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Summer Workshop Plans

Summer Workshop Plans


GEMS-NET Summer Science Institutes

submitter: GEMS-NET (Guiding Education in Math & Science Network)
published: 06/08/2000
posted to site: 06/08/2000

GEMS-NET (Guiding Education in Math & Science Network)

How long do your workshops last?

Our summer institutes each last 4 days, 4+ hours a day. We offer 1 graduate credit at the University for each session. Teachers only pay a $75 administrative fee for the credit. If they do not need credit, they can receive a GEMS-NET stipend.

How many teachers do you involve in your workshops?

We keep the numbers fairly small....15-25 per session.

What are your major goals for your workshops in terms of content and pedagogy?

We do basic kit training and content development during the release days within the school year so we can reach all teachers. The summer is for extensions, building deeper content from related kits across grades, connections and integrations with children's literature and writing, social studies and, next year, math. We also provide research experiences for teachers to work along side scientists.

We received a grant to provide technology training while building up our website and exploring science extensions on the web. About 20 teachers will be selected for this 60-hour training sequence.

Are you offering professional development on specific curricula that you are hoping will be used in the classroom? If so, which curricula are you using?

Much of our offerings related to our specific kit materials to give teachers more time to think about kit contents and discuss science with teachers who have had similar experiences.

GEMS-NET Summer Science Institutes

  • Week 1- July 10, 11, 12, 13

    MORNING SESSIONS!! 8:30-12:00

    • Great Science & Literature Connections - Grades K, 1, 2 & 3
      Facilitator: Sandra Lamb, URI Literacy Instructor and retired award-winning Westerly teacher

      Would you like to explore some great books to use along with your science kits on Weather, Balls & Ramps, Plants, Balance & Motion, Soils, Insects, Solids & Liquids, Simple Machines, Sound, and Water? Build literacy skills while you teach science. We will have a lively time reading, writing, and doing science dramatics related to these kits.

    • Great Science & Literature Connections - Grades 4, 5 & 6
      Facilitator: Diane Kern, URI Literacy Instructor and outstanding South Kingstown teacher

    • Would you like to explore some great books to use in tandem with your science kits on Electric Circuits, Land & Water, Motion & Design, Floating & Sinking, Microworlds, Levers & Pulleys, Magnets & Motors, Measuring Time, and Ecosystems? We will spend time book-tasting great texts, learning classroom-tested methods to enhance your students' reading and writing in the content areas, and creating lesson to use next year.

    • Electricity, Motors & Magnets Explorations (Grades 4-6)

    • Facilitator: Paul Mello, Award-winning physics teacher and wonderful workshop presenter

      Learn more about electricity, motors and magnets in this active hands-on workshop. This workshop connects best with Electric Circuits and Magnets & Motors, but other interested teachers are welcome. This award-winning presenter always gets rave reviews from elementary teachers who enjoyed learning more about these topics.

    AFTERNOON SESSION!! 12:30-4:00 PM

    • Astronomy Supplement Development (Grades 4-6)
      Facilitator: Fran Sammons, Science writer NOVA Science programs and former outstanding Jamestown teacher

      Have you been missing the topic of astronomy in the GEMS-NET curriculum? So have we. Here's a chance to work with materials from NASA and NOVA as well as other internet sources to develop a GEMS-NET supplemental unit on Astronomy and the Solar System to be used in grades 4-6.

  • Week 2- July 17, 18, 19, 20

    MORNING SESSIONS!! 8:30 - 12:00

    • Force & Motion Explorations (Grades K-5)

    • Facilitator: Paul Mello, Award-winning physics teacher and wonderful workshop presenter

      Deepen your knowledge of physics topics related to the science kits while having fun exploring force and motion. This award-winning teacher has rave reviews from elementary teachers who enjoyed learning more about physics through an active workshop.

