At the invitation of the National Catholic Educational Association, the Archdiocese of Newark recently co-hosted the NCEA STREAM 3.0 conference in June 2019. Between June 17th and June 19th, Catholic educators from across the United States and Canada gathered at the Sheraton Parsippany Hotel to share best practices in STREAM, a comprehensive curriculum that combines Science, Technology, Religion, English, Art, and Mathematics using an integrated instructional approach.
The conference featured workshops led by expert teachers and diocesan staff and a showcase of projects by elementary and secondary school students of the Archdiocese of Newark, the Diocese of Paterson, and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Our students shared projects from the Archdiocese of Newark STEM Fair, which was previously held at the Kearny Youth Center on April 6th. Our elementary students demonstrated the ways in which they could impact the world by designing solutions to world problems identified by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, while our secondary students displayed products designed for their high school engineering elective.
Each morning began with liturgy, which was followed by a series of unique breakout sessions over the four days. The session included topics such as: “Genius Hour: Our School Mission in Action,” “Effective Inquiry-Based STEM Instruction Powered by the Engineering Design Process,” and “Assessing NGSS with Hands-On Activities and Resources.”
In his keynote address, Dr. Keith Verner, PhD explained how STEM acts as a catalyst to increase critical thinking, executive thinking, and creativity. Citing examples from neurocognitive research and referencing human learning models, he illustrated how STEM subjects engage students in the various types of thinking.
Throughout the conference, teachers participated in a lively scavenger hunt using the Goose Chase app. The activity helped strengthen their fellowship, as they sought conference participants who came from specific locations, engaged in conversations about the conference sessions, answered pop quiz questions based on the content, and even shared photos of coins minted in 1999.
On the last day of the conference, educators departed with their hearts full, renewed and inspired by their intra-school and intra-diocesan conversations. Grateful to have participated in this sold-out event, they took with them many ideas and strategies to engage their students throughout the school year ahead.