Wednesday, February 12, 2014

For Immediate Release

Educators Learn About “What’s The Weather?” and
Explore Engineering Activities for Students During MITS’ January Professional Development Seminar 

WORCESTER — On January 30th, the Museum Institute for Teaching Science (MITS) and over 40 informal and formal educators gathered at Clark University to spend the day participating in a MITS Professional Development Seminar.

The morning started off with Eleanor Vallier-Talbot of the National Weather Service presenting her segment, What’s the Weather? The Science & Practice of DSCN1778Meteorology, in which she shared the challenging science of meteorology and weather prediction.  Participants learned about the forecasting and tracking of severe weather and the impact of the tornado that struck the Springfield, MA region in June 2011. Calling the tornadoes an unusual and significant meteorological event, Vallier-Talbot shared photos of the tornadoes and the destruction left behind.  The tornadoes that touched down in the area were one of the 4 most significant tornadoes in the United States in 2011.  The last time tornadoes this powerful occurred in Massachusetts were in 1954.  Educators were provided with charts, graphs, classroom lessons and other materials to take back to their classrooms as well as additional information on how to access other supplements that can be used in their teaching.


In the afternoon, Dr. Yvonne Spicer of the Museum of Science presented her session, Igniting Student Interest in STEM through Engineering.  She engaged the educators in engineering activities as she modeled hands-on lessons in which encourage students to use engineering design standards.  In these activities students learn to work in teams as they invent, create innovative designs and redesign their inventions.  Discussions around the need for hands-on engineering design lessons at all grade levels, and how to integrate interdisciplinary learning helped educators explore how to use these lessons in their own teaching.  Dr. Spicer also spoke about education initiatives at the Museum of Science, giving participants a first-hand look into why these programs are so important.

MITS Professional Development Seminars (PDS) are designed for staff, volunteers and other professionals from science, technology, engineering, history and cultural institutions in New England.  The PDS series provides content and teaching resources as well as networking opportunities for professionals in informal education settings.  Each PDS is a full-day session, divided into 2 segments.  The mornings are spent exploring STEM content areas with scientists and policy makers.  Afternoon sessions are skill-based, focusing on turning real-life science into exciting, inquiry-based, minds-on, hands-on lessons and activities for K-8 students and teachers based on state frameworks.

The PDS registration fee for participants is $35 per full-day session.  A discounted fee of $90 is offered for attending 3 sessions of your choice.  Registration is required.  Interested educators may register online or print out a mail-in registration form at

The Museum Institute for Teaching Science specializes in providing hands-on, minds-on, inquiry-based STEM professional development for formal and informal educators.  For more information, visit or call 617-328-1515.