STEP into the New Science Standards Professional Development Program

We are pleased to share this website with you. Our goal is to create a useful website that will serve as a resource for science teachers. The materials presented here represent research-based instructional approaches that engage learners in authentic science investigations. Across these resources you will find ideas you can easily implement that support student engagement in science and engineering practices.

As you explore the site you will find a page of links to science education websites we value highly and access often. You will also find information and tutorials for science teaching-related “apps”. However, the resources that we are most excited about sharing are a series of videos created by STEP project and staff. Some of our videos provide important background content knowledge for teachers. Other videos highlight inquiry-based instructional approaches that make difficult to understands science concepts like photosynthesis more understandable for learners.

In addition to the videos and other resources, we have included some of the original research completed by STEP faculty, as well as articles that present teaching ideas and activities. The research highlights the positive impacts this type of teaching can have on learners and provides evidence-based support for our work. You might also find the information to be a useful form of support as you try new instructional approaches.

Requests for Professional Development

Looking for effective science teacher professional development that will enhance teaching quality and student achievement? Consider working with the STEP group. Practicing teachers have lauded our approaches (see “Testimonials” tab) and our teaching staff members have received numerous teaching awards. We have completed extensive science teacher professional development with schools, school districts, and through grant/contract funded activities.

STEP faculty members have expertise in several areas (see below). If you would like to discuss potential science teacher professional development opportunities, or learn more about the types of services we offer, contact Dr. Stephen Thompson at sthompson@sc.edu.

Professional Development Expertise Areas

  • Plant Processes (photosynthesis, cellular respiration, transpiration) – Make teaching difficult to understand plant processes interesting and engaging for students.
  • Science and Engineering Practices – Whether you want to learn more about the practices generally, or want to explore a particular practice such as modeling in depth we can provide assistance.
  • Project-based Learning – Make science more authentic and connected to your community through PBL.
  • Nature-based Inquiry – Developing and using natural areas around a schoolyard to support science instruction.
  • Engineering Design – Learn about students’ engineering conceptions and how they can be positively enhanced.

We are also open to tailoring science teacher professional development to the unique needs of a given school or district. The STEP faculty members have extensive science teaching experience across settings of all types.

STEP Programs for Teachers

If you are looking for information about the popular summer institutes for science teachers keeping checking back here. As it stands right now, we will not hold a summer institute in 2017. We are taking a brief hiatus in order to complete related research we hope to use to secure funding to support the summer institutes again in 2018.”