After-School Training Program for Science Teachers Offers Informative Program Open House and Is Now Accepting Applications

  • JSAT Open House flyer

JLab Photos/Aileen Devlin

Physical science teachers hone skills and implement interactive learning strategies

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – As the new school year approaches, teachers are gearing up for their return to the classroom, this time as students! Each year, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility offers science teachers an opportunity to take their teaching to the next level through the Jefferson Lab Science Activities for Teachers (JSAT) program. JSAT is an after-school enrichment program that is designed to support teachers in their efforts to engage students through interactive learning strategies. An informative open house for teachers interested in the program will be held at Jefferson Lab on Sept. 7. The program is now accepting applications for the 2023-2024 academic year through Sept. 15.

JSAT provides hands-on activities and experiments to help teachers bring science to life in the classroom. The objective of the program is to enhance the physical science knowledge of fifth-, sixth-, and eighth-grade science teachers, while crafting a network of support and guidance among fellow teachers.

Modeled after the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) and the National Science Education Standards, the three cohorts meet twice a month for two hours to discuss potential lesson plans and activities to incorporate into their classroom offerings. 

Carol McKisson is a Jefferson Lab Science Education administrator and the JSAT fifth-grade cohort leader. She says that the program offers invaluable instruction for teachers.

“Under the direction of the instructors, the teachers actually do the activities as if they were the students. Doing the activities beforehand gives teachers the confidence to teach the lesson on their own,” she said. “We also provide the teachers with all the materials they need for the activities.”

JSAT instructors tailor their lessons to meet Virginia SOL requirements for the physical sciences. Participants complete two or more activities per night and leave with enough materials to replicate the activity in their classrooms the next day.

"The program is perfect for both new and seasoned teachers. New teachers receive ready-made physical science hands-on activities and materials. For more seasoned teachers, it helps to reinvigorate them with new lessons and activities to add to their repertoire," McKisson said.

All program activities for this year have been revised to follow the updated SOL standards for Virginia. Topics that will be explored this year include matter, energy transfer, force and motion, magnetism and electricity, atomic structure, waves and sound, simple machines, watersheds and optics.

“The activities you get from participating in the program - PowerPoints, videos, handouts, equipment and materials - it really does give a nice foundation or a nice anchor to a science program,” she said.

The program also provides a networking opportunity and creates a unique web of support for teachers to share materials, ideas and advice with one another. JSAT participants are also encouraged to share their own favorite tried-and-true science activities with their cohort. So, not only do participants receive JSAT activities, they also receive fun and engaging activities and ideas from other teachers.

“It’s not only JSAT activities; it can just be, ‘Hey, this is what I love to teach. It’s fun and engaging.’ And then they’ll share that lesson with the cohort… so not only do the teachers get the JSAT activities, but they get activities from 20 other teachers,” added McKisson.

Upon completion of the program, teachers receive up to 48 recertification points and a $100 stipend. Participants also further their professional development by presenting an activity at the Virginia Region II Jefferson Lab Teacher Night each spring.

Teachers seeking more information about the program may attend an informative open house to be held at Jefferson Lab on Thursday, Sept. 7. Registration for the JSAT Open House is available here.

JSAT is sponsored by the JSA Initiatives Fund program, which was established by Jefferson Science Associates to support programs, initiatives and activities that further the scientific outreach and promote the science, education and technology missions of Jefferson Lab in ways that complement its basic and applied research focus.

Further Reading
JLab Science Activities for Teachers Program
2023 Virginia Region II Teacher Night
JSAT Open House Registration and Information

By Skyler Tolzien-Orr

Contact: Kandice Carter, Jefferson Lab Communications Office,


Jefferson Science Associates, LLC, manages and operates the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, or Jefferson Lab, for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. JSA is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Southeastern Universities Research Association, Inc. (SURA).

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit