Potatoes Fly at Science Teacher Training in Denver

What happens when you put 150 teachers from 23 states and three countries in the same room for three days with a team of instructors who are over-the-top excited about teaching science? Enthusiasm for making science fun spreads like a virus. Concerns about test scores, curriculum changes or the ever-changing pressures of being a teacher seem to vanish. For three days, these teachers put their worries aside and focus on ways to bring wonder, discovery and exploration back into their classrooms.

Not all of the participants who come to Science in the Rockies start out loving science. Hilary Vanderveen admits she was a student who didn’t like science all that much, but this experience taught her how to avoid that attitude in her classroom. Vanderveen believes the key is raising the “I wonder factor” in her students’ minds as they approach various scientific questions.

To the untrained eye, it might look like teaching science is all fun and games, but there’s a serious side to all of this fun. Many of the participants at this year’s event shared the same fears and concerns that were raised even three years ago – science education is slowly becoming an extra-curricular activity in many schools across the country. With so much pressure being put on reading, writing and math scores on state achievement tests, some elementary teachers are forced to put science on the back burner until early Spring when state testing in other curriculum areas is finished. With help from the instructional team at Science in the Rockies, our goal is to help teachers focus their efforts on integrating science into their everyday curriculum.

Wendy Liddell came all the way from New Zealand to Science in the Rockies to bring back ideas for the science class she teaches in Singapore. “When a teacher is inspired by science, the children are inspired. Children’s minds are the most wonderful gift that we have. The children that we teach today are our future. The ideas, the philosophies and the inspirations that we give them will be the world that we have in the next century,” says Liddell.

90 replies
  1. Wendy L.
    Wendy L. says:

    The entire workshop from start to finish was superbly organized. The preconference correspondence was excellent and I arrived in Denver feeling prepared and welcomed. The staff were exceptionally friendly and helpful and the content of the workshops superb. I came away feeling both inspired and excited about the new materials and ideas that I had acquired. I would love to be part of further workshops and will definitely recommend this event to my colleagues. Many Thanks for all your efforts, Wendy

  2. Randall C
    Randall C says:

    I think that even though you don’t market it to HS teachers it is very beneficial. I like the format and the goody’s that come home with us. The science behind it could be more in tune for a HS teacher but I knew that going in so I wasn’t disappointed. So much of the classroom is showmanship. Ya’ll do a very nice job of this. I appreciate the eagerness of all the staff and Steve to help and be approachable. The networking with individuals from other parts of the nation and world is priceless. Sometimes you just learn things that aren’t even science related, that makes it worth the while also. Many teachers have help paying there way or some assistance, I didn’t, but just the same feel it was worth my money. I have taught MS/JH for most of my career and just recently moved to HS. I like to have fun in the classroom and you definitely promote that. Thanks. I was amazed by all that we got to take home. Thanks for the generosity there as well. If you need a helper/resource person in OK, just let me know. I would like to help you out if you need some. Thanks for the great time and God Bless you all. Keep up the great work. Randall

  3. Lisa H.
    Lisa H. says:

    WOW! I was so impressed by the number of materials distributed, the activity descriptions and the thoroughness of the science concepts that were provided. It really will make a difference in whether I use the activities or not. The entire three days felt WELL ORGANIZED yet flexible, ENTERTAINING, and INFORMATIVE. I liked the emphasis on the science concepts, but also making it clear this is NOT a curriculum. Even though I don’t teach “science” as a class, I found many experiments that will lend themselves to concept introductions, leadership skills, writing prompts, wondering, and FUN! My children have been consumed by many of the materials I came home with. It really was a FIRST class operation! (I liked how you passed out each session’s written packet and bag of materials specifically for that session). Thanks to the staff and all the behind the scenes work as well! It was obvious you all had put a lot of thought and effort into the sessions. There was little lag time (EXCEPT…I really think 1.5 hours for lunch is too long. I would have rather shortened the lunch time to end a little early (a bit ahead of heavy traffic). I went out with other participants two of the days for lunch and even walking to a restaurant it was too much time. I felt like I was “waiting around” to get started again. My only other suggestion: Get your participants moving (ie rotating tables) or have participants talk to each other about what they’ve learned, how they’d adapt or use an experiment, might be a nice way to engage your audience in each other sometimes. There was good pacing and lots of participation in getting to do the experiments, but it might be fun to MIX it up a bit. : ) THANKS TO ALL!!!! Lisa

  4. Marin V.
    Marin V. says:

    This was absolutely by far the most incredible educational experience I have ever had. I have been to countless seminars and conferences, and this surpassed them all. I am currently writing my lesson plans for the coming year, and am planning on using almost everything I was taught. I teach preschool – and I am already practicing on my own children to figure out the best way to teach the concepts Steve presented. Today I talked about inertia with my three and four year old nieces; not only did they get what I was talking about, but they got the hex nuts in the bottle with both the card and the circle – Success! I plan on letting you know the way I implement Science in the Rockies throughout my year. I am also planning on sharing the info with my children’s elementary school teachers. Thanks for an incredible experience. I hope to attend next year’s event as well. Sincerely, Marin

  5. Ellen P.
    Ellen P. says:

    Your workshop far surpasses any other inservice I have ever attended: it was attention grabbing, relevant, and provided me with lots of materials so that I could incorporate the content into my classroom immediately! I could not ask for more. If I could have changed one thing, being a teacher of 6th grade science, I might have separated the Early Childhood teachers from the intermediate teachers. Is there some way you could survey the participants about the specific content they teach and prepare some slightly different materials for “older” kids? By NO MEANS do I think the material was inappropriate; I just wish I could directly use more of what we learned with my group of students and my curriculum. I cannot thank you enough for the enthusiasm and the WOW factor! Most of the demonstrations will creatively find a way into my classroom and I will pass along everything to anyone who is willing to listen. Now, if I can just figure out a way to save enough money for Alaska!

