Teacher Workshops

Earn Science Equipment Grant Money for Your School

Take advantage of interactive workshops designed for elementary, middle and high school teachers. Workshops are designed to help teachers implement fun experiments into their classrooms.

    Saturday & Sunday, October 20 & 21, 2018

    David L. Lawrence Convention Center

    Cost: $30

By participating in the workshops, teachers are eligible to receive up to $2,000 per school in grant money to purchase science equipment. (More about Teacher Grants)

    Teacher Workshop registration is now closed

Registration closes October 12, 2018.


A Certificate of Attendance and an Act 48 Continuing Education Credit will be issued to each teacher upon the successful completion of each workshop.

Registration is limited for all workshops, and will be filled on a “first come, first served” basis. A confirmation email as to the status of your registration will be sent to your registered email.

Additional Information
A box lunch will be provided for all teachers attending an all day workshop, or consecutive morning & afternoon workshops.

Parking will be provided by Science Week at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center parking garage.

Previous policy reimbursed the workshop fee back to teachers after completion. However, due to the increased costs of hosting Science Week, the $30 fee will no longer be reimbursed. (Refunds may be offered on a case-by-case basis. Please contact scienceweek@pittcon.org if you have any questions.)

Register Now

Saturday, October 20

Sunday, October 21



Registration is closed.


Have a Question?

Kerry Holzworth

800-825-3221, x208

Don’t Miss Science Week

October 20-26, 2018

David L. Lawrence
Convention Center

Workshop Details

ES = Elementary School
MS = Middle School
HS = High School
K-12 = All Grade Levels

Morning Session: 9:30 am – 12:00 am
Afternoon Session: 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm
All Day Session: 9:30 am – 3:30 pm


Workshop Title School Level Session Time
We will R.O.C.K you! ES/MS Morning
(WORKSHOP FULL) Rose Clark, Saint Francis University

The Rural Outreach Chemistry for Kids Program from St. Francis University (Dr. Rose Clark and Dr. Ed Zovinka) will help you conduct experiments you can easily do in your classroom to get your students excited about science. The R.O.C.K. program performs hands-on chemistry experiments and activities using mainly household products to show the importance of chemistry in day to day living. R.O.C.K. also looks at the role that chemistry will have in the future as well as how it will benefit our society. As participants in the workshop you will get the scripts we use so that you can easily conduct the experiments in your classroom. Three experiments will be conducted involving Oily Oceans, Polymers, and Oobleck.

Creative Chemistry ES Morning
(WORKSHOP FULL) Gina Malczewski, Midland American Chemical Society

This workshop will progress from a hands-on examination of the properties of water to its analysis and purification, water electrolysis and the hydrogen economy, and the re-use of water bottles to make creative objects. Data collection and interpretation will be included, as will discussion of conservation and the societal impact of water availability.

Light, Color & Spectroscopy For Kids ES-MS Morning
(WORKSHOP FULL) John Varine, Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh

Using the materials provided by the SSP, workshop participants will be able to project a large and very bright visible spectrum (rainbow?) in their own classrooms. They will use that spectrum together with other materials to demonstrate color addition & subtraction and why colors appear the way they do. They will also be introduced to a new concept – spectroscopy as an art form. Later in the workshop, participants will view the beautiful colors and spectra of excited gases and they will receive a “SpectroClick Teacher Kit” for use in their classrooms along with a set of 50 “Rainbow Glasses”.

Biotechnology Basics – Building Blocks to Creating a Cutting-edge Biotech Classroom MS-HS Morning
Thomas Cynkar, Fisher Science Education

From the very basics of electrophoresis to fun and easy DNA manipulations, this workshop will take you on a journey thought the fundamentals of teaching biotechnology and give you the confidence you need to share this knowledge with your students. You’ll see how simple it is to incorporate all of the tools and technology you need to transform your classroom into a biotechnology teaching lab. Hands-on activities and lesson plans will be provided so that you can use what you learn as soon as you return to class.

The Chemistry of Glow Sticks MS-HS Morning
April Fischione, Fisher Science Education

Relive your childhood by making your own glow stick. All these years you may have been wondering what actually caused the traditional glow stick to glow. Edwin Chandross patented the first glow stick in the 1960s with the use of oxalyl chloride and hydrogen peroxide, but since then several different chemical reactions have been formulated with an end result of chemiluminescence. Join us for a fun chemistry experiment where you will create a glowing chemical reaction.

