Penn State Center for Science and the Schools

Teacher Professional Development from Penn State University

Posted on March 12, 2018

Catastrophic Cyclones: Using GIS to Investigate the Impacts of Hurricanes
April 12, 2018 (9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)
Learn Lab, 202 Chambers Building – Penn State University

Presented by Carolynne Hultquist (Department of Geography) & Matt Johnson (Center for Science and the Schools)

The access to information has exploded over the past twenty years. This flood of data available to explore the world has created great opportunities for education. This workshop will help teachers learn how to use maps to communicate information about the environment and populations. Using hurricanes as examples, we will explore how geographical tools can be used to make dynamic digital maps. We will use satellite imagery, models, and census data on populations to analyze how the environment and people intersect during hazards. We will also engage in activities to help teachers conduct their own classroom investigations by bringing modern mapping using GIS into the classroom. All teachers are welcome, as this can be applied to many content areas. Social studies teachers are encouraged to attend, too. Attendees will receive free access to ArcGIS software for use in their classrooms.

Sponsored by Penn State Center for Science and the Schools

Its a Matter of Truss: Designing Structures
May 24, 2018 (8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.)
207 Sackett Building – Penn State University

Presented by: Gordon Warn and Max Orobia (Civil Engineering, College of Engineering) & Matt Johnson and Taylor Wood (Center for Science and the Schools, College of Education)

Engineering design requires knowledge of science and math to make informed decisions in order to obtain acceptable design solutions. This workshop uses a design challenge to motivate decision-making and to introduce teachers to an alternative way to teach science and math content in the context of engineering design. Teachers will learn about how trusses balance forces, and how to analyze and compare alternative designs. We will show how mathematical modeling is an essential tool for engineering design and teachers will use a free modeling software in the workshop. All teachers are welcome, but content is most applicable to engineering, technology, physics, and trigonometry teachers or those teaching about Newton’s Laws and/or balanced forces.

Sponsored by: The Center for Science and the Schools and National Science Foundation (CMMI: 1351591)

Messages from the Skies: A Physics Investigation
May 10, 2018 (9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)
301D Huck Life Sciences Building – Penn State University

Presented by: Kohta Murase (Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics) & Matt Johnson (Center for Science and the Schools)

The answers to some of the most fundamental questions of our universe can be found by studying the behavior of systems in other galaxies. New technologies have emerged to collect more and more data from cosmic explosions that teach us about the life cycle of stars, the formation of galaxies, and how elements are formed and recycled. However, astronomers cannot perform controlled experiments. This workshop uses a few classic astronomy phenomena to demonstrate how astronomers use the laws of physics, chemistry and math to better understand our universe. Teachers will also learn about Dr. Murase’s innovative research. All teachers are welcome, but content is most applicable to physics, physical science, astronomy, chemistry, and math teachers, particularly those who teach about elements, radiation, and gravity.

Sponsored by: Penn State Center for Science and the Schools and National Science Foundation (PHY: 1620777)

For all workshops:

  • Target Audience: Teachers of students grades 6-12.
  • This workshop and six ACT 48 hours are provided FREE to all educators
  • All i-STEAM workshops are aligned to the PA Science and Technology standards, Engineering Education Standards, and Next Generation Science Standards.
  • A continental breakfast and lunch are provided by the Center for Science and the Schools (CSATS).
  • Maximum enrollment is 24. Register online now to reserve a spot today at

For more information email Matt Johnson at or call 814-863-6607.


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