Magazine article District Administration

Science Museums Offer STEM-Related Teacher PD

Magazine article District Administration

Science Museums Offer STEM-Related Teacher PD

Article excerpt

Finding quality professional development for science teachers continues to be a challenge as school districts expand STEM programs.

Many science centers and museums offer STEM-related PD, and want to partner with districts to develop programs that align with school curriculum and Next Generation Science Standards.

"One thing we hear from teachers is they appreciate science museums as sources for learning because it's hands-on, interactive and practical," says Margaret Glass, director of PD for the Association of Science-Technology Centers. "Science museums are a place where teachers can come see science in action and in an environment where people are actively inquiring."

Teachers can experiment with materials without students present and become learners again, says Glass. "It builds confidence and lets things flow differently in classrooms--it lets science be messy."

Teaching together

Science centers want to cultivate long-term partnerships and open communication with district leaders, says Glass. Before investing in any programs, though, administrators need to establish goals. They must decide, for example, if they want workshops to improve content knowledge in a specific subject or a longer-term series of presentations on changing pedagogy.

Many major regional science centers focus on pedagogy. For example, the Teacher Institute at San Francisco's Exploratorium offers a two-year induction program for new science teachers. Pittsburgh's Carnegie Science Center features a STEM Excellence Pathway for pre-K through 12 teachers. And the Science Leadership Initiative at the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago has STEM PD programs for entire schools.

The Connecticut Science Center in Hartford is home to the Mandell Academy for Teachers, which offers PD for science teachers across the Northeast. …

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