Developing Models of Matter and Energy MS-HS Morning
Chad Bridle, Grandville High School

Establishing a common, correct conception of the particle-nature of matter and energy is key to the effective learning of chemistry. This workshop will equip teachers with curriculum and instructional practices to help them develop these conceptions early in the school year. Participants will explore how to establish a culture of scientific inquiry within their classroom, giving students ownership of their learning as scientists. Establishing matter and energy conceptions and learner-centered classroom routines early in the year help facilitate the learning of chemistry the rest of the school year. **The suggested sessions below would work well as a full day workshop, but one or the other could be done independently as a 1/2 day workshop. In the first session, participants will learn how to facilitate students in developing a particle-level model of matter. Students will corporately create common models of states of matter, elements, compounds and mixtures as well as physical and chemical changes through argumentation. Students will connect their particle-level understandings to observations of matter and symbolic representations of matter. Fostering a community of learners who listen critically to each other’s arguments is key to the process of science. In the second session, participants will learn how to have students apply their particle-level model of matter to developing a new particle-level model of energy. Students will build arguments around how energy is transferred between matter and how changes in energy impact matter. Students will use their models to explain phase changes at the macroscopic level, symbolically through bar graphs and at the particle-level.

ESSOP Elementary School Science Olympiad Grants for Teachers ES-MS Afternoon
Margaret Hall, Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh

A team of science educators will work with interested teachers/ Principals to describe grant funding opportunities to
purchase supplies & materials for a STEAM Science Olympiad at their institutions. Teachers will also have fun conducting
STEAM activities firsthand to learn what is available for use at their own schools.

Computer Software for High School Chemistry and Physics Teachers MS-HS Afternoon
Hub MacDonald, Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh

Explore web-based chemistry software from the Journal of Chemical Education and Chem Ed Digital Library. Introduction to Vernier’s Graphical Analysis Software and Logger Pro. Take home this software package. Introduction to web based Chemistry and Physics Applications and Simulations. A hard copy and a digital copy of presentation will be handed out to attendees. All software discussed is given to attendees and much more.

We Will ROCK You Data Collection MS-HS Afternoon
Edward Zovinka, Saint Francis University

The Rural Outreach Chemistry for Kids (R.O.C.K.) Program from Saint Francis University (Dr. Rose Clark and Dr. Edward P. Zovinka) will help you conduct experiments you can easily do in your classroom to get your students excited about science while collecting numerical data. The R.O.C.K. program performs hands-on chemistry experiments and activities using mainly household products to show the importance of chemistry in day to day living. R.O.C.K. also looks at the role that chemistry will have in the future as well as how it will benefit our society. As participants in the workshop you will get the scripts we use so that you can easily conduct the experiments in your classroom. Three experiments will be conducted using diapers, creating density towers, and chromatography. We will numerically look at the data collected and ways to encourage data analysis. Please Note: We have also submitted a ROCK session for elementary teachers on Sat morning, so we need this one to be Sat afternoon, or vice versa.

Beyond the Basics – Taking Your Biotechnology Classroom to the Next Level MS-HS Afternoon
Thomas Cynkar, Fisher Science Education

Now that you’ve mastered the basics, let’s take it to the next level! This workshop will guide you through more advanced biotechnology content , such as PCR – but don’t be intimidated. The equipment utilized in this workshop is designed specifically for teaching and the activities are simple to use, teacher tested, and easily incorporated into any classroom. We’ll provide information you can use to help your students understand more complex biotechnology concepts and introduce you to the tools you need to transform your biotechnology classroom into a biotechnology lab of the future.

Creative Chemistry 2 MS-HS Afternoon
Gina Malczewski, Midland American Chemical Society

1. Explore the chemistry of rocks and minerals, and use their properties to make two- and three-dimensional art. Examine a chemical reaction that allows you to make a piece of art using your own custom mold.

2. For almost 200 years, artists have been using hydrophobicity, hydrophilicity and a mild “etching” process to make lithographic prints. A modification of the traditional methods allows use of household materials for similar results.

