The STEM Education Center at WPI
We are committed to empowering educators to lead relevant, integrated & inclusive STEM experiences.
At WPI’s STEM Education Center, we believe that STEM is an approach to teaching & learning that engages students in interconnected, meaningful, and inclusive learning experiences that support the development of skills necessary to become informed decision makers and critical thinkers. We support and build the capacity of educators to provide equitable, standards-aligned, science and STEM opportunities that excite and inspire all students to figure out relevant phenomena and solve real-world problems.
The STEM Education Center offers a unique Storyline and OpenSciEd (OSE) professional learning program that immerses participants in the ‘process of figuring-out’ and what it takes to do science and engineering. During the training, educators discover the Storyline model, a student led process for teaching and learning science, and the shift it brings to student engagement and motivation. They experience an OSE unit as students and then put their teacher hat on to explore unit’s materials, connect with colleagues to practice routine moves, and prepare for implementation that will transform their science classroom. The training can be provided both in-person and virtually, and is geared toward science teachers, coaches and administrators. Understanding that every school & district has specific needs, we welcome the challenge of adapting the OSE PD to participants, while keeping its integrity and rigor. The STEM Education Center is happy to expand the OSE training by adding engineering connections to the different units. We also welcome schools/districts that are looking for a gradual OSE adoption.
Culturally responsive pedagogy is woven into all aspects of our professional development programs. We believe that all students and educators have the capacity to engage in/lead high-quality science and STEM learning experiences. We seek systemic ways to broaden the participation in science and STEM, especially inviting those that have been historically excluded, and work with others towards equity in education. Since equitable science instruction is at the core of the OSE curriculum, we model and create a culture in which participants are encouraged to share their ideas and make connections to past experiences. We demonstrate how the OSE units promote multi-modal representation of student thinking, allowing them to demonstrate their learning in multiple ways and languages while keeping the rigor of science core ideas and practices. We encourage students and teachers to see themselves as scientist and engineers in their endeavor to explain scientific phenomena. We also recognize that the work toward supporting equitable science instruction is a journey that takes time and effort. Thus, we are looking to learn from our participants in order to improve our OSE facilitation to better serve all our participants.
The STEM Education Center understands the needs and constraints of teachers, leaders, and school systems and starts every discussion with administration by listening carefully to their goals, vision, and timeline. Implementing the OSE curriculum with fidelity that adheres to the pedagogical shifts is a multi-year process that requires administration commitment and support. To become successful in OSE facilitation, teachers need to try, reflect, and revise their instruction, and will greatly benefit from coaching and connecting with others in learning communities to discuss common successes and challenges. We offer check-in sessions and consultations to support teachers, coaches, and education leaders to provide ongoing support and strategies. Professional learning programs offered by the STEM Education Center follow cooperative learning strategies, recognizing that learning is enhanced by connecting with others. Our programs are designed to meet teachers where they are and be adapted based on participants’ feedback and formative evaluation.
Where We Work
OpenSciEd Professional Learning
- Curriculum Launch
- Facilitator Training
- Ongoing Support/Unit Launch
- Unit Adaptation Support
Other Professional Learning
- Strategic District Implementation
- Supporting Science Coaches