    • Writing Prompts & Quick Writes in Science (Grades 1-6)

    • Facilitator: Rebecca Shilke, URI Literacy Instructor and literacy consultant specializing in the reluctant young writer

      Look at the Writing Prompts and Science Quick Writes that were developed by the KITES Writing team and design similar writing connections for GEMS-NET science kits. This workshop will help you work toward writing goals while teaching science. Integration relieves stress!

  • Week 3- July 24, 25, 26, 27

    MORNING SESSIONS!! 8:30-12:00

    • Inquiry Institute for Kindergarten to Grade 6

    • Facilitators: Deb Zepp & Sharon Dodge, GEMS-NET Teachers-in-Residence and wonderful classroom teachers

      Experience the world of inquiry in science through this highly interactive workshop. Teachers will experiment with different levels of inquiry and work on transforming kit lessons to include more open-ended inquiry.

    • Newton's Gig (Grade 2)

    • Facilitators: Susan Anderson, engineer and GEMS-NET science mentor for Simple Machines and Motion & Design and Simple Machines Trainers (TBA)

      Learn Newton's laws of motion with the Society of Women in Engineering (SWE) by doing hands-on experiments. These experiments will help you work with students in understanding the basic laws as well as preparing to enter the SWE can crusher competition. Also we will be working on a teachers' guide to accompany the Simple Machines materials in Grade two. Join us!

    AFTERNOON SESSIONS!! 12:30 - 4:00 PM

    • Environmental Science Inquiries with Pasco Probes (Grades 7 & 8)

    • Facilitator: Dr. Josef Görres, Researcher, Natural Resources Science, URI, GEMS-NET Co-PI & Kit Mentor

      The collection of data is an essential part of scientific inquiry. Modular sensor technology provides portable and flexible measurement tools that encourage open-ended inquiry and/or support for hands-on lab instruction. In this course chemical and physical sensors will be used to investigate environmental processes including, for example, nitrogen cycling, water flow and quality, and the effect of temperature on ecological processes. The data collected using the probes will be analyzed using simple spreadsheet algorithms.

    • Science & Social Studies Connections (Grades K-6)

    • Facilitator: Dr. Sandy Hicks, Elementary Social Studies Professor, URI School of Education

      Work on ways to connect social studies with the science kits. Teachers will develop ideas for standards-based social studies & science connections.

  • Week 4- July 25, 26, 27, 28

    AFTERNOON SESSIONS!! 12:30 - 4:00 PM

    • Investigating Aquatic Microworlds/Ecosystems--Grades 5-6 (1 general science credit in Oceanography)

    • Facilitator: Dr. Barbara Sullivan-Watts, URI Oceanographer & GEMS-NET Co-PI & Kit Mentor

      We will ask questions and design experiments that tell us about the secrets lives of plankton including those in the 5th grade Microworlds kit and the 6th grade Ecosystems kit. We will use local ponds and the Narragansett Bay as our data sources. Much about these microbes at the base of aquatic food webs remains a mystery and can provide great subjects for inquiry by you and your students. Work with a real researcher to connect with the Microworlds and Ecosystems kits.


JULY 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 (ALL-DAY SESSIONS!! 8:30 - 2:30)
JULY 31, AUGUST 1, 2, 3 AND 4 (ALL-DAY SESSIONS!! 8:30 - 2:30)



  • RITTI (Rhode Island Teachers in Technology) Initiative Working Wonders Leadership Project (Grades K-8)

  • Facilitators: Dr. Rob Pockalny, URI Oceanographer & GEMS-NET PI & Kit Mentor and 4 RITTI Trainers!!

    The GEMS-NET project was awarded one of the RITTI Working Wonders Leadership grants to provide RITTI training to GEMS-NET teachers while locating and developing science materials and extensions for the GEMS-NET science curriculum. All GEMS-NET teachers will receive a special application in a separate mailing. A group of 15-20 GEMS-NET teachers will be selected to complete the 60 hours of computer and technology training. This group will meet for 2 weeks this summer and have 3 follow-up sessions in the fall.