The 2017 Professional Development Seminar series will consist of a full-day session, divided into two sections: the mornings will be spent exploring STEM content areas with scientists and policy-makers, while afternoon sessions are skill-based, focused on turning real-life science into exciting, inquiry-based, hands-on lessons and activities for programs with K-12 students and teachers or other youth programs. This year’s Professional Development Seminar series will take place during 4 full-day sessions: January 25th, February 16th, March 16th and April 12th.

Location: Higgins University Center, Clark University, Worcester, MA
Time: 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
Cost: $40 per date, or register for 3 dates for $105, or 4 dates for $130
A buffet-style lunch will be provided.
PDPs are available to participants who attend 2 or more seminars.

Register Online
Download a Professional Development Seminar series brochure


Wednesday, January 25th

Engineering Goes Underwater
Paul Fucile, Senior Engineer, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
colorful-gears-copyAlvin and other underwater vehicles have been allowing humans to explore below the ocean surface for decades. Who are the people behind these amazing vehicles? And what happens behind-the-scenes to keep them on the cutting edge of science? In this seminar, Paul Fucile will explain his role as an engineer within the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Find out more about underwater vehicles and the unique challenges of engineering for an aquatic environment. Hear stories of Paul’s collaborative work with scientists, beginning with the design problems they bring to his door. Gain insight into the successes and challenges he has faced along the way.

Bringing You Up to Speed on the Practice of Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
Aaron Osowiecki and Jesse Southwick, Physics teachers, Boston Latin School and Developers, Energizing Physics
math-sqrt-2400pxThe science and engineering practice of using mathematics and computational thinking can be a challenge in informal education settings. How can you engage learners in this practice without much information about their math skills or knowledge? In this seminar, you will discuss mathematics and computational thinking and come away with an adaptable and differentiable activity to use with learners in a variety of programs. What does it look like when you measure speeds in leaps per heartbeat, rather than meters per second? Engineer a device to help you measure using your own unique traits, then put it to use and report your results to your group. Convert yourself to a believer in the importance of standard units for even the youngest learners. Recognize opportunities to incorporate or emphasize the math that is essential to doing science and engineering.

 

Woods Hole Senior Engineer, Paul Fucile, talks about engineering instruments for underwater research

Engineering Physics curriculum developers, Aaron Osowiecki and Jesse Southwick, challenged educators to measure speed using non-standard units.

An educator measures distance using a penny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thursday, February 16th

An Unexpected Path to the Antarctic

Dyan deNapoli, “The Penguin Lady”, Speaker, Author and Penguin Expert
johnny-automatic-penguin-2400pxPenguin expert, TED speaker and award-winning author Dyan deNapoli will give a presentation about her work as a penguin advocate and conservation educator. She will share the story of her unlikely journey to becoming a penguin expert. In 2000, while working for the New England Aquarium, Dyan helped manage the rescue of 40,000 penguins from an oil spill in South Africa. Dyan is one of 78 women from around the globe selected to be part of a women-in-science leadership-development initiative called Homeward Bound. The women will spend three weeks together on a ship in Antarctica, enhancing their leadership and collaboration skills and learning directly about the impacts of climate change. During her talk, Dyan will introduce the audience to Penguin Watch, an online citizen science project that utilizes student volunteers to count penguin populations in Antarctic regions.

Communicating About Climate Change: An Interdisciplinary Challenge
Dr. Vandana Singh, Professor and Chair, Physics and Earth Science Faculty, Framingham State University
ice-cubeClimate change presents a unique interdisciplinary challenge that requires many of us to re-envision the science and engineering practice of communicating information. In this seminar, Dr. Singh will present her work in the new area of climate change pedagogy. Anticipate potential pitfalls for the exhibits and programs you are working on. Put yourself in the position to add to the growing body of knowledge about the most effective ways to teach and communicate about climate change. Walk away with strategies and ideas, from case studies to theatrical presentations, for introducing these sometimes difficult concepts to a variety of audiences with whom you interact.

Penguin expert, Dyan deNapoli, talked about her experience helping to rehabilitate penguins after an oil spill off of the coast of Africa.

Professional Development Seminar participants discuss how to design an activity that represents the carbon “bathtub.”

Dr. Vandana Singh, Physics and Earth Science Faculty at Framingham State University, explained climate change science as an interdisciplinary concept.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thursday, March 16th

Alien Solar Eclipses: The Importance of Modeling in the Search for Exoplanets
Dr. Irene Porro, Director, McAuliffe Center for Integrated Science Learning
Mary Dussault, Science Education Program Manager, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
earthUsing models is an important science and engineering practice. In this seminar you will compare different ways of modeling a natural phenomenon and a scientific process. Through your own hands-on experience, you will explore modeling in science and engineering as a tool to make predictions – in this case, about planets orbiting stars outside our Solar System. Finally you will reflect on the importance of integrating different learning styles (multiple intelligences) to effectively introduce modeling practices in both informal and formal classrooms. You will learn how to access real telescopes online to collect data that tests your models of planetary systems.

Sunny With a Chance of Simulations
Dr. Henry “Trae” Winter, Astrophysicist, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
11970984791070571493freedo_eclipse-svg-hiWe often think about what is going on close to home, but what do we find when we look towards the sky? In this seminar, Dr. Winter will present his current research as well as developments in the field of astrophysics, including detection of new planets and work related to the August 2017 “Great American Eclipse”. He will show why his research takes place in the world of simulations in models, not in a lab. Dr. Winter will also share his successes in engaging new audiences through data visualizations created in museums and other informal settings. Find out how scientists observe solar features and processes and come away with some up-to-date tools for engaging the public with these faraway phenomena.

Dr. Irene Porro, Director of the McAuliffe Center for Integrated Science Learning & Mary Dussault, Science Education Program Manager at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, led hands-on eclipse activities

Dr. Henry “Trae” Winter, Astrophysicist at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, explained his solar research

Participants eclipsed one object with another and discussed factors such as distance and light.

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Wednesday, April 12th

Imitating Mother Nature to Improve Chemical Reactions
Dr. John Caradonna, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Boston University
colored-beakers3-hiChemical reactions happen in the world around us every day. In the industrial world, extreme temperature and pressure changes are used to speed up reactions and increase efficiency. But how do these same reactions happen in nature, where such a change is impossible? In this seminar, Dr. Caradonna will share the chemistry lessons we learn from living organisms. He will also explore the interdisciplinary nature of his field, highlighting the connections among biology, chemistry and physics. You’ll hear more about Dr. Caradonna’s efforts to develop synthetic systems that are comparable to the key steps in biological reactions, as well as important applications of this research. Discuss how you can use this information to incorporate the chemistry around us into your exhibits and programs.

“I’d Like to Have an Argument”: Making Meaning Through Conversation
Dr. Rudolf Kraus, Assistant Professor of Educational Studies, Coordinator for Secondary Science Education, Rhode Island College
Gabriel Rodriguez, MEd, Teacher of Chemistry, Woonsocket High School
atomicWhen you think of an argument, do you think of raised voices and flying insults? This seminar will help you expand your definition to include the science and engineering practice of engaging in argument from evidence. In this presentation, Dr. Rudolf Kraus will spark conversation and debate with a variety of hands-on science activities related to the motion of objects, models of the solar system and chemical bonding. You will have the opportunity to act like a scientist, puzzling out a framework from a limited set of data. You’ll come away with strategies to use in your school programs or classroom to engage students in scientific talk.


 

Register Online
Download a Professional Development Seminar series brochure