Accelerating Science: Open Access Professional Learning Courses
for Massachusetts Educators

The Wade Institute is offering Approved Courses for Accelerating Science: Open Access Professional Learning (OAPL). Eligible Massachusetts educators may take these programs at no cost. Please visit the OAPL website to learn more.

Do you qualify for an OAPL course?

OAPL courses are open to any currently-employed Massachusetts public school educator whose work relates to science in grades preschool through 12. This includes general education teachers, special education teachers, ESL or language support teachers, principals, coaches, and other school or district administrators whose work relates to science. OAPL courses are not open to higher education faculty or administrators.

If you are not sure if you are eligible for an OAPL course, please visit DESE’s OAPL page for more information and contact info for further questions about qualifications.

Early Access Enrollment:

Educators in the following districts or on emergency licenses will receive priority during the first three days of enrollment.

Priority School Districts

Educators who hold an emergency license and are currently employed in an eligible role in one or more of the following fields may enroll during the Early Access period: Early Childhood; Elementary; Moderate Disabilities; Biology; Chemistry; Earth & Space Science; General Science; MS Math/Science; Physics; Technology/Engineering.

Course Completion Requirements:
Per DESE guidance, course completion requires that participants:
1. Attend course sessions.
2. Complete pre and post-knowledge assessment.
3. Complete an end of course survey.
4. Graduate credit will be available for most courses and will involve additional work. There is a fee for the graduate credit which is not covered by DESE.
Note: Only participants who meet these requirements will be eligible for PDP certificates and stipends/substitute funds.

Stipends and PDPs:
Substitute Pay: If the participant attends the PD during a scheduled school day, the district will receive a payment of $150 for the substitute upon course completion.
Stipend: If the participant attends the PD when school is not in session, the participant will receive a stipend of $150- $450, depending on the length of course upon course completion.
PDPs: A certificate for PDPs based on the length of the course will be awarded to participants upon course completion.

Wade Institute OAPL Courses:

You may only enroll in one (1) Wade Institute OAPL course, so that as many individuals as possible have access to these opportunities. Please select the course that best fits your interests and availability.

STEAM and Earth Science: A Hybrid Focus Workshop for Grades 4-6 Educators

Building the Storyline: A Focus Workshop for Grades 3-5 Educators

Building the Storyline: A Focus Workshop for Grades 9-12 Educators

Engaging Students in the Engineering Process Using Sensors: A Focus Workshop for Grades 6-12 Educators

Whales’ Tales, Turtle Hurdles, and Migration Phenomena: A Summer Professional Development Institute for Grades 3-8 Educators

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 virtual 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:
Virtual Sessions: Wednesday, January 18th and Wednesday, February 15th, 2023 (3:30 PM – 6:30 PM ET)
On-Site Planetarium Session at Springfield Science Museum: Saturday, January 28th (2:00 PM – 8:00 PM ET)

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 from Cambridge College are available for $75.

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

Early Access Enrollment for this course will be held from December 8th – 12th, 2022. Any eligible Massachusetts educator in a Priority District or who holds an emergency license in qualifying categories may register during this period. Registration will be open for all other educators on December 13th.

Click Here to Download a Brochure

Registration is now closed for this workshop.

Building the Storyline

A Focus Workshop for Grades 3-5 Educators

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

Whether you are a botany expert or you are new to the world of plants, refresh your curriculum with storyline teaching and phenomena. In this workshop, you’ll follow a storyline unit focused on plant parts, basic needs, life cycles, adaptations, and more. You’ll engage in a few lessons from the unit as a learner, including the anchoring phenomenon routine and student-driven inquiry investigations, then reflect on those experiences as a teacher. During the workshop, you will learn how to construct a storyline unit, incorporate relevant phenomena, and utilize best practices for DEI in the STEM classroom, including establishing classroom norms and processes that value all student resources. You will leave the program with an outline of a storyline unit, inquiry investigations to use in your classroom, and resources for developing your own storyline unit using culturally relevant phenomena.

Using the storyline approach we will:

  • Explore an anchoring phenomenon that sparks wonder at the start of the unit
  • Identify phenomena relevant to your local community
  • Dissect a flower and learn about the reproductive parts of a plant
  • Investigate plant adaptations specialized for life in different environments
  • Utilize a nature journal to document our learning
  • Observe plants and pollinators in some of the New England Botanic Garden’s 19 formal gardens
  • Participate in place-based learning experiences
  • Complete a culminating activity for the unit

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

Registration Information:

Dates and Times: Monday, March 6th and Tuesday, March 7th, 2023 (8:30 AM – 3:30 PM ET)

Location: New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill, Boylston, MA.

