The Smithsonian Science Education Academy for Teachers (SSEAT) on Biodiversity is a week-long professional development workshop that provides educators with behind the scenes access at Smithsonian museums and world-class research facilities. Teachers get the chance to interact with scientists and researchers who are experts in their field while participating in hands-on activities which can be taken back to their classrooms. During this academy, a wide range of topics will be discussed including entomology, climate change, scientific illustration, and citizen science.
Goals of the Smithsonian Science Education Academy for Teachers on Biodiversity
- Develop an understanding of the key concepts of biodiversity.
- Form rich connections through dialogue and shared experiences with a cadre of scientists and educators.
- Experience and learn pedagogical techniques that facilitate a hands-on, inquiry-based, integrated approach to teaching.
What to Expect
Every year’s SSEAT is a unique experience. An agenda from 2019 can be found here. Past years have featured:
Field trips to unique learning sites
The Biodiversity SSEAT frequented the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) on the Chesapeake Bay. Throughout the day participants interact with researchers, take part in citizen science projects and use various techniques to sample the biodiversity of the different ecosystems on campus, which often includes donning waders and seining for grass shrimp, sunfish and blue crabs!
“Seining was so great! A unique experience and was fun for me from the Midwest.” – 2018 Participant
Access to SI Staff, artifacts, and spaces
Possibly the best part of attending a SSEAT is getting to go behind the scenes at the National Museum of Natural History. Our fabulous curators and researchers not only show off their collections but facilitate interactive experiences such as sorting insects from the Entomology collection or conducting forensic Ornithology in the bird collections.
“It was fun, engaging and informative. I can't believe you let us handle specimens! I find the tours fascinating.” - 2018 Participant
Hands-on opportunity to learn
The Smithsonian Science Education Center believes in hands-on education for all leaners so during this SSEAT there will be many hands-on opportunities including simulating a UN world climate change agreement and dissecting tobacco hornworms and mud dauber nests.
“I want to show my colleagues the simulator and try to introduce debate/argument into my class.”- 2019 Participant
“Very cool to observe the different stages of metamorphosis. Surprised me to enjoy a dissection activity so much!” – 2018 Participant
“It exceeded my expectations. Thank you for always treating us like professionals and bringing in such amazing experts in their fields..” -2019 Participant
“So amazing compared to most things I've attended. I was shocked that so many experts were willing to meet with us. The week was well paced and we fit a ton in. Everything was presented well and they weren't your typical topics. I wasn't sure how a training for all grade levels would work but it totally did!.” -2018 Participant
“There was no wasted time. It moved at a pace that allowed me to process new material, discuss observations, and apply to prior knowledge. Excellent!.” -2018 Participant
Smithsonian Science for Global Goals
The Biodiversity Academy utilizes the Smithsonian Science for Global Goals curriculum: "Mosquito! How can we ensure health for all from Mosquito-borne diseases?" to explore diverse forms of life, habitats, transmission and management. By utilizing the SSfGG community research guide as a scaffold, teachers engage in inquiry-based experiences and ultimately develop an action plan for implementation of content and practices in their classroom.
“[I will] Use mosquito modules over the course of one marking period to teach students about biodiversity/disease transmission around the world…” - 2019 Participant
Register for Biodiversity
Tuition for each Academy is $2,500 and includes:
- Course materials and resources
- Accommodations for 5 nights (Sunday–Thursday)
- Daily continental breakfasts, breaks, and lunches (Monday–Friday)
- Welcome dinner on Sunday and celebratory dinner later in the week
- All local travel (excluding airport transit)
Participants may choose to forego the provided hotel room and breakfasts for a discount of $500.