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2020 science teacher workshop

2020 Science Teacher Workshop - In Person event cancelled - MRL RET Online Resources


Brought to you by the MRL's Research Experience for Teachers (RET) Program


**NOTE March 26th** - The following are classroom science resources developed by teachers in the RET program. 

Our priority in the last 20 years of RET curriculum development has been to engage in scientific inquiry through hands-on learning - modeling the scientific and research process via project-based learning.  WIth this priority on materials and developing lab exercises, many of the projects may be difficult to use when your students are not in your classroom.  

However, from our dozens of past RET curriculum projects, we have compiled a list of projects produced by teachers over the last 20 years of the program that may be useful to remote learning, in that they require little lab access or materials.   If you have questions on these or other resources, contact Frank Kinnaman at frank_kinnaman <at>

Please also see materials of note that we planned to release at our annual science teacher workshop, unfortunately canceled. We especially recommend the Science Journal for Kids resource for these remote learning situations.

In this difficult time we are certain that science can serve as a rational and positive force in the minds of your students.  Our very best wishes to you, your families, and your students.  -Frank Kinnaman, RET Coordinator, on behalf of the MRL Education Outreach Group.


The following past RET projects may be of use as you explore remote learning with your students


Mark Larsen’s “solar collector” and other activities from his “Fun in the Sun” unit exploring solar energy.  

Suzanne Squires’ set of science phenomena activities "A Day at the Beach" based on easily accessible materials from her unit on environmental and marine science.

Alena Kahn’s set of teaching resources "Authentic Science in the Classroom" based on the 8 practices out lined in the Science and Engineering Practices as defined by NGSS.

Lauren Galvin’s “Model Website and Creation of Student Websites” lesson from her “Active Learning in Medical Chemistry” Unit.  Lauren’s “Career Spotlight” and “Present Technology” lessons from this unit may also be of note. 

Rano Sidhu’s “Phet Simulations” and “Sticky Situations” in her Chemistry Unit “Making Invisible Connections Visible”, exploring the concept of intermolecular forces. (Scroll to bottom of the page for resources).

Teresa Leza’s “Cellular Landscape” activity from her “Proteins: Making Bio-Inspired Connections”. (Scroll to bottom of the page for resources).

Brendan Carrol’s "Parachute Design" unit (among other of his engineering unit) as part of his “To Boldly Go… Desination Space” project.

Video and online resources from Megan Nesland’s unit on Nanotechnology: “What’s the Big Deal with the World’s Smallest Technology?

Kyla Gupta's "Graphing Real Data" exercise from her marine ecology project "A Study of Plankton: Collection, Analysis, and Ecology"

Julia Pustizzi’s Logic Puzzles and Formal Scientific Claims from her project “Learning Logic: Developing Science and Communication

Basic soil science explorations in a unit from Kevin Cozzoli: “Getting Dirty: Turning 6th Graders into Soil Scientists

Science writing prompts, science lab sentence frames and science readings from Nathan Inouye: “Not Watering Down the Curriculum for ELL Students”.

Marine Ecology virtual fieldwork in the form of videos and worksheets from Bret Klopfensteins unit: "Science on Scene".


Other Resources from the planned 2020 workshop:


A presentation from recent UCSB postdoctoral researcher Molly O'Beirne - Science Journal for Kids / How Does Climate Change Affect the Great Lakes?

Science Journal for Kids - a GREAT online resource adapting research journal publications for k-12 use.  Their flyer

We hope to provide more information from Molly O'Beirne and Science Journal for Kids in the future.


A presentation was planned from Josh Mutus regarding The Race for Quantum Supremacy at UCSB and the recently established Quantum Foundry.  

Planned keynote research speaker: recent work from MRL Prof. Angela Pitenis and her Interfacial Engineering Lab

Stay tuned for more educational information from Josh Mutus and Angela Pitenis!

Related Quantum Foundry news from our UCSB colleagues: An upcoming opportunity to develop educational "Quantum Kits", also opportunities in CNSI's Apprentice Researchers (heres their flyer) and School for Scientific Thought programs (for high school students).


Other notable UCSB resources:


"UCSB Grad Slam" Champion (best 5 minute research talk contest among UC Graduate Students): Healing Muscles with Mussels by Pitenis research group member George Degan.

Last year workshop speaker Brian Haidet's Alpha Phoenix Youtube Channel:

MRL Graduate Student Brian Haidet's educational science video YouTube channel. Since his presentation last year: new videos titled "The muon-powered, universe-bifurcating, random number machine" and "Boiling water at room temperature with 50ft of hose and a stairway".


2020 RET Teacher Classroom Projects:

These projects were to be presented at our annual workshop on March 13th in the MRL. This in-person event was canceled - but we hope that these projects can be helpful to you in electronic and video form. 

"Seed Dispersal as an Introduction to Ecology" -- Karen Presburger

Karen's Video Presentation -- Presentation Slides -- Curriculum Resources

"Developing a Small Scale Underwater Robot to Investigate Aquatic Ecosystems" -- Larry Madrigal

Larry's Video Presentation -- Presentation Slides -- Curriculum Resources

"Amazing Polymers and the Infinite Variability of Plastic" -- Paul Nolan

Paul's Video Presentation -- Presentation Slides -- Curriculum Resources

"The Color of Flame" (Spectroscopy) -- David Kirkhart

Dave's Video presentation -- Presentation Slides -- Curriculum Resources -- Supplemental (methods) video

*Further note, workshop hands-on demonstrations were to be provided by the following groups.  Please join us at our next workshop, date TBA, for our next Science Teacher Workshop, where we will hopefully be able to showcase these and other great groups along with presentations from RET Teachers Christine Flores, Greg Schiller, Megan Poster. and Nikki Le.*

Annual UCSB Engineering Capstone Expo (Annual event, early June, Campbell Hall)

Hawkes Group of Soft Robotics 

Also thanks to our Door Prize sponsors:

Educational Innovations


Are you using any of these curriculum project in your own classroom?  Please take our short SURVEY.

To apply for our RET program, please visit the following link.