Elementary and middle school science teachers are invited to register for Jefferson Lab’s annual showcase of stimulating science activities.
NEWPORT NEWS, VA – All upper-elementary and middle school teachers of the physical sciences are invited to participate in the annual Virginia Region II Teacher Night. The event is hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility and will be held on April 19, 2023. This professional development opportunity promises a night of fun-filled learning festivities and hands-on physical science demonstrations.
Advance registration is required for the free event, which also offers the opportunity for teachers to obtain a recertification point. Teacher Night 2023 is currently scheduled to be held in-person for the first time since 2019, although it may move to a virtual event if needed. The event is co-led by Science Education team lead Lisa Surles-Law and team member Carol McKisson.
“We’re so excited to offer this event again in-person,” said Surles-Law. “While it’s great to have the talks and demonstrations available virtually, we also recognize the camaraderie and connections that local teachers can make at an in-person event.”
Reminiscent of a traditional science fair, teacher night offers local educators the opportunity to demonstrate a multitude of classroom activities and physical science teaching methods.
According to Surles-Law, these teachers have been working year-round to up their game in teaching physical science concepts. Now, they’re ready to share what they’ve learned, while broadening their skill base. The demonstrations will be provided by teachers participating in the JLab Science Activities for Teachers (JSAT) program, an after-school science enrichment program for teachers.
“Teacher Night provides the JSAT teachers the professional development opportunity to speak to the public, share their craft and be enthusiastic with their colleagues,” she said. “In fact, we schedule Teacher Night near the end of the school year, because we know all teachers can use a little boost this time of the year.”
Teachers in the JSAT program meet twice each month in the evenings, divided by grade level, to learn new teaching methods and strategies from Jefferson Lab’s Science Education team.
“The way that the sessions run is, we have about two activities that we will give them all the materials for and teach them how to use. Their directive is to make sure that they're thinking of the students currently in their classrooms and asking themselves, ‘How do I modify the materials so that I can meet the specific needs of my students?’,” said Surles-Law.
The JSAT program is funded by the JSA Initiatives Fund, which is sponsored annually by Jefferson Lab’s management and operations contractor, Jefferson Sciences Associates, LLC. The JSAT program and its Teacher Night activity impact hundreds of teachers annually.
Educators will present more than 50 teacher-approved classroom activities that are pertinent to a plethora of physical science topics, ranging from atomic theory, to the water cycle, to energy conservation.
“Our programming gets to some of the foundational basics, too, like studying the scientific method, modeling inquiry, and making sure that teachers are finding multiple ways to give the same information,” she said.
In addition to the engaging demonstrations, an online raffle will take place. The raffle offers unique door prizes that contain kits for teachers to implement the presented activities in their own classrooms.
The impact of Teacher Night extends far beyond those in attendance. Each teacher returns home with an advanced set of knowledge and experience that encourages them to implement new learning techniques within their classrooms.
“Teacher Night benefits students by benefitting teachers. Over the year, we’ve been able to help improve the way schools present science,” she said.
Teacher Night Registration
JLab Science Activities for Teachers Program
By Skyler Tolzien-Orr
Contact: Kandice Carter, Jefferson Lab Communications Office, firstname.lastname@example.org