Science & Engineering Saturday Seminars              Fall 2006


-        Designed for science teachers; new teachers are especially welcome

-        Five Saturdays each term; 8:30-1, at UMass Amherst

-        Educational materials, refreshments, parking, PDPs

-         Advance registration is required; capacity is limited

-         Cost $30 per session, $120 for all five sessions Note: This fee is required whether or not you register for graduate credits.

-        4 PDPs per half day session; option for 3 grad credits at reduced cost with extra work


Note that you must also register at whether or not you want graduate credit.

Snow Closing Policy: SESS meetings will not be held if the University announces it is closed due to snow

*** Sessions are in Lederle Grad Research Towers 1033 unless another location is announced. ***


Sept. 16.  A Walk through the Jurassic. Richard Yuretich (UMass Geosciences). The Connecticut Valley was the REAL Jurassic Park some 200 million years ago. Bipedal dinosaurs roamed a landscape of tropical flora, large lakes and rivers, and belching volcanoes. We'll look at several places around Mount Tom that enables us to reconstruct the conditions that existed during this time, and we'll look at the subsequent events that created the area we see today. Wear good walking shoes and dress for the weather.

Sept. 30.  Structural Engineering: Bridges and Skyscrapers. Sergio Brena (UMass Civil Engineering). Basic concepts in structural engineering (forces, stresses, material properties). An overview of famous bridges and skyscrapers, focusing on how the development of structural forms and new materials have contributed to design changes. Common structural systems used in bridges and skyscrapers; how different structural forms contribute to overall strength and stiffness of bridges and buildings.

Oct. 14.  Astronomy and Nature Optics for the Classroom. Steve Schneider (UMass Astronomy) and Ron Woodland. Participants will experiment with two of the main tools of the astronomer: the telescope and the spectroscope.  We will use affordable basic classroom telescope and spectroscope kits.  in various activities.  Also, binoculars and telescopes appropriate for individual and school use will be demonstrated.  Concepts such as magnification, field of view, light gathering ability, ease of use, etc. will be discussed.  Bring your telescope and binoculars so we can discuss how to use them properly.   Weather permitting we will be able to make observations of the Sun and the Moon with specialized telescopes.

Oct. 28.  Evolution in the Classroom: Should we change our approach in light of the Intelligent Design Controversy? Bruce Byers (UMass Biology). It is important that teachers be able to give a cogent, informed response to queries about Intelligent Design from students and parents, so we'll begin the workshop with an overview of ID and the scientific critique of it. Then we'll develop appropriate strategies and methods for incorporating evolutionary biology in the science classroom.

Nov. 4. Nanotechnology II. Mark Tuominen (UMass Physics). Last fall we had a seminar on nanotechnology, which deals with materials and devices created on the nanometer size scale. This seminar will explore other applications in this exciting new field.

Nov. 18, Weather cancellation makeup date.

Dec 9. Recall for those registered for graduate credit.

Graduate credit option: There is a charge of $300 for 3 Continuing Education credits plus a $30 registration fee. Teachers may obtain credit for the seminar as many terms as they wish, but only 3 credits may be applied to UMass Amherst degrees. A lesson plan and a book report will be required for those enrolled for graduate credit. Register with Continuing Education or the UMass Graduate School (see website later on for details, course number.)

Questions: Mort Sternheim,, 413-545-1908,

Online seminar registration: Required for everyone whether or not they are registering for graduate credit.