  6. Mark D.
    Mark D. says:

    I lead the training and development team for a conocophillips refinery and i signed up for this workshop to see if some of the simple illustrations used by teachers would help me explain basic physics and science to new employees. the wokrshop certainly provided many applications i can use as we orientate our new employees to the real world of refining. i am excited to see so many teachers enthused about creative science teaching in their classrooms. the love of science is born at an early age and i believe what Steve does for teachers is a vital part of ensuring that continues…. thanks for the priveledge to participate.

  7. Maria C.
    Maria C. says:

    I was overly impressed with how things ran. If something was forgotten, it was fixed within minutes or by the end of the day. I’ve been to some workshops where they just list what supplies you need but don’t offer them out as part of the workshop fee. I felt there was a wide variety of activities that a teacher could offer his/her students even with some of those options not being possible due to school rules. The hotel was quite nice, it was in a nice location, with good food options nearby. I was expecting us to be closer to downtown but I don’t feel I could have had a better experience. SOOO many materials!! I thought I had brought a big enough suitcase, but I was wrong. Even with sending my liquids home due to TSA, I was still cramming things into my suitcase, my carry on. I even stole my husbands suitcase so that I could fit more in his. I was a bit thrown with the price at first. But it was totally worth it since the majority of the money went to the supplies you received. The goals and objectives were quite clear. When I came back, I was telling people how much FUN I had. I would come back every year if I could! It was nice seeing an email in my inbox informing me of how things were coming along and what to expect as the time got closer. It reassured me that this was an organized experience. Totally worth the conference fees. My fellow teachers thought I bought everything before I came back. They were amazed that I had been given this stuff from the workshop. I felt the entire Spangler staff were helpful and quite friendly!! They were always willing to answer a question or find out the answer “google it” if they didn’t know it. Expections: You all blew them out of the water. Thanks for a great experience. I can’t wait to hear about the next one.

  8. Dorothy O.
    Dorothy O. says:

    I don’t know how this could be improved; it really was excellent in all respects. Carly went the extra mile to get me there. The Sheraton staff was completely gracious and accomodating and the entire Science in the Rockies staff expressed nothing but kindness. The key for me though was the great joy expressed throughout. That was contagious and I left eager to share this with others. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  9. Ann S.
    Ann S. says:

    During my 20+ years of taking workshops, I found Science in the Rockies to be the best workshop I have attended. Since I mainly teach reading as a Resource Specialist I will be using the science in literature approach to get students excited about reading which is a difficult area for most of them. When words are tied to bubbles, colors changing, slime etc. they are unforgettable. I was amazed by the organization of the workshop and how smoothly it ran. It showed a lot of thought and work behind it. Steve was an engaging and knowledgeable presenter with an excellent staff to support him. The hotel was great and the western side of Denver was a nice location. Thank you!!!

  10. Kim D.
    Kim D. says:

    I have never experienced a workshop that was so much fun!! I don’t think I will ever be able to top this one!! GREAT JOB!!! Kim

  11. Michelle G.
    Michelle G. says:

    This was the best workshop I have ever attended! I’m very excited to use the materials that blend with my curriculum and pass off the other ones to the appropriate teachers. Quick suggestion – it would be great, for people who are travelling far, if instead of opening their own materials (liquids and such) there was a sample bottle on the table for the teachers at that table to use. Not all activities need to be done by each person – we learned more by working together and sharing than we did when we each did our own.

  12. Chandra C.
    Chandra C. says:

    I am amazed at the way you all work together. I think that is one of the main reasons the workshop is the best to go to. You can tell Steve Spangler Science is a great company by the way problems are solved, activities are handled, and the way the whole thing flows. This was my second year, so I got to listen a lot more since the WOW factor was already seen. Even though I had already seen most of the training I got to take away totally different information that I must have missed last year. I also got the opportunity to bring my staff along as well. They were in ah the whole time. We are from a local preschool and are truly blessed to have such a wonderful resource close to us. There is not another worth while training that I have sent my staff to that they are so excited about. They still are talking about it, and I hope they do through out the year. Thank you for being GREAT teachers teachers. You all truly know how to up lift such a hard subject to teach. Way to go and please keep up the hard work in everything you all do for us teachers out there of all teaching ages.

