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Summer Workshops are 5-day in-person events that take place in Asheville, North Carolina, USA each year. These workshops meet for a morning session 8:00-11:30 am or an afternoon session 1:30-5:00 pm each day and allow teachers to perform engagement activities that cover the course material for the featured topic as if they were the students exploring and becoming familiar with these concepts firsthand. Teachers practice ‘process of science’ skills using data-generating models, simulations of phenomena, evidence-based debates, student-designed experimentation, and other applied methods that are relevant to the topic for that week.
Training in the Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core, Advanced Placement® College Board, and International Baccalaureate® science course standards is achieved by clarifying and modeling the implementation of these requirements. After an activity, or sometimes in the middle of an activity, we may break out of the student mode to discuss teaching challenges such as grading, classroom management, pacing, note-taking, and other tasks that make the implementation of a flipped classroom successful. If you are looking for professional development that will sharpen your skills and widen your repertoire of techniques that can be used to differentiate learning, identify and dispel misconceptions, and increase student involvement and critical thinking, this is the professional development for you.
Note: New curriculum requirements for all AP science courses began in the fall of 2019 and new requirements for IB Group 4 sciences shifted in 2023 to emphasize skills consistent with the Next Generation Science Standards (see Science and Engineering Skills and Practices). Although the bulk of the content for most courses has not changed, the instructional approach has. Teachers are expected to deliver the course content in a manner that develops student use of the scientific method and increases the depth of data analysis to include descriptive statistics and statistical hypothesis testing. In both AP and IB, specific instructional strategies are suggested with the demand that teachers utilize a student-centered approach for a larger portion of class time. If you need training on how to use instructional strategies that increase scientific skills and place the student at the center of the learning process, please join me for a Summer Workshop–scroll down for topics and dates offered this year. I am a workshop leader for IB and will guide you in the implementation of the current curriculum requirements. For detailed information about the changes in the IB or AP science, log into the IBO or AP CollegeBoard website and download the instructional materials.
For multiple teachers attending Summer Workshops or a single teacher attending multiple Summer Workshops, use coupon code WS10 to receive 10% off the tuition.
Summer Workshops for 2023
Morning Session: Leading Students Through Independent Investigations
8:00-11:30 am Monday, July 24 to Friday, July 28. Are you craving fresh ideas for labs and field investigations? Looking for engaging demonstrations and preliminary data collection to build curiosity and stimulate thinking? The purpose of this session is to help teachers lead students through the scientific process in courses where students are expected to conduct their own experiments using a novel research question. Participants in this workshop will perform several teacher-led preliminary investigations each day. Playing the role of the students, participants will use the curiosity these demonstrations stimulate to create additional experiments with similar laboratory or field techniques. We will flow through the steps from the initial idea to formulating a solid research question and then employ a peer review process to vet procedures before data collection begins. Teachers will come away with a large array of demonstrations to help students design their own investigations with a repeatable process to strengthen and curate student skills around experimental design. Although we will discuss the application of experimentation in the context of general, IB, AP, and university science courses, teachers at all levels and from all subject areas are welcome. This session is independent of the afternoon session.
Afternoon Session: Teaching Data Analysis Using Graphs and Statistics
1:30-5:00 pm Monday, July 24 to Friday, July 28. A bit concerned about the new requirements for stats in your IB course? More than a little rusty analyzing unfamiliar data? The purpose of this session is to help teachers lead students through data analysis using graphic methods and statistical hypothesis tests. Participants in this workshop will learn to clean, organize, and describe data using statistical descriptors (mean, median, mode, variance, standard deviation, and standard error of the mean) and practice analyzing data using common statistical tests (chi-squared tests, t-tests, ANOVAs, correlations, and regressions). Teachers will gain experience interpreting graphic and statistical outcomes and learn to make conclusive, evidence-supported claims. Throughout the week, participants will be exposed to several different statistical analysis programs (HHMI’s Data Explorer, DataClassroom, R, Excel, and Google Sheets) so each person can choose the best tool for use with their students. Teachers will come away with a folder of practice data sets, activities, and lessons to teach these techniques as well as the confidence to identify and perform the correct type of analysis themselves. No previous experience (or recollection) of statistics is needed and there is no minimum math ability required. I offer this session specifically to help those who are intimidated by stats and data analysis with a warm and supportive environment for taking risks and making mistakes. Although we will discuss the applications of data analysis in math and science; IB, AP, and university-level courses; teachers at all levels and subject areas are welcome. This session is independent of the morning session.
Time Frame and Agenda
Each 5-day workshop begins promptly at 8 am or at 1:30 pm daily, Monday-Friday in Room 225 of Zeis Hall on the University of North Carolina, Asheville campus in Asheville, NC, USA. You can participate in the morning session (8-11:30 am) and the afternoon session (1:30-5 pm), however, please be aware that these sessions are two separate events so you must complete the registration for each session you wish to attend. If you are in both the morning and afternoon sessions the midday break will be long enough to eat lunch out or you can enjoy the campus grounds if you bring your own meal. Feel free to bring snacks and a water bottle.
Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) is a 30-minute taxi/Lyft/Uber ride to downtown. The closest international airports are Greenville-Spartanburg, SC (GSP is ~1 hour from Asheville); Charlotte, NC (CLT is ~2 hours from Asheville); and Atlanta, GA (ATL is ~3.5 hours from Asheville).
Tuition is $650 per week for either the morning session or the afternoon session and includes workshop materials, up to 20 hours of Continuing Education Credits per session, and lesson plans for activities covered in the workshop. If you are enrolled in a degree program, I am happy to help you earn graduate credit through your university. If you are attending both sessions the tuition for each session will be discounted 10% ($1170 for both sessions) by using the coupon code WS10 when you check out.
It is recommended that you bring a laptop, a scientific calculator, and the materials you may want access to for planning your courses. Bring clothes for comfort indoors when moving about the air-conditioned room, and for the warm, sunny, or rainy weather, we are likely to experience during outdoor activities.
Summer Workshops will be held on campus at the University of North Carolina Asheville. The dining hall will be open if you would like to eat on campus for lunch. Restaurants and shops are accessible using the free shuttle from downtown to campus, Uber/Lyft, or by carpooling with other participants. I recommend staying at a hotel in the heart of downtown (AC, Aloft, Cambria, and Kimpton are recommended, avoid the Downtown Inn and Haywood Park) to enjoy the bustling nightlife and numerous events that occur there each evening. However, the town is not large so it is a short drive to find hiking trails, go tubing down the French Broad River, listen to live music, or visit the breweries, Biltmore House, Folk Art Center, Brevard Music Center, or other attractions.
Please download Things to Do in Asheville to learn more.