Sara Nelson

STEM Program Specialist
Sara Nelson

Sara oversees the 4-H STEM program priority area. Her role entails developing STEM educational programs and STEM literacy outreach to enhance access to educational learning opportunities for all K-12 youth. Nelson’s responsibilities include leadership of the State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa as well as other STEM educational resource development. Sara also serves as the interim director for the Iowa Space Grant Consortium and faculty in the ISU School of Education.

Area of Focus

  • STEM

Professional Awards

  • CYtation Team Award. 2019.
  • Originality and Innovation in Programming Award. ISU Extension & Outreach. 2018.
  • Teaching Excellence Award. Iowa State University School of Education. 2016.

Presentations

  • Nelson, S. D. & Beecher, C. (2019). Checkout STEM: Expanding Access to Integrated Literacy and STEM Experiences for K-3 Children. Workshop presented at the International Literacy Association Conference: New Orleans, LA.
  • Nelson, S. D. (2017) Playing with Words: Developing Phonological Awareness and Concept of Word in Text in Emergent Learners. Workshop presented at the International Literacy Association Institute on Cutting Edge Word Study: Orlando, FL.
  • Nelson, S. D., & Bear, D. (2016). Swimming Further Up the Language Stream to Teach Emergent Readers About Rhythmic Structures and Phonological Awareness. Workshop presented at the International Literacy Association Institute on Cutting Edge Word Study: Boston, MA.
  • Bang, E., Nelson, S. D., & Berry, R. (January, 2012). A Pilot Study: Exploring Impacts of EED 420 Science Methods Course on Preservice Elementary Teachers’ Views on the Nature of Science. Paper presented at the 11th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education: Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • Bang, E., & Nelson, S. D. (January, 2012). Hybrid-Mentoring for Beginning Elementary Science Teachers. Paper presented at the 11th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education: Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • Nelson, S. & Shannon, R. (2021). Creative Connections: Expanding Access to STEM and Literacy at the Elementary Level. National Science Teaching Association Engage: Spring 21 Conference: Virtual.
  • Nelson, S. (2019). Strengthening Early Interest in Entomology: Creating Systems of Support for Elementary Science Educators. Entomological Society of America National Conference: St. Louis, MO.
  • Nelson, S. & Hanson, N. (2018). Supporting K-3 Investigations Through Integrated STEM and Literacy Experiences. NAE4-H National Conference: Columbus, Ohio.
  • Bear, D. & Nelson, S. D. (November, 2016). Word Study: Phonics, Vocabulary and Spelling. Study Group non-presenter at Literacy Research Association: Nashville, TN.
  • Nelson, S. D. & Bang, E. (April, 2015). Emerging Understandings of Assessment: Pre- service Elementary Teachers in a Science Methods Course. Paper presented at the National Association for Research in Science Teaching National Conference: Chicago, Illinois.
  • Nelson, S. D. & Allen, P. (March 2015). Assessing Student Learning in Science Through Arts Integration. Paper presented at the National Science Teachers Association National Conference: Chicago, Illinois.
  • Nelson, S. D. & Norton-Meier, L.A. (December, 2010). Where Do the Butterflies Go When It Rains Teacher? Helping Young Children Investigate Science. Paper presented at the National Association for the Education of Young Children National Conference: Anaheim, California.
  • Nelson, S. D., Franzen, E. F. & Sander, J. (June, 2009). Singing in Science: Using Lyric Writing to Express Student Learning. Is That a Fact Conference?: St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Nelson, S. D. & Norton-Meier, L. A. (March, 2009). Project See What Happens! An Early-Childhood Science Literacy Project. Paper presented at the National Science Teacher Association National Conference: New Orleans, LA.
  • Norton-Meier, L., Hand, B., Nelson, S. D., & Sander, J. (November, 2008). “How Do the Birds Know Where the Worms Are, Teacher?” Children Investigate Their Questions About the World Through Inquiry, Writing, Reading, and Language. Paper presented at the National Association for the Education of Young Children Annual Convention: Dallas, TX.
  • Norton-Meier, L., Hand, B., & Nelson, S. D. (December, 2007). “Trying to Change My Practice is Like Going Through Menopause!”: A Study of Teacher Learning While Implementing the Science Writing Heuristic Approach. Paper presented at the National Reading Conference: Austin, TX.
  • Hanson, N. & Nelson, S. (October, 2020). STEM-Lit to Go! Supporting Youth Investigations Through Integrated STEM and Literacy Experiences. Workshop presented at Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children Conference: Virtual.
  • Hanson, N. & Nelson, S. (February 2019). STEM-Lit to Go! Supporting Youth Investigations Through Integrated STEM and Literacy Experiences. Workshop presented at Iowa School Age Care Alliance Conference: Des Moines, IA.
  • Hanson, N. & Nelson, S. (April, 2018). STEM-Lit To Go! Supporting Youth Investigations Through Integrated STEM and Literacy Experiences. Workshop presented at Impact After School Conference: Urbandale, IA.
  • Nelson, S. & Hanson, N. (October, 2017). Supporting Student Investigations Through Integrated STEM and Literacy Events. Workshop presented at Iowa Science Teachers Section Fall Conference: Ankeny, IA.
  • Nelson, S. (2017). Seamless Integration: Maximize Student Learning in Science and Literacy. Workshop presented at National Science Teachers Association Regional Conference: Milwaukee, WI.
  • Nelson, S. D., Allen, P., Nelson J. S. (October, 2016). Building Bridges: Engineering in the Elementary Classroom. Workshop presented at the National Science Teachers Association Regional Conference: Minneapolis, MN.
  • Nelson, S. D. & Bang, E. (December, 2012). A Case Study of Four Induction Programs for Beginning Elementary Science Teachers. Poster session presented at the 2012, ISU 8th Annual School of Education Research Symposium: Ames, Iowa.
  • Nelson, S. D., Franzen, E. F. & Sander, J. (June, 2009). Singing in Science: Using Lyric Writing to Express Student Learning. Iowa Science Teachers Association Conference: Des Moines, Iowa.

