Professional Development Events

  • Makerspace Learn, Make, and Take Workshop

  • Dates: June 19 - 21
    9:00 - 4:00 p.m Lunch provided daily  
    Most appropriate for teachers grades K - 8
    Instructor: Eric Carpenter, Teacher Professional Programs Manager, Science Discovery, University of Colorado, Boulder

    A professional development opportunity for K - 8 grade teachers looking to integrate inquiry, making, and specific tools into their classroom. Learn how to use Edison robots, Makey Makey, and 3D printers in the classroom setting. Each day will provide teachers with hands-on experience and pedagogical background relating to each tool and skill.

    Tuesday: Edison Robotics and Technology & Circuits
    Teachers will learn the practical and pedagogical applications of Edison Robotics. After learning the basic coding and programming capabilities, teachers will have the opportunity to program and practice with the software. Valued at $49, teachers will receive a free Edison robot after their training.

    Wednesday: Photo Origami Make & Take and Polymers
    Photo Origami is a unique makerspace activity that allows using heat and color to shape plastics in predictable ways. Teachers will learn the science behind and applications of this project, then construct a heat lamp structure that will allow them to replicate this activity in their classroom.

    Thursday: Makey Makey and Intro to 3D Printers
    Makey Makey allows everyday objects to become a keyboard. Teachers will learn cross-curricular applications for these devices as well as how to create switches and programming for Makey Makey. Valued $49.95, teachers will receive a free Makey Makey after their training.

    About the Instructor: Eric Carpenter, Science Discovery, CU- Boulder
    Eric joined Science Discovery in 2009. During that time he has developed and managed state and nation-level science outreach programs, teacher professional development, and has created numerous school, camp and after-school classes.

    Eric balances his passion for cutting-edge science and student direction inquiry, with innovative education design and modern approaches to STEM learning and professional development. When not working with CU students and staff on new program design, or bring science from CU to schools and teachers across the nation, Eric can be found hiking and boating in the high country, or working with sustainability groups across the Front Range of Colorado. Prior to joining Science Discovery, Eric worked with the University Center for Atmospheric Research, the GLOBE Program, the Orfalea Foundation, the McCall Outdoor Science School, and a number of other programs, universities, and museums. He did his undergraduate work in upstate New York and received his M.Ed. and Ed.Sp. degrees from the University of Idaho.

    A class set of materials used in PD will be available for participating teachers to check out for their classrooms. Registration preference will be given to teachers in the following regions: Clare, Gladwin, Isabella, Gratiot, Bay, Saginaw, Midland, Arenac

    Thank you for your interest. 2018 Registration is closed.

  • Astronomy and Space: Science Teacher Professional Development

  • Dates: June 19 - 22
    9:00 - 4:00 p.m Lunch provided daily 
    Appropriate for teachers grades K - 8
    Instructor: Chris Tycner, Department of Physics

    Each day of the workshop will be centered on astronomical themes which will incorporate appropriate background content knowledge and related hands-on activities for classroom use. The four-day workshop will cover the following scientific themes:

    •  Making predictions, observations, and formulating explanations through modeling
    •  Solar System, including scale
    • Sun-Earth system, including seasons
    • Earth-Moon system, including Moon phases, eclipses, gravity and ocean tides
    • Comets, craters, and dinosaur extinction

    A $100 stipend will be available each day. SCECHs may be available (pending approval).

    Thank you for your interest. 2018 Registration is closed.

  • Classroom Robotics 

  • Dates: July 31 - August 2
    Tuesday/Wednesday 9:00 - 4:00 p.m, Thursday 9:00 - Noon
    Appropriate for teachers grades 4 - 8
    Instructors: Dru Wilson and Brian DeJong

    Learn how to implement Edison robots as a tool in your classroom. Similar to LEGO Mindstorms robots, Edison robots are compatible with LEGO bricks and fully programmable. The low cost (10 Edison robots cost about as much as 1 Mindstorms kit) and ease of use of Edison robots allow for accessibility with classroom groups. There is no building or programming experience needed to use Edison “right out of the box”.

    Through this workshop you will:
    •  Understand how an Edison Robot works
    •  Program and Edison
    • Decide how this robot can be most appropriately used as a classroom tool
    • Create a grade-level robotics lesson

    Lunch will be provided on July 31 and August 1.

    Teachers within Gratiot, Arenac, Bay, Isabella, Midland, Saginaw, Clare, or Gladwin counties the are eligible to receive a classroom set of 6 Edison robots, and the ability to check out additional robots through the Center For Excellence in STEM Education during the following school year.

    2018 Registration is closed. Thank you for your interest.

    • Beaver Island Institute 2018

      • 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 2018-19 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 at no cost: 
      • Arenac, Bay, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland, Saginaw
      • Participants outside these counties may apply for a $50 fee
      • Teachers will be notified by mid-May​.​​ SCECHs and graduate credit will be available. 
      • Valued at nearly $1000 Participants will be responsible for transportation to and from Charlevoix, MI (location of ferry to Beaver Island). All other costs, including room, board, and instructional materials will be covered.
      • This opportunity is supported in part by the Grace A. and Herbert H. Dow Foundation.

    • Physical Science Modeling Workshop 2018

      • 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

      • Dates: July 29 - August 3 
        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).

        This PD is available for teachers in the following Counties: Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland, Bay, Arenac, and Saginaw.

        We are no longer accepting applications for Summer 2018. Thank you for your interest.

    • 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

      Interested in sharing opportunities with you colleagues? Direct them to this page or download and share Teacher Opportunities.