Professional Development

Professional Development

The STEM Center offers a variety of educational opportunities for future and current teachers interested in developing their skills to teach STEM topics. We have several developed workshops, and we can also design workshops that meet specific needs of our organization. Pricing for professional development programs vary by number of participants and the duration of the program. For more information, including pricing, please contact the STEM Center at (618) 650-3065, email us at, or visit our Schedule a Program page.

Bringing the NGSS into the Classroom: The release and publication of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) prompted schools nationwide to begin integrating science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and cross-cutting concepts into their curricula. In this workshop, educators and administrators will learn how to navigate and utilize the NGSS in everyday teaching to create more engaging science lessons that prepare students for science and engineering in the real world.

Nature of Science: Is there more than one method investigate science questions? Can science answer all questions? While many classrooms are equipped with resources for addressing science content, the fundamental questions regarding the nature of science often remain unanswered. In this workshop, teachers will learn to counter common misconceptions held by learners through a set of foundational ideas that will improve students’ understanding of science subjects throughout the course of their education.

Introduction to Vernier Instruments: Effectively incorporating technology in the classroom is a challenge for many teachers, especially as budgets become more limited. In the introductory workshop, instructors of grades 2-12 learn how to incorporate Vernier Labquest data collectors and a number of sensors (temperature, carbon dioxide, etc.) into their classrooms to transform learning into an active process that reflects the real world of science. Participants will also receive information about borrowing these useful devices from the STEM Resource Center at no cost. The more advanced workshop features additional information and sensors as well as multiple new lessons for the classroom.

Robotics and Mechatronics Teach Workshop: Through this workshop, high school teachers will learn about mechatronics and robotics and how they can be used to enhance their students’ learning. Professor Nima Lotfi will instruct teachers to use Raspberry Pi (a small computer that can be modified to teach students about computers and programs) and Python (programming language) and apply mathematics, technology, and engineering concepts. Teachers will also gain access to free teaching materials and mechatronics project tutorials online. Finally, teachers will explore ways and make plans to implement mechatronics and/or robotics activities into curriculum.

Getting Started with Lego Robotics: In this workshop, teachers will learn how to make use of the Lego Mindstorms (grades 5-12) and Lego WeDo (grades 1-4) engineering projects in their classrooms. These robotics lessons and frameworks make programming and engineering more accessible to students by building skills visually.

Design It! Engineering: Using commonly available materials, this series of informal curricula offers linked lessons on different engineering topics from trebuchets to siphons. With each topic, learners are given the opportunity to explore and design on their own projects, expand their understanding of engineering, and improve attitudes toward engineering and design. This workshop focuses on approaching engineering from a learner-driven perspective that is both engaging and effective.

MOSAIC: Discover the engaging world of STEM through the Minds On Science Activities In the Community (MOSAIC) curriculum!  Using a common structure, these lessons introduce K-12 learners to a variety of STEM topics through a hands-on, minds-on approach. Each lesson allows students to build content knowledge through interactive learning while increasing their self-efficacy to perform as scientists and engineers. In this workshop, you will explore ways to extend the basic MOSAIC framework and philosophy to your classroom and receive training on one or two MOSAIC lessons of your choice! You may find more information about MOSAIC on our curriculum page.

MASH Kits: The Math And Science Hands-On (MASH) kits are elementary and middle school units designed by teachers to offer an engaging, easily implemented set of curricula on a wide variety of science subjects. Each themed unit comes complete with teacher instructions, activity handouts, and all materials required to complete the unit. Learn more about how to approach science through hands-on learning with this ready-to-use curriculum. You can find downloadable MASH kit pdfs on our curriculum page.