  13. Lisa N.
    Lisa N. says:

    I was really amazed and in awe at your work ethic, customer service, and just your over all politeness to all of us. When ever I had a question or a problem, it was handled at warp speed. Your very high standards speak volumes. I have been to a one day Boot camp and now I have experienced this 3 day saturation of Spangler science and both experiences had these attributes! I can only hope our paths will cross again! I am going to be working on lesson plans that incorporate these activities with high school level standards. I already use many of these. I left this workshop feeling very fortified for the upcoming year. The registration was very smooth. I liked being able to reserve and pay later. This allowed me to wait on my funding. I stayed at another hotel, the Courtyard Marriott in Lakewood. It was not as expensive. But your venue was very nice. The curriculum was one of the strongest I have ever seen in a workshop setting. I will be using everything at some point. Please keep me posted on the cruise for next year!! God bless you and your staff. Have a great summer! Lisa

  14. Terri L.
    Terri L. says:

    This truely was one of the best workshops I have ever attended. It exceeded my expectations. I loved receiving all the materials so that I can start using them immediately in my classroom. I learned so much!!! Thanks for everything!! I can’t wait for Science in the Rockies 2. Suggestion: When I attended a 3 day conference in Oklahoma, they gave away one free pass for next years conference at the end of the conference. The pass only convered the cost of the conference, not hotel and air. Has Steve ever thought about that? It would be so exciting to think I am in a drawing to come back to next years conference and it would only cost me hotel and air fare. Anyway, it was just a suggetion. Thanks again, for all the great ideas and for all the materials. Sincerely, Terri

  15. Sean S.
    Sean S. says:

    I had a great time, will use many of the materials given, and thought that the whole thing was amazingly well-organized. My only suggestion would be that you should affiliate yourself with Donorschoose.com so I can get a sponsor to pay next year!

  16. Kathy S.
    Kathy S. says:

    I was pleasantly surprised at how wonderful the conference was. I didn’t know anything about Steve before I came and I loved all of it. I will use the curriculum with my pre-k class and since we are in a daycare I have already told my colleagues about it and they want to do it with their children also. I loved the literacy approach also it was fantastic. Thank you

  17. Jane B.
    Jane B. says:

    Wow! I have attended a lot of workshops but nothing like Science in the Rockies. I have not been doing much of anything in the area of science in my classroom. I plan to do a new activity with my ECE students every week. Thanks, the three days were awesome. Jane

  18. Lauren H.
    Lauren H. says:

    I had no idea what to expect from this workshop – all I heard was that it is amazing. Amazing doesn’t give this workshop justice. I have never had such a great time learning. It was different from all other workshops I have ever been on. What I liked the most was we were sitting and listening. But when we were it was entertaining. Thank you for those amazing 3 days. I cannot wait to get information for next years cruise.

  19. Laurie H.
    Laurie H. says:

    I thought everything was awesome. Thank you so much. I had a wonderful time and cannot wait to share that same experience with my colleagues and students. I am very interested in the cruise next summer so please keep me posted on that. My boyfriend would like to come along. Thanks again.

  20. Nancy B.
    Nancy B. says:

    I have attended two of your Science in the Rockies and enjoy getting the needed material since our schools have money for training and not supplies so your workshop is great. I would like to see the literature included for older grades. K-2 is fine but we need more for the older and gifted students. I hope to find the funds to attend another of your workshops especially if you have new material. I am hoping to attend the Alaskan tour but would like to see if there is any grants available to help defray the cost. If you have any information on grants available could you please send it to me. Thanks in advance for any and all help.

  21. Libby K.
    Libby K. says:

    I’ve heard so much about Steve Spangler and his workshops that I could hardly wait for the conference. I was truly amazed how much I took away from this experience!!! I learned “new” ways to work with my students communicating science investigations and science concepts. I am so excited for school to start so I can start implementing these tools in the classroom. Thanks again for a wonderful conference and great time!!! I will definately recommend this conference to fellow teachers in my district!

  22. Linda L.
    Linda L. says:

    I have attended 2 summer workshops and hope to be able to attend another workshop. I enjoyed the second as much as the first. I convinced 3 other teachers and our principal to attend this year’s workshop. They all loved it. I believe that any teacher, particularly newer teachers and those that are hesitant or intimidated about teaching science, would greatly benefit from this workshop. The joy of teaching is obvious throughout the range of activities presented. The teachers that accompanied me were a bit lost on the density activity. I do not know if having the opportunity to read about the background science beforehand would have helped. The hotel staff were very competent, courteous and helpful. The workshop staff, in particular, Carly, were wonderful. She always had a smile when dealing with the myriad of special requests.

  23. Kathy C.
    Kathy C. says:

    I am so excited to go back to school and try out all of the experiments on my kids. How lucky this year’s class will be!

