The Museum Institute for Teaching Science Receives Funding for “Practice Makes Perfect” Professional Development Institutes for K-12 Teachers
The Museum Institute for Teaching Science (MITS, Inc.) has been awarded several grants in support of its Summer Professional Development Institutes for K-12 teachers being offered in eight regions across Massachusetts. The foundations and corporations that are generously supporting these institutes this summer make them affordable and accessible to teachers from all regions and school districts.
The MITS Professional Development Summer Institutes provide teachers with the skills they need to increase student interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Using “minds-on, hands-on” investigations, they provide teachers with the methods and content knowledge to build on their students’ natural curiosity through inquiry-based teaching. With the anticipated implementation of the newly revised Massachusetts Science & Technology/Engineering standards in the next few years, Massachusetts teachers are seeking this instruction to prepare them for implementing the science and engineering practices included in the standards.
Support for the Central Region (Greater Worcester) includes grants of $10,000 from the Hermann Foundation, $7,500 from the Fred Harris Daniels Foundation and $2,500 from EMC² Corporation. The Nathaniel and Elizabeth P. Stevens Foundation awarded MITS a grant of $3,000 to support the Merrimack Region Institute. Genzyme, a Sanofi Company, provided a grant of $10,000 for the Boston Region. These foundations and corporations, in conjunction with the G. G. Wade Charitable Trust and individual donors who provided general operating support, make it possible to provide the Institutes to teachers, forever benefitting the students whose lives they impact each day.
Those who attend typically find the MITS’ institutes to be truly enriching and transformative. Program partners this summer (which include the American Textile History Museum, Mass Audubon, Christa McAuliffe Challenger Center, and the National Marine Life Center, Buttonwood Park Zoo, the Berkshire Museum, Catch the Science Bug, the Lloyd Center for the Environment, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Zoo New England, the Waterworks Museum, Learning by Design, the Nashua River Watershed Association, Tower Hill Botanical Garden, Garden in the Woods, Groundwork Lawrence and the Tsongas Center) play a vital role, bringing teachers the same sort of “real world,” experiences that they hope to bring to their students. Participants might encounter a whale while aboard a vessel one day and examine tiny microorganisms the next; they may “explore space” through authentic simulators of NASA’s Mission Control, or encounter scientists and engineers at work in their labs using science to solve every day problems. These multifaceted, enriching summer experiences are both eye-opening and mind-expanding for teachers who return to their classrooms in the fall armed with new and exciting ways to share with their students that science is exciting, fun and relevant to their lives.
Studies have shown that students who learn STEM subjects early on through hands-on, inquiry based methods are far more likely to consider majoring in a STEM subject in college or ultimately pursuing a career in a STEM-related field. With increasing job prospects in science, engineering and technology, this is good news for students and for local industries!
The Museum Institute for Teaching Science specializes in providing hands-on, minds-on, inquiry-based STEM professional development for formal and informal educators. For more information, visit www.mits.org or call 617-328-1515.