Teacher Professional Development


Real Strategies for Connecting
Learning to Life


Register for a Workshop

With the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards, teachers are being called upon to connect classroom learning to students’ lives and communities. Our Teacher Professional Development Series – NGSS In Action: Science and Engineering in your Community – gives teachers strategies to do just that.

These workshops are made possible thanks to generous support from King County and a grant from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.


Workshop Series

Registering for and attending all sessions is not required, but participants who attend multiple sessions in the series will benefit from the progression and have opportunities to discuss successes and challenges with the group.

Venture outside the walls of the classroom to find local environmental phenomena that can anchor your classroom science unit. Explore with us the big picture of Next Generation Science Standards’ “three dimensional” science learning and then get hands on with the Science and Engineering Practices as you use them to build an understanding of an example phenomenon in our “schoolyard.” You’ll leave this workshop with ideas and examples you can use in your own classroom science curriculum.

Mapping neighborhood assets, opportunities, and problems can engage students more deeply in science and engineering. In this workshop you’ll learn how system models, looking for patterns, and observing change over time can help students investigate and map their community. Local ecosystems, water flow, and community assets are some of many possible areas for your mapping efforts. By the end of this workshop you’ll have strategies to use in mapping your community and ideas for how you can use the information gathered.

How does engineering relate to solving problems in your community? Learn how IslandWood is using the engineering design process to help students investigate local stormwater problems, seek stakeholder input, and develop solutions. Explore what is involved in putting student ideas into action including possible real-world constraints, practical small-scale solutions potential partners, and mini-grant options. We’ll work together to figure out a plan for the topics and students you teach.

Would you like to learn more about how urban water systems actually work? Are you curious how water systems, the impacts of climate change, and related conservation issues can interest your students and integrate with NGSS? Join us to learn about wastewater and stormwater systems (may include tours of facilities, depending on the site) and then workshop how you might use this content in your classroom. Appropriate for all 4th-12th grade teachers.

Our staff are meeting up with teachers at their schools in the Olympic and Puget Sound ESDs to support them with incorporating local phenomena, field experiences, and community assets into their curriculum.


These sessions are often an extension of the work started in a workshop but don’t have to be. Serving teachers at their schools helps address equity issues for those who do not otherwise have opportunities for nearby teacher training.

Apply here.

While our workshops have ended for this school year, we are still offering on-site support to teachers. Please check back in later this summer for the 2019-20 workshop schedule.

A teacher leads a science investigation in a classroom while students watch.

Planning Sessions at Schools

This year, OSPI Climetime is funding on-site support for school teachers with planning and assistance in incorporating local phenomena, field experiences, and community assets into their curriculum. Teacher teams are encouraged (but not required) to sign up. Support can include one or more of the below.

“The workshop is a great way to deepen understanding of the NGSS and to recognize opportunities to connect learning to local phenomena.”

– Kristen Soltman, teacher at Louisa Boren STEM K-8



85% of teachers report they are more likely to use the schoolyard as a classroom two months after participating in our series.


73% of teachers report a lasting impact on their teaching, such as increasing inquiry-based learning and making connections to the community and larger systems.