Resources to Improve STEM Teacher Training and Professional Development Quality

Revitalize STEM teacher preservice education, induction, and professional development programs that attract and prepare a diverse group of P–16 STEM teachers and promote their effectiveness, retention, lifelong learning, and continued involvement in research.


1. News Stories

Short news stories about STEM teacher training and professional development activities on the Illinois campus.

2. Funded Projects Directory

Directory of current externally funded P-16 teacher training and professional development projects on the Illinois campus.

3. Funding Opportunities

External funding opportunities for teacher training and professional development programs and research.

4. Miscellaneous STEM Websites/Resources

  • New! The 7 Best Places to Learn to Code for Free (2019). Article on Brainly website, a social learning platform connecting students and educators around the world. The article focuses on several of the top free, intuitive coding resources set to solve the lack of CS education in schools today.

  • 5. STEM Teacher Development and Resources

    Opportunities and resources for preservice and inservice P-16 STEM teachers. Opportunities, including new dates for events that occur in consecutive years, are posted as program information becomes available. Until new dates are available, we retain the date of the previous year's event, since they often happen around the same time every year.

    P–16 STEM Teacher Development Events
    • Knowles Science Teaching Foundation: KSTF Teaching Fellowships: Awards fellowships in the areas of biological sciences, mathematics, and physical sciences. The fellowship is designed to meet the needs of beginning teachers from the onset of the credentialing process through the early years of their careers. Fellows receive: stipends, funding for professional development, grants for teaching materials, leadership and mentoring oportunities. Application deadline for 2018 Teaching Fellowship is TBA.
    • P–16 STEM Instructional and PD Resources
      • After Hours Programming: After Hours Programming helps teach the fundamentals of web development and not just programming. We help teach beginners and anyone interested in how to create amazing websites through programming and design tutorials. We have provided a great list of resources, support and tutorials to help anyone learn programming and the essential to creating an amazing website. 
      • Academic Challenge: Science/engineering test competitions for high school students. Teachers at participating schools (400+ schools in Illinois) select their best students for their teams and coach them using old tests for practice. There are three levels of competition for Academic Challenge: regionals (in February), sectionals (in March), and state finals (in April) on the UIUC campus. 
      • American Chemical Society Classroom Resources: For elementary/middle school, high school, undergrad, two-year college, and graduate education.
        1. Inquiry in Action: A resource for guided, inquiry-based activities that grade 3-6 teachers and students can use to supplement physical science curriculum.
        2. A resource of guided, inquiry-based lesson plans for grades 6-8 that covers basic chemistry concepts along with the process of scientific investigation.
      • ACS Chemistry in the Community Webinars: Increase your understanding of the high school text, Chemistry in the Community (ChemCom), while gaining instructional tips and techniques for student lab investigations and classroom activities.
      • BeeSpace: Instructional resources for high school biology, ecology, and environmental science classes
      • Bugscope: Free interactive access to a scanning electron microscope for K-16 classrooms worldwide
      • Center for the Physics of Living Cells: Curriculum Resources: In collaboration with local teachers, we have developed a series of curriculum resources for use in secondary science instruction. Resources are designed for physics, chemistry, and biology teachers.
      • Chickscope: Students use classroom computers to access data generated from scientific instruments
      • Chic Tech: Teams of undergraduate women visit high schools to demystify the field of computer science and inform female students about the joy of studying it as a college major. One component, the Technical Ambassadors Competition, challenges groups of up to 5 high school girls to create a technical service project for a community non-profit organization. Winning projects receive cash prizes, and finalists are invited to a weekend retreat at Illinois.Contacts:
      • DATA: Demonstrations and Animations for Teaching Astronomy: Astronomy teaching resources.
      • Earth's Atmosphere: Educational resource for elementary school units on earth's atmosphere, weather, and climate.
      • ELATE at Drexel: Executive Leadership in Academic Technology and Engineering (ELATE) is a national leadership development program designed to advance senior women faculty in academic engineering, computer science, and related fields into effective institutional leadership roles within their schools and universities.
      • Engineering Advocates: Illinois Engineering students visit K–12 schools to share their knowledge and love of engineering with @ 6000 youth per year. They conduct hands-on workshops at elementary and middle schools and make a PowerPoint presentation about engineering careers and admission to Illinois at high schools; they also conduct workshops for groups such as Girl Scouts and participate in conferences and career fairs for middle and high school students. Contact Engineering Advocates.
