How and when do I apply?
We accept applications in late summer for our academic year courses and in the spring for our summer courses. Applications are available here. To find out when we begin accepting applications, sign up for our Educator e-Newsletter at the bottom of this page, or check the website periodically.
What are the criteria for being accepted?
We typically receive twice as many applications as we have spots available in our courses. So we weigh a number of different factors when selecting teachers, including the percentage of low-income students and available resources at your school, whether you are new to science teaching and your comfort level with inquiry-based teaching methods.
Do I have to apply with a partner teacher?
We highly recommend that you apply with a partner teacher from your own school. Having a partner teacher ensures shared resources and a network of support at your school, and we give preference to partner pairs from the same school. Your partner teacher can teach another grade (self contained or specialized) or school subject, such as math or special ed. In very limited circumstances (such as at smaller schools), your partner teacher may come from another school but you would need to send us an email explaining your specific situation.
How often do the courses meet?
Academic year courses meet six times over the school year. Summer courses meet on five consecutive days. Because there is a waiting list for these courses, you will be removed from the program if you miss more than one session. We also ask that you be on time for all sessions because we cover a lot of ground during the day. The Museum reimburses your school for the cost of a substitute teacher for sessions held on school days.
What do these courses cost?
Museum courses are offered at no cost to teachers who are selected to participate.
What do I get from participating in MSI’s courses?
During the course, you’ll receive more than 50 lesson plans and materials to replicate activities in your classroom with your students. Breakfast and lunch are provided during each session as well as free parking in the Museum garage.
How are MSI’s science teacher education courses different than professional development programs elsewhere?
The Museum’s courses tap into our strengths, including our unique location and access to one-of-a-kind exhibits and Museum resources. Courses leverage the content of the Museum in combination with inquiry-based and hands-on instructional practices. We also show you how to use Museum programs and exhibits to enhance your science curriculum.
A recent study by an international expert on K-12 science and math curriculum at Michigan State University found that MSI's teacher courses significantly improve what teachers and their students know about science. The impact was immediate. Researchers determined with a high degree of confidence that these improvements were due to the teacher's participation in MSI courses.
Do you have any other programs for teachers?
We offer free hands-on classroom activities that are aligned with your science curriculum. And we’d love to have you visit the Museum; Illinois K-12 teachers receive free Museum Entry every day just by showing your educator ID at our ticket counters, and Illinois school groups always receive free Museum Entry for field trips. We also have special events for teachers as well as full- or half-day workshops on a variety of topics. Sign up for our educator email newsletter to find out when these programs are scheduled.
The Center aims to inspire the next generation of inventors and innovators with programs that empower teachers, engage the community and excite students.
New Online Activities
- Online Activity
See what happens when plants compete for survival in an area with limited resources.
- Online Activity
Tap into your inner engineer as you design, build and test model bridges.