STEM summit photo

The STEM Summit 2019 was held at Montana State University on Aug. 8, 2019.

Read about key conclusions, takeaways and ideas for the future in the STEM Summit 2019 report.

Educator Workshop: Citizen Science and the Lewis & Clark Trail, June 28, 20Two people flying a kite19 


This workshop brought history, citizen science, NASA technologies and Montana water quality research to classrooms and out-of-school programs as we taught educators to meld the mystique of the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail with modern tools for data collection.

When Meriwether Lewis and William Clark journeyed 8,229 miles across America in the early 1800s, they used laborious and time-consuming processes to record their observations and map the region. Fast-forward 200+ years, and we now carry sophisticated tools for data collection right in our pockets! 

This workshop was for current Montana educators working with youth in grades 5-12 in a classroom or out-of-school enenvironment. You can learn more about the NASA AEROKATS and ROVER Education Network and Montana NSF EPSCoR, sponsors of the workshop.

See all resources from this workshop, including how to integrate STEM with the Arts and the impact of the Lewis & Clark expedition on Indigenous People

 Workshop on Engineering Design for K-5 Classrooms, August 15-16, 2018

Science Math Resource Center organized a Workshop on Engineering Design for K-5 Classrooms.

This was a wonderful hands-on learning opportunity for participants on the basics of engineering design and how to incorporate engineering activities into the elementary classroom.

Participation includes 12 OPI renewal units, travel expense reimbursement, MSU dorm room equivalent housing costs, and per diem.                                                                                      EngWSP1


Science of School Gardens Workshop, July 18-19, 2018

Science Math Resource Center organized a Summer Workshop for K– 8 educators about the Science of School Gardens in collaboration with Gallatin Valley Farm to School and Farm to School of Park County.

This was a wonderful hands-on learning opportunity for teachers on the basics of planning, planting and maintaining school gardens, greenhouses and aquaponics systems. 

The 1st day of the workshop was held in Bozeman and the 2nd day in Livingston. Both days were with demonstration lessons and activities. SSSGWS1



Science of School Gardens Workshop, August 2-3, 2017

Science Math Resource Center at Montana State University organized a Summer Workshop for K– 8 educators about the Science of School Gardens.

This was a wonderful hands-on learning opportunity for participants on the basics of plant growth and gardening. The Participants have learned how to establish a school garden and incorporate math and scientific concepts in design, build, harvest and sustainability.

The two-day workshop enrolled 20 in-service teachers, and runs the morning of Wednesday August 2nd through afternoon on Thursday August 3rd.  Participation includes 12 OPI renewal units, travel expense reimbursement, dorm room or equivalent housing costs, and per diem.

Science of School Garden

August 1-3, 2016 "Teaching Engineering" Workshop 

The MSU Science Math Resource Center hosted a summer “teaching engineering” workshop in Bozeman for teachers of grades K-8. The workshop was led by an engineering professor and teachers who participated in developing the curriculum and in revising it based on their experiences implementing it in their classrooms.  The workshop immersed participants in NGSS- and CCSS-aligned engineering activities for grades K-8, taught the engineering behind the activities, and made curriculum connections to science, mathematics, art, and English Language Arts.  Most of the engineering activities used commonly-available classroom materials, making this an affordable entrée into engineering.  The workshop leaders shared examples of children’s work on these activities from their classrooms.


The curriculum focused on physical science and engineering, and the materials can be integrated with nearly any subject in the elementary grades. Middle school teachers interested in exploring ways of integrating engineering across subject areas will also find the curriculum relevant. Break-out sessions on the third day allowed participants to focus on early elementary or late elementary/middle school implementations. The workshop used engineering activities grounded in science concepts of force &  motion and energy that integrate mathematics, English Language Arts, and art (for example, Wind-ups; Pop-ups; and Invent-a-Wheel

Science Math Resource Center Receives Award from MSTA

October 17, 2013

On October 17th,  the Science Math Resource Center was happy to be honored by the Montana Science Teachers' Association at the MEA conference held in Belgrade, Montana.  The Science Math Resource Center received an award from MSTA for "Superior Achievement in Science Education for 2013" for qualities of innovation and creative teaching, content expertise, enthusiasm and leadership, which contribute to excellence in promoting science education in Montana.

Science Math Resource Center: Making Science Fun!

