Professional Development

Southern Research STEM outreach

Workshops Igniting STEM Educators (WISE)

WISE is a free 2-day, professional development workshop series for middle and high school physical science teachers in Walker, Blount, St. Clair, Shelby, and Jefferson Counties. The newly-formed Southern Research Energy Storage Research Center (ESRC) provides a framework in which participants will investigate the design and operation of a battery and its application in electrical circuits. At the end of the workshop, teachers will receive lesson plans, student handouts, and a kit of materials that support the implementation of workshop activities in their classrooms.

 

WISE is made possible through support from the State of Alabama and The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. WISE is available for physical science teachers at Alabama accredited, public middle schools and high schools. The 2020 series of WISE is aligned with standards from the Grade 8 and Grade 10 Alabama Physical Science Courses of Study and focuses on content related to energy, forces, and matter and its interactions.

Overview

WISE Provides:

  • Hands-on activities that engage students in basic chemistry and electricity concepts.
  • Increased content knowledge of physical science concepts and confidence in delivering them.
  • A classroom kit of materials and lesson plans to conduct the activities in your classroom.
  • Opportunities to collaborate and learn from science teachers from different schools across your district and county.
  • Engaging guest lectures from Southern Research scientists and engineers, discussing the exciting battery storage research that is ongoing in our Energy and Environment (E&E) Division.
  • Resources about our student field trips, summer programs, internships for educators, and other opportunities to engage with Southern Research.

Dates:

  • February 6-7: Walker & Blount Counties
  • March 2-3: St. Clair & Shelby Counties
  • June 8-9: Jefferson County
  • June 11-12: Jefferson County

FAQ

What is WISE?

Workshops Igniting STEM Educators (WISE) is a 2-day, professional development workshop series for middle and high school science teachers funded by the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. It will target teachers in Walker, Blount, St. Clair, Shelby, and Jefferson counties. 

 

What is the focus of WISE?

Southern Research’s newly-formed Energy Storage Research Center (ESRC) provides a framework in which participants will investigate the design and operation of a battery and its application in electrical circuits. At the end of the workshop, teachers will receive lesson plans, student handouts, and a kit of materials that support the implementation of workshop activities in their classrooms.

 

What subject(s) will WISE target?

The workshop activities are designed to meet middle and high school Physical Science content standards. In particular, we will investigate basic chemical reactions that occur inside of a battery and how batteries are used in electrical circuits.

 

Can I still participate in the workshop even if I do not teach Physical Science?

If there are seats available for other content teachers, then yes! Many of the Physical Science content standards lay the foundation for further study in a Chemistry or Physics class, so these teachers may be interested in participating in the WISE workshop as well. Regardless, middle and high school Physical Science teachers will receive preference in the selection process. If you do not teach Physical Science but still want to be considered for participation in the WISE workshop, then submit a registration form. You will be contacted if there are seats available.

 

Can I still participate in the workshop even if I do not live in one of the five target counties?

WISE is funded by the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, so we are only targeting teachers in Jefferson, Blount, St. Clair, Shelby, and Walker counties. Please stay tuned for future workshops serving your county. 

 

When is the workshop for my county?

The 2020 WISE schedule is as follows – Walker & Blount: February 6-7; St. Clair & Shelby: March 2-3; Jefferson: June 8-9; Jefferson: June 11-12

 

What are my lunch options?

There are many restaurant options within walking distance of Southern Research and the surrounding Five Points area. If you’d like, we’d be happy to provide some recommendations!

 

Will I receive any resources to take back to my classroom?

Yes! Each teacher will receive a classroom kit of materials to replicate the workshop activities in their classrooms. Teachers will also receive the lesson plans and student handouts for all activities. Digital copies of all lesson plans and other workshop resources will be posted to the SR STEM Education Google Classroom account. More details will be given during the workshop. 

 

Is there a cost to attend the workshop?

No. The WISE workshops are offered at no charge to the participants. For the Jefferson County workshops in June (see schedule above), teachers will receive a per diem of $100 each day. For the workshops held during the school year, teachers will receive substitute teacher reimbursement.

 

Will I receive professional development credit for attending?

Yes. To receive PD credit, participants will need to register for the workshop on STIPD. All of the STIPD registration information will be provided during the workshop. 

 

Will Southern Research pay for my substitute?

Yes. SR will reimburse for the cost of your substitute. All substitute arrangements should be handled through your school. Please submit an invoice to stem@southernresearch.org to receive substitute reimbursement.

 

I am only available to attend one day of the workshop. Can I still attend?

The ideal participant would be available to attend both days of the workshop to experience all activities for themselves and understand how the classroom kit of materials could be used. If you are only available for one day of the workshop, please indicate your availability on the registration form. Preference will be given to teachers who are available for both days of the workshop.