STEM Design Challenge ES-MS Afternoon
(WORKSHOP FULL) Lacey Cirinelli, Fisher Science Education

Discover how to create and develop engaging STEM activities for an exciting classroom lab. Encourage your students to solve an engineering problem using creative and realistic world processes while supporting your understanding with fun and exciting team competition. Finally, learn how to bring this project based learning program to your community. Join us for this Pennsylvania based challenge where you will engineer a structure that will lead to a healthier, cleaner and safer world.

Anatomy and Physiology of Grants: Leveraging the Structure and Function of Grant-seeking toward Classroom and Funding Success MS-HS Afternoon
Rusti Berent, Ward’s Science Education

This half-day, hands-on workshop offers more than a traditional grant-writing session. Through this professional development opportunity teachers will (1) explore the structure of the grant-seeking process that includes identifying funding opportunities, building partnerships, and designing a project and (2) identify the function of grants not just to win funding but to develop and implement strategies that will sustain student learning. In today’s funding environment, it is not enough for teachers to simply articulate their need for equipment, materials and supplies for science education and hope that with a little luck, resources will come their way. Most schools and classrooms rarely have enough budget allocated to science education so when teachers want to bring the best to their students, they must be willing to go beyond their content areas and comfort zones and actively identify and tap the universe of possibilities that exists around them. To that end, the workshop includes a focus on the importance of placing tangible and intangible science essentials in the larger context of an education ecosystem that stresses the interdependence of people and the school and curriculum with business and industry, technology, and the physical environment. We will explore how that ecological interdependence can provide resources and support sustainability especially through partnerships. Participants will share their experiences finding funding and resources and will have the opportunity to collaborate to identify resources and potential partnerships in their communities. They will also explore the concept of the “elevator pitch” and practice developing key phrases to engage and motivate potential partners and funders. Workshop participants will consider strategies to respond to requests for proposals putting special focus on the needs of the students, since students’ needs, benefits, and outcomes are what funders respond to. Participants will practice identifying needs as well as assets because funders want to know what already exists that they can build upon. Then, participants will engage with a process to obtain grant applications and evaluate the match between funder and school. They will come away with increased skills in accessing appropriate national and local grant opportunities and grant-writing resources. Finally, participants will increase their skills in articulating projects that will be most competitive for funding and will help students, parents, school administrators and partners understand how the project will be implemented. We will practice using a design model that outlines goals, and specifies inputs, activities, and outcomes so that teachers are clear on what they are asking for and funders know exactly what they are supporting. Using current and upcoming requests for proposals and grant applications, participants will begin preparing a grant proposal. There will be time for questions and answers and one-on-one consultation.


Workshop Title School Level Session Time
Teaching Elementary School Science Using Children’s Literature Books ES-MS All Day
(WORKSHOP FULL) Barbara Manner, Duquesne University – retired

Too often science takes a back seat to language arts and/or reading in the elementary curriculum. To alleviate this problem and to make teaching more enjoyable for both the teacher and the children, science and reading can be integrated through the use of children’s literature books and associated science activities. Children will begin to see that science is not an isolated subject but can be found all around us. For example, using the children’s book Who Sank the Boat, children can experiment with buoyancy and displacement; using the book Stellaluna, children can learn about echolocation and the habits of various kinds of bats; other books can be used to illustrate colloids. These simple activities can be expanded so that the children have their own experiences with inquiry, vital to their understanding of science and the fostering of their innate curiosity about the natural world around them. This all-day workshop is designed for teachers of K – 6. Teachers will be active participants. Books and activities for each grade level will be used and teachers will be provided with copies of the books and the science lessons.

The Expanding Universe HS All Day
Katrina Brown, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg

This workshop will explore the field of cosmology and the Big Bang Theory. The workshop is designed for teachers who do not have any background in these topics and we present ways to make the material engaging for students. The material presented could be used in astronomy, physics, or general science classes. We will begin by looking at Hubble’s evidence for the expansion of the universe. We will perform a qualitative experiment (using elastic and rulers) that demonstrates how Hubble’s graph implies an expansion. We will look at line spectra (both in the classroom and in an online simulation) and explore what is meant by the ‘redshifting’ of light and how Hubble used this. We will also work through a quantitative activity that lets us calculate the speed of galaxies given their redshifts. We will then use several activities (cosmic calendar, card sort, CPEP poster, Universe Adventure website) to explore how the universe has evolved.

