The VMI STEM Education Conference for educators and administrators working with students in grades 3-8 selects a particular focus annually representing one of the subjects within the STEM acronym: science, technology, engineering or mathematics.
The conference features more than 50 breakout sessions and several are conducted as hands-on workshops. Lesson plans and resources become available after each conference with a link to the most recent ones provided below. Each conference brings STEM educators, instructors and administrators from across Virginia together for two days of professional development, enrichment and fun.
VMI initiated this series as part of our commitment to the nation's need to fill key positions in STEM fields. Research shows that students who have high confidence in math and science starting in grades 3-8 are more likely to pursue STEM studies and, eventually, STEM careers.
Below is our list of previous conferences.
Video of Dr. Tim Chartier's 'Math-nificient Stories'
The 2016 VMI STEM Education Conference explores the 'M' for math in STEM education for teachers in grades 3 – 8 and administrators, while continuing to offer programming covering science, technology, and engineering topics and emphasizing project-based learning.
2015 Resources (available for a limited time)
The fourth annual VMI STEM Education Conference explores the 'T' for technology in STEM education. The conference will focus on teachers of students in grades 3-8 and their administrators. While there will be a few more offerings focused on technology, the conference will continue to offer many workshops on the building blocks of STEM: Science, Engineering and Math.
Speakers include Dr. Jeff Goldstein, director for the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (keynote); Dayna Laur, educator, speaker and expert on classroom technology integration; and Dr. Arthur Benjamin, “mathemagician” and noted human calculator with over 10 million views of his TED talks. The conference will also feature a Technology Petting Zoo, where participants can familiarize themselves with popular technology for the classroom
VMI's affordable STEM conferences are known for their practical, hands-on workshops offering ideas and activities that educators can immediately bring back to the classroom. Participants qualify for CEUs.
"Compared to other teacher workshops I have attended, I consider this one tops. The price was right, my level of learning was high, there was not a repeat of material from other educational conferences, and the sessions and workshops were varied enough to hold my interest throughout the entire sessions." ~2014 VMI STEM Conference Survey Response
The schedule included a keynote address delivered by Mr. Grant Imahara of Mythbusters whose insights on the 'ingredients' needed to make STEM learning fun were in turn highly entertaining for our audience. We also listened to great speakers like Dr. Nathan whose research in STEM learning was well-received, Dr. Hastings who spoke on her educational and career choices in STEM and related those experiences back to the role of STEM educators and finally, Dr. Steven Staples, our current Superintendent of Instruction who spoke to us about the State's emphasis and desire to improve STEM education, the need to be leaders in this field, teacher and student credentialing so that we get the right teachers into our classroom and we are giving our students meaningful credentials so they have more choices upon graduation.
The 2013 VMI STEM Education Conference focused on "Science with the Future in Mind" and included approximately 250 high school students and teachers.
Attendees explored current scientific research as well as the pedagogy of science. Participating teachers had the opportunity to take advantage of 14 contact hours of professional development credit. Participating students saw science in action and had the opportunity to build relationships with mentors who love STEM.
Each attendee was able to participate in a class led by one of Virginia's top high school science teachers, find out more about research taking place in labs at VMI and other colleges and universities in Virginia, and learn more about research taking place in government and industrial labs.
Plenary speakers included nationally recognized scientists working on cutting edge research, including Dr. William Casebeer, program manager in the Defense Sciences Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Dr. Amy Bernard, director of structured science at the Allen Institute of Brain Science, and Daniel Willingham, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, University of Virginia and author of “Why Don’t Students like School: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions about How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom” (Jossey Bass, 2010). Emmy-award winning science personality and educator Steve Spangler served as keynote speaker.
Nearly 600 attendees participated in the 2012 STEM Education Conference, "Mathematics as the Gateway to STEM Success," including 540 K-16 teachers and administrators, 40 high school students representing a total of 126 schools, and policy-makers and business leaders from across the commonwealth and beyond.
The goal of the conference was to foster a better understanding of math in the classroom - how it can be taught and learned - while highlighting the latest research. State and national leaders in STEM fields led a variety of breakout sessions, inspiring interaction and discussion between K-16 educators. Hands-on workshops geared toward student attendees and led by STEM professionals helped students learn firsthand about exciting research taking place in higher education. Workshop leaders spoke with students about envisioning and pursuing STEM careers, and a first class cadet provided a lesson in leadership.
Plenary speakers included Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Natural History Museum in New York; Salman Khan, creator of the Khan Academy; and Cathy Seeley, Senior Fellow at the Dana Center, The University of Texas at Austin.