      • EtoysIllinois: K–5 teaching with EToys software and teaching computer languages
      • FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology: An international competition allowing students to explore science and technology through robotics. Illinois hosts a regional Lego Robotics competition every December, with @ 220 children participating annually. College of Engineering supports Robotics Program (ages 9–14), and Vex Robotics (high school). Teachers in AP Physics classes employ Vex robotics to provide a hands-on approach to physics principles.
      • Illinois Geometry Lab (IGL): This group of mathematicians seeks to share their love of geometry with people of all ages. Student members of the lab perform outreach in schools, after-school clubs, and provide workshops and resources for local high school and middle school teachers. Contact IGL. I-STEM article: Illinois Geometry Lab: Changing the Shape of Math Research...and Outreach.
      • iRISE (Illinois Researchers in Partnership with K-12 Science Educators): The Illinois Researchers in Partnership with K-12 Science Educators (iRISE) Project aims to bring hands-on science and engineering lessons to underrepresented middle school students and their teachers in Illinois. iRISE is centered around a graduate course which trains science and engineering PhD students in educational outreach. As a part of the course, graduate students develop and teach science and engineering lessons to local middle school students. iRISE also teaches an annual summer workshop for Illinois middle school teachers.
      • iRobotics: This student organization seeks to share their love of robotics with youngsters. Outreach events they perform include judging competitions; doing demonstrations in local schools; and helping start, mentor, or prepare teams for competition. Contact iRobotics. I-STEM article on iRobotics.
      • Illinois State Board of Education Educator Certification Information: The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) provides endorsements for teacher certifications. Endorsements are available in several subject areas, including Biological Science, Computer Applications, Computer Science, General Science, Mathematics, Physical Science, Chemistry, Earth & Space Science, and Environmental Science. Specific requirements for endoresements are listed here.
      • NanoCEMMS Online Labs: Nanotechnology lab activities that can be used in elementary, middle, and high school classrooms; labs include materials lists, step-by-step procedures, and downloadable materials .
      • Physics Van: Performs physics demonstrations in Champaign-Urbana, IL area elementary schools
      • Physics Lecture Demonstration Database: Designed to help physics instructors find demonstrations for their lectures
      • Prairie Research Institute Teacher Resources. These teacher resources under Teachers/Youth Groups Resources were developed for the Naturally Illinois Expo.
      • REACT (Reaching and Educating Tomorrow's Chemists Today). Each semester, the program visits every local school within a 30 mile radius of campus to work with third grade youngsters in hands-on activities in chemistry. The program also performs demonstration shows, visits local after-school facilities, and hosts on-campus and off-campus sessions for families to do hands-on science together for an evening each month. Email REACT. I-STEM article: REACT: Reaching and Educating Tomorrow's Chemists Today.
      • TCIP (Trustworthy Cyber Infrastructure for the Power Grid): Interactive lessons help teachers and students learn about the system that delivers electricity and challenges for the future
      • TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools): Program started by Microsoft Company strives to get a computer science course in every high school in the U.S. Schools wishing to apply to be a partner with TEALS for the 2016-17 school year must apply by February 28, 2019.
      • The Power of the Wind: Curriculum includes several small projects that teach about the wind and its uses while introducing engineering design and engaging learners in doing, testing, reflecting, and revising.
      • University of Illinois Extension: Teacher resources in horticulture, nutrition and health, and environmental stewardship, and schools online, which contains science resources.
      • WaterCAMPWS: Teaching and learning resources on water purification systems.
      • VetMed Open House: The VetMed Open House shows the public what truly goes on inside an animal hospital, giving visitors a taste of what it takes to be a veterinarian via numerous hands-on activities for all ages. Next Open House: October 4, 2020. I-STEM article on Open House 2013: Vet Med Open House Appeals to Young and Old Alike.
      • Wildlife Encounters: Created and operated by the University of Illinois' College of Veterinary Medicine, this site offers resources for K-12 students and teachers.
      Teacher and Principal Fellowships
      • 2020-2021 School Ambassador Fellowship: It has become common understanding in recent years that for education reforms to succeed, practitioners must be involved in their planning and implementation. The U.S. Department of Education created the School Ambassador Fellowship program as one means of recognizing the critical impact educators have on student outcomes and school success. Teachers, principals and other school staff members understand better than anyone the rewards of public education, as well as the need for some dramatic improvements.

