Due to constraints brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be hosting our 3-week Summer Institute in 2021. However, the Exploratorium is committed to supporting educators during this time. If you'd like to stay up to date with our resources and other professional development opportunities for educators, we encourage you to sign up for our Educator Newsletter.
Join us each summer for three weeks of nonstop science exploration. Since 1984, the Exploratorium Teacher Institute has offered a summer professional development program for middle and high school science teachers. Our institutes support the content and pedagogy described in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
During the institutes, teachers work with each other and with staff scientists and educators to learn more about science teaching. They will introduce you to the museum’s exhibits, the foundation of our teaching programs, and will also lead activities and model pedagogical skills that will help relay science concepts to your students. Together, we will carry out hands-on investigations of natural phenomena and highlight how they relate to human perception, physical science, life science, earth science, and mathematics. Many of our investigations will help you bring the NGSS into your curriculum.
Each day includes class instruction as well as independent project and research work. In the afternoon, you can select from a menu of mini-workshop topics, create small versions of Exploratorium exhibits in the machine shop, and meet with Teacher Institute staff to focus on your specific needs.
We offer concurrent versions of the Summer Institute, one for middle school teachers and one for high school teachers. 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 Teacher Institute is committed to building and supporting a diverse, inclusive, and equitable community. Educators of color and educators working in public schools, especially Title I schools, are encouraged to apply.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does the Summer Institute cost?
There is no fee to attend the Summer Institute, and we provide stipends to all the teachers who complete the three-week program. The only costs you need to consider are related to travel, food, lodging, and an initial deposit. On acceptance, teachers are asked to provide a $100 deposit to hold their place. We will issue full refunds of the deposits after teachers have completed the program.
What stipend will I receive?
Each participant will be awarded a stipend of $2,500 after completion of the institute.
Can participants earn continuing education credits?
Yes. Six graduate-level semester units of continuing education credits may be purchased from us at the end of the Summer Institute. The Exploratorium has a partnership with the University of the Pacific in California.
Who is eligible to apply?
Applicants must be current in-classroom science teachers for grades 6–12, and they should have at least three years of experience teaching science in a classroom. Our Teacher Induction Program is for beginning science teachers who are in their first or second years of teaching.
Please note: Priority is given to teachers working in public schools.
Can teachers outside of California apply?
Yes, we reserve a limited number of spaces for out-of-state and international applicants.
Is lodging provided?
Lodging is not provided, but the Exploratorium can offer a discounted rate with a local hotel. We can also try to connect accepted teachers who are interested in sharing lodging accommodations. Other options include finding another hotel in San Francisco or a neighboring city like Oakland, renting or subletting a space, or staying with friends or relatives living in the Bay Area.
Are meals provided?
We provide breakfast each day, and teachers are responsible for other meals.
When will the application open?
The application window is typically January through March. To be placed on the mailing list for the next Summer Institute, please email email@example.com.
If you wish to be on the mailing list for application announcements, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.