Had the pleasure of being the Keynote Speaker on Friday March 28th, during the Southeast Alaska Early Childhood Conference. The theme of the early childhood conference was STEM. I give praise to the Southeast Alaska Early Childhood Association for dedicating an entire conference to STEM at the early childhood level. I presented an interactive keynote entitled “Nurturing the Young Child’s Natural Curiosity via Exploring the Natural and Physical World Around Them“. Approximately 160 early childhood teachers were engaged in hands-on explorations that reinforced the importance of nurturing the young child’s natural curiosity. Many well-known mathematicians and scientists have attributed their success to their curiosity versus their IQ. I had two goals for the keynote. The first to awaken all the conference attendees own curiosity through inquiry-based explorations that they conducted throughout the interactive keynote, and the second was to introduce ideas to implement within the classroom on a daily basis that help to nurture and cultivate the young child’s natural curiosity. Additionally, teachers  were encouraged to journal throughout the keynote. I had a handful of teachers come up and show me their reflective writings after the keynote. The teachers mentioned that they would incorporate reflective journaling in their own classrooms as well. In addition to the morning keynote I conducted two afternoon workshops. The first was a STEM-based workshop integrating children’s literature. The second workshop was a nature-based workshop. It was a real treat to take 40 teachers outside in the cool, dry air to reinforce the use of nature to teach science and math content. I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to visit Juneau, Alaska and share my passion for science and STEM with early childhood educators, administrators, and the community. For information about the interactive Science and STEM keynotes I conduct year-round for all grade-levels please contact me via this website. The following photos were taken during the interactive keynote, and afternoon workshops.

Dr Diana Wehrell-Grabowski early childhood keynote speakerLooking forward to being the keynote speaker at the Alaska Early Childhood Conference that will take place in Juneau March, 2014. Early childhood teachers will learn how to cultivate and nurture the young child’s curiosity by exploring the natural and physical world around them. My keynote presentations are interactive, the audience engages in hands-on explorations throughout the keynote that reinforces the content of the message. To read more about the Alaska Early Childhood Conference click on the following link.

I have a series of interactive keynote topics I present at the early childhood level, all of the topics are important, timely, and engage the audience. However, one of my favorite interactive keynote addresses I present addresses the importance of nurturing and cultivating the young child’s natural curiosity, and how to use the natural world around to do just that. Teachers expand upon their knowledge by attending professional staff development sessions, educational conferences and the like. But in the end if children’s in-born natural curiosity is not kept alive all is lost. Likewise, teachers themselves need to be curious. The photos below are from a recent interactive keynote address I delivered to 180 early childhood teachers. Throughout the one hour interactive keynote address participants were actively engaged in exploring specimens from nature and the physical world to heighten their own sense of curiosity. Participants were frequently asked to share their own personal reflections as to why the innate curiosity of young children is often stifled, and what educators can do in their classrooms to assure that the young child’s natural curiosity and sense of wonder continues to flourish. Upon the conclusion of the keynote, I conducted two hands-on-minds-on teacher training sessions. The morning break-out session introduced teachers to math and science explorations to stimulate the young child’s natural curiosity. The afternoon session focused on implementing hands-on, minds-on science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) explorations in the early childhood classroom. It was a wonderful conference, and I’m grateful to the organizers of the Keefe-Bruyette Symposium for their time and efforts in organizing the event. The photos below are from the interactive keynote presentation, and from the morning and afternoon teacher training break-out sessions I conducted.