        School staff members provide vital leadership in classrooms and schools, but too often lack opportunities to contribute their knowledge to the development of education policy on a broader scale. The U.S. Department of Education designed the School Ambassador Fellowship program to enable outstanding teachers, principals and other school leaders, like school counselors, to bring their school and classroom expertise to the Department and to expand their knowledge of the national dialogue about education. In turn, School Ambassador Fellows facilitate the learning and input of other educators and community members.

      Mission: The School Ambassador Fellowship is designed to improve education for students by involving educators in the development and implementation of national education policy. The Fellowship seeks to:

      • Create a community of teachers, principals, and other school staff members who share expertise and collaborate with leaders in the Federal government on national education issues.
      • Involve educators who work daily with students and teachers in developing policies that affect classrooms and school building.
      • Highlight practitioners' voices and expand educators' critical leadership at the national, state, and local levels.

      Throughout their Fellowship year, School Ambassador Fellows collaborate as a team and with Alumni Fellows to:

      • Learn about federal education policy and ED
      • Reach out to teachers and schools in the field
      • Reflect with ED staff on the knowledge gained
      • For more information on how the Fellowship works, please see our Program Overview
        Application Deadline: February 13, 2019 at 11:59 P.M. Eastern time

    SOLIDarity EXperiences (SOLIDEX) through the Eyes of Children

    What do children aged 11-13 in two countries think about solidarity?
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    Students launch ASL STEM Vocabulary App Company

    Students launch ASL STEM Vocabulary App Company
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    Innovation, Inspiration on display at the Undergraduate Research Symposium

    Undergraduate Research Week took place April 23-29, 2023, and culminated Thursday, April 27, 2023
    Full Story

    What would you like to see – 3D printers? Magnets? Solar-powered racing cars? Robobrawl?

    March 28, 2023
    EOH occurs Friday, March 31, and Saturday, April 1, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
    Full Story

    Tour of Illinois’ Materials Research Lab through I-MRSEC sparks Franklin students’ interest in Materials Science

    March 1, 2023
    Students from the Champaign middle school had a tour of the Material Research Laboratory (MRL) in early February.
    Full Story

    Nobel Project’s End-of-Year Zoom Bash Recaps Learning

    February 1, 2022
    The STEM Illinois Nobel Project held a special, end-of-the-year Zoom event celebrating its participating students’ achievements.
    Full Story

    It’s not magic, it’s physics

    January 26, 2022
    In Franklin STEAM Academy, Musical Magnetism program makes STEM fun, approachable.
    Full Story

    Program prepares STEM educators to teach all students

    November 30, 2021
    This summer, a group of educators gathered to learn about engaging STEM activities they can do with their students.
    Full Story

    Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program

    November 11, 2021
    Undergrads get a taste of research through I-MRSEC’s REU program.
    Full Story

    Goldstein’s Renaissance Engineering Summer Camp

    November 1, 2021
    Goldstein’s Renaissance Engineering Summer Camp Incorporates Art, Design, Mechatronics, and Mentoring
    Full Story

    TechTogether Chicago to Redefine the Hacker Stereotype

    July 10, 2021
    New workshops that can help inspire students to pursue careers in technology..
    Full Story

    Aerospace Engineering Launches Virtual Summer Camps to Pique Students’ Interest in Aero.

    July 2, 2021
    Design an aircraft then watch it soar after launching it with a huge rubber band. Build a Mars lander to safely transport a real egg, then test the contraption by dropping it from a second story window.
    Full Story

    Undergrads Experience Materials Science Research Courtesy of the I-MRSEC REU

    June 16, 2021
    Ten undergraduate students are spending the summer of 2021 discovering what research is like.
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    MatSE Afterschool Academy

    MatSE Afterschool Academy

    June 14, 2021
    MatSE Afterschool Academy to Introduce Students to Materials Science and Beyond.
    Full Story

    Taylor Tucker Embraces Multidisciplinary Interest

    Taylor Tucker Embraces Multidisciplinary Interest

    June 14, 2021
    Taylor Tucker Embraces Multidisciplinary Interest While Researching Task Collaboration.
    Full Story

    Exposes Franklin Middle Schoolers to Science, CS

    What Studying Engineering at Illinois is Like?

