Teacher Professional Development


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When teachers are enthusiastic about STEM, so are their students.

Professional Development

Swenson College will provide unique professional development for K-12 teachers to effectively address the needs of STEM integrated curriculum. We plan to host workshops for educators at the elementary, middle and high school levels to address a variety of comfort levels for teaching science and engineering in the classroom. Our faculty will engage educators in methods that are fun to teach and fun to learn. Our focus will be on integrating hands-on and inquiry-based learning methods into current lesson plans.

Educators will participate in grade-specific lessons to make sense of science phenomena and reflect on instructional strategies. Our goal is to help others better engage their students in STEM lessons that are consistent with Minnesota science and math standards.

Science Institute for Educators: Teaching with Lake Superior: Integrating STEM

  • Saturday, November 12, 2016
  • 8:15 AM registration, classes until 3:45 PM
  • Great Lakes Aquarium, 353 Harbor Dr, Duluth, MN 55802 (Map)
  • K-12 opportunities
  • Continuing education credits offered
  • $20 fee covers registration, parking aquarium admission, print materials, coffee, morning snack and box lunch.  Register online!

UMD's Swenson College of Science and Engineering will be one of many local and regional organizations conducting hands-on workshops on a variety of K-12 STEM topics at the Great Lakes Aquarium Fall Science Institute. View the complete session workshop schedule and session descriptions.   

Current UMD workshops include:

  • Let’s Vote! – Grades 6-12 - Join Eric Erdmann, a Mathematician with UMD Swenson College of Science and Engineering, for a session looking at a variety of these social choice algorithms. We will start by talking about the method we currently use to elect officials (plurality) and then discuss other methods. We will compare and contrast benefits and drawbacks of each and work through a few sample elections using many of the methods. The mathematics will be at a level that middle school students could understand but some of the analysis might be more applicable to a high school classroom.Turning Pennies into Volts – Grades 4-12 Join Dr. D. Subbaram Naidu, an Electrical Engineer from UMD Swenson College of Science and Engineering, to explore circuits, electricity and conductivity. Using everyday items like zinc washers, pennies, paper towels, and salt water, participants will learn how to have students design a voltaic pile or stackable circuit to light an LED flashlight.
  • Mysteries of the Cosmos – Grades 4-6 - We know 5% of the Universe is made of normal matter. The remaining 95% is dark matter and dark energy of which we have ideas but no solid direct evidence. Join Allen Lipke, from the UMD Swenson College of Science and Engineering, to explore the current study of neutrinos (the 5% we understand), the search for dark mater and tools for developing observations skills for things unseen. Participants will explore physics demonstrations using simple materials to challenge students in an authentic inquiry process.
  • Mud, Worms and Water - Grades K-2 Join Dr. Nathan Johnson, a Water Resources Engineer from UMD Swenson College of Science and Engineering to explore developing curiosity and interest in the physical, chemical and biological properties of lake and river sediment. Activities will help students compare different types of sediment and how sediment relates to the activity of organisms in the mud.Plastics in Our Environment - Grades 6-12 Join Melissa Maurer-Jones, a Chemist from UMD Swenson College of Science and Engineering, to talk about plastic pollution. Participants will dive into a module exploring: the science of plastics - how they are made, different types, and process for breaking down; pathways of plastics into the environment; transformations in the environment and problems plastics cause; and possible solutions including biodegradable polymers.