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
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, Dallas Arboretum, 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.
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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
How It Works
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 Institute workshops between September and May, for up to 48 hours of CPE for teachers attending all monthly opportunities
- Collaborate with museum educators, and
- Access to classroom curriculum and loan kits of materials
Participating teachers are 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
Selected teachers will be placed into one of four academies:
1. Pre-Service Teacher Academy
2. Novice Teacher Academy
Teachers with 5 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
Summer Academy - July 10-13
3. Advanced Teacher Academy
Teachers with 5 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:
Summer Academy - July 17-20
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.
4. Mentor Teacher Academy
Teachers with 10 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.
Capacity: 40 teachers annually
Additional Benefits and Requirements:
Summer Academy - June 19-22
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.
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.
These workshops are designed for teachers of grades K-12 in public schools, private schools, charter schools, Montessori schools, or any other educational setting. All workshops are TEKS-aligned.
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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.
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