DEN SCIcon 2012 – what a great event!


The 3rd Annual DEN SCIcon was held this past Saturday, January 28th. The DEN SCIcon provides participants with effective strategies for transforming science classes through effective integration of digital media content. The conference was broadcast live and online so many people joined in from home. There were also in-person events around the country, hosted by the local DEN Leadership Council (made up of educators). It was all FREE.


I attended at the live Connecticut event, which was hosted at the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, CT. We also got to have a short tour of the house that Twain lived in while writing his seminal works. Very interesting house.


The day started with breakfast catered from Panera Bread and then the sessions started. SCICon is broadcast using WebEx and presenters share their links, videos, and presentations through that, as their voice is simulcast. There is also a chat window that the presenters use to interact with the audience around the world, answer questions, and much more. There were about 35 of us at the CT site participating, and Patti Duncan, the final speaker of the day, broadcast from our location.


These are my notes from the different sessions. There are also links to the actual presentations.


9 AM
Opening Session
Your Attention Please: 10 Ways to Engage Your Students in Science

Lance Rougeux

Download the presentation.


Engage: use these to hook students on a new topic


Demo, video, Show image – I see, I know, I wonder… Discussion – lead into new topic – online timer to keep on schedule


Writing prompts – use a picture to get them writing

Photopeach – photo with quiz on common misconceptions

(free account) upload photo, choose and music from site, add captions, quiz questions, – turns it into a video with timing.


Audio files – play audio file with student eyes closed, listen, and describe what you “see” etc.


Crappy Graphs – (or draw a graph) – with no explanation – have students try to figure it out with just a topic, or create a “story” based on the graph.


Real world connections. Everyday applications, Google Earth – ocean obs, weather, geography,


Guess the Wordle – create and post a Wordle and have the students try to guess what it is about/theme based on the words.



10 AM
Inquiring Minds Want to Know: Student Learning through Inquiry-based Instruction

Trinette Green

Download the presentation.


use videos from Head Rush with questions for students

explore topic of there choice

(went on the 1030 tour of Mark Twain house)



11 AM
What’s the GIST? Bridging Literacy and Science

Brad Fountain

Download the presentation.



read short article, answer ?s, summarize, analyze

give them a bunch of sentences that summarize, represent article and select best ones

black out words in science article and have students try to figure out what word belongs


analyze, research,

exit ticket/journal – discuss one way todays lesson can be used in the real world

if, then before lab, predict then test

RAFT – role audience format topic – writing as what role, who is aud, what format (letter, article), what is topic

(science fiction story based on real science topic)

speaking literacy – video or live presentation – summary, explain, do own narration of a video,



12 PM
The Common Core Connection

Kelly Pauling

Download the presentation.


Ate lunch during this session – catered by Panera Bread (yum)

Common core standards

(do projects – presentation, glog, video, site, etc on ___)



1 PM
Busting the Myths of Project Based Learning in the Science Classroom

Mike Bryant

Download the presentation.


Project Based Learning

common craft has a video on it

Edutopia, DEN,,, DE science resources are great for PBL



2 PM

Closing Session
The Scientific Method… It’s Not Just For Chapter One Anymore

Patti Duncan

Download the presentation.


(Patti was with us in CT when she did this presentation)


My Tweets about this session:


Scientific Method is not a chapter, its a yearlong method for all science – Discovery Ed #scicon


Too many “versions” of scientific method and too linear. It’s a cycle that starts with ?. Discovery Ed #scicon


Scientific method starts with question, has various routes and methods – Discovery Ed #scicon



Scientific method, engineering process – both are way to answer questions and solve problems. Discovery Ed #scicon


Students know how to investigate and solve problems informally – they go online and figure stuff out. Now use that in school. #scicon


Give students opportunities to practice scientific skills like question, observe, research, compare, analyze, experiment, conclude #scicon


Have students analyze commercials on TV to see fact vs fiction. Good observation practice. #scicon


Do labs, investigations, virtual labs and simulations at start of unit instead of end to get them inquiring and actively learning #scicon


Start unit with a problem and then students get info from unit work and resources during unit to solve problem. #scicon


Failure is ok! It’s part of discovery, learning, investigating, problem solving, science and engineering #scicon


Tell students what they are supposed to be learning and then ask if they think they learned it. Everyday. Then have them do it. #scicon


Make sure they really understand before they get to a test. #scicon


Less step-by-step labs, more open ended. Have students then apply conclusions/results to solve original problem. #scicon





It was a great day of learning and sharing. Discovery Education does a lot of live/virtual events like this throughout the year. Many state Leadership Councils host live events like the one I attended, but it’s also nice to just be able to participate and learn from your home in your PJs.





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