Research Opportunities for Teachers

Check out the extensive research opportunities offered to science educators. NSF-funded research often includes a Research Experience for Teachers (RET) as a part of the proposal funding. The Department of Energy (DOE) also offers many research opportunities at national labs through out the country. The opportunities cover a variety of scientific topics as well as educational research topics to help inform best practices. Make plans to enrich your teaching and student learning in your classroom by becoming a part of a research team. Teachers describe the powerful impact a research experience has on their classroom teaching as well as on their own life-long learning. Below are descriptions of the opportunities from the websites and URLs. Be sure to check the websites for application due dates. Note that many of the applications are due in the fall and selections are made in early spring. Even though due dates have passed for many programs you can mark your MyNESTA calendar and prepare for next year's application.

The link below takes you to a US map so you can find research opportunities around the nation. This is a very valuable resource that will help you plan ahead.

Faculty and Student Teams (FaST) Program

The Faculty and Student Teams (FaST) Program is a cooperative effort between the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Faculty from colleges and universities with limited research facilities and those institutions serving populations, women, and minorities underrepresented in the fields of science, engineering, and technology are encouraged to apply for the FaST program. The FaST program will support a team comprised of one faculty member and 2 – 3 undergraduate students. The program provides hands-on research opportunities in DOE national laboratories during the summer. The faculty member identifies a mutually beneficial research area amenable to collaboration by the faculty member and the laboratory scientist. Potential areas of collaboration are based upon the Project Descriptions described at the specific DOE Office of Science laboratory. Faculty and student team members recruited by the faculty member should apply online. If the application is accepted, your institution may be responsible for requesting supplemental funding from NSF to support the team's participation.

Wisconsin Teacher Enhancement Program

There are numerous opportunities for K-12 science teachers to participate in research at UW-Madison. These Research Experiences for Teachers are often arranged with funding from the National Science Foundation as well as other federal sources of research funds.

The ARMADA Project, funded by the National Science Foundation, provides K-12 teachers an opportunity to actively participate in ocean, polar, and environmental science research and peer mentoring. Master Teachers develop ways to bring the fruits of their research experiences, including scientific data, methodologies, and technology into their classrooms. They share their experience by mentoring new teachers in their school district and by presenting their results at National Science Teachers Association National Conventions.

Prior to embarking on their research project, ARMADA Master Teachers participate in an intense training workshop that encompasses standards-based pedagogies, mentoring and coaching strategies, and investigations of ocean science content and resources.

NOAA Teacher at Sea (TAS)

The mission of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Teacher at Sea (TAS) program is to give teachers a clearer insight into our ocean planet, a greater understanding of maritime work and studies, and to increase their level of environmental literacy by fostering an interdisciplinary research experience. The program provides a unique environment for learning and teaching by sending kindergarten through college-level teachers to sea aboard NOAA research and survey ships to work under the tutelage of scientists and crew. Then, armed with new understanding and experience, teachers bring this knowledge back to their classrooms. Indeed, the greatest payoff of NOAA's Teacher at Sea program is the enthusiasm for learning more about our ocean planet generated between teachers and students.

Astronomy Research Based Science (formerly known as TLRBSE)

Now in its 10th year at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, this program is designed to help you become a master science teacher in research-based science education. Designed for high school teachers, it provides opportunities for your students to do authentic astronomical research. Following a competitive application process, we will accept approximately 18 teachers from around the country. These individuals will be trained in astronomy content and research pedagogy as follows:

  • An online distance learning program stressing astronomical imaging, spectroscopy and classroom research projects in spring 2008
  • A 10 day workshop at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Tucson including 4 full nights observing with research telescopes in late June
  • A cooperative partnership between you and professional astronomers following the workshop
  • A growing professional community of educators involved with astronomy research-based science education
  • Future observing opportunities for you and your students

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