Science & Engineering Saturday Seminars              Fall 2007

-        Designed for science teachers; new teachers are especially welcome

-        Five Saturdays each term; 8:30-1 at UMass Amherst except as noted below

-        Educational materials, refreshments, parking, PDP’s

-         Advance registration is required; capacity is limited

-         Cost $30 per session, $120 for all five sessions

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




September 15. Effective teaching using demonstrations. Bette Bridges, Chemistry, Bridgewater-Raynham RHS. Excite your classes and make your teaching more effective by involving demonstrations.  These demonstrations use everyday materials, are simple to set-up and take-down, and help your students understand concepts better.  Participants will have a complete handout and materials to take home.

September 29. Polymers all around us. Greg Dabkowski, Polymer Science, UMass. Participants will learn about polymers and the research that is at the forefront of technology being conducted at the top ranked UMass Polymer Science and Engineering Department. The study of polymers involves chemistry, physics, engineering and mathematics and is readily adaptable to insertion into the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks. Properties of polymers will be explored through hands-on experiments that teachers can transfer to their classrooms. Opportunities for teachers to become further involved with our NSF sponsored Polymer Science outreach programs will be introduced, including our Research Experiences for Teacher’s program, the ASPIRE program for high school students and our newest program, Ventures In Science Using Art Laboratory (VISUAL), which employs techniques to excite students about science through art.

October 20. LEGO® MINDSTORMS® meets science class.  Paula Brault, Math, Pioneer Valley RHS.  Learn about a great way to teach mechanical engineering to Middle and High School students.  This cooperative learning program encourages students to design, create, program, and problem solve with LEGO’s in a science learning environment.  You will be introduced to “Wheels, Pulleys, Levers, and Gears, OH MY!” (A program of Girl Scouts of Western Massachusetts) as well as build and program a robot that could lead your class to regional and national competitions.  

November 3. Paleomagnetic signature of deep-sea sediments: A hands-on age determination lesson from the School of Rock. Mark Leckie, UMass Geosciences.  The Joint Oceanographic Institution’s School of Rock Expedition introduced Earth science teachers to the exciting real-world adventure of scientific ocean drilling ( Deep-sea sediments contain one of the best archives of our planet’s dynamic history of global climate change. Without age control on deep-sea sedimentary sequences, it is not possible to put climate change in the proper temporal context, nor is it possible to determine rates of climate change. Here we will explore how the paleomagnetic signature preserved in deep-sea sediments, combined with complementary age control from marine microfossils, is used by geoscientists to establish the chronology of past climate change. We will use authentic data from the Ocean Drilling Program

November 17. More Nanotechnology. Mark Tuominen, Physics, UMass. More on this exciting new branch of science and technology that deals with materials and devices as small as a few atomic diameters. Attendance at earlier nanotechnology sessions is not required.  

December 8. Weather cancellation makeup date.

December 15.  Recall for those registered for graduate credit.

Graduate credit option: There is a charge of $300 for 3 Continuing Education credits plus a $40 registration fee.  This is in addition to the $120 STEM Education Institute 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 for NatSciM 697: Contemporary Science and Engineering, or Educ 615AT (Sci/Engin Seminars).

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

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