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Summer Institute for Teachers

Summer institute for teachers
Summer Institute for Teachers

Are you a secondary science teacher looking for ways to introduce more inquiry into your classroom?

Applications are now closed.

Please reach out to us at if you have questions about the 2024 Summer Institute application. 

If you'd like to stay up to date on future Summer Institutes and other Exploratorium educator resources and programs, we encourage you to sign up for our Educator Newsletter.  

Program Overview

Are you a secondary science teacher looking for ways to introduce more inquiry into your classroom? Are you interested in learning from and contributing to a supportive community of science teachers?

Come spend three weeks immersed in hands-on, inquiry-based science explorations and discussions at the Exploratorium. Work with other teachers to deepen your own practice, build content knowledge, and support a more equitable learning environment in your context. Explore natural phenomena related to human perception, physical science, life science, earth science, and our environment. Engage in facilitation that promotes noticing, wondering, and experimenting in order to build understanding and create equitable and anti-racist science classrooms.

Each day includes museum exhibit explorations and class time, as well as independent project time. You will have opportunities to attend electives, create small versions of Exploratorium exhibits in our machine shop, and meet with Teacher Institute staff to focus on your specific needs. Our institutes support the content and pedagogy described in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and many of our investigations will help you bring the NGSS into your curriculum.

We offer both middle and high school sections of the Summer Institute. There is no fee to attend. After completing our Summer Institute, you will receive a $2500 stipend, and will be eligible to attend alumni institutes and workshops for the rest of your teaching career.  See FAQs below for more details.

About the Exploratorium Teacher Institute (TI)

Since 1984, TI has offered summer professional development programs for middle and high school science teachers. TI’s mission is to create and support a collaborative community of teachers, at all levels of their careers, through professional development that joyfully emphasizes the teaching and learning of science as a process for understanding the world around us. 

We believe that:

  • learning is joyful
  • we learn science by doing science
  • all of us are both teachers and learners
  • science classrooms should be anti-racist and equitable spaces

TI is committed to building and supporting a diverse, inclusive, and equitable community. We are committed to prioritizing teachers of color and teachers who work with primarily students of color. Educators of color and educators working in public schools, especially Title I schools, are encouraged to apply. 

Please email if you have any questions.

Frequently Asked Questions


What are the dates for the next Summer Institute?

Dates for the 2025 Summer Institute for Teachers will be announced in December 2024. Sign up for our Educator Newsletter for application announcements and to stay up to date on resources and professional development opportunities!

What does the Summer Institute cost?

There is no fee to attend the Summer Institute. The only costs you need to consider are related to travel, food, and lodging. 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 should have at least three* years of experience teaching science in a classroom. Applicants must be available to participate for the entire three-week institute.

Priority is given to teachers working in public schools. Educators of color and educators working in public schools, especially Title I schools, are encouraged to apply. 

*Local SF Bay Area teachers currently in their 2nd or 3rd year of classroom teaching may be eligible to apply for our Early Career Teacher Program.  Learn more here.

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. The Exploratorium can recommend local hotels. We can also try to connect accepted teachers who are interested in sharing lodging accommodations. 

Are meals provided?

We provide breakfast, coffee, and tea each day. Teachers are responsible for other meals.

When will the application open for next year?

The application window is typically January through March. Sign up for our Educator Newsletter to stay up to date on our resources and professional development opportunities!

If you have additional questions about this or other Exploratorium Educator programs, please email to