Museum Institute for Teaching Science Links Teachers with Local Resources
Thursday, May 17, 2012
What does a bird‘s beak have in common with a high speed bullet train? This question and more will be answered in the Museum Institute for Teaching Science (MITS) 2012 summer professional development institute, Explore! Investigate! Invent! How Science Inspires Engineering. K-8 teachers from around Manchester and southern New Hampshire will have the opportunity to work with the Amoskeag Fishways Learning and Visitors Center, Beaver Brook Nature Center, and New Hampshire Fish and Game for 2 weeks, July 9th-20th (weekdays). Teachers will learn through hands-on, minds-on, inquiry-based skills how science discoveries in nature are leading today’s engineers to create exciting new products and solve challenging design problems. Teachers will investigate how simple human tools are built to mimic the form and function of fish, birds, insects and other animals. They will explore the methods and structures of natures’ ultimate engineer, the beaver. Teachers will look at natural methods to deal with runoff, soil erosion, and non-point source pollution to design and engineer solutions to these challenges. They will solve water flow problems by studying how rivers flow.
The two-week professional development course spotlights the wide-ranging educational and cultural resource organizations around Manchester and southern New Hampshire. Teachers become familiar with the organizations and the wealth of expertise they can access for use in their classrooms.
MITS’ state-wide network of partners promotes the teaching of participatory, inquiry-based STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education. MITS’ programs contribute to the state’s STEM initiatives by building strong partnerships to provide professional development opportunities for teachers to increase the number of students pursuing STEM degrees and careers. Museums and other educational institutions encourage interest in science, making MITS Summer Institutes unique and highly engaging for teachers. Through inquiry process skills, MITS helps teachers integrate STEM into the broader curriculum such as social studies, literacy, and art. The Summer Institute’s focus on teaching using inquiry-based methods engages students in firsthand investigations of questions that inspire curiosity while building problem solving skills. The inquiry-based model of learning reflects the intuitive process of acquiring knowledge and simultaneously learning how to apply it. MITS gives the teachers tools needed to meet the new rigorous state and national science and engineering frameworks.
According to the Massachusetts Partnership for 21st Century Skills, in order “to successfully face rigorous higher education coursework, career challenges and a globally competitive workforce, U.S. schools must align classroom environments with real world environments by infusing 21st Century Skills.” MITS Summer Institutes provide teachers the resources to help students prepare for the future. “Providing professional development for teachers of STEM is the most highly leveraged investment we can make to address the pipeline challenge critical to the success of our nation in the future” said Paddy Wade MITS’s President.
Additional MITS Summer Institutes will take place at the same time in 6 other regions of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. In each region, collaborating partners and will present a wide array of hands-on investigations at locations including wildlife sanctuaries, botanical gardens, museums, zoos, the aquarium, and textile and industrial history centers (and more!). Teachers participating in these institutes will become part of a state-wide network of teachers while learning about local and regional field trip and classroom resources.
Participants earn PDP’s and have the potential to also earn graduate credits. Additionally, they will receive a teacher resource kit and resource notebook for classroom use. Register by mail, online, via email or call the MITS’ office at 617-328-1515. For further information please visit www.mits.org
NH State Information