Published Research

  • Nelson, S., & Allen, P. (2020). Building Science Language: Principles for Integrating Science and Vocabulary Instruction. Science and Children, 58(2), 64.
  • Nelson, Beecher, Heid (Summer 2019). Checkout STEM: Expanding access to STEM-literacy experiences. Children and Libraries, 17(2).
  • Nelson, S. D. & Allen, P. (2017). Time to morph: The process of changing our science and literacy practices. Science and Children, 35(3), 80-83.
  • Nelson, S. D., Ragtoni, T., & Heid, J. (August, 2017). Alohomora: Unlocking the magic of collaboration. English Leadership Quarterly.
  • Nelson, S. D, & Norton-Meier, Lori. (2009). Singing in science: Writing and recording student lyrics to express learning. Journal for Learning through the Arts, 5(1), 3.
  • Sander, J. & Nelson, S. D. (2009). Science conversations for young learners. Science and Children, 46(6), 43-45. Invited
  • Nelson, S. D. (2011) Science argumentation and the arts. In Voices from the Classroom: Elementary Teachers Experience with Argument Based Inquiry. Brian Hand and Lori Norton-Meier (Eds.) Sense Publishers: Rotterdam, Netherlands.
  • Hockenberry, L., Nelson, S. D. & Wise, K. (2008). Transforming pedagogy: Embedding language practices within elementary science classrooms. In Science Inquiry, Argument and Language, Brian Hand (Ed.). Sense Publishers: Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Education: 
PHD Curriculum and Instruction, 2016, Iowa State Unveristy
M.Ed Science Education, 2006, Iowa State University
B.A. Elementary Education, 1996, Luther College
Contact
1259 Stange Road
Ames,
IA
50011