September 21, 2013

Annie Mollock, Jesse Hunter, Kiley Eversole, and Irene Grimberg represented the Science Math Resource Center and the Montana Science Olympiad at the Montana Science and Engineering Festival held on September 21 at Bobcat Stadium. In an effort to publicize the Montana Science Olympiad to the community and engage the public in science and engineering we had hands-on activities and flyers that explain what the Center does for STEM education in Montana, and volunteer opportunities offered by the Montana Science Olympiad. 235 people visited our booth to play with magnets, decipher optical illusions, and explore the intricacies of mass and inertia. The activities were very well received, and adults and kids both had fun. Teachers of the area requested resources for their classrooms, and many MSU students pledged to volunteer for the Montana Science Olympiad, on November 26 at our very own MSU campus! 

In addition to the Montana Science Olympiad booth the Science Math Resource Center along with faculty of Plant Science and Plant pathology, Land Resources and Environmental Science, College of Agriculture, and MSU-Extension had a booth to disseminate their research on integrated pest-management in crops. Together, we have a number of USDA grants to investigate multitrophic pest interactions and cropping system management.  The Science Math Resource Center is in charge of the educational component. At this booth sheep and microscopes greeted visitors and even children played virus and cells in a virus-tag game!!

Family Fun, Food, and Learning Night: Better than Christmas!!

April 22, 2013

Photo of Family Fun and Learning nightThere is vast research supporting the idea that reading and parental engagement in school activities are critical factors to facilitate students' learning in ALL content areas. Moreover, reading or being read to during the summer months is very important to enhance or retain students' literacy level. Any reading material, and reading in any way -picture or text based books, and doing hands-on activities- is beneficial.  The important thing is that students pick their books!

The Science Math Resource Center in partnership with Hopa Mountain organized a powerful and transformative educator training to engage school students and their family in a Family Fun and Learning Night program.  Dr. Bonnie Sachatello-Sawyer, Hopa Mountain director, led the training focusing on: how to implement this family learning program in a school, storytelling and reading aloud-techniques, exploratory science-activities, and give-away books to children. Bonnie modeled a rock sorting activity inspired by the book "If You Find a Rock" by Peggy Christian and Barbara Hirsh Lember. Then teachers examined different ways to use this activity in their classroom, not only to address science content but also to reinforce reading comprehension and explore mathematical concepts. 

A picture astronomy book "There's No Place Like Space" by Tish Rabe and Aristides Ruiz was introduced along with night observations and recording of moon phases.  Ideas to extend this hands on-reading aloud activities to parent conference settings or school family nights, such as Astronomy Night and Science Night, were also discussed. The teachers received lesson plan packages for the rock and astronomy programs with descriptions of activities for students, parents and students, tips for parents for reading aloud and literacy activities at home, a book list.  The training concluded with teachers picking books for their classrooms and their students including: rock books; books about the moon, night sky, and Sun; books about Spring, about dogs, and many more!!

If you want to receive the activity packages and /or the books please visit the Hopa Mountain website, or e-mail Bonnie: [email protected] If you need assistant and ideas to implement these activities in your classroom, or during parent conferences or family nights please contact the Big Sky Science Partnership teachers: Tanya Anderson (Hardin Intermediate), Devon Flamm (Hardin Intermediate), Reba Strom (Hardin Elementary), Dorcella Plain Bull (Pretty Eagle), and Michelle Jefferson (Pretty Eagle).

2013 Montana STEM Educator Needs Assessment Survey Report

December 18, 2013

During the Fall of 2013, we conducted a needs assessment survey of K-­-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educators in Montana. The primary purpose of the survey was to identify the educational needs of K-­-12 formal and informal STEM educators and collect information about schools or organizations that could be relevant to the implementation of teacher enhancement programs. The survey was completed by 213 STEM educators from 42 out of 56 counties in Montana. 

E-Mentoring for Students Success (eMSS)

eMSS is an online mentoring program for science and mathematics teachers. eMSS started as a partnership comprised of NSTA, the Science Math Resource Center and the Burns Telecommunications Center at Montana State University, the NSF Center for Learning and Teaching in the West, the New Teacher Center at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a number of school districts in Montana and California. The primary goal of eMSS is to develop a national online, content-rich, mentoring system to improve the skills of, and provide support for novice middle and high school science teachers.  eMSS  develops an online network of mentor teachers, science and math educators, and scientists and mathematicians who support beginning teachers in their efforts to provide high quality instruction to their students. Joining California and Montana, eMSS gradually incorporated other states reaching up to 16 states in the nation. eMSS was funded by National Science Foundation and currently is self-supported by user districts and administrated by the New Teacher Center.


