Central Region

One-Week Institute for Grades 3-8 Educators

Parts and Purpose: Using Inquiry to Explore Structure and Function in Nature’s Laboratory

Did you know that easy-to-access science laboratories are right outside your door? Learn how to take advantage of these resources for teaching science skills and instilling inquiry in your classroom. Explore pond, woodland, and field habitats for common organisms that can be used to teach about adaptations and the structures of ecological communities. Compare functional anatomy in seeds, insects and birds to examine how animals and plants move through habitats, and how evolution and natural selection play a role. Create models to explore the interplay between structure and function. Measure community structure in habitats, explore structures in animals and plants that help them prosper and reproduce in their environment, and analyze resource flow among trophic levels. Quantitatively sample aquatic, soil, and meadow invertebrates, and practice safely exploring adaptations of bees to learn what makes them such good pollinators. Then turn that question around to investigate what flowers do to attract bees and other pollinators. Look at pollinator ecosystem health and diversity with Bee-cology, a citizen science program you can bring to your students to monitor pollinator health throughout the school year. Build on your experience using outdoor spaces to create inquiry exercises for your own classroom.

Partners: Mass Audubon’s Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary (Lead Institution), Mass Audubon’s Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary, Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Dates: July 9-13 (8:30 am-3:30 pm); Half Day Introductory Session June 9 (8:30 am-12:30 pm); Half Day Fall Call-back November 3 (8:30 am-12:30 pm)
Registration Cost: $400/participant ($375/participant if attending in team of 2 teachers from your school district; $350/participant if attending in team of 3+ teachers from your school district)
Optional Graduate Credit and PDPs: Framingham State University ($225; 3 graduate credits, 67.5 PDPs); Fitchburg State University ($285; 3 graduate credits, 67.5 PDPs). 40 PDPs available without graduate credit.

Register Online
Download the Summer Professional Development Institutes Brochure

Mass Audubon Logo

Mass Audubon’s Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary

Mass Audubon Logo

Mass Audubon’s Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary

TH Logo

Tower Hill Botanic Garden

WPI Logo

Worcester Polytechnic Institute