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Teacher Courses

Frequently Asked Questions: Teachers

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Do I have to apply with a partner teacher?

    For our academic year courses, we highly recommend you apply with a partner teacher from your 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. Each teacher must fill out their own application. In limited circumstances (such as at smaller schools), your partner teacher may come from another school, but you must send us an email explaining your specific situation.

    We do not require partner teachers in our summer courses.

  • What do these courses cost?

    Museum courses are offered at no cost to teachers who are selected to participate.

  • How often do 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, you will be removed from the course if you miss more than one session. The Museum reimburses your school for the cost of a substitute teacher for sessions held on school days.

  • What are the benefits of participating?

    You’ll receive more than 50 lesson plans and valuable materials to replicate activities in your classroom with your students. See a sample session agenda, course syllabus and lesson plan. Graduate credit for MSI courses is available at partner universities. You also will receive clock hours in Illinois and CEUs in Indiana.

  • How do MSI courses differ from other professional development?

    MSI'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 found that MSI's teacher courses significantly improve what teachers and their students know about science.

Frequently Asked Questions: Principals

  • What do these courses cost?

    Museum courses are offered at no cost to teachers who are selected to participate. We give priority to schools in high-needs communities. MSI also reimburses schools for the cost of a substitute teacher for sessions held on school days.

  • How will my teachers and school benefit?

    MSI offers academic year and summer sessions at no cost to teachers selected to participate. We prioritize schools in high-needs communities, and courses are designed for teachers in grades 4-8 with limited experience teaching science. Teachers receive lesson plans and materials for classroom activities. See a sample session agenda, course syllabus and lesson plan.

    Courses are designed in accordance with state and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Teachers engage in sessions designed to improve their science instruction, enhance science content knowledge, provide them with inquiry-based curriculum materials/lesson plans, and develop additional classroom instructional strategies. Participating teachers will be better equipped to promote student achievement and foster a positive attitude toward STEM careers.

  • Are MSI courses effective?

    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.