  24. Danielle B.
    Danielle B. says:

    I must first take the time to express my gratitude and satisfaction with Science in the Rockies 2008. This was my first professional development conference, outside of what was required for me to attend during my student teaching. I have to say that I might end up being disappointed by other professional development days that I will have to endure in the future in comparing it to this experience. I thought I might feel awkward, being a new teacher and traveling 2000 miles across the country to this conference where I would know no one. The thing is I felt so comfortable and relaxed to embark on the three day journey once we began. Registering Wednesday morning was also very easy. The staff were all very welcoming and helpful. I enjoyed how you (Steve) talked about going beyond that “WOW” factor. I think that was something that I didn’t do when I used your experiment with polymers and the baby diaper. I let the wow factor exceed what the real science was. Listening to you reiterate the idea that it is about the wow factor, but it is more about what you do with it afterwards affected me, positively of course. Your presentation (along with the other presenters) of the materials was always captivating and entertaining and didn’t leave me feeling bored, or questioning “When is he going to shut-up?” I was always intrigued by what the next step was going to be, something that I will definitely use as I begin my career path. At some points the curriculum was a bit rushed through, which I understand you had a lot to cover, but it sort of gave a feeling of less importance towards the topic. For instance, when we were doing the batteries and circuits and drawing them. I couldn’t keep up. Another suggestion is for Julie, she was absolutely wonderful with the experiments and demonstrations. However, she went way too fast for some of us during glow and even during the showing of the literature. Like I said I know you all had a lot to cover in a short amount of time, but I’d rather be able to do it all well, then to glance over it quickly and be unsure of it. So in glow, some of it was a bit repetitive and didn’t need for us to actually do it, but only to have Julie show it to us and refer us to the page. Still providing us with the materials necessary to do it with. I look forward to seeing you all again in the future. Come out East so I can say your name out here and people go “aha” the same way they did when I was at DIA and they read my Flying Potato University t-shirt! Thank you!!

  25. Kim H.
    Kim H. says:

    I thought that this was an excellent experience. It is by far the most rewarding educational conference that I have been to in my 20 years of teaching. The information and supplies that you provided to us was great! I liked how when an experiment was presented you pretty much supplied us with the necessary materials to recreate it in our classrooms. You all did a superb job! Thank You, Kim

  26. Tom S.
    Tom S. says:

    I am taking all of these take home materials and using them in my classroom and sharing them with other teachers in trainings. I would love any new activities to be sent to me. I thought the registration was easy. I always find the spangler science activity booth and mini workshop at the CAEYC conferences and use the hands on activities. Maybe try to offer more one day workshops for schools that cannot afford to send a teacher to a full 3 day workshop. A workshop with all new activities would be a suggestion for all of the graduates of Flying Potato University. Thank You for that great workshop; The best workshop for education I have ever attended!!!

  27. Kate M.
    Kate M. says:

    I don’t think I can find the words to convey my entire experience. IT WAS AWESOME! Your entire team appears more like a big family and well oiled machine. Everyone on the Spangler staff is truley passionate about their job and it was contagious. I first saw Steve at my first NAEYC conference my first year of teaching…actually he was my first class….and now that I was able to spend 3 days with you all, I can honestly say it changed my life. I have been praying since I’ve been home that the enthusiasm and passion that developed in me over the three days stays with me both as an educator and mom. I see science in EVERYTHING now. Thank you for restoring the sense of wonder in me! I am literally telling anyone that will listen about my time in Denver. I am sharing my science discoveries with my children’s teachers here in AZ and my sister, a 3rd grade teacher, in Southern CA. Keep spreading the word. Science rocks! With sincere gratitude – Kate

  28. Nancy F.
    Nancy F. says:

    WOW! How can I begin to thank you for changing my professional life — and my personal one too. I was becoming pretty burned out as an educator. I provide teacher trainings both in my district and nationally, and I felt like I kept doing the same thing over and over. I wasn’t sure that it was effective or exciting. After this experience, I know a couple of things. First, I know that I am on the right track, providing more than just the wizz-bang experiences but tying those into real learning. Second, I learned that there are so many new and different things that I can use — my bag-of-tricks is now larger and more inviting. The photographs and videos meant that I could focus on the task at hand instead of trying to capture it with my camera. That was incredibly valuable. I fell in bed exhausted every night and woke up eager to begin the day. Please tell the next group that they will want to ship everything home — maybe include it in the price (for domestic shipping). I’ll do this again – even if my district won’t pay for it, no matter what. (Would you consider offering a scholarship or two to your Boot Camp workshops, like Kagan does?) Thanks for all you do for our kids.

  29. Becky H.
    Becky H. says:

    This was an awesome experience. I am so excited to share the experiments with my students and fellow teachers. The enthusiasm and humor made the workshop one of the best I have ever attended. My family have become huge Steve Spangler fans!

  30. Amy V.
    Amy V. says:

    This was a terrific opportunity. I had a great time and I can’t wait to launch into a new year with all sorts of awesome science experiments that I know the kids will love. When many of us complained about the room being too cold, you did what you could to warm things up. I was a little concerned about Doug when he placed the propane tank right next to the hot plate that hadn’t been turned off, all balanced on a tray. Fortunately, nothing bad happened … call me a worrywart. I tried to talk Julie into selling t-shirts like the staff has but you redeemed yourself with the Flying Potato U. shirts. They were a topic of conversation in the airport and on the plane. The Bolder excursion was great fun…it could have been longer but then we would have been more tired on Friday…hmmm…it was probably just right. Thanks for all of your hard work…it really paid off. I’m thinking about Alaska next summer…waiting to hear how much it’ll cost and if I can swing it. :-}

  31. Jennifer O.
    Jennifer O. says:

    This workshop was amazing! I came home feeling totally re-charged and have already had a blast sharing my experience with the children participating in our summer programs. I learned so much– not only about science, but also about keeping students engaged in the learning process and about encouraging them to wonder, ask questions, and make their own discoveries. Thank you to everyone who made this workshop possible. What a great team!

