Summer programs for science teachers and students

by Stephanie Chasteen on February 14, 2010

In the midst of winter’s snowfalls, it’s time to consider what you (and your students) might be doing this summer.  Here is a list of all the different summer program  opportunities for science teachers and students I’ve run across recently.
Firstly, NSTA publishes a list of professional development opportunities here. Their list includes:

  • The STORM Project (June 20-25; Deadline Feb 26th for priority). Learn about air quality and meterology at the University of Northern Iowa; for middle school and high school science teachers. Expenses paid. Information here.
  • Connecting Humans and Nature through Conservation Experiences. Penn State course in environmental science and conservation biology through a practicum in Costa Rica and Panama. Application by Feb 28th. Information here.
  • A field course in measuring and monitoring biodiversity at El Eden Ecological preserve. August 7-14; Deadline March 15. Study tropical biodiversity near Cancun. Email
  • Sheila Schwartz Family International Leading Science Teachers Seminar. Learn cutting edge science in Israel. July 7-15, Application deadline March 31. Information here.
  • Botanical Society of America’s Summer Institute. June 21-29; Deadline April 9. Learn to develop student-centered plant investigations. Information here.
  • PlantIT Teacher Institute. HS science teachers exploring investigative cases in biology. July 12-23 at Texas A&M. Deadline April 9. Information here.
  • Deep Ecology and Sustainable Living Short Course. July 25-August 7 in Costa Rica, Deadline April 23. Information here.
  • Physics of Atomic Nuclei. Free residential summer program at Michigan State. Learn about research at the superconducting cyclotron and conduct experiments. August 1-6 (teachers), Aug 8-13 (students). Information here.

Exploratorium Teacher Institute (June 21-July 16; Deadline April 1)

This is where I cut my eyeteeth in hands-on inquiry learning and I can’t recommend it enough.  These institutes are the best 4 weeks you’ll ever have, and you’ll become part of a vibrant and intelligent set of science and math teachers.  If you want to know more about what you might be getting into, listen to the podcasts that I made about the institute on the bottom of the page.    Information here.

Galileo Learning (Varies)

Galileo Learning is a Bay Area company looking for educators to run its summer camps:  Galileo Summer Quest (for entering 5th through 8th graders);
The Tech Summer Camps (for entering 4th through 8th graders).  More information here.

Yellowstone (Varies)

Write off your vacation by taking a class in the Yellowstone Association summer field seminars.   Information here

Astronomy Camp (Varies; March-October)

A teacher says, ” I did the teacher version of this astronomy camp a number of years ago and it remains the best PD I’ve ever done (Exploratorium notwithstanding, of course) with lots of time on very large telescopes. One of the highlights from my experience was “discovering” Pluto. [But]… the website (which has drastically improved) still doesn’t do a good job on conveying the experience.  And Don (the guy who runs the thing) is fantastic.”  Camps run March through October.  Information here.

Univ of California – COSMOS (July 11-Aug 7th, San Diego; ?? Irvine; Deadline March 1 & 15)

Deadlines for San Diego and Irvine are in March.  Each Fellow works with a team of university faculty to implement the academic portion of COSMOS. Teacher Fellows serve as the pedagogical bridge between high school student learning and university faculty teaching. They directly participate in all classroom and laboratory work as well as field trips, typically a Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. commitment.   Check here

Cornell Institute for Physics Teachers (July 5-17 and 25-30)

Get graduate credit in physics in this intensive summer institute, which was recommended by a teacher.  The CIPT graduate courses contain lectures, lab tours, and innovative, inquiry-based laboratory experiments. Lectures and lab tours are designed to update high school physics teachers on recent advances in diverse topic areas.   Information here.

Modeling Workshops (Varies)

Modeling Workshops are peer-led. Modeling Instruction is one of two K-12 science programs designated by the U.S. Department of Education as EXEMPLARY.  Modeling Workshops in high school physics, chemistry, and/or physical science will be held in summer 2010 in Arizona, Alabama, Miami FL, Iowa, New Orleans LA, Maine, Michigan, Minneapolis MN, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pittsburgh PA, northern Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Dallas TX, and Wisconsin.  Modeling Workshops will be held also in Georgia, Chicago IL, Kansas, South Dakota, and Washington, pending funding.  Modeling Workshops in 11th grade biology will be held in Pittsburgh PA and Tennessee, for teachers in Physics First/Capstone Biology sequences.  Stipends and/or free tuition at most sites, usually for in-state teachers.  Information here.

