Professional Development

Professional Development

Learning never stops at the Perot Museum! Professional development resources – such as workshops, online training tools and our very own Kosmos Energy STEM Teacher Institute that equips teachers with the tools and skills to ignite student enthusiasm for science – give teachers the opportunity for career growth. Learn from Perot Museum educators and other teachers, and take your class to new heights in learning.

Kosmos Energy STEM Teacher Institute

Free Professional Development for Educators

Pre-service applications are still open for 2016!

See “How to Apply” below.
Applications for the 2016 Mentor, Advanced, and Novice Academies are now closed. 

Participating Teachers

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Since 2010, the Perot Museum has operated this teacher professional development program, impacting hundreds of teachers since its inception and introducing them to various informal education institutions, such as the Trinity River Audubon Center, Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center, Dallas Zoo, Dallas Children’s Aquarium and the Dallas Museum of Art. Participating teachers credit the Perot Museum workshops and summer institutes with showing them how to make science fun and exciting for their students.

The Perot Museum has transformed its professional development offerings for educators by launching the new Kosmos Energy STEM Teacher Institute. The Museum’s expert educator development team has designed the Kosmos Energy STEM Teacher Institute to expand development opportunities for a wider audience, now spanning grades K-12. The Institute includes highly interactive TEKS-aligned activities that can be easily reproduced in the classroom. This new program will equip teachers with the tools and skills to ignite student enthusiasm for science.

Through generous support from our sponsors and a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, this new program is offered completely free to teachers.

Contact with questions.

  • Why the Institute?

    Math and science literacy has been a critical global issue for decades. Nationally, only 21% of American 12th graders are proficient in science. Many U.S. students opt out of science classes in high school and college. The large number of students opting out of science has created a “STEM crisis” in which companies and industries dependent on a well-trained, STEM-proficient workforce are simply unable to fill critical positions within their companies. Two main contributing factors are the shortage of teachers in the STEM disciplines and the lack of student engagement in STEM subjects. These issues are intimately connected and the STEM crisis can only be resolved through a comprehensive approach which ensures that both teachers and students are prepared for STEM success, and excited and enthusiastic about STEM topics. As a long-time regional leader in informal science education, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science (the lead applicant for the “Creating a STEM Professional Development Institute for Teachers” project) is uniquely prepared to address these challenges by providing the resources, training and networking support necessary for area science teachers to improve their effectiveness in the classroom.

    The Kosmos Energy STEM Teacher Institute will empower teachers to help change students’ perceptions of STEM subjects and their importance to their future education and career choices. Through the Institute, selected teachers will receive:

    • High quality, engaging and fun hands-on training based on best practices in providing both deep content knowledge and inquiry-based pedagogical skills
    • Targeted professional development opportunities designed to increase confidence, competence, consistency and creativity in the science classroom
    • The opportunity to become part of an elite network of STEM education professionals
    • Access to resources at the Museum such as educator loan kits and special events
    • Mentorship opportunities
    • CPE Credit
  • What It Means for Accepted Teachers

    Enrollment in the Institute requires a commitment by teachers to attend one weeklong (four day) summer academy as well as at least five additional weekend workshops throughout the school year. Workshops will either be Museum-based or will be offered in partnership with one of our many informal education partners. Summer academies begin in July and weekend workshops begin in September.

    All teachers participating in the Kosmos Energy STEM Teacher Institute will:

    • Attend a four-day Summer Academy, for 24 hours of CPE
    • Have access to eight Institute workshops between September and May, for a maximum of 48 hours of CPE for teachers attending all monthly opportunities
    • Collaborate with museum educators, and
    • Receive classroom curriculum and loan kits of materials

    In addition, participating teachers will be required to:

    • Maintain active participation in Institute programs (e.g., full attendance of Summer Academy as well as 5 or more Institute workshops)
    • Observe and be observed facilitating science teaching and learning by Museum staff and academy colleagues
    • Participation in Institute surveys and assessments to support documentation Institute processes and outcomes; participation in surveys for both teachers and students
  • How to Apply

    Pre-service applications are still open for 2016! Please see below.

    Applications for the 2016 Mentor, Advanced, and Novice Academies are now closed.

