation Academy for 5 years.

Randy Schregardus is a veteran educator with 34 years of experience teaching across multiple grade levels and subjects. An early adopter of inquiry-based education methods, Randy was instrumental in introducing science teaching reform where he assisted and trained teachers in the latest learning technologies. As the Student Programs Manager for VAI, Randy works to foster a culture of success both within and beyond the classroom.

Graham is a husband, father to two boys, leisurely biker, native plant fanatic, and dabbles in baking and drawing. Throughout his seven years of teaching at a variety of schools and in multiple grades, he always strove to incorporate his out-of-the-classroom passions in his lessons. Upon receiving his Masters of Educational Leadership from GVSU, he transitioned into a principal role at Grand Rapids Christian Elementary School, Evergreen Campus.

Retired 4th & 5th grade teacher of 20+ years, Author of “Learn Like a PIRATE: Empower your students to collaborate, lead and succeed,” Top 50 Global Teacher Prize Finalist (Varkey), Illinois Educator of the Year (ICE/IDEA), Teacher of Excellence Award (Van Andel Institute for Education), Blue Apple co-author of “Take a Stand” and “State of Sustainability.”

Currently I enjoy teaching PLTW and coaching the robotics team at Hazel Park Middle School. I teach Automation and Robotics along with Computer Science for Inventors. After graduating from WMU I obtained my Master’s in Educational Technology from U of M-Dearborn while teaching in a number of positions including Michigan Technical Academy, Hazel Park Advantage, and Hazel Park High School.

Sara earned her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and her PhD from Michigan State University. Sara has worked for MSU’s College of Teacher Education, Kellogg Biological Station, and Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Sara has been working with preK-12 students and teachers, writing curriculum, and doing teacher professional development for the past 18 years. She also serves as the elementary science coach for Hastings Area Schools.

Ben Talsma has spread a love of learning to students of all ages over the course of 15 fabulous years in education. In addition to teaching, he has built a STEAM program to cultivate a new generation of innovators, while also supporting a plethora of afterschool activities. Ben is thrilled to be working with VAI as a Learning Solution Specialist to help teachers around the world improve the lives of their students.

Terra Tarango is an accomplished executive in the education industry with more than 15 years of experience in educational publishing and services. Prior to joining VAI, Terra served as president of SDE, one of the largest providers of professional development for pre-K through 12th grade educators in the U.S. Before that, she developed award-winning print and digital curriculum with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the largest educational publisher in the nation. She is an expert in instructional climate and culture and has devoted her career to increasing curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking in the classroom.

Currently, Emily is the Sustainability Director and Instructor of Agricultural Sciences at Interlochen Center for the Arts where she has spent the past 13 years. During her tenure at Interlochen, she has been instrumental in bringing about positive change in the world of sustainability on the institution’s campus, receiving numerous rigorous national award-winning certifications for the school in the field of regenerative, sustainable, and earth-friendly practices.

Carl graduated from Hope College in 1992, and has been a high school science teacher in public schools for 30 years. He got his MEd from GVSU in 1999 and has been at Holland High since 1995. He also did research on the Lake Macatawa Watershed and incorporates that in his AP Chem and AP Bio classes.

Betsy Weston is a devoted educator who has spent over six years in the classroom. She currently teaches fourth grade at Daleville Elementary School in Daleville, Indiana. Betsy earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Anderson University and is licensed in Elementary Education and TESOL. Betsy is passionate about incorporating technology into the classroom and recently became certified in Online Learning and Assessment through Indiana University East.

Erin Williams is a scientific investigator at Van Andel Institute for Research. She specializes in researching the molecular mechanisms linked to Parkinson’s disease. Erin brings valuable insight into the skills girls need to thrive in STEM-related fields.

I love being a teacher. I’ve now taught for 25 years! I’ve taught in Detroit Michigan for DPS for 16 years. I have also taught in Florida for 4 years and Las Vegas for one. I’ve been a presenter and also a mentor teacher. I’ve taught k-12 too! I am passionate about students having joy at school while learning. All lessons will not be fun, (I tell them that often) but when you do science, especially investigations you can make it a joyful experience for your students. I am also passionate about helping students in urban settings be successful.

Bring a friend and share the experience! Plus, administrators can attend FREE!+

Registration includes…

  • Two days of inspiration, exploration, and practical take aways
  • Opportunities to network with like-minded teachers
  • Breakfast, lunch, snacks, and a happy hour reception with Van Andel Institute’s exclusive on-site caterer
  • Free parking!

Individual Tuition

  • Early Bird: $100 per person until May 15, 2022
  • $200 per person from May 16 – July 12, 2022

All prices per person. Registrations cannot be shared.