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

PDPs and Optional Graduate Credit: 14 PDPs available without graduate credit. 22.5 PDPs and 1 graduate credit from Cambridge College available for $75. Additional work is required for graduate credit.

Collaborating Partner: New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill

Early Access Enrollment for this course will be held from January 17th – 19th, 2023. Any eligible Massachusetts educator in a Priority District or who holds an emergency license in qualifying categories may register during this period. Registration will be open for all other educators on January 20th.

Click Here to Download a Brochure
Click Here to Register Online

Building the Storyline

A Focus Workshop for Grades 9-12 Educators

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

Explore how to use storyline routines and anchoring phenomena to shift your curriculum to student-centered science learning as you explore the relationship between humans and the natural environment. In this workshop, you’ll follow a storyline unit focused on sustainability, management of natural resources, ecosystems health, design solutions, and more. You’ll engage in a few lessons from the unit as a learner, including the anchoring phenomenon routine and student-driven inquiry investigations, then reflect on those experiences as a teacher. During the workshop, you will learn how to construct a storyline unit, incorporate relevant phenomena, and utilize best practices for DEI in the STEM classroom, including establishing classroom norms and processes that value all student resources. You will leave the program with an outline of a storyline unit, inquiry investigations to use in your classroom, and resources for developing your own storyline unit using culturally relevant phenomena.

Using the storyline approach we will:

  • Explore an anchoring phenomenon that sparks wonder at the start of the unit
  • Identify phenomena relevant to your local community
  • Demonstrate the importance of biodiversity in an ecosystem
  • Evaluate competing design solutions for minimizing impacts to the natural environment
  • Observe the relationship between humans and nature in the Blackstone River Valley
  • Participate in place-based learning experiences
  • Complete a culminating activity for the unit

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

Registration Information:

Dates and Times: Monday, April 3rd and Tuesday, April 4th, 2023 (8:30 AM – 3:30 PM ET)

Location: Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Center, Worcester, MA.

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

PDPs and Optional Graduate Credit: 14 PDPs available without graduate credit. 22.5 PDPs and 1 graduate credit from Cambridge College available for $75. Additional work is required for graduate credit.

Collaborating Partner: Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor

Early Access Enrollment for this course will be held from January 17th – 19th, 2023. Any eligible Massachusetts educator in a Priority District or who holds an emergency license in qualifying categories may register during this period. Registration will be open for all other educators on January 20th.

Click Here to Download a Brochure
Click Here to Register Online

Engaging Students in the Engineering Process Using Sensors

A Focus Workshop for Grades 6-12 Educators

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

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 design engineering drawings to create your own device.
  • Identify how Arduino can be used to address Problem-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 for students to use to create projects.
  • Make connections with industry partners as a classroom resource.
  • Gain hands-on practice with sensors as you work with middle and high school teachers who use these devices in their classrooms.

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

Registration Information:

Dates and Times: Thursday, April 27th and Friday, April 28th, 2023 (8:30 AM  – 3:30 PM ET)

Location: Massasoit Community College, Canton, MA

Cost: FREE for eligible MA educators that qualify through MA DESE’s OAPL program and includes $150 substitute pay. $250 per educator from non-qualifying schools.

PDPs and Optional Graduate Credit: 14 PDPs available without graduate credit. 22.5 PDPs and 1 graduate credit from Cambridge College available for $75. Additional work is required for graduate credit.

Early Access Enrollment for this course will be held from January 17th – 19th, 2023. Any eligible Massachusetts educator in a Priority District or who holds an emergency license in qualifying categories may register during this period. Registration will be open for all other educators on January 20th.

Click Here to Download a Brochure
Click Here to Register Online

Whales’ Tales, Turtle Hurdles, and Migration Phenomena

A Summer Professional Development Institute for Grades 3-8 Educators

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

During this week-long institute, teachers will explore the phenomena of migration of whale, sharks, turtles and birds as they explore the tools used to track migrating species. They will work with real time data collected by researchers and citizen scientist, gain an understanding of the importance of both technologically collected data as well as historical data collected by whalers and fisherman and learn about their students can become involved in citizen monitoring programs. Teachers will participate in field and inquiry-based classroom investigations, explore how phenomena can provide a foundation for inquiry-based science instruction, identify culturally appropriate phenomena for classroom-based investigations, learn how their students can become involved in place-based citizen science activities, and visit research laboratories in Woods Hole.

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

Registration Information:

Dates and Times: July 17th – 21st, 2023

Location: Manomet, Inc, Plymouth, MA.

Cost: FREE for eligible MA educators that qualify through MA DESE’s OAPL program and includes $450 stipend. 3 graduate credits from Cambridge College available for $225.

Collaborating Partners: Manomet, Inc; Lloyd Center for the Environment; Atlantic White Shark Conservancy

Check back soon to register for this course.