  32. Martha H.
    Martha H. says:

    It was everything we wanted and needed to further the excitement of science with children and adults alike. Our next big challenge is to decide on the activity to share with the folks who sponsored the grant that allowed us to participate in the Science in the Rockies. Thank-you , Martha

  33. Ken W.
    Ken W. says:

    The activities were wonderful and will be helpful in incorporating more science in my first grade class. However, it would be helpful if during the demonstration the presenters would indicate the type of science unit the activity would fit in nicely. Some of them are obvious (such as the electricity and magnet activities), but many of them are not so obvious (such as the snow or making worms). If some of them are just for the wow effect, that is fine, but it would be helpful to know this. It would really be helpful if you could send me a list of what type of science unit the activities that are not obvious should be incorporated into in the curriculum. Again I was very excited to be at the conference and thought it was better than any other conference I have ever attended, but I think this one aspect could really make a big difference in teachers using some of these activities as attention getters and using these activities to teach solid scientific concepts.

  34. Yolanda P.
    Yolanda P. says:

    This was a wonderful experience. I thought that Steve should definitely continue the circuitry unit. It was very helpful. I struggled with this last year with my students and now have a whole new insight on how I can teach this. Thank you so much.

  35. Mary G.
    Mary G. says:

    I had such a blast at this workshop. You have provided so many opportunities to use these materials with other students at school. Downfall, the distance from the airport to the hotel was far. Thank you for a great time…:-)

  36. Jennifer F.
    Jennifer F. says:

    This conference was excellent! Hands-down, I walked away with more usable information and materials than any other conference attended in sixteen years of teaching. I was a bit worried before I came since all travel expenses and the majority of my conference registration was not being covered by my school. When I spend my own money, I want it to be worth the time and effort. You did not dissapoint. Thank you for a fantastic three day conference that will impact all the students that I teach for years to come. As a side note, my family thanks you too. They have had a blast watching as I practice my skills on them.

  37. Nathaniel O.
    Nathaniel O. says:

    This was the best conference that I have attended. Everything was well organized from the begining to the end. I will be using most of the materials and what I don’t use I will be giving to my colleagues to use.

  38. Marla G.
    Marla G. says:

    Great experience! I’ve been teaching preschool for nearly 35 years and have been to the same old conferences so many times and learned the same things over and over they were mostly a waste of time. It was great to finally attend a conference that was interesting, useful, and FUN! I’ve already recommended it to others.

  39. Tami K.
    Tami K. says:

    Thank you for helping me to get excited again about teaching science. Sharing actual stories of integration would be a useful follow-up.

  40. Grace H.
    Grace H. says:

    This was one of the few professional development programs I’ve done where I wasn’t constantly looking at my watch! Nearly everything we learned I will be able to use in my classroom & modify to fit standards & goals.

  41. Mary S.
    Mary S. says:

    I loved the workshop and the materials you provided. As always, the dilemma with a primary teacher is the time needed to fit everything into the curriculum in a meaningful way. I am going to think out of the box and try to find time to use these experiments as reward time as well as part of the second grade curriculum in our school. Thank you for a great three days. I was tired but energized. Also, I am very interested in the cruise plans for next June. Please keep me informed as information becomes available.

  42. Florence P.
    Florence P. says:

    Truly a very worthwhile experience. I was nervous with two broken wrists but I was able to participate in every activity. Also, I work with afterschool programs and found the material very applicable to the needs of our students and our funders. Thank you, not only for the curriculum/experiments, but also the very entertaining delivery!

  43. Warren B.
    Warren B. says:

    The literature connections were fantastic. I spent the next few days after the workshops hunting out the books mentioned on the list. The sessions were of just the right duration. I did not feel sleepy at any stage and that means everything was very active and engaging. In actual fact the three days flew and were over very quickly, always a sign that things have gone well. Can’t wait for my boxes to arrive and get things organised into boxes.

  44. Dorrie C.
    Dorrie C. says:

    Take home materials would have been easier if they were ready to ship or put in suitcases on the last day – not used during the conference. The bus trip to and from Boulder was much more fun than the actual visit, shops were expensive would have liked to experience downtown Denver

  45. Valerie H.
    Valerie H. says:

    I can’t say enough good things about this workshop. I am a self-contained exceptional children’s teacher with students in grades 2-5. My students all have cognitive disabilities (IQs below 69). As an exceptional children’s teacher I often miss out on workshops geared toward general education. I am so grateful that my principal (she attended the workshop as well) selected me to attend. I am responsible for teaching all content areas to my students including science. As you can imagine, providing instruction to multiple grade levels and multiple disabilities can be a challenging job. The experiments presented at the workshop will allow me to make learning more interesting for all of my students. It has inspired me to find ways to integrate science into many different content areas. I am very excited about the coming school year. Thank you for providing an informative workshop that was so much fun. I am already talking with my principal about attending the life science cruise next June. Valerie

