Monday, April 14, 2014

For Immediate Release

Teachers Experience Harvard Forest Through MITS’ Spring Course,
Science for the Next Generation: Science and Engineering Practices Across the Disciplines


With the weather’s full, but unexpected, cooperation, twenty-two middle and high school science teachers participated in a 2-mile hike on Saturday March 22nd at Harvard Forest in Petersham, Massachusetts. Their trek began by engaging in a bud burst activity led by Pamela Snow and John O’Keefe, two Harvard Forest scientists and naturalists, who have been studying the relationship between the timing of bud burst and climate change. This outdoor excursion was the day’s culminating learning activity for the teachers who are participating in MITS’ spring course, Science for the Next Generation: Science and Engineering Practices Across the Disciplines, which offers graduate credit through Fitchburg State University. During this hybrid, or blended learning course, pedagogical learning experiences are interwoven with science and engineering content learning experiences to enhance participating teachers’ capacity to use hands-on, minds-on science instruction in their own classes.

The teachers’ DSCN2093enthusiasm and engagement were evident throughout the visit at Harvard Forest. After viewing the exquisite diorama series in the Fisher Museum, listening to John O’Keefe’s presentation of his phenology research, hiking trails in the forest to learn about various Harvard Forest research projects, and sharing in discussions with their colleagues about applying their learning to classroom practices, these educators returned home with enthusiastic smiles. Additional on-site sessions for this course will take place at Alden labs in Holden, MA and Mass. Audubon’s Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary in Princeton, MA. Online learning activities, interspersed among these on-site meetings, produce a unified learning experience for participants.

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.