More Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers

by Stephanie Chasteen on April 25, 2009

They just keep on coming!  There are so many workshops for teachers, I wonder how useful it is to let you know about them.  But, if there’s one in your area, and you’re available, it never hurts to dip your toes into an enrichment experience, right?  See my previous post for other professional development opportunities (most of which are for the summer months).


Of course, if you can’t get away, don’t forget that podcasts are a great way to go to a conference without leaving the comfort of your home (or treadmill, or morning commute).  My Science Teaching Tips podcast at the Exploratorium is, of course, fantabulously entertaining, but there are also a lot of other great science oriented podcasts, like WNYC Radio Lab, Naked Scientists (note especially their Kitchen Science portion), my NSDL Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears podcasts and many others.

For college instructors

The short course scheduled at the University of Oregon for June 29-July 1, Using Research-Based Curricula and Tools to Promote Active Learning in Introductory Courses is filling up, there still are a few openings. If you were thinking of registering, please do so soon. And also, please pass the word along to others who might be interested. (By the way, the reduced $50 registration fee has been extended.) You can find complete information and registration instructions at

Idaho National Laboratory

INL has a TON of different workshops and programs for teachers.  If you’re in Idaho, check it out.  Here’s their main education page, a 1-minute weekly podcast with their offerings that week.  They also team pre- and in-service teachers with INL researchers in an 8-week paid summer intensive, which includes housing for out of state teachers.  There is also a 10-week research experience for pre-service teachers.   They also have two main annual events for students (one for Hispanic teens and Science & Engineering safety expo for teachers, students, and parents).

Research Experiences for Teachers

PTEC, a project led by AAPT, the American Physical Society, and the American Institute of Physics, maintains a list of Research Experiences for Teachers, or RETs. These programs give in-service teachers an opportunity to spend part of their summer participating in cutting-edge physics research.

Climate Discovery Online Courses for Educators at NCAR

Now accepting registrations for Summer Term!
Are you seeking a K-12 professional development opportunity that will enhance your qualifications, competency, and self-confidence in integrating Earth system science, climate, and global change into your science classroom? The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) offers a series of six and seven week online courses for middle and high school teachers that combine geoscience content, information about current climate research, easy to implement hands-on activities, and group discussion. The courses run concurrently from June 19 through August 2, 2009.

• CD 501 Introduction to Earth’s Climate is designed to guide participants through the basics of climate science, integrating content, classroom activities, and community-building discussions to help middle and high school educators understand the answers to common questions about climate.
• CD 502 Earth System Science: A Climate Change Perspective explores Earth as a system from the perspective of climate and global change, describing the interactions between the various parts of the Earth system, including human activities, and how they all affect our climate.
• CD 503 Understanding Climate Change Today presents some of the current and predicted impacts of global warming on our planet and human societies. This course explores how climate models are developed and used to understand likely scenarios of future climate and how current scientific research is improving the quality of climate predictions.

There is a $225 fee per course (save $25 if you register by June 1st.)

Weightless Flights of Discovery

From Northrop Grumman website

From Northrop Grumman website

The image above is from the  Northrop Grumman Foundation’s Weightless Flights of Discovery program.

In each workshop, teachers learn about the physics of weightlessness and what to expect on the zero gravity flight. They also design microgravity experiments that applied science, technology, engineering or mathematics principles to human activities in a weightless environment.

Their flight schedule for 2009 is below:

  • Albuquerque, New Mexico – Aug 22
  • Detroit, Michigan – Aug 1/Sept 24
  • Norwalk, CT – Aug 29
  • Washington, DC – Aug 15/Oct 2

I am a science education and communications consultant — view my website for my full range of services.


Rhett April 26, 2009 at 2:14 am

Why would you do this to me? Hey look – you could go on the vomit comet. Only you can’t. Alas, I am not eligible. What if I pretend to teach one high school class. Would that make me a high school teacher?

I guess it is for the best, I would probably hurl (as in throw up).

sciencegeekgirl April 26, 2009 at 2:20 am

Because sciencegeekgirl is a sadistic creep, Rhett, haven’t you figured that out?

Besides, there’s a great one for college instructors. Just for you. Be happy with the bone we throw you. 🙂

Rhett April 26, 2009 at 8:35 pm

I think I would be happier throwing up in the vomit comet. Think how awesome that video would be for my blog. I could use video analysis to find out if momentum is conserved when you throw up.

sciencegeekgirl April 27, 2009 at 2:28 am

You got a gravatar! Lookit you, all fancy.

Let me know if you post that blog post, so that I *don’t* read it that day.

Rhett April 28, 2009 at 1:56 am

I think you missed the point. I would post the blog AFTER the vomit. I would vomit AFTER going on the weightless plane – which I am apparently not eligible for. I guess I will have to build my own vomit comet.

You got a gravatar! Lookit you, all fancy.
Let me know if you post that blog post, so that I *don’t* read it that day.

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