Summer Institute for Teachers
The Exploratorium Teacher Institute offers a summer professional development program for middle school and high school science and mathematics teachers. Since 1984, we’ve provided summer institutes on a variety of secondary science and mathematics topics for teachers new to the Exploratorium. Our institutes support the content and pedagogy described in the National Science Education Standards and the Science Content Standards for California Public Schools. After completing one of these professional development institutes, you become an alumnus of the Teacher Institute and are eligible to attend alumni institutes and workshops. The Learning Commons (our library and information hub) also becomes available for project research.
During the institutes, teachers work with each other and with staff scientists and educators to learn more about science and mathematics teaching. On a typical day we interact with exhibits, engage in hands-on classroom activities, build small versions of Exploratorium exhibits, and share teaching strategies. Each day includes class instruction as well as independent project and research time. Exploratorium resources such as the Learning Commons, teacher machine shop, and museum exhibits will be available for project research.
If you have previously attended a summer institute, you are a Teacher Institute alumnus. We offer Alumni Summer Institutes on our Alumni page.
Stipend and Credit
Each participant will be awarded a stipend of $1,000 after completion of the institute. Three units of undergraduate graded credit in physics or 6 units of pass/fail graduate continuing education credit have been earned through the program in the past. Registration and paying for credit takes place during the institutes.
Descriptions of Past Summer Institutes
Exploring Hands-on Middle School Science
Come explore a variety of science topics as we take an integrated approach to discovering the world around us. We will do hands-on investigations of natural phenomena and highlight how they relate to human perception, physical science, life science, earth science, and mathematics. Using the Exploratorium's 400 discovery-based exhibits as our foundation, we'll investigate a variety of interdisciplinary middle school science concepts. Through inquiry-based activities, we'll explore the science and math that explain our world, and model the pedagogical skills to help you relay these concepts to your students. Get ready to infuse your teaching with a lifetime of new ideas! Time will be provided most every day for you to select from a menu of mini-workshop topics, create your own classroom exhibits in a machine shop, work on individual projects, and to meet in small groups with Teacher Institute staff to focus on your specific needs.
Exploring Hands-on High School Science
Join us this summer for three weeks of nonstop science exploration! Each day, you'll participate in hands-on investigations led by Teacher Institute scientists and educators that will help your students learn both the content and processes of science. You’ll explore a variety of high school science concepts and get an insider's perspective of many of the Exploratorium's 400 discovery-based exhibits. The Exploratorium is the museum of science, art, and human perception, and the study of perception will be one of the many components of our program. We will focus on this and other interdisciplinary science topics such as light and color to teach content from high school level physics, chemistry, biology, earth science, and math. Time will be provided most every day for you to select from a menu of mini-workshop topics, create your own classroom exhibits in a machine shop, work on individual projects, and to meet in small groups with Teacher Institute staff to focus on your specific needs. The Teacher Institute will help you tailor what you learn in the summer to meet the needs of your students.
Listen to Our Podcasts
Want to know more about the Teacher Institute’s summer institutes for educators? Listen to our podcasts! Whether you’re a teacher interested in applying or you’ve already been accepted, you’ll find detailed descriptions of the summer experience in these audio programs.
Summer Housing Information
We pulled together this list of resources to assist you in planning your learning experience with us. See you this summer!