Hot Topics Series

The Institute for School Partnership works with Washington University faculty and local teacher leaders to offer free one-day professional development opportunities for K-12 educators through Hot Topics workshops and lectures. These events for science teachers focus on emerging areas of research and materials to transfer new content into the classroom. Recent offerings include synthetic biology, alternative fuels and climate change.

WashU faculty develop presentations and hands-on activity kits that can bee taken into classrooms and often provide tours of their research facilities. The solutions of the future will depend on the identification, training and support of our next generation of scientists. By offering these free education and outreach programs at the K-12 level, the ISP provides the academic community with a forum for access to expert knowledge.


 June Hot Topics Workshops

June 18, 8:30am – 12pm SOLAR CELLS
Learn the basics of how solar cells work as well as the latest research that seeks to improve how solar energy is harnessed. Workshop participants will create dye-sensitized cells that use natural pigments to collect solar energy.
Instructors: Kathleen Dwyer and Lauren Church
Register HERE by June 8

June 21, 9:30am – 12pm SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY
Synthetic biology is a fascinating and rapidly growing field that allows researchers to engineer biology using engineering concepts. This workshop will cover recent research topics in using synthetic biology to produce renewable transportation fuels.
Instructor: Fuzhong Zhang, associate professor, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Washington University
Register HERE by June 8

June 26, 8:30am – 12pm ENERGY TRANSFORMATIONS: RUBBER BANDS TO SOLAR OVENS
Explore energy transformations through the use of common household items and toys. Assemble and demonstrate the use of a solar hot water heater and apply the content learned to design a solar oven.
Instructors: Heather Frey and Liz Petersen
Register HERE by June 15

Skywatchers were treated to a rare celestial show on August 21, 2017 — the first total solar eclipse visible from the continental U.S. in nearly four decades. ISP held several workshops to educate St. Louis area teachers on the eclipse and ways to safely view it.

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