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 DESE OAPL website to learn more.

Read on to learn more about our current OAPL Programs, or visit our Past OAPL Programs page to learn more about past offerings!

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 per day 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 enroll in as many Wade Institute OAPL courses as you choose, but you may only enroll in one (1) course where you receive free tuition per Fiscal Year (June 30th, 2023 – July 1st 2024). This is so that as many individuals as possible have access to these opportunities. If you have taken an OAPL course with free tuition during this Fiscal year and want to take another course, you will need to pay the non-OAPL-qualifying rate for any subsequent courses until the Fiscal year resets. Please select the courses that best fit your interests and availability.

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 $300 stipend.

Building the Storyline Using Culturally Relevant Phenomena in Your Classroom

for Grades 6-12 Educators

Saturdays, January 27th and February 3rd, 2024 (8:30 AM – 3:30 PM ET)

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, climate, and the natural environment. In this workshop, you will explore examples of how real-world phenomena can be used to investigate the effects of climate on the ecosystem. Using problem-based issues, you will engage in investigations 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
  • Recognize the importance of the effects of climate on the ecosystem
  • Evaluate the impacts of changes in the environment on the plant life
  • Observe the relationship between humans and nature on Blue Hill
  • Participate in place-based learning experiences
  • Complete a culminating activity for the unit

Registration Information

Collaborating Partner: Blue Hill Observatory & Science Center
Dates: Saturdays, January 27th and February 3rd, 2024 (8:30 AM – 3:30 PM ET)
Location: Blue Hill Observatory & Science Center, Milton, MA
Cost: FREE for eligible MA educators that qualify through MA DESE’s OAPL program and includes $300 stipend. Registration cost is $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 available from Cambridge College for $75. Graduate credit requires additional work.

Registration is now closed for this workshop.

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 $300 substitute pay.

Engaging Students in the Engineering Design Process Using Sensors

for Grades 6-12 Educators

Thursday, March 14th and Friday, March 15th, 2024 (8:30 AM – 3:30 PM ET)

Explore coding and electronics through fun, engaging, hands-on projects using the Arduino Open Source 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.

Participants will engage in a variety of investigations that explore using Arduino Sensors. You will build a control panel for a Starship, create a Love-O-Meter, design a Color Mixing Lamp, experiment with a Motorized Pinwheel and make a 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 investigations that develop an understanding of the engineer design process, including using engineering design drawings and bread boards, as they 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, select a design challenge you would like to incorporate into your curriculum, identify an anchoring phenomena for the challenge and brainstorm with your peers to identify opportunities for students to embed sensors into their projects. Leave the workshop with an Arduino kit to start using these materials and investigations in your classroom.

Registration Information

Dates: Thursday, March 14th and Friday, March 15th, 2024 (8:30 AM – 3:30 PM ET)
Location: Springfield Museum, Springfield, MA
Cost: FREE for eligible MA educators that qualify through MA DESE’s OAPL program and includes $300 substitute pay. Registration cost is $300 per educator from non-qualifying schools.
PDPs and Optional Graduate Credit: 14 PDPs available without graduate credit. 22.5 PDPs and 1 graduate credit available from Cambridge College for $75. Graduate credit requires additional work.

Register Online

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 $300 substitute pay.

Engaging Students in the Engineering Design Process Using Sensors: Level 2

for Grades 6-12 Educators

Thursday, April 4th and Friday, April 5th, 2024 (8:30 AM – 3:30 PM ET)

Join us for an advanced workshop focused on reverse engineering and problem based learning. Build and program a robot capable of carrying a variety of data collecting sensors. Explore what the engineering practices look like in the classroom as you experience inquiry investigations and phenomena-based learning. Receive an advanced Arduino kit to take back to your classroom. Included in the kit is an autonomous INR robot, multiple sensors and camera module. You will design and create working autonomous robot prototypes. Reverse engineering will be used to identify improvements you want to design. Improvements can include mechanical, programmatic, and/or sensor design.

For those schools who have restricted cell phone use, we have you covered! We will be giving you an infrared robot that has its own controller. No cell phones needed!

  • Plan out and program a robot using either Arduino C or Block Programming
  • Incorporate sensors into the robot design
  • Use sensor data to create autonomous robots
  • Gain a better understanding of engineering design concepts
  • Investigate strategies for problem-based learning
  • Identify and solve a community problem using robotics

Participants will receive an Arduino kit to take back to their classroom. We recommend taking the first level sensor workshop prior to enrolling in this workshop.

Registration Information

Dates: Thursday, April 4th and Friday, April 5th, 2024 (8:30 AM – 3:30 PM ET)
Location: Massasoit Community College Canton Campus, Canton, MA
Cost: FREE for eligible MA educators that qualify through MA DESE’s OAPL program and includes $300 substitute pay. Registration cost is $350 per educator from non-qualifying schools.
PDPs and Optional Graduate Credit: 14 PDPs available without graduate credit. 22.5 PDPs and 1 graduate credit available from Cambridge College for $75. Graduate credit requires additional work.

Register Online

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 $300 substitute pay.

Exploring Instructional Strategies That Promote
Student Sensemaking and Student Discourse

for Grades 9-12 Educators

Monday, May 6th and Tuesday, May 7th 2024 (8:30 AM – 3:30 PM ET)

In this 2-day in-person workshop, teachers will be guided in the use of instructional strategies central to storyline teaching, including phenomena-based instruction, using a Driving Question Board to promote student questions and ownership, and student discussion. Teachers will be able to think critically about phenomena-based instruction and consider its power for promoting students’ deep understanding of Disciplinary Core Ideas, developing their skills in using the Science and Engineering Practices, and strengthening their ability to apply the Crosscutting Concepts of science and engineering.

Using recently released OpenSciEd High School Biology curriculum as a foundation, the program will introduce the use of storylines as a tool that fosters students’ sensemaking. We will work with an anchoring phenomena, engaging in inquiry-based investigations related to evolution and genetic diversity as students would to help understand this phenomena. In collaboration with our partners from the USDA’s Springfield Urban Field Station we will explore local related phenomena. Model building and discussion are important components of storyline teaching, and we will explore both of these strategies as tools to promote student learning. Throughout this professional learning program, teachers will have opportunities to engage with their peers to discuss and plan for implementation of their learning in their own classrooms.

Focus questions for the content of this Professional Learning Experience will include:

  • What does phenomena-based instruction look like in the classroom?
  • How does teaching with storylines differ from what I already do?
  • What features of phenomena-based instruction and storylines can improve student learning?
  • How do phenomena-based instruction and storylines support equity in my classroom?

In this program you will:

  • Explore an anchoring phenomenon as a driver for a unit
  • Identify phenomena relevant to your local community
  • Participate in place-based learning experiences related to urban bird and tree populations
  • Practice productive talk moves to support classroom discussions
  • Research the role of urbanization in plant and animal evolution
  • Explore the impact of habitat fragmentation on genetic diversity
  • Evaluate urban planning designs that support human and non-human populations

Registration Information

Collaborating Partner: USDA Forest Service Springfield Urban Field Station
Dates:
Monday, May 6th and Tuesday, May 7th 2024 (8:30 AM – 3:30 PM ET)
Location: Forest Park, Springfield, MA
Cost: FREE for eligible MA educators that qualify through MA DESE’s OAPL program and includes $300 substitute pay. Registration cost is $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 available from Cambridge College for $75. Graduate credit requires additional work.

Register Online

Visit our Past OAPL Programs page to learn more about past offerings!