NSTA Chicago 2015
March 18, 2015
At Celestron, we’re thrilled to see an increased focus on STEM education, with science teachers across the country leading the charge. That’s why the National Science Teachers’ Association (NSTA) national conference is one of our favorite events each year. The 2015 conference, held in Chicago, was a whirlwind of activity for Celestron staff, our partners, and teachers alike!
We were excited to introduce the teachers and conference attendees to our latest digital microscope, the FlipView digital microscope. We initially showcased FlipView at this year’s CES, but this was our first opportunity to share the product with science teachers from across the nation. Teachers raved that FlipView’s portable design, large viewing area, and rechargeable lithium ion battery made it perfect for the classroom or nature walks.
The teachers also got a sneak peek at Celestron’s upcoming curriculum packages. Developed by a professional science educator, these two microscope and lesson plan bundles make instruction with digital microscopes a breeze!
Beyond exploring the products at our booth, we were eager to show the teachers how they could transition them seamlessly into the classroom. Celestron hosted three workshops to get the teachers involved with hands-on education. The first focused on microscopy in the classroom. “Digital Microscopes 101” featured David Eicher, editor-in-chief of Astronomy magazine, and a panel of three teachers currently using Celestron digital microscopes in their classrooms. Through the moderation of David Eicher and the teachers’ real-world experiences, the workshop provided a thought-provoking conversation on the varied uses of digital microscopy.
The second workshop focused on astronomy in the classroom. In conjunction with Fisher Scientific, Celestron offered “Teaching Astronomy During the Day and Beyond the Classroom.” Teaching astronomy can be a challenge when faced with daytime conditions during lessons. Led by Robert Marshall, former program coordinator of the Buhl Planetarium, this workshop demonstrated the various viewing options and activity ideas for sky gazing during the day. Marshall focused on making classroom activities interactive for the students and highlighted the coverage of state-mandated materials as well. At the end of the workshop, Celestron raffled off three new telescopes to teachers to add to their classroom.
On Saturday afternoon, Celestron offered a final workshop, “Stretch Your Legs for Science.” This interactive lesson was a bird walk through Chicago guided by birding experts from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The workshop started with a 30-minute lesson on identifying birds by sight and sound. Armed with a list of species native to Chicago, about 70 teachers followed the 5 Cornell guides out into nature. While on the walk, and at the Chicago Park District where much of the birding took place, participants used Celestron Nature DX 8x32 binoculars to get a clear view of the wildlife surrounding them. Once the group returned from the walk, Celestron announced that all of the teachers would be able to keep the binoculars, resulting in an immediate uproar and standing ovation.
It was great to be in the Windy City with thousands of science teachers from across the nation. The impact that these teachers have on the youth of America is invaluable, and it’s truly our pleasure to showcase innovative ways to make their teaching programs stronger and more engaging for students.