Summer Science Institute:
Week-long Professional Development for Teachers
The 2014 Summer Science Institute workshops are developed by the UF Center for Precollegiate Education and Training specifically for schools in partnership with the Lastinger Center for Learning. As such, most teachers attending represent participating schools in Palm Beach County. For teachers outside of these schools, registration and housing is $800 per week.
Emerging Pathogens: June 16-20, 2014 (Late afternoon check-in Sunday, June 15)
The theme for the first SSI program is Emerging Pathogens, an area of cutting-edge and active research with ‘real world’ implications for Florida residents. Teachers will perform hands-on research with scientists involved in the identification, understanding, and management of emerging pathogens; incorporate these ideas into classroom-ready modules; and present the results of their experiences to colleagues. Participants will have the opportunity to perform simulation activities and lab experiments, interact with University faculty regarding research projects and outcomes, conduct field work, develop lessons, conduct mapping activities, and discuss how the various components of the program can fit into each teacher’s curriculum. Topics such as cholera, coliforms and E. coli, dengue, and various human, plant, and zoonotic diseases will comprise the bulk of the content of the institute.
Environmental Systems – Emerging Problems and Creative Solutions: June 23-27, 2014 (Late afternoon check-in Sunday, June 22)
This hands-on, interactive week will highlight faculty research and discussions related to environmental science, including climate change, and will engage educators in novel hands-on activities to teach about this timely topic. Florida-specific projections and implications of climate change will be used to consider potential risks to coastal development, ecosystems, and agriculture as well as biological consequences. Participants will perform both field and laboratory-based research to answer questions such as: What are the biological effects of a changing climate? What is the effect of climate change on the severity and frequency of tropical events? How can we best mediate these effects and prevent future loss? What are the implications for our water resources? These and other interdisciplinary STEM practices can be further investigated through action research in the classroom with take-home materials provided during the institute.
SSI teachers are asked to develop a teaching tool that translates UF research into their classroom curriculum. The SSI teachers return to their communities, having learned the most recent advances in science which, combined with their outstanding teaching talents, will bridge the research community with the general public. Action plans developed by the SSI teachers can be viewed here.
Evolution: June 29-July 3, 2014 (Late afternoon check-in Sunday, June 29)
This summer’s program focused on evolutionary biology, a topic that always seems to present challenges in Florida classrooms. Teachers performed hands-on research with scientists involved with varied applications of evolutionary biology and worked collaboratively to develop in-depth curricular units for implementation during the 2014/2015 school year. Select activities during the week including molecular analysis of plants, molecular and morphological phylogenetic analysis, investigations of microevolution through the study of multiple organisms as well as looking at macroevolution in the fossil record. Through all these learning activities, the interrelatedness of evolution, climate change, and genetic variation was emphasized and provided a unified framework for the teachers’ personal learning as well as their classroom instruction.
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