Sunday, May 19, 2013

STEM conference - NSTA in St. Louis day 1

     On Wednesday, May 15th, four of us from our STEM magnet took off for St. Louis.  I was extremely excited for the opportunity to go our there.  I was hoping to learn what other schools were doing to implement STEM, and hopefully connect with other magnet schools.  

     When we arrived we headed for the hotel, and then got our packet of materials to peruse.  Then we did what any tourist in St. Louis would do.... we headed for the arch. We took the metro one more stop (not realizing that we could have walked over in the same amount of time) and found ourselves up the hill from the Mississippi River. We walked down the hill (oohing and ahhing over the Eads bridge and snapping architectural and structural pictures -- we know we're geeky, but isn't that why we were chosen for STEM? We came across this statue of a man raising his cowboy hat but completely underwater.  It took a few minutes, and I think the Kindergarten teacher googled it on her phone, but we realized we were standing on a flooded street, and the statue was normally of Lewis and Clark and not typically underwater.  We all had to stand in the water (completely frigid temperature) and then headed for the arch.


We headed through the National Park (yes, I got my National Park passport stamped) and stopped every once in awhile to take pictures. 

          When you go into the visitor's center, located under the arch, and buy your tickets, they ask if you are afraid of heights or claustrophobic.  THERE ARE REASONS FOLKS.  If you're smart, or if someone tells you, there is a little pod thing next to the desk you should really check out. We didn't know this, and the Kindergarten teacher realized pretty quickly that YES, she was claustrophobic.... but she handled it well.
After buying tickets you go to the tunnel to wait in line in front of what looks like a small elevator door.  When these doors open you are greeted by a pod straight out of the 70's.  Stark white with five white seats, this is what will carry you to the top.  I had pictures of it, but they seem to have been deleted accidentally so I'll post them when I get them from my friends. Once at the top, the view is wonderful.  The Mississippi on one side, and the city on the other. 

     After the arch we headed for dinner and planned our classes for the next day.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that they scheduled vendor time from 12:30 - 3:00 which became our time to do a couple tourist type activities, but we were there to learn. So we picked classes for every other time slot (sometimes with two or three possibilities to attend).  My goal was to stay long enough to see if it would benefit my school or students and if not then move to the next one.  This strategy ended up working well overall. 

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