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President and founder of Science Naturally, 

Dia Michels is an internationally published, award-winning science writer. Her topics include science and math books for middle grade students, and her passion is fostering curiosity in young minds.

A popular speaker, she lectures frequently at universities, libraries, and conferences across the country.

Read about her talks below.

Creativity, Curiosity, and Critical Thinking Combined

Discover Strategies to Build Confidence and Encourage Curiosity

In today's fast-paced world, schools encourage kids to memorize facts and learn answers to test questions. Unfortunately, this focus often means children are not learning the critical reasoning skills that are so important for applied science and math, which they will encounter in higher education and in real life. To succeed in life and excel in STEM careers, it is imperative for today's students to learn how to use what they know to deduce what they don't. It's not enough to know the answer, they also need to know the "why". This workshop will teach strategies that help kids get to the all-important "ah-ha!" moment. We'll use short questions and brainteasers as an opportunity for creative

At the end of this session the participant will be able to... 

  • Use literature-based math and science to develop critical thinking skills and promote curiosity. 

  • Implement strategies to build confidence and encourage curiosity in the classroom and beyond.

analytical reasoning, with each simple mystery as an example of real-life STEM applications. Hands-on activities and fun worksheets help extend the material. Content is interdisciplinary and supports current curriculum standards. Get inspired to encourage creativity, confidence, and curiosity through science and math! 

If My Mom Were A Platypus

Teaching Science through Mammal Life Cycle Stories

There are approximately 5000 species of mammals on our planet. They live and reproduce and raise their young in every conceivable habitat, from icy arctic waters to the unrelenting heat of the desert; they live in caves, in trees, in seawater, in freshwater; some are as small as a grape, others the size of a bus. This lively, hands-on workshop shows teachers how to introduce kids to life cycle curricula through engaging mammal stories. Science and parenting writer Dia L. Michels shares insights about the behaviors and characteristics of mammals from her book If My Mom Were a Platypus. This fascinating introduction to the world of mammals captures the universality of the life cycle. The stories are charming, but more importantly, they convey significant scientific insight. The content aligns directly with the Next Generation Science Standards as well as both primary and middle school curricula. Attendees will leave the room with a new set of tools for teaching—and a keen sense of what makes mammals special! 

At the end of this session the participant will be able to... 

  • Use engaging mammal facts to help kids understand and take interest in a variety of life science concepts (sensory perception, infant identification, habitats, nutrient density, adaptations, ecology, metabolism, anatomy, biomes, and classification).    

  • Easily incorporate the lessons and activities from the presentation into their curriculum to spark curiosity in their students.

Game Show - kids' edition!

Are You Smarter than a Mammologist?

This fun-filled, interactive game challenges your mammal knowledge. What can we learn by exploring how other mammals are born and raised? With a focus on early childhood, we uncover fascinating facts, amazing adaptations, and parenting peculiarities. There are over 6,000 mammal species, ranging in shape, size, and habitat. Learn about the diverse ways babies develop (in a womb, pouch, or egg), survive (are they “nest,” “cache,” “follow,” or “carry” mammals?), and how fast or slow the young grow up (newborn blue whales gain 8 pounds per hour!). Come ready to learn, and leave with an appreciation for the diversity in animal adaptations. Plus, pick up prizes along the way! 

At the end of this session the participant will be able to... 
 

  • Recognize the fundamental similarities and astonishing differences across the mammal class.

  • Gain a greater appreciation for their inner mammal and deeper understanding of their place in the natural world.

Understanding How Special it is to Grow Up Human

Classifying Mammals in Meaningful Way for Children

Educators teach children that we classify living things so we can make order out of our world. We teach them that they are mammals and tell them that there are four requirements to be a mammal: they must have hair or fur, be endothermic, have a backbone, and the females must raise the young on mother's milk. Most of these characteristics, however, apply to many other members of the animal kingdom. Are there more meaningful ways we can teach students to classify mammals? Dia

Michels, author of If My Mom Were A Platypus, explores some mammal attributes that provide a fresh perspective on classification and helps kids understand why being a mammal is so special.

At the end of this session the participant will be able to... 
 

  • Identify the core characteristics that make a mammal.

  • Understand why and how scientists classify life on Earth and why these taxonomic classifications may be challenged or changed.

Understanding How Special it is to Grow Up Human

Preview the content in Dia's own words in this short podcast recorded at ALA 2019:

Interested in booking Dia for one of these talks?

Email Anna@ScienceNaturally.com for more details.