NSTA- The Big Easy- Fun stuff... at the convention

From: BBracey@aol.com
Subject: NSTA- The Big Easy- Fun stuff... at the convention
Date: Sun, 6 Apr 1997 21:34:08 -0400 (EDT)

I just got back from the convention. I took the 8:55 AM plane, and so if I
make errors... I am tired. I explored the city what was in walking distance..
and my tennis shoes were the
final footwear of choice. 

It rained on one day.. was worried about some who went on the swamp tour..
but they cancelled the tour with the tornado watch. I went along the
Riverwalk with friends, and we saw where the barge struck, and I went to the
aquarium party.

I am Bonnie Bracey, and I love going to the NSTA conventions because there is
so much for everyone. I missed the first day of the conference because of
ticket snafus and meetings. I actually flew to Philadelphia to be able to get
to New Orleans
on Wednesday night. So I missed the dinner . I had a cheap room , so I am not
going to tell you where I stayed. Very inexpensive.
It was probably not the hotel of choice, but who was there anyway most of the

Because like a lot of you I am involved with several groups that are in
advocacy, I actually missed three dinners, the POPS dinner, the PTK dinner,
and a Chem Society Outreach dinner. The dinners in N'Orleans were not your
usual rubber chicken
kind of thing. The NASA `outreach, and connection with teachers who work in
classrooms is so important. Many school systems do not create interface for
NASA projects as they feel a competition in developing programs, and
projects. So the mission for me , was to be able to connect, to share, to
learn about as much as possible to share on a national basis. I will have an
announcement later. 

The first person I found was Marilyn Wall. She was working the booth. I was
working the floor for the exhibits. She was spreading the word to people and
sharing her experiences with
Passports to Knowledge with those who dropped by the booth.. and informally
answering questions.  


When I started to attend the NSTA conferences, I learned to work the
convention floor for the goodies and bargain rates, and grants and initiative
that were meaningful. NASA and the
space educators, and this group had a wonderful , wonderful
set of exhibits. There was so much to get, to share  , and to participate in
, that I started visiting the sacksitters on the first onehalf of the browse.
( THe rumor is that I sent 4 boxes home.. the truth is 5 and two poster tubes
and then I lugged stuff including " Hermie" my new pet.) I fed him toast, and
lettuce.. and misted him for his plane trip. 

Goodies galore..  so many that I can't remember....
Fun things to get.. a holographic lollipop
A hermit crab
Bottle biology strategies for raising brassicas in bottlecaps
All the NASA posters and CD( free) so great
poster we usually pay 20 dollars for , at free or reduced
prices.. great ideas and books in the bookstore.
There was also a list of the workshops that allowed
us to get the reprint of the workshops , some of them
that we were not able to attend.

I can't remember all the great things I got. I was working fast
so I could try to cover the whole floor. THere was a badge that blinks red..
battery activated that had numbers on it you were supposed to match with
someone else with the same number but , I always forgot to look. 
The exhibits were in groups, ecological, NASA related and so on I spent the
first day doing the science related workshops and events. Meeting people in
outreach and who work
the NASA Initiatives and checking out their projects. I had a 
Space educators photo taken somewhere, like a passport.  I could have stood
in line to be photographed with an astronaut
( the suit). There was a wonderful walkthrough NASA project and I am not even
going to start to tell you all about it. Too much to tell...

I generally chose workshops that were something out of the
normal participating channels so that I could learn new things.

Some of the fun of attending the convention is to run into PTK
advocates , people you have had classes with, workshops, and to see funders,
and to retell the stories of adventures while...
being in the learning stages..

People I know would greet each other and start to remind
each other about the stories from our "ed Ventures". WE laughed a lot. Jason
from the NEWEST project and I met and I was able to share PTK, and other
initiatives with him. 
He shared information with me too.

I have a photograph of our adventure in the limo on the way
to the PTK conference at NASA headquarters.. ( for those who don't know ..
the subway was not working and we sent for a cab
and it cost the same, just held more people we did NOT waste
taxpayer money. It was a blast from the past)

The convention is a celebration of learning using science as a vehicle. The
offerings were as big as the telephone book in the DC area for Northern
Virginia, there were all kinds of learning  adventures and field trips, and
the workshops were so many
and outstanding.. Principals would benefit from allowing teachers to
participate for the interface with new ideas and people and information.
We ate well. Even in the convention center. ..but you knew that? eh? Can you
say Etoufee? Gumbo? Jambalaya? Bread Pudding? Boudin? Kitchy , kitchy gumbo,
ja ja..Praline?
Preservation Hall, Bourbon Street French Market? A lot of walking went on...

Start to save for the trip to Vegas, and find two or three roommates as fares
to Vegas and rooms are fairly inexpensive!!)Better yet, do a savings thing.
You need to celebrate with people who understand you.

Marilyn will probably write a more scholarly description.. I just gave you an
overview.. Bonnie