Educator Professional Development
Educator Professional Development provides support to K-12 STEM educators to fulfill the goal of offering high quality STEM education to Montana students.
Online Workshop Series · Research in Action!
The MSU Research in Action Workshop Series aims to connect K-12 educators with Montana
State University researchers. Attendees learn about current MSU research projects
and hear personal STEM stories from the researchers. Educators will be equipped to
bring back to their students authentic stories from real people about relevant STEM
Attendance is free for the online workshop, but registration is required and attendance is capped at 30 participants. A WebEx link to the online workshop will be sent after registration. OPI Renewal Units are available for all attendees.
For more information, email Dr. Jeannie Chipps with SMRC: [email protected] or call the Science Math Resource Center at (406) 994-7476.
October 4th, 2023 · 4pm · Sarah Morris
Research in Action kicks off this fall with Dr. Sarah Morris, Assistant Professor in Mechanical & Industrial Engineering at Montana State University.She specializes in experimental fluid dynamics and runs the Experimental Fluids Research Laboratory. Her research interests include aerodynamics, biological flows, fluid-structure interactions, and flow visualization. She received her Ph.D. from Cornell University and her B.Eng. and B.A. from Monash University, Australia.
Dr. Morris will share information about her MSU research as well as stories about her STEM Journey. Join us!
Sensing for Science · Self-paced Training Program
Are you interested in Arduino coding and sensors? We have a free training program
for Montana teachers! Learn how you can get a FREE kit for yourself and a FREE kit for your classroom! Visit
Sensing for Science.
This program is supported by Montana NSF EPSCoR.
Datasets for Teachers · Self-paced Modules
Datasets for Teachers: Supercharge Your Classroom with Montana Field Science Data is a free, self-paced course for educators that consists of five modules. Through these modules, educators will learn to incorporate datasets from authentic Montana research projects into their own classroom. Visit Datasets for Teachers for more information. This course was sponsored by Montana NSF EPSCoR and was originally taught by Montana Partnership with Regions for Excellence in STEM (MPRES) educators Chris Pavlovich and Bill Stockton through the Montana Office of Public Instruction's (OPI) Teacher Learning Hub.
Leap Into Science (STEM and Literacy for youth aged 3-10 and their caregivers)
Leap into Science is a nationwide program developed by The Franklin Institute. It is funded by the National Science Foundation, and supported by The National Girls Collaborative Project. In Montana, the program is led by the Science Math Resource Center, spectrUM Discovery Area, Montana Afterschool Alliance and Missoula Public Library.
This high-quality program integrates open-ended science activities with children’s books, designed for children ages 3-10 and their families.
Educators who join the Leap Into Science cohort receive:
- Training on a high-quality science and literacy curriculum and facilitation strategies
- Ongoing support as a member of the Leap Into Science national network
- Access to the national Leap Into Science leadership team and online resources, plus quarterly support calls with other Montana educators
- Web-based training on new curriculu themes in subsequent years
Our Fall 2021 trainings have now ended, but please contact us to inquire about a customized training for your organization.
For information, contact Suzi Taylor at [email protected]
Past educator professional development
May 4, 2023 (RESCHEDULED from April 20) : PhD Candidate Ghazal Vihidi
On Thursday, May 4, 2023, Research in Action welcomes Ghazal Vihidi, of the Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering. Ghazal is a PhD candidate in Dr. Chelsea Heveran's Biomechanics & Bio-Inspired Materials Lab in the College of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. Ghazal's research interests include bone quality, bone fractures resistance and aging, and osteocyte perilacunar remodeling.
The one-hour free online workshop strives to connect Montana K-12 educators with MSU researchers to bring stories of authentic people and relevant projects back to the classroom.
Attendance is free, but pre-registration is required. Enrollment is capped at 30 participants. OPI renewal units are available for all attendees. Register Today!
Thursday, May 4, 2023 - 4pm - REGISTER HERE
March 22, 2023: Mathematician Bree Cummins
Our first workshop for Spring 2023 will be held virtually on Wednesday, March 22, 2023 - 4pm with Dr. Bree Cummins, Mathematics
Dr. Bree Cummins is an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Montana State University, where she conducts research in several areas of mathematical biology. She grew up in Boise, ID and attended Boise State University where she double majored in Biology and Mathematics.
In 2009, she received her PhD in Mathematics from Montana State University, where her thesis focused on modeling the interaction between air flow and the cricket sensory system that enables fast escape response. She then worked as a postdoc at Tulane University in New Orleans on a project modeling mosquito motion in response to wind-blown plumes of carbon dioxide.
Returning to Montana to be near her husband’s family, she became a postdoc at Montana State University, and later an Assistant Research Professor. Her current research interests include modeling the genetic control of cellular processes, modeling social processes related to disease spread, and most recently, using artificial intelligence to understand complex biological systems.
December 2022: Esther Stopps
The MSU Research in Action workshop series aims to connect K-12 educators with Montana State University researchers. You will learn about their research projects as well as their personal STEM stories so that you can bring authentic people and projects into your classroom.
