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Consortium Connects is a new 2017 member benefit from NCSSS. These online professional learning roundtables or webinars are free for NCSSS Member Schools.

Register for the topic you're interested in. Join other teachers and administrators for professional learning and the sharing of ideas.

Consortium Connects Schedule





March 3/30   Incorporating coding into
introductory physics curriculum
 Mark Hannum 


4/11   Being a better
research project adviser
Scott Bolen 
May  5/4 Everyone Can Code Apple
June 6/22  The "E" in STEM: Teaching Engineering
in the Classroom & Maker Space
Alison Earnhart 
September   TBD   
October   TBD   
November   TBD   
December   TBD   


Join Mark Hannum, teacher of physics and division manager for science and technology at Thomas Jefferson High school for Science and Technology (TJ), for a conversation about incorporating coding into introductory physics curriculum.

Time: 4:30-5:30pm ET
Date: Thursday, March 30

One of the most important aspects of any introductory physics course is teaching students how to form conceptual and mathematical models of physical systems. Conceptual modeling skills are what persist after equations of motion are forgotten and the nuances of Gauss’ Law fade away. Physics is often the first time students are asked to abstract a system into constituent parts and then use these parts to make predictions. This is also why students find introductory physics courses so difficult. One way we can develop conceptual and mathematical modeling in our students is to ask them to code. Coding requires the abstraction of complex actions into constituent parts and provides a degree of external motivation that may appeal to students.

The Physics team at TJ is currently in the process of reviewing its introductory physics curriculum and we are considering augmenting our standard course by including more coding. This conversation extends out from the addition of a few more coding labs, to our choice of textbook, and the shifting of large-scale course goals away from external exams.

Please join Mark in a conversation that will cover the following questions:

  • How do you help students form conceptual and mathematical modeling skills?
  • Do you have your students code and build computer models? Have you developed any coding labs or resources for students?
  • What obstacles do you foresee in expanding introductory physics courses to include more coding?
  • How do you build cross-discipline curricular collaborations at your school? Do you work with CS teachers on other projects?


Join Scott Bolen, of Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology and Regional Science, for a conversation about being a better research project adviser.

Time: 2-3 pm ET
Date: Tuesday, April 11

Rockdale Magnet School’s Research Coordinator, Scott Bolen, and Research Teacher, Tyrone Huebsch, will lead a discussion on facilitating and mentoring student designed research projects. Bolen will share lessons that Rockdale Magnet School has learned regarding Research curriculum design. The discussion will focus on how the research curriculum has been designed and tweaked over time to maximize success at a variety of student research competitions. Huebsch will focus on barriers that students face as they seek to complete competitive research projects. Huebsch will share tips, tricks, and advice regarding helping students successfully navigate the research process.

Please join Scott and Ty in a conversation that will cover the following questions:

  • What are some essential elements to successful research curriculum?
  • How can the teacher help a student find a good research idea and question?
  • What are and when are the major student research competitions?
  • What are some common barriers to student success? What are some tools to overcome these barriers?


Time: 2-3 p.m. ET
Date: Thursday, May 4
Technology has a language. It’s called code. And Apple believes coding is an essential skill. Learning to code teaches you how to solve problems and work together in creative ways. And it helps you build apps that bring your ideas to life. Apple thinks everyone should have the opportunity to create something that can change the world. So they’ve designed a new program that lets anyone learn, write, and teach code.

Please join Apple in a conversation that will cover the following:

  • Lessons and group activities that work in the classroom or in after-school programs.
  • You’ll also find presentations, tips, and ways to track your students’ progress.


Join Alison Earnhart, National Board Certified science and engineering instructor at the Liberal Arts & Science Academy in Austin, Texas for a round-table discussion on topics relevant to teaching engineering in high school classrooms.

Time: 2-3 p.m. ET
Date: Thursday, June 22

There is growing popularity with teaching engineering classes at the high school level, yet very few teachers have the appropriate training and preparation to teach these courses. Where does one begin? In these early years of the resurgence of high school engineering and hands-on shop/maker/industrial arts courses, best practices and quality curriculum are still in the experimental stages.

For the last 9 years, Alison Earnhart has been teaching hands-on mechanical engineering classes. Various levels of high-quality engineering instruction are offered by Ms. Earnhart, including nationally recognized curriculum that has been honed for over 30 years.

Please join Alison in a discussion that will cover the following topics:

  • What are the student learning goals of teaching engineering at the high school level?
  • What are some effective ways to organize and create quality engineering curriculum for your school?
  • What are the concerns involving instructional space and tools & materials? How does one go about creating a "maker space"?


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