University of Texas STEM Professional Development Day
Saturday Dec. 8, 2018
UT Austin STEM Professional Development Day

Mix and match your workshops throughout the day! $30 registration fee per person includes parking validation, lunch, light breakfast and any combination* of workshops. Earn up to 7 hours of CPE credits.

*Exception: Science Action Club by itself or with one of the afternoon sessions is $150 due to the inclusion of kits for 20 students, instructor guides and other materials for 12 weeks of the club (a $750+ value). NOTE: the $150 registration fee covers up to 4 people to attend the Science Action Club workshop (and afternoon workshops if interested) including parking validation, lunch and light breakfast.



Breakfast and Registration: 8:30 am - 9:00 am

All Day Session: Introduction to Java Programming: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Four Hour Morning Session - Science Action Club: Bug Safari: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

One Hour Morning Sessions: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

  • Using Menus with Diverse Populations: Ensuring Equity and Access: 9:00 am - 10:00 am
  • Peer Instruction: A Pedagogy of Engagement: 10:00 am - 11:00 am
  • Using PhET Simulations to Promote Inquiry: 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Lunch: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Three Hour Afternoon Sessions: 1:00 pm - 4:00pm

  • PBS SciGirls
  • Planet Texas 2050 


Workshop Descriptions

Introduction to Java Programming
Java is one of the most widespread and popular programming languages yet is one of the harder ones to get started with. This workshop is meant as an intro to the language using the JCreator IDE. We will also briefly touch on object-oriented topics and design patterns as they relate to Java including Applets. This is a very hands-on workshop and participants will work through exercises using Java fundamentals. Free and paid recommended resources for educators will be previewed.
Facilitator: Sylvia Wood, Leander ISD and The STEM Center
Target Audience: Any Educator with Beginner to Minimal Programming Experience
Science Action Club: Bug Safari
Science Action Club, a nationwide STEM program for middle school youth in out-of-school time. The Texas Girls Collaborative Project ( is excited to continue this project in Texas in collaboration with The University of Texas at Austin Environmental Science Institute and The University of Texas at Austin Women in Engineering Program! In SAC’s Bug Safari, youth explore small creatures with big environmental impacts. On local field expeditions, youth search for bugs, collect specimens and post photographs to iNaturalist—a citizen science project and online social network for nature research. Working with scientists and other students, youth identify arthropod species and document habitat conditions that influence our planet’s health. The program is targeted for youth in 5th - 8th grades.
By attending the workshop, you will receive the following:
• One guidebook with detailed plans for 12 nature investigations and citizen science experiences.
• One teaching kit with high-quality science tools and supplies for 20 youth. ($750 Value)
• Digital access to the SAC Educator Portal.
• Ongoing support from a SAC trainer.
Facilitator: Didey Muniz, Environmental Science Institute
Target Audience: 5th – 8th Grade Informal or Formal Educators
Using Menus with Diverse Populations: Ensuring Equity and Access
Menus are a powerful tool for providing students with choice and can lead to greater student engagement, but they may also unintentionally contain biases and inequities. This session will explore these inequities so educators are able to spot and fix these issues. Intended for math and science teachers from grades 3-12, multiple example menus will be provided to allow teachers to explore content from their courses. Menus will be examined for inequities related to language proficiency, culture, race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status. We won’t solve all the world’s problems in this session, but we will begin the conversation and you will leave with ideas on how to change your own practices.
Facilitator: Jennifer Jordan-Kaszuba, The STEM Center
Target Audience: Math and Science Teachers from Grades 3-12
Peer Instruction: A Pedagogy of Engagement
In this workshop, participants will experience and learn Peer Instruction, a research-based teaching method that promotes active engagement and student-centered learning. Educators will learn best practices from Peer Instruction experts to impact the science reasoning skills of students in the classroom. Participants will engage in a short ConcepTest series PI module consisting of higher-order questions from Geoscience and Physics. A set of highly engaging questions will be provided including examples aligned to TEKS from Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Geoscience. Participants will leave with a new pedagogy they can immediately implement including access to free resources they can use in their own classrooms.
Facilitator: Abby Cariker, OnRamps Science Implementation Coach
Target Audience: Middle School and High School STEM Teachers
Using PhET Simulations to Promote Inquiry
In this workshop, participants will learn best practices for using PhET simulations within an inquiry lesson cycle. Educators will participate in a segment of an inquiry-based lesson using a PhET simulation. Building on their experiences, participants will have time to explore existing resources and simulations and consider how and when they might be used in their own classrooms.
Facilitator: Clayton Stahl, OnRamps Science Implementation Coach
Target Audience: Middle School and High School STEM Teachers
PBS SciGirls
SciGirls, a PBS KIDS weekly series and website, is out to change how millions of tween girls think about science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM! In each episode, animated characters Izzie and her best friend Jake find themselves in jams only science can fix. To set things right, Izzie calls on bright, curious real-life SciGirls, who put STEM to work and save the day. Izzie also invites viewers to hang out on the website, a totally safe, social networking environment where girls can connect, create personal profiles and avatars, share projects and watch every episode. In this workshop:
• Discover how to engage young women (ages 8-13) through research-based, high-quality activities and resources.
• Learn the latest research for exciting and engaging girls (and boys) in STEM
• Experience FOUR hands-on STEM activities including light up electric circuit dough creatures, slow-falling parachutes, bouncing balls and wind measuring devices.
• Leave with curriculum for over 25 hands-on, video-enhanced activities that put a creative twist on teaching STEM • Learn how to modify any activity to excite and engage kids in STEM using the SciGirls Seven
• Discover additional online resources that enhance teaching and learning experiences for all kids
Facilitator: Tricia Berry, Women in Engineering Program, Texas Girls Collaborative Project
Target Audience: Upper Elementary and Middle School Formal and Informal Educators
Planet Texas 2050
Texas’ population today is nearly 28 million. By 2050, that number is predicted to double to 55 million, with most people clustered in already-dense urban centers like Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin. Limited resources will be in even greater demand. Planet Texas 2050 is an eight-year sprint to find solutions that will make our communities more resilient and better prepared. To do that, we’re bringing together architects, archaeologists, city planners, public health experts, geologists, engineers, computer scientists, artists — and more. This Planet Texas 2050 workshop provides educators with curriculum for elementary, middle, and high school students to learn about the challenges our state faces and the kinds of new discoveries and ideas that can help us be prepared.
Facilitators: Lakin Beal and Julia Holland, Environmental Research Institute
Target Audience: Elementary, Middle and High School Formal and Informal Educators
Register Here