Water World: Chemistry, Energy, and Geo-political Issues MS-HS All Day
Gina Maczewski, Midland American Chemical Society

This workshop will progress from a hands-on examination of the properties of water to its analysis and purification, water electrolysis and the hydrogen economy, and the re-use of water bottles to make creative objects. Data collection and interpretation will be included, as will discussion of conservation and the societal impact of water availability.

Safety in the Secondary School Science (STEM) Laboratory K-12 All Day
James Kaufman, Laboratory Safety Institute

Safety in the School Science (STEM) Laboratory is an intensive workshop on the fundamentals of lab safety and how to create a more effective lab safety program. Topics include: Creating a more effective lab safety program, three Cs of safety, scope of the problem, accidents, legal aspects, handling chemicals, chemical storage, biological and animal hazards, eye and face protection, hazardous waste disposal, electrical safety, safety program planning. Teacher learn simple and inexpensive ways to improve their lab safety program

Parallel Tasks in Science: Differentiating for Student Success ES-MS Morning
Cheryl Fogel, Polk County Public Schools

Many times we present a great lab in science. Everyone is doing the same lab, but is everyone getting the same learning? This presentation will take a lab and show alternative ways to offer the same lab to ELL and ESE students, as well as enhancing it for the higher level students. The class discussion after the lab can involve all students since they were all doing the same concept. Participants will have the opportunity to take a different lab/activity and do the same differentiation for the ESE/ELL students and the higher learners. It will give participants the opportunity to think when they plan their own lessons how to meet the needs of all students and have the same learning occur.

The Science of Sound ES-MS Afternoon
Todd Brown, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg

This workshop will explore the science of sound. Concepts such as frequency, wavelength and longitudinal waves will be introduced and then explored through fun, inexpensive and easy hands-on activities. We will use Slinkys to examine longitudinal and transverse waves, and to demonstrate wavelength and frequency. We will use a free online simulation to examine the meaning of amplitude and frequency, loudness and pitch. We will make simple gramophones and use classroom supplies to make several noise-makers. We’ll also talk about how the ear works and perform an activity that lets us listen to sound through our teeth.

Exploring Soil Quality and Plant Health MS-HS Afternoon
Ron Dumais, HANNA Instruments

Teachers will be able to review how soil quality can affect the health of plants, and explore ways that soil quality can be measured and implemented into the classroom. This will include a general explanation of how pH affects nutrient absorption, how conductivity can indicate the concentration of available nutrients, and how the individual nutrients N, P, and K affect plant growth specifically. Following this, a few ways of ways of taking measurements will be introduced, and teachers will be able to explore a few plants of the same type with different qualities in the soil or growth media. Some observations about their health will be made, and then they will have the opportunity to measure these soil properties in order to assess key soil qualities and how the plant has been affected.

Explore before Explain a Case Study on Zika HS Afternoon
Marjorie Miles Dozier, Polk County Public Schools

Reform movements are clear about the need to shift science classroom practice toward a “student-centered” learning environment. This presentation will model how to incorporate explore-before-explain (EBE) into the classroom to increase student engagement and possibilities for conceptual change using hands on, minds on activities. When students explore before explain we allow them to expose their own misconceptions with the initial engagement of the concept. All students will be presented with the opportunity to explore and to interact with the concept. By providing ALL students with the same guided experience the playing field becomes more leveled. Only then can students be able to interact more equally in a reform-minded social learning environment. Participants will be guided through an EBE experience. Using a mercury poisoning socioscientific issue lesson, teachers will experience a case study involving an exposed marine ecosystem. Teachers will simulate bioaccumulation of mercury in a hands on investigation that guides them through food web, brain structures, energy transfer and human impact on the environment. During the exploration teachers will have had the opportunity to interact with the concept as well as exchange ideas with their peers in order to develop a deeper understanding of the science involved in human impact on the environment. Only then can they be expected to produce a reasonable explanation of their experience including key words, concepts and possible applications. Our purpose in EBE is multifaceted. We are basing this approach on what we know about how people learn. We also want all students engaged, and be active participants during the learning process that can only happened when students have equal access to the same information and not rely on pre-exposure or the ability to internalize verbal information. Explore before explaining provides for all learning styles there by provides equity to all learners.

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    Teacher Workshop registration is now closed