Notes from the NSTA National Conference & Souvenirs I Didn’t Buy

by Ashley Kuehl, Editorial Director of Lerner Publications

Last week I had the pleasure of attending my very first National Science Teachers’ Association (NSTA) National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

Stop me if I’ve already told you this, but part of my job is to help come up with ideas for new science books for kids. And then a bigger part of my job is to make sure the science books we actually decide to publish are completely awesome. (I’m going to be honest with you; this part of my job is also completely awesome.) While I was at the NSTA National Conference I kept an eye out for great science topics for series nonfiction and had tons of fun.

During the event, I attended a session in which I got to play the part of an alligator in a Florida ecosystem to learn about invasive species. Other attendees acted as rabbits and pythons. We explored actual statistical averages from the teachers’ community, and we practiced our computational thinking on a huge grid as we moved through our roles in the food chain. Arguably the most exciting part of the game was the smackdown between alligator and python, based on actual battles that have happened in Florida.

I got to pretend to be an astronaut with NASA.

Ashley at NSTA National Conference

I saw One Plastic Bag and An Ambush of Tigers, both from Lerner’s Millbrook Press imprint, in a display of books chosen to help teach STEM learning.

NSTA National Conference

Weird souvenirs

But one of the most surprising and fascinating aspects of this event for me was the stuff I could have purchased. In addition to straightforward things such as constellation mugs or Neil deGrasse Tyson T-shirts or Mae Jemison bobbleheads, I saw these charming creatures:

NSTA National Conference: plush guts
Aww, these little friends work hard to keep you healthy.
NSTA National Conference: scab
Did you know the scientific name for a scab is sanguineous crust?
NSTA National Conference souvenir: athlete's foot
This little sweetie is known in the sports world as Athlete’s Foot.

Thanks to all the fantastic science teachers out there who inspire us, kids and adults alike, to learn about the world around us! And keep an eye out for all the fantastic science (and other STEM) books from Lerner Publishing Group, whether they’re already published or coming soon.

For more posts by Ashley about nonfiction books for kids, click here.

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