  46. Kathleen W.
    Kathleen W. says:

    Thank you for a wonderful time! I have used Steve Spangler products for the past 3 years. I teach gifted/talented so I am able to incorporate many different activities into my lessons. I enjoyed the time I spent in this conference. Kathleen

  47. Paula C.
    Paula C. says:

    thought Steve did exactly what he warned teachers not to do. The WOW aspect of science without the explanation. I know it was all written out for us but I find the explanations just as exciting as the WOW!!! Since I do a Science Club at our library and we have a science center at our library, I suggested to Steve that you expand your program to librarians. There is a Colorado Conference every November. Science as programs in libraries is becoming very popular. Anyway, thanks for all the effort, I really enjoyed my experience and will be using many of the ideas in our program. Paula

  48. Jana S.
    Jana S. says:

    From the moment I signed up, I knew I was in for an experience of a lifetime. Not only were my expectations met, but they were far exceeded on every level. I have been to many a workshop in my career, but this was not only the most interesting, but the most practical. You did not just show us the activities, but rather, you explained and let us get involved on every level – perfect modeling for what we all need to be doing with our students. While I won’t be able to use every aspect of the materials, going through the motions with them still deepened my own personal understanding of many concepts and ideas. And, by the way, the materials arrived on my doorstep lightning fast!!! Thanks to all who were involved in making Science in the Rockies worth the stress and anticipation of flying to Denver. From the smallest details to the biggest explosions, this was worth every penny!!!

  49. Jean H.
    Jean H. says:

    This was by far one of the best educational experiences I have had. I am so excited about doing so many of your activites with my class. I had 4 of my grandchildren over this week and we practiced many of them. They loved it. I stopped by our Central School Office and told them that if ever anyone else had a chance to attend, it was worth every cent. Kansas is now doing a State Assessment in Science in the 4th grade. I know what I learned will be very helpful. Thank you so much. Jean

  50. Julie W.
    Julie W. says:

    This was the most incredible conference I have ever attended! Steve and the whole staff were amazing. The only suggestions that I would like to make for next year would be, first, not have the room so cold. I had to go out and buy a sweatshirt the first day. Second, the lunch was too long. Since I live in the Denver area I would have much prefered to get out earlier and take a shorter lunch. An hour would have been plenty. Thanks again for a great learning experience.

  51. Eileen L.
    Eileen L. says:

    Steve and Staff, You are wonderful and generous beyond our expectations. I wish I could attend a one-day course each year …. there’s just so much material ….. I do realize that the three-day course is more practical, considering the travel time. The hotel staff was just excellent, as were the hotel accomodations, pool, etc. Excellent location, considering easy access to downtown and local restaurants, etc. The trip to Boulder was excellent, too. Maybe an extra hour would be better ….. One thing that would be helpful: Healthy snacks (apples) during breaks in the a.m. and p.m. Better to keep us alert and perky during the conference. Other than that, just beyond perfect. Thank you so much. Kathy and I will attend in a few years again. Best wishes to all, xx Eileen

  52. Dawn C.
    Dawn C. says:

    Coming from a distance it would have been better to host this wonderful workshop closer to the airport. It was too far and very costly to get to and from it. Otherwise I think this was a great science experience and will definately recommend it to everyone and anyone who will listen. I love science and hope to bring back to my classroom the experience I just witnessed to my students. I want them to be fired up and interested in science just as much as I was. I contribute my love for science to my high school teacher. I want to pass this love on to my students in hopes that they too will love science just as much as I do!

  53. Mary M.
    Mary M. says:

    I loved every aspect of this workshop. Demonstrations with hands-on practice was terrific. Sometimes I didn’t really understand the science behind the demo. I think this has more to do with my lack of understanding rather than your inability to explain it. Honestly, I’ve always thought that science was my strongest subject area….and now I realize that I am really only knowledgeable about LIFE SCIENCES!! I am not comfortable with electricity and physics and chemistry. Luckily I teach second grade and understand the concepts at that grade level. There was SO MUCH information and while I would love to teach it all, realistically I am going to choose only those ideas which support second grade standards. I consider myself fortunate to teach in a school that encourages us to teach science and social studies. In California right now, the focus is MAINLY on reading and math….and so it gets taught all day in the primary grades in public school. The teachers are so afraid of those STAR test results that they devote much of the day teaching to the test. I missed the final part of Friday and did not receive the materials on Potions and Motion. Any chance I can get that? I finally went through my boxes and discovered this. One more thing….how do I go about getting university units? Thank you for an invigorating and hilarious time, Mary

  54. Molly S.
    Molly S. says:

    I would really like to have been exposed to more of the why behind the demonstrations/experiments. Being new to teaching science, I would have liked to have gained a better understanding of the actual science concepts. I think that Brian did a fantastic job of explaining density–that session was perfect. Also–it would be beneficial if you split the group into early/primary teachers and intermediate/middle school teachers and hit concepts/demonstrations/experiments that were targeted for specific age groups during a portion of the three day conference. Overall, I was very impressed with your entire package. I look forward to attending future conferences! (Even if it comes out of my own pocket again!) Great job and thank you for making my three days worth my while!

