Member InstitutionMember Institution University of Notre Dame

University of Notre Dame

Teacher programs

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Gordon Berry

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The support for teachers by the Department of Physics at Notre Dame includes providing an undergraduate degree in "Physics and Education", as well as numerous ongoing summer and academic-year programs in professional development for teachers in the areas of education and teaching theory and in research in physics. We collaborate with Saint Mary's college in several of the teacher development programs.

1. In-service teachers are supported by two-month-long summer internships within different research groups within the department. The program is coordinated by our High-energy Quarknet program (a nationwide collaboration of high energy research groups dedicated to enhancing pre-college teacher professional development). Pre-college teachers within this program continue their professional development at Notre Dame throughout the academic year, meeting and exchanging ideas through monthly meetings and otherwise.

2. One- and two-week-long summer workshops for middle-school science and mathematics teachers on "Guided Inquiry methods in the classroom". These focus on the process of teaching by student-centered guided inquiry. The teachers develop module examples for their own curriculum. The teachers in this group, presently all from the local area, continue to exchange curriculum development ideas through meetings, conferences and the internet.

3.  Organize and give summer workshops in high school science modeling in physics, chemisry and biology.  These workshops take place at Notre Dame, in Indianapolis, and at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville.

4.  Maintain a special loan library of materials for science teaching - principally of Vernier controllers and probes - about 500 items can be checked out for one-month periods by teachers who have attended our professional development workshops. The library is part of the Notre Dame Hesburgh Library (see the on-line catalog for use)

5. Faculty members (from the Physics and Chemistry Departments) collaborate in the program of professional development of elementary school teachers described in the Saint Mary's College program: In-service teachers are supported by week-long summer workshops that focus on the process of teaching by student-centered guided inquiry. We are currently working with the elementary teachers of local school districts. We continue to develop support for these programs in other local school districts across Indiana for both elementary and middle-school teachers.

6. We have established NISMEC (the Northern Indiana Science. Mathematics and Engineering Collaborative) [website: ] to coordinate many of the activities described above. The Collaborative includes the University of Notre Dame, Saint Mary's College, and IUSB (the University of Indiana, South Bend), as well as representatives from the local school districts and several community groups. NISMEC is the north-central Indiana hub of the statewide science alliance I-STEM. [website:]

We serve the teachers in the state by promoting science teaching by guided inquiry. We present workshops and talks on all aspects of science teaching at the annual state science teacher's meeting and provide professional development for school districts as requested.

Supplemental Link

    The Northern Indiana Science, Mathematics and Engineering Collaborative