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Forty parents were introduced to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts during a parent workshop conducted by Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski during the Expanding Your Horizons Conference held at University of North Florida. Parents were introduced to the Engineering Design Process and biomimicry during the one hour hands-on-minds-on, inquiry-based workshop. Parents were given the task of designing a model of a chameleon tongue using birthday horn blowers, and a variety of other materials. Check out the photos below from the STEM parent workshop. For more information about the STEM workshops Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski conducts, check out her website at http://www.drdianateachertraining.com.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) parent workshop by Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) parent workshop by Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) parent workshop by Dr. Diana Wehrell-GrabowskiScience, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) parent workshop by Dr. Diana Wehrell-GrabowskiScience, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) parent workshop by Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski

 

Looking forward to being the keynote speaker @ The 11th Annual Keefe-Bruyette Symposium Monday, March 25th, 2013 to be held at the University of Saint Joseph. Infant through early-childhoodInteractive keynote address presented by Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski during 11th Annual Keefe-Bruyette Symposium teachers will engage in hands-on explorations during the interactive keynote address I have planned. The title of the interactive keynote is “Nurturing the Young Child’s Natural Curiosity and Sense of Wonder through Experiencing the Natural World Around Them.” To find out more about this exciting math and science conference designed for infant through early-childhood teachers check out the conference brochure.

Eighty parents recently took part in a hands-on-minds-on inquiry-based science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workshop during the Expanding Your Horizons Conference held at University of Central Florida February, 2012. During the one hour STEM workshop conducted by Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski parents conducted investigations with super-absorbing polymers, they also took part in the Marshmallow Challenge. The goal of the Marshmallow Challenge is to build the tallest free-standing structure within 18 minutes using only the following materials (20 spaghetti sticks, one yard of string, one yard of tape, and one large marshmallow). At the end of 18 minutes the structure must be free-standing, holding the marshmallow on top. I have found the Marshmallow Challenge to be a fantastic exercise to incorporate in my STEM teacher training sessions. To build a successful structure group participants must collaborate, communicate, and work as a team. It’s quite fascinating to observe the differences in how the individual groups go about designing, building and testing the structures. For more information about the STEM teacher training and STEM family science nights check out my teacher training website http://www.drdianateachertraining.com.

The following video highlights parents conducting investigations with super-absorbing polymers, and taking part in the Marshmallow Challenge.

STEM education is the “buzz word” in the educational arena, and to promote STEM education I conduct interactive STEM keynote workshops for parents. During the interactive keynote workshops parents are actively engaged in exploring science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts through hands-on-minds-on investigations. The following photos are from a recent interactive keynote workshop I conducted for parents during the Expanding Your Horizons Conference held at University of North Florida in Jacksonville this past February. The keypoints and explorations focused on: exploring and analyzing structure and function in the natural world and man-made objects, and exploring the field of biomimicry and how it has impacted STEM fields. The following photos are from the one hour interactive STEM keynote workshop.

        On February 20th UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science was host to the Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) Conference. Expanding Your Horizons is a national organization whose goal is to motivate young women in science and mathematics by exposing them to hands-on-minds-on workshops for a day. The unique aspect of this conference is that the parents of the junior high girls can remain on the campus and participate in workshops designed for parents. I provided an interactive keynote presentation workshop for 75 parents entitled “Exploring Patterns, Shapes, and Structures from Nature to Engineering.”  The interactive keynote presentation workshop integrated science, technology, engineering, and math principles. Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts. Currently, STEM education is a major focus of reform in math and science education, and I felt that the parent workshop should focus on STEM concepts as well. To explore STEM concepts parents were given a pre-packaged bag that contained a wide-assortment of objects from nature as well as man-made items whose design is based on models borrowed from nature. Parents were asked to observe, compare, and analyze structure and function of the objects using eye-loupes. Parents worked in groups of two which allowed them to develop theories as to why certain objects had a particular structure etc., as well as correlating the natural object to a modern-day invention. Objects and concepts the group explored included: golf balls, bird feather, model airplane wing, aerodynamics, seed structure and dispersal, sea shells, hexagonal nuts and bolts, soap film, architectural design, and geometrical structures. As always, I was very impressed with the group of parents that participated in the parent Expanding Your Horizons session. They were totally immersed in the learning process via hands-on-minds-on explorations, busily jotting down their observations, building models, and exchanging ideas with one another. Additionally, parents heard presentations from Megan Clementi, Miss Florida USA 2010 who earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from UCF, and Janet McCulloh, Mrs. Florida 2009 who earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from UCF and a MS in Electrical Engineering from GA Tech.

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