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. Having a partner teacher ensures shared resources and a network of support at your school. Your partner teacher can teach another subject, such as math. Or, at smaller schools, your partner teacher may come from another school.
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 over 50 lesson plans and all the materials you’ll need to replicate activities in your classroom. Teachers in academic year courses also receive a free class field trip that includes funding for buses and an educational Learning Lab program for 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.
Do you have any other programs for teachers?
Yes. We offer full- and half-day workshops throughout the year on a variety of topics, from climate change to rocketry. Our MSI 101 workshop explores field trips, teacher programs and standards-based activities that tie a Museum visit to classroom instruction; click here to learn more. 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 general admission every day just by showing your educator ID at our ticket counters, and Illinois school groups always receive free general admission for field trips.
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.