Focus Workshops are multi-day professional learning opportunities that provide a deep dive into content and inquiry investigations focusing on one STEM discipline. Read on to learn more about our current Focus Workshops, or visit our Past Focus Workshops page to learn more about past offerings!

This course is offered as part of Accelerating Science: Open Access Professional Learning Courses for Massachusetts educators. Eligible Massachusetts educators are able to take this course for free with a $150 stipend. Find out if you’re eligible by visiting our OAPL page.

STEAM and Earth Science

A Hybrid Focus Workshop for Grades 4-6 Educators

An Approved Course for MA DESE’s Accelerating Science: Open Access Professional Learning

Dive into an exploration of space as you explore Earth’s systems and the Earth’s place in the universe. Using current research and recent discoveries in the field of astronomy, including images from NASA space exploration and telescopes, participate in phenomena and inquiry-based investigations that will bring creativity to astronomy through STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math). During the remote sessions the elements and principles of art will help guide our exploration of space and planetary bodies, and help us make sense of landscape scale processes on Earth. During an in-person session at the Springfield Science Museum, we will have the opportunity to use telescopes to expand our understanding of the scale and relationship of the planets, sun and other stars to the Earth. You will leave the program with inquiry-based STEAM investigations to share with your students, as well as connections to a community of learners and informal science institutions.

Using the lens of STEAM we will:

  • use images from space exploration to develop an anchoring phenomenon
  • explore commonalities between Earth’s geological features and those on other planet/planetary bodies
  • identify patterns in motion within our solar system, galaxies and the universe.
  • apply examples of, and resources for, place-based and phenomena-based unit planning to create a storyline driven unit outline
  • use physical models and digital interactives to make sense of the Earth-Sun-Moon system
  • explore how drawing forms are connected to geological land forms through review and interpretation of telescopic and space exploration images
  • create “stories” for planetary bodies using common drawing forms
  • explore the lunar surface using telescopes and digital images using elements of art to aid interpretation
Suggestions for accessing/purchasing classroom telescopes and engaging in amateur astronomy will be included in the program materials.

This course is FREE for eligible MA educators through MA DESE’s Accelerating Science: Open Access Professional Learning Courses.

Registration Information:

Dates and Times:
Remote Sessions: Wednesday, January 18th and Wednesday, February 15th, 2023 (3:30 PM – 6:30 PM ET)
On-Site Planetarium Session: Saturday, January 28th (2:00 PM – 8:00 PM ET)

Location: Springfield Science Museum

Cost: FREE for eligible MA educators that qualify through MA DESE’s OAPL program and includes a $150 stipend. $200 per educator from non-qualifying schools.

PDPs and Optional Graduate Credit: 12 PDPs are available without graduate credit. 22.5 PDPs and 1 graduate credit are available for $75.

Collaborating Partners: Springfield Science Museum; Bassett Planetarium (part of the Beneski Museum at Amherst College)

This course is offered as part of Accelerating Science: Open Access Professional Learning Courses for Massachusetts educators. Eligible Massachusetts educators are able to take this course for free with $150 substitute pay. Find out if you’re eligible by visiting our OAPL page.

Engaging Students in the Engineering Design Process Using Sensors

A 2-day workshop for grades 6-12 educators

Join the Wade Institute for Science Education for a two-day professional learning experience as we explore coding and engineering design concepts through fun, engaging, hands-on projects using the Arduino Electronics Platform. Engaging Students in the Engineering Design Process Using Sensors is designed for middle and high school teachers who are interested in incorporating digital technology and computational thinking into engineering design portions of their curriculum, but who lack the skills or confidence to get started on their own.

Delve into a variety of investigations that explore using Arduino Sensors with your students.  Build a control panel for your Starship, create a Love-O-Meter, design a Color Mixing Lamp, experiment with a Motorized Pinwheel and make your own Light Theremin (a musical instrument you play by waving your hands). Then create another device of your own choosing with guidance from our instructors.  We will model how to engage students with hands-on lessons that develop an understanding of the engineering design process, including using engineering design drawings and bread boards, as we explore the concepts of current, voltage, and digital logic as well as the fundamentals of programming.  Experience how to guide student driven learning through critical thinking and collaborative learning activities as your students work to solve problems. We will share how the technology is used in real world applications in a wide range of industries that affect our lives as well as how this technology is used in scientific studies.  As the final component of the workshop, you will be asked to select a design challenge you would like to incorporate into your own curriculum and brainstorm with your peers to identify opportunities for students to embed sensors into their projects.

You will leave the workshop with an Arduino kit to start using these materials and investigations in your classroom.

This sensor workshop is designed for Arduino beginners and intermediate users. Other sensors can be used along with the products that can be created with the kits.

Workshop Highlights:

  • Examine and use two-dimensional and three dimensional drawings to design your sensor device.
  • Identify how Arduino can be used to address Project Based Learning in any science course
  • Walk away with your own sensors kit and lessons to use in your classroom
  • Gain access to on-line program software (can also be downloaded to laptops) for students to use to program their projects.
  • Make connections with industry partners as a classroom resource for teachers
  • Hands-on practice with sensors as you work with middle and high school teachers who use these devices in their classrooms.

Registration Information:

Dates and Times: April 27th -28th, 2023

Location: Bristol Community College, Fall River, MA.

Cost: FREE for eligible MA educators that qualify through MA DESE’s OAPL program and includes $150 substitute pay. 1 graduate credit from Cambridge College available for $75.

Check back soon to register for this course.

Visit our Past Focus Workshops page to learn more about past offerings!