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Conference Overview

Kentucky International Convention Center • 221 S. 4th Street • Louisville, KY 40202

The 9th Annual STEM Forum & Expo, hosted by NSTA, is a unique, focused event that brings together (informal and formal) educators and representatives from exhibiting companies who are interested in, and who have tools and resources to share that will ensure successful implementation of STEM education into our schools and communities. It is intended to provide resources for educators and organizations seeking to learn more about STEM education, associated outreach programs, partnerships, schools, and curricula.

Important Note
At this point, the 9th Annual STEM Forum & Expo, hosted by NSTA, is still scheduled for this summer, July 22–24. As a result of the uncertainty associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, staff will continue to monitor the situation closely to ensure we are able to proceed as planned. No later than June 1, an announcement will be made to confirm whether the STEM Forum will be offered as a combination virtual / in-person event or virtual only.

STEM Forum Strands

Lower Elementary / Early Childhood

Students in the lower elementary grades are beginning to understand the world around them and the role they play in it. They are instinctively curious and want to make sense of their surroundings. By providing students with inquiry-based experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, we can unlock each student's natural curiosity and help them understand the world in an engaging way. The foundational skills learned and mastered through the integration of STEM during the early years, if done right, will help these students become critical thinkers and makers who can innovate the future they will be a part of. Sessions in this strand will emphasize open-ended and active exploration, learning through play, and hands-on investigation of the real world through the lens of NGSS.

Upper Elementary

How do we respond to research that indicates that by the time our students reach the fourth grade, a third of them will lose interest in science? To reverse this trend and ignite their interest in future STEM careers, elementary students need quality learning activities and experiences that spark curiosity, promote confidence, support the rigor of current standards, and develop a solid foundation in the STEM areas so that they are prepared to both work and live in the 21st century. The sessions in this strand showcase hands-on, interactive programs and instructional strategies that support STEM and have been successfully integrated into the elementary core curriculum.

Middle Level

Engaging students through opportunities to explore STEM fields of study that support the NRC Framework and the Next Generation Science Standards is a top priority at the middle school level. A successful middle school STEM program allows students to create, innovate, communicate, collaborate, and iterate projects that are driven by their own interests. The sessions in this strand showcase learning environments where Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics interconnect to serve as a vehicle for discovery, innovation, and independent problem solving while also meeting rigorous content standards.

High School

In preparation for college and career readiness, students must be able to apply their understanding in the context of real-world problem solving. In STEM for grades 9–12, educators help students progress as they gain access to pathways for rewarding and productive careers. Here, STEM is integrated in classroom-based practices that highlight innovative, hands-on, student-centered approaches that seek to nurture curiosity, motivation, and achievement in these fields. See how educators are impacting student interest and teacher instruction, and hear what is required to scale this across subject areas, schools, and districts. Sessions in this strand showcase the three-dimensional ways educators are addressing the challenges of engaging students with their communities in STEM while meeting Science, Mathematics, and Computer Science standards.

Building STEM Ecosystems: Community Partnerships

Students learn in many spaces outside of the formal classroom, engaging and interacting with science and technology in various places with a wide range of different people. STEM Ecosystems promote collaborations between schools, out-of-school time programs, STEM expert institutions, the private sector, community-based organizations, youth, and families to provide quality STEM-rich learning experiences for all young people, their families, and the larger community. A healthy STEM Ecosystem interlaces these varied learning spaces and experiences with in-school learning and exposes many different pathways to scientific dispositions and content knowledge. As part of this complex ecosystem, educators can build partnerships and leverage resources outside of the classroom to help students develop skills and mind-sets needed to answer complex real-life questions. Building partnerships with community organizations—including business/industry, museums and science centers, home school sector, afterschool programming, and education-focused entities—helps to provide authentic STEM experiences and connect preK–16 schools and universities to foster real-world learning. This strand will highlight successful preK–16 partnership initiatives that incorporate ecosystem resources and partnerships outside of the classroom. In addition, school administrators will gain new understanding on the effectiveness of these partnerships on student and teacher performance.


Join our community of postsecondary educators as important and relevant topics in STEM education are discussed and debated in this unique Edcamp/unconference format. Participation in STEM research and research on STEM teaching and learning is a primary focus for college and university faculty. Interdisciplinary research in the STEM fields provides both the model for the NGSS science and engineering practices, as well as the foundation for the disciplinary core ideas. STEM research is, by nature, interdisciplinary and crosscutting. Sessions in this strand will highlight pedagogical and discipline-based research on STEM teaching and learning as well as research in the areas of effective professional development, preservice education, and STEM fields of study.

Graduate-Level Credit for 9th Annual STEM Forum & Expo, hosted by NSTA

Earn one (1) or two (2) graduate-level credit/units in professional development through Dominican University of California course #9061. To obtain credit/units, you must be registered for STEM Forum & Expo, complete the required assignments, and pay a fee of $95 for one credit/unit or $190 for two credits/units. An NSTA transcript is also required. Register for graduate-level credit by Monday, August 10, 2020, and submit the required assignments by Monday, August 31, 2020. Click here for complete details.


  Earlybird* Advance* Onsite
Full Registration 5/8 6/5 After 6/5
NSTA Member $210 $220 $255
STEM Partner Member*** $210 $220 $255
Nonmember $305 $315 $345
Full-time Student $105 $115 $135
Nonteaching Spouse/Guest Attending
All $115 $120 $140

*Earlybird deadline: May 8, 2020          Advance deadline: June 5, 2020

How to Attend an NSTA Conference or STEM Forum on a Budget

Program Partners


STEM Forum & Expo Steering Committee

Karen Hays, Chair
Youth Programs Manager
Denver Zoological Foundation
2300 Steele Street
Denver, CO 80205

© 2020

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