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Teacher Institute

Teacher Institute

Our Mission

The Exploratorium Teacher Institute (TI) has been the professional development home for middle school and high school math and science teachers since 1984. TI supports teachers to incorporate the hands-on, inquiry-based experiences of the Exploratorium into their classrooms. TI’s staff of PhD scientists and veteran science educators focus on increasing teacher content knowledge and enhancing their pedagogical skills for facilitating student investigations. Each year, more than five hundred teachers attend TI programs designed to provide opportunities for them to ask questions as learners, share expertise as practitioners, and develop as leaders.

TI’s Summer Institute is the foundational program that helps teachers develop their skills as facilitators of inquiry-rich, authentic student learning experiences. The Beginning Teacher Program supports novice science teachers during the critical first two years in the profession. TI’s Teacher Leadership Program trains the most experienced science teachers to serve as mentors and coaches for novice teachers. These three intentionally overlapping programs serve an educator community of practice that is supported through ongoing weekend workshops, advanced summer institutes, digital resources, and online support.

Over the years, TI has developed over a thousand classroom activities that encourage both teachers and students to build and explore tabletop versions of Exploratorium exhibits and other hands-on investigations of science. These activities are designed to demonstrate unusual or unexpected phenomena, spark curiosity, generate questions, and serve as the starting points for deeper classroom explorations.

TI also disseminates its knowledge and expertise by supporting the needs of individual schools and districts locally and throughout the country. TI supports international efforts to improve science education by providing professional development in formal and informal education settings around the world.

Interested in participating in a Teacher Institute program? There are opportunities for both new and experienced teachers. All program participants are provided with stipends for attending our institutes and workshops.

Summer Institute

If you are a middle school or high school science or mathematics teacher, we have something for you: Immerse yourself in the Exploratorium’s philosophy of inquiry-based, hands-on teaching by attending our annual Summer Institute.

The 2014 Summer Institute took place Monday, July 7 to Friday July 25 (9:00am – 3:30pm). Applications for next year's Summer Institute will be available in Spring 2015.

If you have previously attended a summer institute, you are a Teacher Institute alumnus. We offer various workshops for alumni during the summer and on Saturdays. More information is available on the Alumni web page (login required).

Beginning Teacher Program

Enhance your knowledge of science while learning how to bring the Exploratorium’s inquiry-based, hands-on philosophy of teaching into your classroom by participating in our two-year Beginning Teacher Program.

Teacher Leadership Program

Are you interested in mentoring or coaching new teachers? Find out about our Teacher Leadership Program that trains experienced teachers to be mentors and coaches of the new teachers in the Beginning Teacher Program.