    Selected teachers will be placed into one of four academies:

    • Pre-Service (in partnership with the University of North Texas at Dallas)
    • Novice
    • Advanced
    • Mentor

    Novice Teacher Academy

    Teachers with 3 or fewer years teaching experience in science and/or at current grade level who are striving to improve their science teaching and learning practice.
    Teachers participating in this academy will learn how to regularly use inquiry methods and questioning strategies to create hands-on science lessons and materials that culminate in open- ended student science assignments and projects. They will also learn to integrate STEM disciplines --effectively teaching science and math in the same lesson, as well as integrating STEM across other content areas (e.g., ELA, history/social studies).Teachers will be provided with materials to take back and use in the classroom, have access to coordinators through email and phone, and develop a network of teacher colleagues from all of the DFW metroplex with various levels of experience and science content knowledge.

    Capacity: 40 teachers annually
    Additional Benefits and Requirements:

    • Earn 24 hours of CPE credit during the STEM Teaching Institute Summer Academy
    • The opportunity to earn a minimum of 30 hours of CPE credit between September and May
    • Participants will work with museum educators, experienced teachers, and experts in the field to build science content knowledge
    • Novice teachers will collaborate with experienced teachers to engage in and discuss effective teaching strategies and hands-on activities
    • Periodic requests to submit surveys and feedback regarding workshops, academies, etc.

    Advanced Teacher Academy

    Teachers with 3 or more years teaching experience in science at current grade level. Competitive applications for this academy regularly use inquiry methods and questioning strategies to create hands-on science lessons and materials that culminate in open-ended student science assignments and projects. These teachers also consistently integrate STEM disciplines --- effectively teaching science and math in the same lesson, and they have the ability to integrate STEM across other content areas (e.g., ELA, history/social studies).

    Teachers participating in this academy will build on their content knowledge by diving deeper into content with experienced museum educators, as well as hone their inquiry and project-based learning skills. Advanced teachers will gain the skills needed to take on leadership roles at the campus or district level.

    Capacity: 40 teachers annually
    Additional Benefits and Requirements:

    • Earn 24 hours of CPE credit during the STEM Teacher Institute Summer Academy
    • The opportunity to earn a minimum of 30 hours of CPE credit between September and May
    • The opportunity to collaborate with museum educators to create hands-on lessons and materials (e.g., write and/or improve school science curriculum) and build on science content knowledge
    • Opportunities to hone presentation skills by presenting on various topics, lessons, etc. during STEM Teacher Institutes workshops throughout the year
    • Periodic requests to submit surveys and feedback regarding workshops, academies, etc.

    Museum staff will share their knowledge and expertise with all these teachers. Some course work will be designed to address the need of teachers in specific academies and grade levels, while some workshops leverage the varying level of teachers’ experience and knowledge by having them work in cross-academy teams.

    Through the Institute, teachers will advance through the Academies and receive CPE credit and certificates for each year of completion. Upon graduation from the Institute, teachers will be able to stay engaged through the Mentor Academy.

    Mentor Teacher Academy

    Teachers with 5 or more years teaching experience who are Advanced Teachers (see definition above) in the classroom as well as a mentor to peers and colleagues. Mentor Teachers have experience providing science education professional development at campus, district or conference level. This may include development of lessons and materials that have been deployed across the campus, increased levels of student interest and engagement in science, and coaching or modeling of lessons for teachers. Teachers in this Academy will have opportunities to mentor teachers within the novice and advanced levels as well as work with museum staff to develop content for the Institute. Each year, 2 members of this Academy will be selected to sit on the Kosmos Energy STEM Teacher Institute advisory committee.

    Teachers participating in this academy will learn to be more effective mentors and teacher leaders. They will learn how informal education philosophy can be integrated into formal education effectively and will be able to incorporate these methodologies into the creation of lessons, TEKS-aligned kits, and the development of Museum workshops. Teachers in this academy will have the opportunity to earn the same number of CPE credits as the other academies.

    Principal Agreement Form

    As part of the application process for Kosmos Energy STEM Teacher Institute, we ask that principals submit an agreement form that indicates support and understanding of the institute requirements. If you are an applicant, please forward the Principal Agreement Form link to your principal.

    The institute is designed to improve K-12 grade teachers’ knowledge of science concepts and enhance classroom practice through expanded use of inquiry-based and hands-on/minds-on science. In addition, these courses will help teachers incorporate academic standards and curricular requirements into field trips and provide pre- and post-field trip classroom activities that support student learning. There is no cost to participate in this program.

    If selected to participate, each teacher will receive from the Perot Museum of Nature and Science:

    • 4-day summer academy (attendance required)
    • Opportunity to attend 10 (required to attend a minimum of 5) workshops between September and May
    • Classroom curriculum and loan kits of materials.
    • Continuing education credit.

    Ready to Apply?

    Apply for 2016-17 Pre-service Academy


Supported by Institute of Museum and Library Services    

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services MA-10-14-0265-14 and Library Services, Community Impact Fund of The Dallas Foundation and Alliance Data.