  55. Margo G.
    Margo G. says:

    I thought this class was awesome! I didn’t hesitate to take notes right on the pages that described the activities as we did them, but I noticed others trying to keep up in seperate notebooks. Probably because they we going to share the experiments and didn’t want to mess up the pages. Maybe extra blank pages in between the activities in the note book would help keep additional notes organized. Just a thought. This was a class I would recommend to everyone.

  56. Shelly B.
    Shelly B. says:

    I am very excited for the school year to start….all the cool science that my students are going to learn…thanks to this workshop.

  57. Sara G.
    Sara G. says:

    I have been teaching for 37 years. I have my MS in elementary science. This was by far, the best class I have ever taken since graduating from college 100 years ago. Keep up the good work!

  58. Richard H.
    Richard H. says:

    I felt the desire of the presenters to dazzle and entertain took precedence over providing insight into the hard science behind the demonstrations. I don’t want to present my students with a demonstration or hands on experience that I don’t fully understand. I appreciate the extensive documentation for each activity that was provided.

  59. Kathy A.
    Kathy A. says:

    Absolutely LOVED Science in the Rockies workshop! I have never enjoyed a class as much! Steve and his friends were WONDERFUL! Talk about getting a mountain load of material to teach my 3rd graders! Steve’s office staff and volunteers were genuinely nice and extremely helpful! From the first communication with Carly until the giving of the t-shirts, I enjoyed and learned so much! Thank you for caring to go out of the ordinary to make my experience extraordinary!

  60. Peggy P.
    Peggy P. says:

    The workshop was an exciting and useful experience–probably the best I’ve ever attended. I appreciate the ‘use right way’ ideas and the extra touch of providing materials to get things going. Over and above the quality of the workshop, I would like to mention how impressed I was with the work behind the scenes. Carly, I appreciated your consistent email contacts before the workshop and, even more, your cheerful willingness to answer questions and help with everything from reservations to shipping. Thank you so much! Clearly, the days went smoothly with the help of many support staff. There was always someone willing to retrieve a missing experiment component or get the sound system up or correct the technology flaws. This might seem like a tiny detail but, having attended workshops where a large amount of time was spent waiting for the computer programs to work or for the projectors to be fixed, it was impressive to see how well the many components fit together. Thank you for an enjoyable and enriching experience. I know that our children will love having new, stimulating lessons as part of their science experience and I am looking forward seeing it all through their young eyes.

  61. Seanna W.
    Seanna W. says:

    This was an exceptional conference. Steve and the entire staff were incredibly well organized, friendly, helpful, and passionate about what you do. I was very happy that we got right down to the business of science and did not have much of that “turn to your neighbor, share ideas, get to know you” stuff that many presenters insist upon. We are adults who know how to communicate with each other~ thank you for respecting that. This was by far the best conference I have ever been to. I will actively encourage others in my district to come in the future. thank you!

  62. Paula H.
    Paula H. says:

    It was a valuable and rewarding experience. I am a lot more motivated to teach my ECE’ers science. I also had fun sharing things from the class with my 7 yr. old at home each day. I plan to get some of those science items out of my cupboard, I have been storing far too long. Thank you, I look forward to sharing these experiences with my colleagues.

  63. Jack D.
    Jack D. says:

    Very easy, very friendly and Steve is so genuinely personable! Materials are more than expected and the notebook will help as a great reminder!! Unfortunately we (NH) may not be out of school by June 17th for the cruise…sound awesome!!! Have Fun and hope to hear updates often!!!!!

  64. Alice S.
    Alice S. says:

    This was a great experience. It was so much fun. As much as the team showed us, I wish we had more time for more. The reason why I say this the catalog. There is so much stuff there that I would like to see how they are used. I know I can look at the science experiments online, but I want more. I met a lot of great teachers. At the workshop, I wish I knew where my state and grade level teachers were. I think we would be able to network throughout the year. Maybe you could group us by state or the same part of the country or by grade level the first day. I think that would of helped me connect better. A few teachers told me I could of taken the local bus from the airport to the hotel for a lower price than the shuttle. That would be helpful for future workshops. Thanks for the experience. Keep making science fun.

  65. Nancy R.
    Nancy R. says:

    The entire experience was fun and loaded with meaningful activities. Steve met my expectations as to what the presentations would be like…what exceeded my expectations was how wonderful the support staff was. Everyone was so helpful and polite. How refreshing! Thank you all for the hard work that you put into such a successful conference.

  66. Christina B.
    Christina B. says:

    I thought the workshop was fantastic! I will definitely use everything I learned! Thank you for everything!

  67. Kay A.
    Kay A. says:

    I truly felt that if I could give you all an excellent +++ I would. You all were outstanding in what you did and I am excited to pass along this love of science to my students. Many thanks. Kay A.

  68. Laura H.
    Laura H. says:

    I knew that I would enjoy the experience; however, I had no idea that it would be the highlight of my summer. I am revamping my science lessons to include the new materials that I received. I am looking forward to any future Spangler classes or camps in which I can participate.