The December speaker is Esther Stopps, a doctoral candidate in Chemical Engineering. She is originally from Idaho Falls, Idaho, and graduated from Montana State with B.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biological Engineering. Under the mentorship of Dr. Stephanie McCalla,Esther is researching how to make more definitive and accurate diagnostic tests for disease-related DNA and RNA molecules.She measuresthe reaction speed for different engineered DNA binding reactions. That information is used to design amplification reactions with a larger, conclusive burst of signal in the presence of a disease target. Esther is specifically detecting small RNA molecules associated with Alzheimer's disease, but her research is broadly applicable to many types ofdisease diagnostics, such as cancer screenings and viral infection monitoring.
November 2022: Cailin Casey
The Fall 2022 Research in Action workshop series aims to connect K-12 educators with Montana State University researchers. You will learn about their research projects as well as their personal STEM stories so that you can bring authentic people and projects into your classroom.
The November speaker was Cailin Casey, a doctoral student in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, who uses high-tech methods to see how flying insects could inform advances in engineering. Casey isa third-year PhD student who leverages her cross disciplinary studies to understand the role of the thorax cuticle in insect flight by examining its microscale properties and performing macroscale mechanical testing. She graduated with a B.A in biology and Spanish and a minor in mathematics from Gettysburg College.
September 2022: Dr. Emily Dieter
The Sept. 22 workshop featured MSU Biochemist Dr. Emily Dieter and is recommended for high school teachers.
Dr. Emily Dieter obtained herBachelor’sof Science in Biochemistry at Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, VT. She then completed her graduate work in Biological Chemistry at the University of Washington, under the guidance of Dr. Dustin Maly. Following the completion of her PhD, Emily then moved to Sydney, Australia where she worked at the Children’s Medical Research Institute investigating alternative drug targets for a pediatric sarcoma. She currently works as a Postdoctoral Researcher under Dr. Joan Broderick at Montana State University, working to understand how methanogens use pyrite as a nutrient source.
If you are unable to attend this workshop but wish to be notified of future opportunities, subscribe to the monthly newsletter of the SMRC at https://bit.ly/smrc-news.
You can also contact Dr. Jeannie Chipps with SMRC at [email protected]
Nov. 29, 2022: Meetup for Science Olympiad coaches (past, present and just curious!)
On Tuesday, Nov. 29 we hosted a virtual meeting about the upcoming Science Olympiad season. This session was open to both new and returning coaches, as well as anyone who is just interested in finding out more about Science Olympiad. The recording is on our Science Olympiad Coaches and Teams page.
Proficiency-based Education using NSF research - July 2022
Read about our summer workshop that used research funded by the National Science Foundation to demonstrate Proficiency-based Education.
Brain Awareness Professional Development, March 26, 2022
Come join us online for a monthly series highlighting the work of MSU professors and learn how to bring this work to your classroom. We will also discuss how these researchers came to be in STEM, and we will use this to discuss how you can support your students' STEM identity and sense-of-belonging in STEM.
Our first presenter this month will be Dr. Susy Kohout, who will tell us about her research as it applies to biology and neuroscience. We will also discuss how the cross-cutting concepts in the new science standards manifest in her work.
We will also hear from Dr. Robert Carson about his research. ProfessorCarson studies the History, Philosophy, Sociology, and Psychology of Education, and of the various academic disciplines taught in schools. If the brain is the physiological substrate of human thought, then the mind is the personification of its many functions. Together, educators work amidst the capabilities and the limitations of both. Dr. Carson asks, “How did humans acquire the ability to create symbols, invest them with meaning, and cultivate the human mind through the development of language, mathematics, science, technology, literature, art, and our various intellectual disciplines and cultural systems? What can we learn from these kinds of ‘foundational’ questions that might enhance our ability to teach? Let’s find out!”
And we will talk about other aspects of neuroscience and the brain, like neuromyths and neurodiversity in honor of Brain Awareness week.
The workshop will be Saturday March 26th from 8:30-11:00am. It is free to attend, but pre-registration is required. Attendance is capped at30 people.
This event has passed, but be on the lookout for some great videos from the event! If you would like more information contact [email protected]
Diving Into Data: Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022
Join the MSU Science Math Resource Center for a free online workshop thatintroduces participants to various data sources that can be utilized in the classroom.
Teachers will walk away with lessons to implement, resources for finding more lessons, and ideas for incorporating authentic data from current Montana research projects. The workshop will include breakout sessions and resources for teachers of grades K-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Participants entered into a giveaway of supplies for gathering data with students.
The workshop is online from 8:30 a.m. to noon. It is free to attend, but pre-registration is required. Attendance is capped at30 people. Teachers can earn OPI renewal units for participating.
The workshop is supported by the Montana NSF EPSCoR program under its Sensing for Science outreach umbrella.
This workshop has already passed but if you would like information or resources, contact [email protected]
STEM Summit 2019
The STEM Summit 2019 was held at Montana State University on Aug. 8, 2019.
Educator Workshop: Citizen Science and the Lewis & Clark Trail, June 28, 2019
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.
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.
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.
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 http://www.citytechnology.org/sara-and-lolas-wind; Pop-ups http://www.citytechnology.org/unit/pop-ups; and Invent-a-Wheel http://www.citytechnology.org/invent-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
There 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
Big Sky Science Partnership (BSSP) - Concluded
BSSP 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
Center for Learning and Teaching in the West (CLTW) - Concluded
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.