Bioscience partnership supports summer workshops for teachers

July 10, 2020

This paid piece is sponsored by South Dakota Biotech.

Organizers of a series of summer workshops to enhance science education hoped about 180 teachers would participate.

Instead, more than 230 teachers registered for the three-day virtual workshops held throughout June and July that were organized by South Dakota EPSCoR, or the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.

“We were delighted to have to create two additional sessions to accommodate the level of interest,” said Ben Sayler, director of the Center for the Advancement of Math and Science Education and the Sanford Science Education Center at Black Hills State University.

Participants are learning about three-dimensional science teaching and receiving support as they meet South Dakota K-12 science standards.

The workshops include updates on science and engineering research underway at universities across the state and about a newly developed K-12 curriculum. They include collaborative online learning, hands-on science activities and independent learning.

Participants receive a stipend of $300 for the three days with completion of all components.

But, thanks to an industry partnership, many of them also are going to receive something else.

Fisher Science Education, part of Thermo Fisher Scientific, is donating gift cards for teachers to purchase science supplies for their classrooms. Teachers who help with educational research, testing new instructional materials, being interviewed and completing surveys will be given priority, Sayler said.

“The project team is delighted to be able to offer these gift cards to teachers this coming school year as we follow up with participating teachers about the impact of the professional development and as we pilot-test new K-12 instructional modules that feature the science and engineering of the EPSCoR project,” he said.

Teachers also will take home reusable straws from Fisher, a nod to the company’s mission of supporting sustainability.

“Our 2020 catalog features imagery of plastic straws – to draw attention to the growing volume of plastics and other disposable materials as well as the associated environmental impact,” the company said in a statement.

“This reinforces the theme of sustainability in a practical way as we can all do our part to improve the world around us.”

The relationship was forged through South Dakota Biotech, which works closely with Thermo Fisher Scientific and offers its products to members at a considerable savings.

“Thermo Fisher Scientific supports our industry in so many ways, and it’s tremendous to see them step up and offer this fantastic incentive for teachers who are among the first ones to introduce young people to science, engineering and other fields that lead them to bioscience careers,” said Joni Johnson, executive director of South Dakota Biotech.

Teachers who would like to participate in the remaining sessions, July 13-15 or July 20-22, can email nicol.reiner@bhsu.edu in case space becomes available.

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Bioscience partnership supports summer workshops for teachers

Teachers are the ones learning this summer thanks to a science education program bringing education and industry together.

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