Professional Development


Penn State Space Grant: Educator Workshop

Amazing educator workshop program that I have done myself!  Great experience for any teacher!  A MUST DO opportunity.

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13 thoughts on “Professional Development

  1. Items in this newsletter:
    1. Real World Space Challenges (A STEM Challenge)—M HS
    2. Classroom lessons from NASA — 4-12
    3. Learning Science – k-12
    4. NASA for kids -k-6
    5. Inquiry in Chemistry –8-12

    1. Solving the Challenges of Space in the RealWorld and InWorld

    The RealWorld-InWorld NASA Engineering Design Challenge encourages students in grades 7-12 to explore and build skills essential for successful careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics through two phases of project-based learning and team competition.

    RealWorld (Phase 1): Teams of middle- and high-school-aged students with support of their teachers/coaches/parents work collaboratively as engineers and scientists to explore and design solutions related to the James Webb Space Telescope and Robonaut 2.

    RealWorld Phase begins: September 1, 2011.
    RealWorld Phase ends: January 27, 2012. To be considered to move to the InWorld phase, all RealWorld work must be submitted by this deadline.

    Recognition: Submitted final project solutions will be featured on the RealWorld-InWorld website, and teams will receive recognition for their work once they complete the RealWorld challenge and InWorld registration.

    InWorld (Phase 2): Participating college students select teams of two to four middle- and high-school-aged students who have completed the RealWorld phase to build their InWorld teams. Participation is limited to U.S. citizens. Teams work in a 3-D virtual online environment using 21st Century tools to refine designs and to create 3-D models of their design solutions.

    InWorld Phase begins: January 28, 2012.
    InWorld Phase ends: April 20, 2012.

    Recognition: InWorld teams will compete for cash awards ($1,000 per member, including team leader, for each winning team). Contest rules apply.

    NASA scientists and engineers visit and “chat” virtually throughout both phases of the challenge.

    To learn more about the challenge and to register for online resources for this free and flexible project, visit


    2. Classroom lessons from NASA

    Check out NASA’s On-Line Resources for Educators There are curriculum modules such as Exploring the Moon and Planetary Geology; all have hands-on activities.

    For earth science lesson plans, try It can save time because You can narrow your search.

    3. Learning Science

    Just a reminder for you science teachers to bookmark Learning Science. The web site is well organized with activities virtual labs, links to other interesting areas. Dr. George Mehler, a key leader in PA Science Matters from Bucks County, regularly reminds us of this site’s usefulness. Give his following suggestions a try:
    Try these two pages from

    4. NASA for Kids, the official kids’ portal for the U.S. government, has selected The Space Place as its September 2011 Site of the Month. links to over 2,000 web pages from government agencies, schools, and educational organizations, all geared to the learning level and interest of kids. The Space Place is proud to be recognized by this important site.
    Find them at or
    5. Inquiry in Chem. Ed.
    Here is a chem. Ed. Testimonial about Jason Neil:
    I attended ChemEd in Kalamazoo MI this summer and met a very dedicated Chem teacher, Jason Neil, (who also happens to be a professional magician – don’t fall asleep in that class!).
    Jason is very much into inquiry based learning and on his web site, he offers a set of 50 inquiry-based chemistry worksheets that cover essentially a year of chemistry for a pretty reasonable cost. I’ve bought them in the editable format, and have made only minor changes to the first couple and have two on the agenda to use with my classes in this upcoming (2nd week) of school. So I’ve yet to use them with my classes but they seem like a very usable set of resources for inquiry-based chemistry.

    Here’s Jason’s web site:

    (He’s also taking some classic magic trips and applying them to chemistry topics – one he used during his presentation at ChemEd was a card trick that he applied to the topic of Accuracy and Precision. It was compelling! They’re available on his web site too!)
    MaryJac Reed
    Chemistry teacher
    Fairfield CT

    This complimentary email got me thinking about other approaches for Chem. Educators to consider that are higher inquiry:

    Examine the materials from Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe, AZ. They have developed a number of high inquiry and teachable units. See:

    The American Chemical Society (ACS) has conferences in PA each year with time set aside especially for the needs of Chem. Educators. They have sponsored a chemistry text: Chem COMM (Chemistry in the Community) see their education section at:

    POGIL – Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning ( is headed at Franklin and Marshal College in Lancaster, PA Information on types of lessons can be sampled at:


    Science Matters newsletter is available to science educators as a no cost service by PSTA (see: ) Please share these items with your colleagues as appropriate. It is the purpose of this newsletter to communicate items, workshops, events and opportunities directly to science educators.

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