  69. Jean S.
    Jean S. says:

    The event was unexpectedly awesome. I heard it was good, but it was way better than good. I will probably do it again next year. There are lots of DPS ECE teachers with Professional Development money to spend and no idea where to spend it. Your workshop was an amazing value for a classroom without a specific science curriculum. Hopefully you can work with Minna from the Denver Preschool Program and get those other ECE teachers to your workshop. It would be helpful if there was a one day workshop during the year for the teachers with less PD money to spend. The whole event was invaluable and I will be sending pictures of your materials and my 4 year olds working together. The only thing I have confusion of how to use in my classroom is the Gravity Goo. It is rather messy for the people who want to grab it in mid air. I will look on your website to see how to handle it since there was no information about it in the handouts. Thanks Again and if you are ever in the neighborhood of Castro Elem. (Kentucky and Lowell Blvd.) stop into the ECE classroom, 152 and say hi. Jean S

  70. Diane S.
    Diane S. says:

    The hotel was one of the best in which I have attended workshops, even outside of Colorado. I know Steve needs to train other presenters, however, they were weaker, and I preferred Steve. (Obviously he is the best.) There wasn’t an explanation for the mentos experiment and Steve said that he would put it on the website but I looked and I don’t know where to find it. Is there a special place dedicated to our specific workshop besides the pics from each day? Overall, I was impressed with the workshop and will implement the experiments into my curriculum. Diane S

  71. Jessica M.
    Jessica M. says:

    I absolutely loved this event! I will remember it forever and use the content/materials in my classroom!!! Thank you for a wonderful time!

  72. Susan B.
    Susan B. says:

    The experience was great (although it would have been nice if the hotel was closer to Denver and things to do.) My little preschool pals had a great time making the rainbow tubes and doing the mousepaint activity. As a side note, in the July/August issue of Science Illustrated (page 28) there is a short blurb about glacially deposited rocks popping to the surface in spring. This relates nicely to the toy in the cereal-marble in the tube activity and adds a nice earth-science component. Thanks for everything.

  73. Susan T.
    Susan T. says:

    I had a great time!!! It was fun, exciting, and I looked forward to each day. I would like to have some experiences that incorporated the Earth Sciences. I do a lot of projects with rock formations, fossils, and caves. I also discuss animals and use owl pellets, habitats, and parts of plants. I incorporate Science with the reading series we use, which is the Voyager Reading Program. It is a great reading program and the students love it, but it doesn’t tell me to do these things, I just feel that Science is important and fun. I hope that I will be able to attend next years conference to Alaska, that would be wonderful. All your staff were great, polite, helpful, and truly believe that Science is very vital to our students and their education. I can’t wait for school to start and use the materials I received with my class. GREAT JOB!!! Susan T

  74. Diane K.
    Diane K. says:

    The Hotel was too far from the airport. You guys were great. I’m so excited about getting back to the classroom.

  75. madison
    madison says:

    I’m a (retired) health educator. I fortunately found this site while looking for playdough recipes for my grandchildren.
    The best teachers I remember were those who were passionate about the subjects they were teaching.

    A disappointment: I know e-communication has created sloppy writing, but when I saw the number of English language errors in the messages TEACHERS
    wrote, I was so very disappointed (in them)!

  76. Sue M.
    Sue M. says:

    I am very excited about everything I gained from this experience. I can’t wait to use it this year at school, and share it with colleagues. Thank you for making it such a wonderful experience.

  77. Michael S.
    Michael S. says:

    I’d really like to see some more content for life and space science. It would also be nice if there were a 1 or 2 day course offered right before Christmas (I teach overseas and getting to these PD opportunities is a challenge). The July date is great. Thanks guys.

  78. Tammy B.
    Tammy B. says:

    The workshop was awesome. I can’t wait to try the experiments in my classroom. As always I was inspired by Steve and the gang!! I would like the link for the Standards. I can’t seem to find them on the website.

  79. Connie C.
    Connie C. says:

    Science in the Rockies was an awesome experience. I benefited greatly from the opportunities to experience hands- on activities. I love having the explanations for each activity. Reading is my main objective but I want science to be a high priority in my classroom for the upcoming school year. It helps me greatly to have the “why” info for each activity. This was my first time to visit Colorado and I loved the workshop!!! Now being totally honest, I didn’t care for the evening in Boulder.

  80. Robin H.
    Robin H. says:

    I totally enjoyed your program. You did a great job of trying to cover a broad span of content that could apply to a wide variety of grade ranges. I will be able to utilize a great number of the activities in my classroom this coming year especially the activities about density. Thank you for putting together such a high quality program. Robin H

  81. Patty H R
    Patty H R says:

    I’m just having trouble deciding which demo/experiment to start my class off with this year. We will use them all – in some fashion or another.
    I knew when we got the purple pearl swirl ball in the mail with our workshop confirmation that this was going to be one incredible learning experience.
    I’ve told people it was the highlight of my summer. They think I’m a science nerd…but it did more for me than just teach me some experiments to use in class. 🙂
    If anyone has ways to adapt any of these ideas for the high school curriculum, I’d love to hear about it.
    Thank you all for a wonderful job!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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