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Preparing the Next Generation of Scientific Thinkers in an Inquiry-Based Classroom

Thursday, February 9, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm EST

Preparing the Next Generation of Scientific Thinkers in an Inquiry-Based Classroom

Presented by Michelle Newstadt, Ph.D., Senior Director of Learning Design, STEM, BrainPOP; Brandi Stroecker, Director, Tennessee STEM Innovation Network at Battelle Education; Harshil Parikh, Co-Founder and CEO, Tuva; and Kathy Perkins, Ph.D., Director, PhET Interactive Simulations, and Faculty, University of Colorado Boulder, Department of Physics

Sponsored by BrainPOP Science

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Science education has evolved far beyond asking students to memorize facts or follow steps to complete a cookie-cutter experiment. Preparing the next generation of scientific thinkers and doers hinges on equipping them with transferable skills like asking essential questions, analyzing data, challenging assumptions, and reasoning analytically. It all starts with nurturing their curiosity!

Watch this conversation with product creators and education leaders from BrainPOP, PhET Interactive Simulations, Tuva, and the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network. They share unique insights on the evolution of science education and discuss strategies to empower educators to confidently embrace new approaches to teaching and learning. View this edLeader Panel to explore how to:

  • Nurture a culture of learning anchored in student-driven inquiry
  • Build measurable, transferable scientific-thinking skills and practices
  • Expand science teachers’ capacity to teach complex science and engineering practices

This recorded edLeader Panel is of interest to middle school teachers, school and district leaders, education technology leaders, technology integration specialists, and science-focused educators and administrators.


Dr. Michelle NewstadtAbout the Presenters

Dr. Michelle Newstadt is a veteran science educator with over a decade of experience in edtech and pre-service science education. She is currently Senior Director of Learning Design, STEM at BrainPOP. She leads the development of learning experience and implementation model strategy for BrainPOP Science, a new product launched in 2021 for middle school science teachers. Before her time at BrainPOP, Dr. Newstadt led research, innovation, and education efforts at organizations such as Gooru and Expii, working to support all learners to develop complex math and science knowledge. In addition to her time in science edtech, Dr. Newstadt also worked as an adjunct science education professor at the University of Pittsburgh, where she taught pre-service secondary education science teachers. She resides in Pittsburgh, PA, with her husband and two boys and can often be found on the ski slopes and baseball fields.

Brandi StroeckerBrandi Stroecker is an educational leader who strongly advocates for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). As Executive Director of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, managed by Battelle Education, she has supported state departments of education, local agencies, and national laboratories across the country in developing strategic plans and policy to build capacity in STEM disciplines.

Brandi spent over a decade teaching 6-12th-grade science and STEM in high-poverty, urban schools and works to expand opportunities for disadvantaged communities. She used her expertise to design and scale the Tennessee Rural STEM Collaborative (TRSC), an innovative solution to reduce teacher isolation and to expand rural students’ access to immersive experiences. The TRSC was cited by Congress in 2022’s CHIPS and Science Act as a promising practice to advance STEM education in rural communities nationally.

Brandi holds a bachelor’s in biology from the University of Memphis and a master’s in educational leadership from the University of Tennessee. She currently sits on the Smithsonian’s Science Education Center Advisory Board which seeks to transform education in collaboration with communities across the globe. As a first-generation college graduate from rural Arkansas, her family had limited access to education. She hopes to help provide learning opportunities for all communities regardless of zip code.

Harshil ParikhAs Co-founder and CEO of Tuva, Harshil Parikh has led the development and growth of Tuva into one of the leading data literacy organizations in the world. Under his leadership, teachers in 20,000+ schools and districts use Tuva as part of their STEM instruction, and students have created 75 million+ datasets and graphs on Tuva. Previously, he led Global Business Development for Sun King, bringing innovative off-grid solar products to millions of customers and homes around the world. Harshil received his BS in engineering physics from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MS in financial mathematics from North Carolina State University.

Dr. Kathy PerkinsDr. Kathy Perkins serves as Director of PhET Interactive Simulations and Professor Attendant Rank at University of Colorado Boulder. Her work currently focuses on advancing the design and classroom use of interactive simulations to increase engagement and learning in STEM, and on scaling impact with open educational resources. She has also studied students’ beliefs about science, sustainable course reform, and institutional change. She has authored over 60 articles on STEM education. Under her leadership, PhET has received international recognition, including being named a 2017 WISE Awards Winner, a 2011 Tech Award Laureate, and winner of the 2014 Reimagine Education Award, and has grown to over 250 million simulation uses/year worldwide. Finally, her team is working with partners and researchers to further advance educational learning and assessment experiences with PhET-iO simulations—instrumented, interoperable simulations enabling technology partners to customize, integrate, and collect rich data from simulations.


Learn more about viewing the live presentation and the recording, earning your CE certificate, and using our new accessibility features.

Join the Teaching Next Generation Scientists community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, and receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars.

Brain POP Science

BrainPOP offers online educational solutions that make rigorous learning experiences accessible and engaging for all. Proven to raise academic achievement, the BrainPOP brand has been trusted by educators and parents worldwide for more than two decades. Through school and district subscriptions, BrainPOP has a presence in over two thirds of U.S. districts and an estimated reach of 25 million students annually. Beloved by kids, BrainPOP provides endless opportunities for them to take agency over their learning through playful, knowledge-building content and learner-driven experiences that strengthen critical, computational, and creative thinking across the entire curriculum. The company recently launched its first subject-specific offering, BrainPOP Science, a new supplemental instructional and assessment solution for middle school classrooms. The BrainPOP team is committed to empowering kids to succeed and thrive in the classroom and beyond.

Brain POP Science


Thursday, February 9, 2023
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm EST
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