+With the paid registration of a staff member, an administrator from the same building/district may attend for FREE. Free administrator registrations are nontransferable. To receive the free administrator offer, administrators must register by phone with name of paid registrant. Call 616.234.5528.

Convince Your Administrator

Need help convincing your administrator? Use this sample Admin Request Letter that highlights all the great reasons you should attend Science on the Grand!

When & Where

Monday, July 11 – Tuesday, July 12, 2022
7:30 AM–3:30 pm

Van Andel Institute Campus
333 Bostwick Ave. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
616.234.5528

*Parking will be validated.

Discounted Hotels:

Homewood Suites

  • $159/night
  • To reserve a room, call (616) 451-2300 and mention Van Andel Institute for the discount or reserve online
  • Rooms available until 6/6/2022

Hyatt Place

  • $149/night
  • Call 800-233-1234 and mention the Van Andel Institute group code
  • Rooms available until 6/13/2022

COVID Protocol

At this time, proof of vaccination, negative PCR, or negative antigen test administered by a health care professional is needed to attend this event. At-home tests will not be accepted.

Upload Your Vaccination Card

For your convenience, you may upload your vaccination card here.

 

Van Andel Institute for Research Tour

Marie Adams, Ph.D.
Rachael Sheridan, Ph.D

Ever wonder what a scientist does throughout their day? Are you interested in sharing those experiences with your students? Discover the ins and outs of life for a biomedical research scientist as you explore the inner workings of VARI, a research facility committed to determining the epigenetic, genetic, molecular, and cellular origins of cancer, Parkinson’s, and other diseases and translating those findings into effective therapies.

 

Exploring Grand Rapids: A STEAM Walk-About

Jon Oosterman
Randy Schregardus

Bring your walking shoes to discover evidence of STEAM all around you with a downtown stroll of Grand Rapids. We’ll take you on an insider’s tour of downtown Grand Rapids’ hot spots.

 

Doodle Does It

Terra Tarango

Whether you’re wanting to create a stunning piece of artwork or just give your mind a meditative rest, doodling just might be your new best friend. In this session, I’ll walk you through a simple process for creating doodle art. You can create a simple abstract or an intricate depiction of your favorite subject matter, the choice is yours. All skill levels welcome—really, EVERYONE can do it!

4:30 – 6:00 PM: Happy Hour Reception

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

7:00 – 8:00 AM: Breakfast

 

Keynote: Orthopaedics and Future Scientists

Dr. Matt Steensma

Join Dr. Matt Steensma—surgeon and scientific investigator in the Center for Skeletal Disease and Cancer Therapeutics at Van Andel Institute for Research—as he shares scientific insight around the surgical treatment of primary and metastatic tumors of the musculoskeletal system. Learn about the unique sub-specialty of orthopaedic oncology and the work being done to improve the lives of patients with bone, muscle, fat and nerve tumors. In this program, Dr. Steensma will also bring a scientific perspective on how educators can influence and inspire the next generation of scientists. Educators will gain insight into what it’s actually like to “think and act like a scientist.”

9:30 – 10:30 AM

 

Making Progress through the Pandemic: Using Real-Life Experiences to Reignite Learning

(Grade Level K–5)

Jean Maala

Need help navigating the shifting world of post-pandemic teaching? Join us for a session where we explore ways to create realistic learning experiences and foster student growth after years of virtual-only lessons. Explore fun and valuable insight into the future of education!

 

ROVe the Great Lakes

(Grade Level 6–8)

Joy Argones

Dive into the science and history of the Great Lakes! Your middle school students can experience the engineering process, learn about maritime history, and participate in underwater exploration all while designing and testing their own Remotely Operated Vehicles. Join us to learn how you can bring this ROV adventure to your own classroom and help protect our Great lakes.

 

Reflectional Assessment Strategies

(Grade Level 9–12)

Laura Foreback
Dave Piggott
Fred Hingst

This session will explore options for both formative and summative assessment in an inquiry-based secondary science classroom. High school science teachers will share their experiences with alternative models for assessment, including self and peer evaluation and standards-based assessments.

 

Leveraging Technology to Capture Student Thinking Processes

(Grade Level K–12)

Peter Grostic

In this session, participants will learn how technology can support student thinking and showcase the process of learning. This session will showcase technology tools that help students both organize their thinking (Jamboard and Google Drawing) and present their processes of thinking (Google Sites and Recording Tools). Where applicable, participants will leave with templates they can use right away.

10:45 – 11:45 AM

 

Elementary Engineering: Using Environmental Issues to Teach Engineering Concepts

(Grade Level K–5)

Sara Syswerda

In this session, elementary teachers will think about how they can use local environmental issues as a catalyst to teach science content and engineering practices. Work through case studies of environmental engineering problems that align with the Michigan Science Standards and begin your plans for protecting the planet!