    May 25, 2021
    NSBE’s Michaela Horn Exposes Franklin Middle Schoolers to Science, CS, and What Studying Engineering at Illinois is Like.
    Full Story

    Jenny Saves a Convertible.

    Children’s-Book-Writing Duo/

    May 19, 2021
    Convertibles and Thunderstorms—Children’s-Book-Writing Duo on Their Way Thanks to Illinois Training and Encouragement from Mentors.
    Full Story

    Improve Learning in Engineering

    Improve Learning in Engineering

    May 17, 2021
    Liebenberg Espouses Mini-Projects to Engage Students Emotionally, Improve Learning in Engineering.
    Full Story

    Joshua Whitely makes an adjustment to the 3D Bioprinter during the demo.

    BIOE435 Capstone Projects

    May 12, 2021
    BIOE435 Capstone Projects - BIOE Seniors Use Knowledge/Skills to Problem Solve.
    Full Story

    Elani and Gonzalo shine a UV light on a rose that has absorbed a solution that has made it fluorescent.

    Illinois Scientists Shine a (UV) Light on Fluorescence

    May 7, 2021
    What is fluorescence? What causes it?
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    Joshua Whitely makes an adjustment to the 3D Bioprinter during the demo.

    HackIllinois 2021 “Rekindled Connections” With The Tech Community

    May 5, 2021
    Annual student hackathon HackIllinois with the aim of developing projects on current problems facing society.
    Full Story

    A Shane Mayer-Gawlik image of the Bridger Aurora, part of his Night Skies photography collection exhibited at the Art-Science Festival.

    The Art-Science Festival

    April 26, 2021
    Illinois Art-Science Festival: Illuminating the Universe...from the Quantum World to the Cosmos.
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    Joshua Whitely makes an adjustment to the 3D Bioprinter during the demo.

    Illinois Engineering Seniors Prepared to Change the World

    April 22, 2021
    Ready. Set. Go! Illinois Engineering Seniors Prepared to Change the World.
    Full Story

    HML 2021 Virtual Health

    HML 2021 Virtual Health

    April 19, 2021
    Make-a-Thon Gives Citizen Scientists a Shot at Making Their Health-Related Innovations a Reality.
    Full Story

    I-MRSEC’s Music Video

    I-MRSEC’s Music Video

    April 7, 2021
    I-MRSEC’s Music Video for EOH ’21 Plugs Graphene, 2D Materials
    Full Story

    Health Make-a-Thon Orientation

    HML 2021 Health Orientation

    March 30, 2021
    HML 2021 Health Make-a-Thon Orientation Prepares Finalists for Competition.
    Full Story

    Andrea Perry shows Franklin students how to take apart the magnetic drawing board they received in their kit

    Musical Magnetism

    March 25, 2021
    Musical Magnetism: Encouraging Franklin Middle Schoolers to Express Science Via the Arts.
    Full Story

    Carmen Paquette street performing.

    Love of Science

    March 9, 2021
    Paquette Conveys Her Love of Science, Dance to Franklin STEAM Students Via Musical Magnetism.
    Full Stroy

    An Engineering Exploration participant exhibits the tower they built as part of the engineering challenge related to Civil Engineering

    Engineering Exploration

    March 2, 2021
    SWE’s Engineering Exploration Outreach Lives Up to Its Name.

    ChiS&E’s Family STEM Day

    ChiS&E’s Family STEM Day

    February 23, 2021
    Helps Chicago Youngsters Progress Along the STEM Pipeline Toward Engineering.

    Kathny Walsh

    Kathy Walsh

    February 17, 2021
    On Her First Foray into STEAM, Kathy Walsh Acquaints Franklin Students with Microscopy, Haiku.

    ChiS&E student

    ChiS&E CPS Students

    January 19, 2021
    Illinois Undergrads Encourage ChiS&E CPS Students Toward Possible Careers in Engineering.

    I-MRSEC’s Music Video

    CISTEME365 Provides Year-Round PD/Community

    January 4, 2021
    to Illinois Teachers in Support of Informal STEM Education Efforts to Underserved Students.