Professional Development Events

  • Design Thinking Professional Development

  • Available at request to groups of 10-25 teachers.
    Approximately 3-4 hours

    Learn about design thinking and how to use it with students. An introduction to design thinking, followed by participation in a design thinking challenge. Teachers will then unpack design thinking for classroom use and spend time developing opportunities to incorporate it in their own classroom.

    For more information, or to schedule this PD, contact Julie Cunningham at

  • Summer 2017 Professional Developments are closed.
    Check back for new opportunities soon!

    • ​LEGO Mindstorm Workshop

    •  Dates: August 1 -2, 9 am - 4 pm 
                    August 3, 9 am - noon
      Location: Engineering Building
      For: 5th - 9th grade science teachers

      Learn to build and code a Lego Mindstorm Robot (and take one home) in this unique workshop. Understand how the robot can be used to teach standards-based math and science lessons. Design a lesson to use in your classroom during the school year. Find out how to utilize the lending system at the Center for Excellence in STEM Education to borrow robots for future use​.


      *A classroom set of Mindstorm Lego Robots will be available for check out after the workshop training. Each teacher participant will receive a Lego Mindstorm Robot for participation in the PD.​
    • BioScience Workshop

    • Dates: August 8,  1 - 4 pm
                    August 9,  9 am - noon (recommended), 1 - 4 pm (required) lunch included
      Location: CMU Education and Human Services building, rm. 134
      For: 6th - 12th grade science teachers
      No fee to attend

      Are you interested in including more hands-on, skills-based inquiry experiences in your science lessons? Are you looking for a professional development experience that will help you get practice on a new biotech skill, or would you like to freshen up an old skill?

      Join us August 8th and 9th to see how biotechnology skills can be used in your classroom. See first-hand how middle and high school students use micropipeting and gel electrophoresis skills to solve a mock crime scene. Observe middle and high school students performing these skills in an instructional setting. Gain access to a "behind the scenes" look at how to set up the lab, more details on the theory of the skills, and how to prep the materials and your students to conduct the experiment.  

      *All lab equipment from the professional development workshop will be available for checkout from the Center for classroom use.


    • 3rd Annual STEM Series Professional Development

      •  Description of Each Day:
      • Monday, August 14th: 

          What if I used PBL in my classroom?
          Presenter: Dr. Jennifer Weible, CMU Faculty in Teacher Education

          This workshop will help you answer this question by modeling an approach for developing project/problem-based learning lessons that can be integrated into your STEM (or any other) curriculum. We will explore techniques and technologies as you draft engaging lessons that will motivate your students and facilitate learning, critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity.   

      • Tuesday, August 15th

        Human Centered Design Thinking Challenge
        Presenters: Julie Cunningham and Ashley O'Neil, CESE

        Add empathy to your classroom using the human-centered design process. Similar to engineering, design thinking is an iterative process and can be applied to solving all kinds of problems. However, human-centered design starts with the individuals being designed for and ends with new solutions tailored to their needs. At the end of this session, you will walk away with a new way of considering design in your classroom, as well as suggestions for classroom projects.


      • Wednesday, August 16th

        Modeling in the NGSS
        Presenter: Dr. Kevin Cunningham, CMU Faculty in Teacher Education

        Explore a specific aspect of inquiry in the Next Generation Science Standards – developing and using models. Learn how you can strengthen and effectively assess your students’ skills and understandings in this regard by being more explicit with the many models you already use. Participate in several, novel, modeling activities involving core concepts, and receive a wealth of additional information and resources for this indispensable, science and engineering practice.


      • Thursday, August 17th

        Algebraic Reasoning & Connections to Modeling
        Presenter: Dr. Doug Lapp, CMU Faculty in Math Education

        The search for and explanation of patterns are driving forces in mathematics. This workshop will examine ways to help middle grade students model phenomena in the world around them and apply those models to solve problems. We will focus on quantitative and qualitative reasoning with various types of models to decide when using a model makes sense and when it does not. We will examine the Common Core State Standards in Math and look at ways to combine mathematics and science to study patterns and make predictions. Technology plays a key role in developing concepts and skills, and we will explore investigations that link graphic, numeric, symbolic, and natural language representations in dynamic ways so students are able to move fluidly among them and see deeper connections.

      • Friday, August 18th

        Teaching Core Science Ideas Through Student-Lead Inquiry
        Presenter: Dr. Shane Cavanaugh, CMU Faculty in Teacher Education

        Rather than simply following directions, in student-led inquiry, students’ own questions and curiosities direct the learning. This session will explore ways to successfully integrate student-led inquiry into your middle school science classroom. Ways to structure and support student investigations, as well as examples of student-led inquiry topics and projects, will be examined.

    • Beaver Island Institute  ​

      • Participate in:
      • Individual and small group work 
      • Field activities to promote discussion and collaboration​
      • Science and literary activities 
      • Collaborative, inquiry-based units identifying key standards from the Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core Literacy Standards, and ISTE NETS (technology) standards
      • A series of appropriate lessons, labs, and activities for the 2016-17 school year
      • Integrative teaching practices to integrate mobile technologies (smartphones and tablets, as well as apps) into teaching and as a learning tool for students​
      • Applicants are accepted from the following counties: 
      • Arenac
      • Bay
      • Clare
      • Gladwin
      • Gratiot
      • Isabella
      • Midland
      • Saginaw 
      • Teachers will be notified by mid-May​.​​ SCECHs and graduate credit will be available at additional cost (pending approval). 

    • An Introduction to Modeling Workshop for Middle School Teachers

      • Participate in:
      • Modeling Instruction™ is a research-based reformed pedagogy that is the only high school science program recognized as Exemplary by the U.S. Department of Education. Modeling instruction addresses many weaknesses of the traditional lecture-demonstration method, including fragmentation of knowledge, student passivity and persistence of naive beliefs about the physical world. Unlike the traditional approach, in which students wade through an endless stream of seemingly unrelated topics, Modeling Instruction™ organizes the course around a small number of scientific models, thus helping students become better thinkers about the core concepts in physics. It applies structured inquiry techniques to the teaching of basic skills and practices in mathematical modeling, proportional reasoning, quantitative estimation and technology-enabled data collection and analysis.
      • In Modeling classrooms, students observe, analyze, draw conclusions, then propose and evaluate models using multiple representations and by taking part in productive conversations about the science being learned. The approach is entirely consistent with the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices. More information on modeling instruction is available at:
      • Kelli Gamez-Warble has been a participant and co-leader in Modeling Workshops for physics teachers since 1994, and has implemented Modeling Instruction in both high school and university courses for twenty-two years (sixteen of those years at Title I schools). Kelli was on the development team that created materials for Modeling Instruction in Middle School Science, and a co-leader for the resulting workshops for middle school teachers in summer 2014 and 2015. Kelli is currently Teacher in Residence for the Arizona State University department of physics, where she has helped to develop the ASU physics teacher preparation program into a national model in cooperation with the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC).

      • ​Smithsonian Science Education Academy for Teachers

      • July 9 - 14, 2017
        Topic: Energy’s Innovations and Implications
        July 30 - August 4, 2017
        Topic: Earth’s History and Global Change

        A professional development opportunity for fourth through ninth grade science teachers. Venture to Washington D.C. for a week-long program taking you behind the scenes of the Smithsonian Museum and its world-class facilities. While training in science pedagogy, hear advice and learn from experts in the field of science and research. As middle level educators, you can explore the D.C. area, develop workshops and build professional development from the Smithsonian Science Education Academy for Teachers (SSEATs). *Registration is now closed, check for 2018 dates soon!