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K-12 Educator Programs

Promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics education among K-12 students is vital to meeting the nation’s needs for workers in the STEM fields. The need for students to be inspired to pursue careers in the STEM fields continues to grow, and ORAU is committed to providing the support necessary to improve education, research and innovation.

Looking for the Extreme Classroom Makeover?

Applications are open for ARC Appalachian STEM Academy at Oak Ridge!

STEM teachers from Kindergarten through high school, and others interested in the STEM fields, can choose from a number of professional development opportunities provided by ORAU. These summer workshops for teachers are ideal for strengthening lesson plans, learning new tips for student engagement, as well as learning about new technologies for K-12 classrooms.

If you're a teacher looking for information about Extreme Classroom Makeover, please visit the Extreme Classroom Makeover page to learn more about this exciting opportunity to outfit your classroom with the latest tech!

In-person sessions will take place at ORAU in Oak Ridge, TN. Virtual sessions will take place via Zoom.

3D Design in Everyday Classrooms

Instruction Format: In Person

This training will focus on turning ordinary classroom learning into extraordinary learning experiences through design thinking and 3D modeling. During the training, participants will practice design thinking using a free, web-based computer aided design (CAD) program that is appropriate for students in 3rd-8th grades. The goal of the training is to provide teachers with extended learning and assessment opportunities they may add to existing lesson plans.

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ARC Appalachian STEM Academy at Oak Ridge

Instruction Format: In Person
ARC Appalachian STEM Academy at Oak Ridge is a two-week, residential, hands-on institute sponsored by ARC and ORNL. Teachers participate in research projects with and under the supervision of ORNL scientists.
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Asychronous Online Professional Development Courses

Instruction Format: Virtual

ORISE is glad to have two asynchronous courses available to educators! Developing Your Students’ Data Literacy Skills and Incorporating Inquiry into Your Classroom are online professional development opportunities with the purpose of supporting and equipping teachers to be able to provide authentic exploration to their students. 

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Biotechnology—For Tennessee Teachers

Instruction Format: In Person

Oak Ridge National Laboratory in collaboration with the TN Coalition for Health Science and bioSTEM Education will host a bioscience instructor workshop for high school educators. Participants will learn about the latest gene-editing CRISPR techniques as well as sequencing and about how to incorporate these revolutionary techniques into their classrooms.

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Citizen Science: How student collected data can impact the world

Instruction Format: Virtual

In this presentation I will share how I've used Citizen Science to increase engagement in my classroom and to give students a glimpse into how data really does matter in real life. I will share a host of free resources for you to find citizen science projects that tie in to your existing curriculum and standards. I will share the challenges and successes of the various projects I have implemented over the past 8 years as a K-8 teacher.

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Coding and STEM Kits

Instruction Format: In Person

Coding for Educators Learn about free resources to teach your students to code! We will explore Binary Code, Scratch Programming, Code.org, Khan Academy, BeeBots and Probots, Spheros, and other online resources and STEM kits from Civil Air Patrol.

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Competitions: Looking beyond the science fair to get recognition for your students’ ideas

Instruction Format: Virtual

In this session I will share some of my favorite FREE student competitions that you can implement during Genius Hour or as a part of your curriculum. From projects that are "one-pagers" to projects that introduce students to scientific writing, there are competitions that your students can enter if you have one hour, one week or one semester to dedicate to them. Come and see how the promise of fame and prizes can help motivate your students to produce some of the best work of the year!

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Creating Contours with an Augmented Reality Sandbox

Instruction Format: In Person

Spatial thinking is often to challenging students. Using an Augmented Reality Sandbox (ARS) can be a powerful tool for bridging the gap between two-dimensional (2D) representations and real landscapes, as well as enhancing the spatial thinking and modeling abilities of students. This session will give you an opportunity to engage an ARS and you will be given classroom ideas on how to develop spatial thinking using contour lines and topographic maps.

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Creating with Canva

Instruction Format: Virtual

Are you wanting to make your presentations, handouts, and classroom designs more engaging for your students? Participants will learn useful tips and skills in digital design with Canva to take your lesson to the next level and engage with your students. You’ll also learn ways students can collaborate together to seamlessly create designs and promote classroom engagement.

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Escape Boring Review: How to use breakout rooms to assess student understanding

Instruction Format: Virtual

When doing formative assessments, how do you assess whether a student just isn't trying or truly doesn't understand? Are there tools in my teaching arsenal that can engage my students to get their best effort and make it fun? It is so easy to turn your existing formative assessments into puzzles that will pique the interest of even your most reluctant learners. Whether you choose to engage your students in an Exit Ticket single puzzle to escape to the next class or you want to transform your classroom into a full blown Escape Room with multiple puzzles this is the session for you! I'll take you step-by-step through some of my favorite puzzles and show you how to quickly adapt worksheets and assessments you currently use to make escape rooms fun!

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Explore into Coding

Instruction Format: Virtual

Attend this session to learn about how teachers across the US are utilizing Learning Blade to supplement and enrich student understanding of STEM/CS in a real-world problem-solving context.  There are 400 mini 15-minute lessons in Learning Blade that explore 100 careers and technologies in STEM/CS.  All 400 online lessons support learning about middle school math, science, English, social studies standards. This session is a general introduction to getting started using Learning Blade. 