Integrating Environmental Education Throughout the Curriculum (IEETC) - Concluded

Dream Catcher SculptureIEETC is a professional development program focused on increasing G2-8 teachers' abilities to integrate local environmental and indigenous topics into science content teaching. The program is delivered in two tribal communities, Salish Kootenai and Crow, and is centered on STEM topics. IEETC combines tribal members' presentations and panel discussions of local environmental issues, on-site workshops about inquiry-based activities, and online discussions allowing teachers to share teaching approaches and lesson ideas. The training is provided in collaboration with faculty of Montana State University, Little Big Horn College, and Salish Kootenai College. Teachers that participate in IEETC learn about the environmental issues facing their students' communities from scientific and tribal-historical perspectives. IEETC impacts about 20 teachers and 400 students. IEETC is funded by the Montana Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education, Educational Talent Search program.


Big Sky Science Partnership (BSSP) - Concluded

Sculpture of a statueBSSP focuses on the design and implementation of science teachers' professional development in American Indian reservations in Montana. BSSP is comprised of partners from five tribal communities, three institutions of higher education, and forty-five K-8 schools on and around the Flathead, Northern Cheyenne and Crow Reservations. The goals of this multi-year project are: 1) to increase teachers' science content knowledge, 2) to improve science instructional practices and culturally congruent teaching, 3) to improve students' science achievement, and 4) to form a cadre of teacher leaders that will assist other teachers in their own community. BSSP professional development is implemented in three content areas: Earth Science; Astronomy and Weather and Climate; and Physics. All instruction in these areas are framed by culturally responsive teaching approaches. The professional development is delivered face-to-face and online, such that teachers attend monthly face-to-face workshops and participate in online semester-long courses that deepen the face-to-face topics and facilitate the formation of a teacher's learning community; attend a two-week summer institute focused on the integration of science, pedagogy, and culture; and participate in a summer cultural camp experiencing tribal American Indian culture. Being in its last year, BSSP impacted about 100 teachers plus 15 American Indian pre-service teachers, and 2000 students in grades K-8. Approximately 60% of these students are American Indians living on Montana's American Indian reservations. BSSP is funded by the Mathematics and Science Partnership program of the National Science Foundation. More information

Science Inquiry Learning in the Classroom (SILC) - Concluded

Photo from a SILC classroomSILC was a professional development program for K-6 teachers of urban and rural school districts in Montana, aiming to increase teachers' science content knowledge, to promote inquiry-based teaching, and to facilitate classroom implementation of the resources identified by Montana Office of Public Instruction Indian Education For All (IEFA) program. In partnership with the Montana Learning Center, Montana State University, Montana Regional Education Services Area IV, and Helena and Bozeman school districts, SILC delivered a blended model professional development including: face-to-face monthly inquiry academies, teachers' webinars, online coursework, scientists classroom virtual visits, and instructional coaching. The inquiry academies, webinars, and online coursework addressed the Montana Standards for Life Science and Physical Science, and inquiry-based pedagogical practices. Instructional coaching involved working on an individual basis with each teacher at least once a month encouraging the use of age-appropriate content and inquiry. Classroom virtual visits facilitated scientist and student dialogs centered on the concept of energy. SILC impacted 60 teachers and approximately 1300 K-6 students. SILC was funded by the Mathematics and Science Partnership program of the Montana Office of Public Instruction.

Center for Learning and Teaching in the West (CLTW) - Concluded

Photo of the CLTW The CLTW is a consortium of five universities: Portland State University, Montana State University, the University of Montana, Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado, in partnership with Ft. Belknap College (MT), other community and tribal colleges, the Portland Public Schools, and 68 rural and reservation schools in Montana and Colorado. This partnership arose from shared interests on improving teacher preparation; delivering high quality professional development; providing advanced degree programs in education; developing science and mathematics education research; exploring innovative delivery systems; and documenting experiences in systemic collaboration. Sixty-two graduate students (51 doctoral and 11 master students) completed their studies in the frame of CLTW. Research work supported by CLTW includes studies on: K-12 student achievement differences; cultural issues affecting student performance and participation; professional development to promote teacher knowledge, and community and capacity building; distance education; and access to and success in higher education. CLTW was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Systemic Teacher Education Preparation (STEP) - Concluded

STEP is a project for the improvement of STEM education of pre-service teachers in the state of Montana. Based at MSU, the STEP project has formed a collaborative partnership between the university system campuses, Montana's seven tribal colleges, and numerous K-12 field sites throughout the state. STEP redesigned mathematics, science, and methods courses for pre-service teachers, using model field sites as "living laboratories" for research on effective pre-service training. As a result of these initiatives, the number of minority students preparing to teach in STEM fields significantly increased, and a distance-based mentoring system for new teachers in a rural state was piloted. STEP was funded by the National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education program.