Lunar and Planetary Institute

Menu of Opportunities for Scientist Involvement in Teacher Preparation

Provide Professional Development

Professional Development in Science Teaching Methods | In Science Content | In Educational Resources

Best Practices for Success in Providing Professional Development

  1. Read the "Before You Begin" information.
  2. Review content standards in your area/state through partnership with an educator.
  3. Design your professional development in partnership with science education faculty members..
  4. Keep participant costs down; if possible, underwrite costs completely—even better, provide a stipend to cover participants’ travel costs.
  5. Conduct a needs assessment before providing the professional development.
  6. If possible, conduct the professional development at conferences which your participants will already attend.
  7. When designing professional development, keep the diversity of students who will be served by future teachers in mind—consider cultural awareness, underserved institutions, disabilities and accessibility.
  8. Include best tools and resources that exist for this topic, modeling and inviting participants to use them during the professional development.
  9. Incorporate easy-to-find materials so that participants and their students will be able to locate them in the future.
  10. Make all experiences a blend of content and pedagogy.
  11. Imbed scientific inquiry within the professional development itself.
  12. Include an awareness of misconceptions that students will have for your topic.
  13. Consider modeling various adaptations for different needs of potential students—how can this activity or content be applied in a poor inner-city classroom?  In a school for the blind? 
  14. Plan an appropriate evaluation of the professional development, which will not only let you now what the participants thought but will provide valuable feedback on ways you or others could improve it for the future.
  15. Document the lessons for future users, and consider making a video recording of your activities in action.
  16. Professional development needs to evolve as your audience’s needs and the science education standards change—keep everything current
  17. Design for follow-up (email, workshops, calls/ site visits, etc) after the professional development ends.


Professional Development in Science Teaching Methods


These workshops would demonstrate how to teach undergraduate science courses using current educational practices based on education research and current science standards, to provide faculty with a deeper understanding of sound pedagogy, to build a community of faculty committed to advancing effective pedagogy in Earth and space sciences, and to foster a collegiate culture favorable to learning and teaching throughout the STEM education disciplines

Models of Programs to Provide Professional Development in Science Teaching Methods

Professional Development in Specific Science Content


Teachers, future teachers, education faculty, and even other scientists (including those teaching future teachers) often do not have the opportunity or ability to read the latest research on the subjects for which their students will have questions.  By sharing your content knowledge in the context of a professional development workshop, you are providing them with insight into the current state of science, some interaction and materials they can use in the classroom,  and  a contact—a name and a face of a scientist that they can question.

Paths of Involvement

    • Present a science-content workshop during a pre-service class at a university
    • Conduct science content-rich workshops at science education conferences and at pre-service institutes
    • Conduct science content-rich workshops during education sessions at science conferences.
    • Provide On-line courses for educators and future teachers.
    • Conduct science content-rich Institutes: several days of workshops with a common theme.

Models of Programs to Provide Professional Development in Science Content

Professional Development on Pre-Service Educational Resources


In order to know about them and understand their usefulness, even the best pre-service resources need to be used by the teachers and the teacher educators in a hands-on environment.  There are many different ways this professional development could be done:

Paths of Involvement

    • You could simply provide information on how to use the resources, in thorough written instructions or by videotaping the resources being used in a real classroom.
    • For more detailed professional development, you could model how to use the resources at workshops during conferences or as web seminars.

Models of Programs to Provide Professional Development on Pre-Service Educational Resources

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