Science & Engineering Saturday Seminars    Spring, 2015


Click here for online seminar registration and payment

January 24. (Rescheduled for April 11)  Producing Electricity with Solar Cells. Rob Snyder and Chris Emery, STEM Ed. This seminar will focus on transforming the energy of visible light into electrical energy using photovoltaic cells. Background information and activities suitable for modification for use in middle and high school classrooms will include: measuring how much electricity is produced by photovoltaic cells, using spectrometers to measure the energy of photons of visible light, experimenting with the tilt and direction of photovoltaic cells and determining the efficiency of photovoltaic cells.

January 31. Data driven learning. Mariah Hamel, In this workshop we will focus on ways to use data in science and math classes that fosters interdisciplinary thinking. We will use a tool called, a versatile, free, online graphing platform that helps students graph and analyze data.. Examples from physics, biology and statistics will be used to illustrate how data and technology can enhance learning. Bring a laptop (with Google Chrome) if you can; a tablet with a browser may be ok.  

February 7. Interdisciplinary Science Connections. **AT AMHERST COLLEGE BENESKI MUSEUM** Fred Venne. The museum will serve as the backdrop for a seminar that looks at best practices in science curriculum integration. It hosts a collection of over 200,000 specimens from around the world and across time, 1,700 of which are on display. The museum allows participants to examine concepts like evolution, change over time, adaptation, extinction and Earth history. The seminar will provide opportunities at its interdisciplinary nature and how it connects Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Geology. Participants will examine connections with other aspects of the curriculum including literacy, math and social science. We will have an in-depth guided museum visit and an opportunity to explore field guides specifically designed to get the most out of a museum experience. Bring a camera if you can.

February 28.  Introduction to Scratch Programming.  ***At UMass Integrated Sciences Building 321***
NOTE: There is no more room in this session.
John Heffernan, Williamsburg Schools. Learn the free Scratch programming language for use in both in-school and after-school settings.  Scratch allows students in grades 3 and up to learn the fundamentals of programming in an easy and fun way. Scratch 2.0 is completely web-based. No programming experience required. Bring a laptop if you can; a tablet probably will not work.


March 28. How to Build and Teach Case Studies in Science. Scott Auerbach, Chemistry. Engaging and enlarging the enthusiasm of talented students towards learning science, technology, engineering, and mathematics remains a grand challenge at all levels of education. The Integrated Concentration in Science (iCons) Program at UMass is addressing this issue by challenging multi-disciplinary teams of science and engineering majors to design solutions for current problems of global significance. Essential to the iCons pedagogy is the use of open-ended case studies. Good case studies often involve compelling problems, substantial marbling among technological and sociological components, and rich sources of data for analysis. Developing useful case studies remains a difficult balance of pushing students out of their comfort zones without overly frustrating them. In this workshop, we will apply the iCons case-study approach to teach how to develop case studies, based on real-world problems of interest to the workshop participants. This workshop is intended for people who wish to incorporate a unit of integrated STEM into an existing STEM course, or to build an entire integrated STEM course. Participants will gain experience applying “contextualized reverse design,” starting from learning goals, moving towards assessment strategies, and planning educational activities—all in the context of real-world problems with substantial STEM components. Each participant should leave the workshop with the beginnings of an iCons case study that suits their particular educational and real-world interests.


April 11. Makeup date for "Producing Electricity with Solar Cells" 
May 2. Recall for those registered for graduate credits. ** Hasbrouck Lab **

Graduate credit option: There is a charge of $300 for 3 graduate credits plus a $45 registration fee; register for Nat Sci 697A (Cont ed) or 697 F (University). This is in addition to the $120 STEM Education Institute fee. Teachers may obtain credit for the seminar as many terms as they wish, but only 3 credits may be applied to UMass Amherst degrees. A lesson plan and a book report will be required for those enrolled for graduate credit. We will have Continuing Education registration forms at the first seminar. Attendance at all 5 seminars is required.

Questions: Mort Sternheim,, 413-545-1908,

Online seminar registration and payment: Required for everyone whether or not they are registering for graduate credit.

Click here for online seminar registration and payment