Educator Open House

Spend the evening at the Perot Museum enjoying First Thursday Late Night activities, while learning about the many programs the Museum has available to pre-K-12 educators and their students. Information about field trips, traveling exhibits, films, professional development and more will be available, as well as special program opportunities for teachers. Teachers plus one guest get in free with preregistration. Please note - if parking in the main Museum lot, parking fees will apply and must be paid upon exit. 

Teacher Preview Nights

Teacher Preview Nights give you the opportunity to plan your upcoming field trip while experiencing everything the Museum offers. Free admission with proof of current teaching status. Preregistration required, below.

Chase Bio Lab Workshops

Discover exciting ways to extend the Museum’s Chase Bio Lab activities into your classroom. These free, themed workshops are available to any K-12 science teacher. Preregistration is required, and space is limited. 

  • September 19, 2015, 9am–1pm — Register
  • October 17, 2015, 9am–1pm — Register
  • January 30, 2016, 9am–1pm — Register
  • February 20, 2016, 9am–1pm — Register
  • April 9, 2016, 9am–1pm — Register
  • June 18, 2016, 9am–1pm — Register
For questions, please email us at

Museum Workshops

Questions? Please email us at

Meet Ellie May Workshop

Meet the star of the Perot Museum’s newest exhibit: Ellie May! Ellie May is a Columbian mammoth whose skeleton was found in a sand and gravel quarry in Ellis County in May 2014. The founders of this fossil donated it to the Perot Museum and beginning in late November, the skeleton will be displayed at the museum. In this workshop, educators will explore the events of Ellie May’s discovery and what her bones can tell us about life in Texas during the late Pleistocene Epoch. We will engage in activities that connect elementary, middle school and high school students to the story of Ellie May through science and literacy TEKS. After attending this workshop, educators will have access to classroom kits that they can check out from the museum. Registration is $15 and includes a light evening snack.

Ellie May educator's guide PDF available here.

  • Thursday, March 3, 2016, 6–9pm — Register or call 214.428.5555 ext. 8 

Traveling Exhibition Workshops

Our Traveling Exhibition Workshops are designed to provide classroom extensions through hands-on lessons, as well as Museum-based connections to help you plan a field trip around the exhibition. Activities will reinforce concepts presented in the exhibition, and participants will have the opportunity to view the exhibition as part of the workshop. Preregistration and a $15 fee are required for the Traveling Exhibition Workshops.

  • November 5, 2015, 6-9pm — Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence — Register
  • April 16, 2016, 9am-3pm — Eye of the Collector — Register

“Now Showing” Workshops

As an aid to planning future field trips, the Perot Museum invites you to take part in hands-on activities aligned with the films in The Hoglund Foundation Theater, a National Geographic Experience. Participants will have the opportunity to view the movie during the course of the workshop, as well as explore Museum-based exhibits and activities that relate to the film. Preregistration and a $15 fee are required.

  • October 3, 2015, 9am–3pm — Wonders of the Arctic 3D — Register
  • January 23, 2016, 9am–3pm — Journey to Space 3D — Register
  • February 6, 2016, 9am–3pm — Tiny Giants 3D — Register

Career Connections

In the wake of recent legislation, educators throughout the state of Texas are ramping up their focus on career education. At the Perot Museum, inspiring minds through nature and science is a lifetime commitment — which is why our exhibits and programs incorporate a range of career insights to inform and excite the next generation of science leaders. The Perot Museum is a perfect place to visit to learn all about careers in a variety of STEM fields. In addition to the many interactive exhibits and rare specimens at the Perot Museum, each exhibit hall features video profiles of scientists and other professionals who provide firsthand insights into their chosen careers, as well as the paths they took to get there. 

Examples include:

  • Dr. Craig Farquhar, Avian Ecologist and Bird Illustrator (featured in the Rose Hall of Birds)
  • Dr. Penny Morris-Smith, Professor of Biology and Geology at the University of Houston and a Planetary Geologist (featured in the Expanding Universe Hall)
  • Kenneth Coulter, Medical Illustrator (featured in the Being Human Hall)

Educator Resources

There’s no better destination for discovery than the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. That’s why we’ve developed these educator-specific resources to encourage you and your class to experience all that the Perot Museum has to offer. Find information on school programs in the Teacher's Guide, financial aid assistance, your career and more.

Explore Educator Resources

Professional Development
Program Events

Kosmos Energy STEM Teacher Institute
Educator Open House
Chase Bio Lab Workshops
Museum Workshops
Career Connections
Educator Resources