An important part of the mission of the Smithsonian — the increase and diffusion of knowledge — is to provide professional development experiences for teachers.
The Museum delivers high-quality professional development, including workshops, symposia, and volunteer opportunities through its departments and with other Smithsonian museums.
As we schedule these opportunities, we'll publish details here.
Marine Biodiversity Workshop
D.C., Maryland, and Virginia Middle and High School Teachers: Professional Development Opportunity with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
How can you measure biodiversity in a constantly-changing ecosystem? Sometimes by measuring what organisms have left behind!
Join scientists and educators from Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) and Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) for a multi-day, hands-on teacher workshop about how scientists study marine biodiversity. You will explore different techniques, including the use of eDNA (traces of DNA left by organisms in the environment), to create a picture of life in an ecosystem. Learn more about the Smithsonian approach to science education and work with other educators to apply what you learn back in your classroom.
Day One: July 27, 2023, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Visit the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) on the Chesapeake Bay in Edgewater, Md., and experience the process and nature of science using different techniques to collect and understand some of the organisms that live in this amazing environment. Have lunch with scientists who will share how they are studying the health of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, and pull on some waders to collect data in the Bay!
(Optional transportation from D.C. available; bus will leave the museum at 8 a.m.)
Day Two: July 28, 2023, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Go behind the scenes at NMNH in Washington, D.C., to learn how scientists use museum collections in their research, and visit museum laboratory spaces where DNA is decoded. Have lunch with scientists who are using eDNA to study marine biodiversity and examine eDNA datasets from Chesapeake Bay sample sites to see what stories they tell about an ecosystem. Reflect with your fellow teachers on how these activities can be used in your classroom, and leave with your very own eDNA testing kits for students to use on your school grounds or in your local community.
Day Three: TBD
Finally, come together again for a virtual follow-up (date to be determined according to group availability) to reflect on your classrooms’ experience with the eDNA activity.
Participating teachers will receive one bus for their students to visit NMNH or SERC during the 2023-24 school year, lunch on both days of the workshop, and three eDNA testing kits to take back to their own schools.
The application deadline has passed.
This workshop is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Teacher Tuesday Video Webinars
Educators, are you curious about how to best navigate and utilize the National Museum of Natural History’s digital offerings? In the spring of 2020, we produced live Zoom webinars about our educational resources. In the first half of each program, we took a deep dive into the featured resource, and then we answered viewer questions during the second half of the program. We are no longer producing new Teacher Tuesday programs, but you will find the recordings below.