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Formative Assessment Toolkit

Instruction Format: Virtual

In this session we will explore two resources for providing assessment in the classroom in both a traditional or hybrid setting. The two free resources we are using will be Formative and Edulastic. We will also discuss some features you acquire with the paid versions. You will be most successful with access to two email accounts.

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Give Artificial Intelligence a Try

Instruction Format: Hybrid

In this professional development, we will explore fun, interactive ways to introduce and define AI technology with students. AI can contain bias and can be used for good or evil. By discussing these issues with students, we will be able to improve their digital literacy and develop the critical thinking skills necessary for navigating through the wealth of information available to them online. No experience or knowledge of AI is necessary for this training.  

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Intro to Coding

Instruction Format: Virtual

Explore the new INTRO TO CODING resource in Learning Blade. Designed to provide an easy way to introduce 7th and 8th-grade students to coding. The course contains 20 hours of online and offline student learning including robust teacher lesson plans.

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Is Geometry Dash a Game or Reality?

Instruction Format: Virtual

In this session we will compare and contrast the advantages of teaching college-prep Geometry using a construction approach instead of the traditional method. This approach can be taken in both the traditional or hybrid setting and will keep students from dashing through the content without gaining mastery.

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Leading the Scene to Keep Memphis Clean! A Guided Tour with Ozobots

Instruction Format: In Person

In this session, you will learn how to use cross-curricular strategies to combine Project-Based Learning, simple computer coding, and the Engineering Design Process for students to investigate environmental problems by creating a model of their city.

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Problem-Based or Project Based Learning?

Instruction Format: Virtual

This workshop will focus on learning the difference between projects and project based learning (PBL), the requirements for a quality PBL, available PBL resources, as well as assist teachers in the first stages of planning a PBL.

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Project Wet

Instruction Format: In Person

An inclusive, interdisciplinary, hands-on workshop that provides insight to advancing water education to understand global challenges and inspire local solutions. At the workshop, teachers will learn the lessons with hands-on activities based on water for a variety of subjects (conservation, properties, watersheds, usage, human effect, etc.) and grades (elementary, middle, and high school, physics, chemistry, math, environmental science, biology, etc.). 

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Quantum in the Classroom

Instruction Format: Hybrid

Quantum science is an emerging field that can be integrated across various grade levels and subject areas. Integrating quantum may seem daunting, but there are resources available to help you! Come learn about these resources and find ways to include field of study in your classroom.

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Real World Data for Use in Middle School Classrooms

Instruction Format: Hybrid

Learn to utilize real-world data in your middle school math and science lessons! Join us as we discuss our cross-curricular unit that covers math, science, and ELA standards while also building interest in history, STEM careers, and data analysis. You will leave with this unit plan in hand! Data have been taken from the Comprehensive Epidemiologic Data Resource (CEDR) which is free for educator use.

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Sharing Secrets for Outdoor Learning: Engaging Students in the Schoolyard

Instruction Format: In Person

Join the staff of Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont for a collaborative session where you’ll try out experiential practices across content areas, engage in thoughtful discussion, and build a connection to your schoolyard. During our time together we will engage in mindful moments and get away from our seats to explore outside. We will work to encourage observation, conversation, and reflection. At the end of our day together, you’ll be able to facilitate these experiences with your own class while also building connections with other educators working to get their kids outside.

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Starting a Middle School VEX IQ Robotics

Instruction Format: Virtual

Robotics is a topic that has increasingly become more popular in our schools. In this workshop, teachers will learn how to start and run a middle school robotics club. Participants will learn specific tips on selecting students, finding sponsors, signing up for competitions, building robots, and using VEXCode. Participants will receive free resources and documents to guide their journey to begin a robotics club.

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Up and Moving: How adding guided inquiry activities and stations can help your students take ownership of their learning?

Instruction Format: Virtual

Direct instruction can be tedious for teachers and for students. Implementing stations and movement into the classroom can help students get up, collaborating and ready to learn independently. Allowing for exploration prior to direct instruction can help increase student engagement and get them curious about what the next unit will entail. 

In this session I will show how I use a "Input" stations set up around my room to introduce a new unit topic.  Students explore and take ownership of their own understanding. I will also share how adding "output" stations mid unit is a great way to assess misconceptions and do a formative assessment without the stress of a quiz or test on your students. Finally, I will show how you can increase the depth of knowledge for students using guided inquiry activities. 

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Wishes Granted: Finding Grants for Your Classroom

Instruction Format: Virtual

Have you ever wondered how to write a grant? Is it a task that just seems daunting or impossible with your current workload? Whether private or public, there is money out there waiting for you! This presentation will share tips, tricks, and how to spend just one weekend a year on grant writing.

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Virtual Vex Robotics and Artificial Intelligence

Instruction Format: Virtual

In this session, we will explore teaching basic concepts of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning by programming a primitive robot. This is meant for both the traditional or hybrid setting. We will be using the Free Vex VR Coding website as a resource for this. We will also discuss the free lesson plans and activities provided on this website.

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