For Students

NASA programs in Mountain View, CA.  Information here.

Caltech Young Engineering and Science Scholars (YESS).  Information here.

JPL (the Caltech/NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)  SpaceSHIP (Summer High School Internship Program) here.

Girls on Ice 2010 Expedition.  FREE, wilderness science education program for high school girls. Each year a
team of 9 teenage girls and 3 instructors spend 11 days exploring and learning about mountain glaciers and alpine landscapes through scientific field studies with professional glaciologists and mountaineers.  July 26 to August 5, 2010 on Mount Baker, Washington State.
Information here. (applications are due March 1, 201)

Summer Science Program (SSP).  A teacher says, “My younger sister did it and is now in a PhD program in Physics at Berkeley.  She loved it and met many other like-minded students there.”  Information here.

Astronomy Camp. A teacher says, ” I did the teacher version of this astronomy camp a number of years ago and it remains the best PD I’ve ever done (Exploratorium notwithstanding, of course) with lots of time on very large telescopes. One of the highlights from my experience was “discovering” Pluto. [But]… the website (which has drastically improved) still doesn’t do a good job on conveying the experience.  And Don (the guy who runs the thing) is fantastic.”  Camps run March through October.  Information here.

Image by freeparking


Christina Battah March 1, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Do you know of any courses that offer graduate credit that are field courses?
Christina Battah

sciencegeekgirl March 1, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Not offhand, but I do remember seeing something on ecology and the environment as a field course here in Colorado. Perhaps google search?

Kim May 31, 2010 at 4:05 pm

Check out DNR Michigan they have an Academy of Natural Resources that offers graduate credit through CMU. Two courses in Field Studies.

Tammy Young January 16, 2013 at 1:23 am

Another great option … Educator Summer 2013 Opportunity to Explore Appalachia
Asheville, NC 2013, Jan. 14 – Each year, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) offers tuition-free opportunities for educators to study a variety of humanities topics. Among the 2013 offerings is a three-week institute, Power of Place: Land and People’s In Appalachia, from July 8 to July 26, at the University of North Carolina at Asheville in Asheville, North Carolina. Our NEH Summer Institute will use insights from the study of environmental history to examine the role of landscape in the shaping of culture and history, with the Southern Appalachians as a powerful case study. Using the experience of Appalachia, we will see how environmental history presents new questions to interrogate past events, encourages an interdisciplinary approach to history, and presents an excellent opportunity for team teaching in the classroom. The format of the experience will include becoming a member of a vibrant and engaged learning community. You will attend lectures by leading scholars and readings by some of the region’s most accomplished authors, participate in classroom discussions, analyze primary sources, complete reading assignments, watch documentary films, visit historic sites, and develop curricular materials using the materials, ideas and approaches explored in the institute.
The institute is organized chronologically into three one-week sessions exploring different human societies in the Appalachians and their relationships to the mountains. We look at how each of the peoples who came to the region were shaped by the land they encountered and, in turn, how their cultural assumptions and their technological tools influenced the life they made for themselves. Participants will consider the Appalachian Mountains as they come under successive groups of human societies—each with different ideas about the relationship of humans to nature and what constitutes the best use of the land. Weekdays will include faculty presentations, guest speakers including noted authors including Crystal Wilkinson, Ron Rash, John Inscoe, and other renowned experts, field trips, small group seminars and group sharing sessions. A 2011 participant commented, “… helped me see power of using primary sources in my classrooms … a veritable who’s who in Appalachian studies … one of the best experiences I have had since becoming a teacher”.

Additional information on the workshop can be found at the following websites:, and . Completed application materials must be postmarked no later than March 1, 2013. Applicants will be notified of the outcome by April 1, 2013.
Contact Information:
Daniel Pierce
Department of History
University of North Carolina, Asheville
203 New Hall, CPO 2830
Asheville, NC 28804-3215

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