Virginia Tech® home

Professional Development Workshops

for Grades 8-12 Science Teachers

six teachers work in stations at lab benches with microbiology lab equipment
Photo by Clark DeHart for Virginia Tech.

Professional Development Workshops for Math & Science Teachers

June 18-20, 2024

Learn science, Get inspired, Earn professional development points!  

Join one of our hands-on workshops that support grade 8-12 Science, Math, Statistics, and Computer Science Teachers. The five sessions occur concurrently. Sign up for only one session and an optional second choice in case your first choice is full. 

Benefits to you:

  • New knowledge of your subject area!
  • Effective strategies for engaging your students with the material
  • Creative ideas for covering SOLs
  • New colleagues and friends!
  • A certificate of completion/professional development points
  • Great resources and supplies for your classroom
  • Virginia Tech swag.
  • A hotel room for the night before and during the workshop for teachers traveling from out of town and lunches each day. 


Yes, our workshops are FREE for teachers, but costly to run. We limit attendance to 15 teachers per workshop to create a better experience. We ask that you do not sign up for this limited opportunity unless you are certain you will attend.


Sponsored by the College of Science, the Fralin Life Sciences Institute Outreach Fund, the Department of Statistics, and the Academy of Data Sciences at Virginia Tech.

workshops & Schedule

Physics: theory and experiments

This workshop will focus on theory and experiments that demonstrate Newton’s Laws (day 1) and part basic electromagnetism (day 2). On day three we will focus on fun, inexpensive, and effective ways to demonstrate fundamental physical concepts (force, work, energy, and motion) using everyday materials such as water, soap, and rubber and ping pong balls. Participants will have the opportunity to work on and share their plans to introduce these concepts and experimental protocols to students in accordance with VA SOL 6.1, PS.1, PS.2, PS.5, PS.6, PS.10. Classroom supplies to do the demonstrations/labs will be provided to take back to your school.

Intended for all levels of teaching from 8th grade through the most advanced AP courses in high school. 

Session length: 2 full days, 1 half day – Tuesday and Wednesday morning and afternoon and Thursday morning
Number of Participants: 15 

Instructors: Tatsu TakeuchiC. Nadir KaplanJustin R. Barone

Biotech in a Box Kits plus PCR

The Fralin Life Sciences Institute at Virginia Tech loans biotechnology kits to Virginia high school, middle school and community college teachers free of charge (including round-trip shipping). Kits contain the required equipment and supplies to provide enriching, hands-on experiments to the students in your classrooms. The kits are: 

  • Caging the Blob: Studying Slime Mold Behavior
  • DNA Biotechnology 
  • Protein Electrophoresis
  • Column Chromatography
  • Introduction to Immunology

View the full descriptions of the kits, the SOLs covered, and associated manuals.

In this three-day workshop, teachers will work through all five Biotech in a Box kits: learn how the program works, discuss relevant background materials, perform the hands-on experiments, and network with other teachers. We will also introduce PCR and demonstrate how the thermal cyclers (also available to borrow) can be used for PCR investigations in the classroom. This workshop will be valuable for teachers who have never used the kits or have used the kits for 25 years.

Session length: 3 days, two 2.5-3 hour sessions per day, Tuesday-Thursday
Number of participants: 20

Telling Stories through Data Science: Developing Instructional Leaders in Data Science Education for HS Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science Teachers

Interdisciplinary data science that uses storytelling to inform decision-makers and the public is a hot topic in education at all levels.  Secondary public education needs to support building citizen data scientists who can 1) use the information presented in a data story appropriately, 2) debunk a data story when there are holes in the supporting data, visualizations, or analysis, or 3) create their own data science stories.  Process-based data science rooted in statistical thinking and the scientific method can and must be taught at the high school level.

This professional development opportunity will teach a process view of defining subject matter questions, translating them to statistical questions, answering them, and then translating those answers back to the subject matter vocabulary.  Teachers will leave the course with both lessons they can use in their classroom immediately and ideas on how to initiate collaborative science-data science projects. 

Topics include:

  • A process view of data science that starts with posing an interesting question
  • Finding an appropriate data source to answer the question
  • Choosing the best visualizations to let the data tell the story
  • Selecting a statistical method to objectively evaluate and draw conclusions

Critical thinking questions about transparency, competency, and bias in data collection, analysis, visualization, and communication will be integrated into the course material throughout.  Visualizations and analyses will be performed in modern data analysis statistical packages and coding languages.  No prior knowledge of the coding or software is required.  Sessions will include interactive, hands-on lessons in free open-source statistical programming languages and examples with lively discussion. 

NOTE: Teachers will need to work with their local school division’s Department of Technology to ensure that tech tools are accessible on their own and their students’ computers.

Session: 3 days, two 2.5 -3 hour sessions per day, Tuesday-Thursday
Number of Participants: 20

Target audience:  All mathematics, computer science, and statistics teachers
Instructors: Jennifer Van Mullekom and Angie Patterson

Lessons in Chemistry

This workshop aims to help teachers better understand and teach some of the trickier subjects within the high school chemistry curriculum.  We will cover topical knowledge, lab experience, advice about safety, and more. Prior to the workshop, we will poll registrants to find out what you want to learn. We then will respond to as many of those topics and questions as we can in the workshop.  We will discuss experiments and demonstrations that can be implemented at low cost and with minimal needs to ensure safety. 

Intended for all levels of teaching from 8th grade through the most advanced AP and “Chem 2” courses in high schools. 

Participants will be given deep discounts to ThinkWell Chemistry ( – including one free license to a participant chosen by drawing. We will include free supplies for your classroom use as well.

Session: 3 days, Tuesday and Wednesday, 9 am-noon; Thursday, 1:30-4:30 pm
Number of Participants: 15

Instructors: Paul Deck and Gordon Yee, who have 50+ combined years of experience teaching chemistry at an introductory (university) level.  

Connections in the Critical Zone

The Critical Zone (CZ) spans from the tops of the trees to the bedrock below our feet. This place-based workshop will combine geology, ecology, pedagogy & more to offer educators a new perspective on this important layer of our planet. Connect Earth Science concepts to relevant science standards and real research happening in the scientific community. Bring lesson plans, new concepts, and exciting connections back to your classroom. Teachers attending the CZ workshop will receive $400 stipends.

Target audience: Earth Science and Biology teachers

Session: 2 days, Tuesday 8:30am-5pm and Wednesday 8:30am-4pm.  
Number of participants: 15

Instructors: Lily Eligator and Jorden Hayes (


Contact Victoria Corbin, Assistant Dean of Outreach and Student Engagement

Phone: 540-232-8705