The 2016 Professional Development Seminar series each consisted of a full-day session, divided into two sections: the mornings were spent exploring STEM content areas with scientists and policy-makers, while afternoon sessions were skill-based, focused on turning real-life science into exciting, inquiry-based, hands-on lessons and activities for programs with K-12 students and teachers or other youth programs.

The 2016 Professional Development Seminar series featured the following speakers:

Wednesday, January 20th – Read about our January Seminar here.

Sneaking Up On Sharks and Telling Their Tales with Data
Greg Skomal, Project Leader, MA Shark Research Program and Senior Marine Fisheries Biologist, MA Division of Marine Fisheries


Greg Skomal discuses his experiences using passive acoustic telemetry to track sharks in the Caribbean.

In partnership with OCEARCH, Skomal tracked this shark, Mary Lee, off the coast of Cape Cod.


Skomal explains the significance technology that can track marine life in 3D space.

Understanding Children’s Thinking: The Practice of Constructing Explanations
David Hammer, Professor of Education and Physics & Astronomy, Tufts University


Dr. David Hammer leads participants in analyzing students’ scientific explanations.


Hammer encourages participants to “have intellectual empathy with students as thinkers and knowers. “


Hammer uses his own boots to mirror educator’s (in video) pendulum experiment./p>

Thursday, February 25th
Animals and Nature: Bringing Together Art and Science
Penelope Taylor, Educator, Curator and Digital Humanities Specialist, Home Nature Museum

Artist Penny Taylor presents her own art & science project, Why the long face?, the game that brings taxidermy to life!

Participants get the creative juices flowing and design their own science ‘zines using recycled magazines.

Check out this participant’s ‘zine!

Revealing the Patterns: The Practice of Analyzing and Interpreting Data
Eve Manz, Assistant Professor of Science Education, Boston University

Dr. Eve Manz explains key areas educators should focus on with their students when collecting, analyzing and presenting data.

Dr. Eve Manz leads group in analyzing students’ different interpretations of the same data set.

Thursday, March 17th
Guided By Curiosity: The Practice of Asking Questions and Defining Problems
Karen Worth, Chair of Elementary Education, Wheelock College

Karen 1

Karen Worth works with one group to come up with essential questions for their objects – colored plastic squares.

Karen 2

This group organized their essential questions and specific questions for their objects, jaw bones, into a web.

Karen 3

Karen explains how asking the right, open questions can lead to further inquiry, while the closed questions end the inquiry process too soon.

Now We’re Cooking with STEAM
Dan Souza, Test Cook, America’s Test Kitchen and Senior Editor, Cook’s Illustrated

Dan 1

Dan Souza began his presentation with a demonstration on whipping egg whites and what we can learn from the different methods.

Dan 2

Dan spent some time discussing carbonation of both liquids and solids and the effects of carbonation on foods and drinks.

Dan 3

Participants were able to listen to and sample some carbonated grapes that Dan brought in.

Thursday, April 28th
Finding Our Faults: Investigating Earthquakes Close to Home and Around the World
Alan Kafka, Director, Weston Observatory and Boston College Educational Seismology Project

Dr. Alan Kafka brought a seismometer to demonstrate how they work and how the magnitude of an earthquake compares to forces and vibrations we feel everyday

Dr. Kafka showed a seismograph wave recording taken in Washington DC that resulted from the April 2016 earthquake in Ecuador

Science is Knowing What to Do When You Don’t Have an Answer: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
Don DeRosa, Clinical Associate Professor of Education, Boston University

Dr. Don DeRosa explains to the group the Systems Thinking Strategy

Participants create inquiry questions based on sets of satellite images taken over the course of a year


Participants corralled termites with nothing but a piece of paper and a variety of pens