 

Inquiry and Enrichment at the Zoo…or In Your Own Classroom!

(Grade Level 6–8)

Chloe Becker

Discover how the John Ball Zoo keeps their animals physically and mentally active throughout the week. Participants will see how regular enrichment can encourage natural behaviors like swimming, climbing, and problem-solving. We’ll also showcase how animals respond through live animal demos paired with exciting pictures and videos.

 

Student-Driven PBL

(Grade Level 9–12)

Zach Ripley

During this session, participants will explore problem-based learning approaches to grow student ownership and creative problem-solving. Strategies will focus on students driving ideas and generating and sharing problems. These include using collaborative tools like Flipgrid and Google Slides/Jamboard for students to share and solve problems. Participants can expect an interactive session responsive to their teaching contexts.

 

The Science of Self-Discovery: Teaching Students Inquiry Skills in the Context of SEL

(Grade Level K–12)

Monica Hong-Steigner

SEL involves students engaging in science-driven metacognition. By opening their behavior and drives up to scientific inquiry, students can perceive metacognition as an integral part of their learning. Learn about the concept of metacognition within the context of SEL and explore effective tools and strategies educators can implement in the classroom.

11:45 – 1:00 PM: Lunch and Lunch Break Walk-and-Talks

1:00 – 2:00 PM

 

Differentiate with Digital Choice Boards

(Grade Level K–5)

Wendy Bockstahler

Choice is a very powerful motivator. Using Universal Design for Learning, join us in learning about and creating choice boards to differentiate instruction and actively engage students in selecting an activity which displays their understanding of the content. This is one fun session you won’t want to miss!

 

Techtonic Shifts: Jumping into the EdTech World

(Grade Level 6–8)

Jeanine Wilson

Many of us aren’t tech savvy, but that doesn’t mean we can’t shift our teaching just a bit to incorporate easy to use EdTech tools! Students enjoy using technology to show learning and you can too! Join us for a collaborative session where we take on the basics of tech learning and how we can explore new tools alongside our students.

 

Make It Matter: Using PBL to Make Learning Memorable, Meaningful, and Fun!

(Grade Level 9–12)

Carl VanFaasen

In traditional Chemistry, lab experiences are shared with students after the concept has already been taught. A technique which simply confirms the concept they already knew. By employing the QPOEE Habit of Mind, flip a few traditional labs and use them as an exciting introduction to a new concept. Explore the concepts of Kinetics, Thermodyamics, and many more!

 

Argument Strategies in the Science Classroom

(Grade Level K–12)

Zach Ripley

Foster logic and rhetoric in your STEM lessons. Participants will explore strategies to engage students in collaborative debates and inquiry-focused arguments. Strategies will include Dave Stuart Jr.’s Pop-Up Debate, the Bracket Challenge, and more. The session will include adaptations for all grade levels.

2:15 – 3:15 PM

 

STEAM It Up! Engage Your Students through Science and Engineering, and So Much More

(Grade Level K–5)

Shayla Fountain

Come collaborate with fellow educators over the latest hands-on project-based STEAM learning! This presentation will challenge attendees to think outside the box as they learn how to effectively implement objective-based teaching with their students. There will also be a demonstration on how to create content language objectives with elementary standards to engage students within an enriching learning environment.

 

Building Community through PBL

(Grade Level 6–8)

Grace Kelley

Building classroom community is one of the most important ways to engage students and encourage life-long learning. Join us as we learn how to incorporate project-based learning strategies and social-emotional lessons to build a lasting connection among students of all ages.

 

Girl Power: Powerful Ways to Motivate Girls in STEM

(Grade Level 9–12)

Dawn McCotter
Erin Williams, Ph.D

Although there have been strides to reduce the STEM gender gap over the last 50 years, progress has been slow, with women making up only 28% of the STEM workforce. Recent career assessments have found that female high school juniors and seniors have remarkably higher aptitude for STEM careers than interest in their pursuit. How do we boost their interest to mirror their aptitude? In this session, we will share practical strategies and ideas to inspire and empower our future female scientists, engineers, and mathematicians to make their mark in these much needed fields.

 

Say Goodbye to Teacher Burnout

(Grade Level K–12)

Juliann Frangella

Right now educators are struggling. The teacher shortage in the US is at an alarming low, and many of us are stressed and burnt out. However, we cannot help others until we first take time to help ourselves! This presentation will focus on teacher trauma and how to help ourselves be well. Take this opportunity to stop, rest, and recharge!

Event Details

Venue: Van Andel Institute 333 Bostwick Ave. NE Grand Rapids