Bayer International Science Teens Camp

The Bayer USA Foundation and the Bayer Science and Education Foundation invites students internationally and nationally to join XSci – Experiential Science Education Research Collaborative part of the University of Colorado Boulder for a two-week residential camp.

Included in this experience will be a set of educational resources for participants and their parents/guardians to use, explore and share. These materials will provided during online meetings preceding the camp.

Student learning experiences include:

  • Form and function of human anatomy
  • Bio-engineering and Bio-mechanics of the human body
  • High altitude physiology, cognition and treatment procedures
  • Mountain ecology

This innovative program has been designed for a small, select group of U.S. and international students who will join together for hands-on, field-based experiences on human anatomy and physiology led by Dr. Brad McLain, XSci educators,and Anatomy in Clay creator Jon Zahourek. ANATOMY IN CLAY® models have been used in over 6,000 high schools, colleges, veterinary schools, and bodywork training programs.

Camp attendees will stay on the campus at the University of Colorado, Denver, for one week and on-site in a national park in Leadville, Colo., for the second week.

The Bayer International Science Teens Camp is open to students ages 14-16 at the time of camp attendance. Eligible students must have completed the ninth grade. Funding to attend the two-week camp (including lodging, meals, materials and travel) is provided by the Bayer USA Foundation and the Bayer Science and Education Foundation.

Apply online at:

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Extraordinary Educator Experiences

Merck-xsciLogoSponsored by the Merck Foundation, this once in a lifetime opportunity provides the ultimate science education experience in the company of like-minded teachers. Imagine yourself at the top of the mountain or viewing elephants, giraffes, and lions in their natural habitat. Trekking to the top of Kilimanjaro volcano and viewing the free roaming wildlife on safari will offer an exciting place to study geology, volcanology, botany, biology and environmental science. Visiting The Gombe Research Institute, and teaching in African schools. (View 2012 Trip Trailer)


Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro is located three degrees south of the equator in Northeastern Tanzania. It is the tallest mountain in Africa and is the highest freestanding mountain in the world. This immense mountain is made up of three volcanoes: Shira, Mawenzi, and our goal, Kibo, the tallest one in the middle. A local guide is required to hike Kilimanjaro. Porters go on the trip to carry your luggage, food, and other equipment. Students carry a daypack and cooks will prepare all meals. We take the Rongai Route up the north side of the mountain, it is more scenic than the Marangu or Machame routes, and the success rate is very high. All climbers’ sleep in tents (tents are included) and meals are served in a dinner tent or on a blanket outside. The route starts just south of the Kenyan border, and is one of the least traveled routes. The descent is down the Marangu Route on the south side of the mountain.

Students experience 6 biomes as they climb Kilimanjaro. The land is cultivated and inhabited up to about 1900 meters(6200 feet) in elevation. The dense rainforest begins at the base of the mountain and turns into a into a shorter forest with moss and giant ferns until about 2800 meters (9200 feet). The third biome experienced is the heather biome up to 3300 meters (10,800 feet) when Moorland appears with the unusual Senecio Kilimanjari trees. Once students reach 4000 – 4800 meters (13,000 to 15,500 feet), they go through Alpine Desert where some mosses, lichens, and starchy flowers are all that remain. The final biome is the area around the summit is the Arctic biome. It looks a bit like moonscape with only rock and glacier.

The Serengeti

The Serengeti National Park is a large national park in Serengeti area, Tanzania. It is most famous for its annual migration of over one and a half million white bearded (or brindled) wildebeest and 250,000 zebra and it’s many crocodile. It is widely regarded as the best wildlife reserve in Africa due to its density of predators and prey. The Serengeti region encompasses the Serengeti National Park itself, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Maswa Game Reserve, the Loliondo, Grumeti and Ikorongo Controlled Areas and the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.

The Serengeti ecosystem is one of the oldest on earth. The essential features of climate, vegetation and fauna have barely changed in the past million years. Early man himself made an appearance in Olduvai Gorge about two million years ago. Some patterns of life, death, adaptation and migration are as old as the hills themselves. It is the migration for which Serengeti is perhaps most famous. Over a million wildebeest and about 200,000 zebras flow south from the northern hills to the southern plains for the short rains every October and November, and then swirl west and north after the long rains in April, May and June. So strong is the ancient instinct to move that no drought, gorge or crocodile infested river can hold them back.

Jane Goodall’s Gombe Stream Research Center

Students will visit Jane Goodall’s Research Center in Gombe where they will work with researchers in the field for a day. Gombe is the smallest of Tanzania’s national parks: a fragile strip of chimpanzee habitat straddling the steep slopes and river valleys that hem in the sandy northern shore of Lake Tanganyika. Its chimpanzees – habituated to human visitors – were made famous by the pioneering work of Jane Goodall, who in 1960 founded a behavioral research program that now stands as the longest-running study of its kind in the world. The matriarch Fifi, the last surviving member of the original community, only three-years old when Goodall first set foot in Gombe, is still regularly seen by visitors. The Gombe Stream Research Center was founded in 1965 to advance Jane Goodall’s revolutionary findings about chimpanzee tool-making and other behaviors.

The center is also is a living laboratory, home to the world’s most studied group of wild chimpanzees. The Center’s mission is to operate a world-class research station in which the best available methods are used to continue and further develop the long-term primate research projects begun by Dr. Jane Goodall, and to advance basic science, support conservation, and train Tanzanian scientists. The most visible of Gombe’s other mammals are also primates. A troop of beachcomber olive baboons, under study since the 1960’s, is exceptionally habituated, while red-tailed and red colobus monkeys – the latter regularly hunted by chimps – stick to the forest canopy.

St. Timothy’s School

Students will have an amazing opportunity to work in teams and spend a day at the St. Timothy School in Moshi, Tanzania where they will teach one of 3 subjects. Teachers will have the opportunity to work in groups prior to the the trip in addition to their regular pre-trip course work to generate objectives/lesson plans.

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Dinosaur CSI

JR-SMALLThe Dinosaur CSI field program offers students hands-on experience with the methods, techniques, and theories of modern paleontology. By sharing the science of paleontology the Institute subscribes to the ideals of education creating awareness and funding for research.

This program introduces students to the geology of the Morrison Formation, associated biological evolution, biostratigraphy and fossil science research, taphonomy, and paleo-ecology while providing hands-on experience as dinosaur excavation team members. Students participate in the excavation of dinosaurs in central Wyoming, including newly discovered species. Additionally, as a program specifically designed for educators, we emphasize and explore the nature of experiential STEM learning and how to translate the impacts of this experience into classroom practice.

Make no mistake: this is NOT a “look see” “trip” where you’re driven around from place to place, get out and take pictures, and end up back at a hotel each evening. Everyday you will learn something, work hard, and contribute to scientific fieldwork.

Imagine uncovering bones of these ancient creatures and YOU being the first living thing to see them in 150 million years! Many have described it as a surreal experience—something hard to describe but life changing nonetheless. Some have come to appreciate not just the fossils but our place as humans within earth’s vast timeline. Still others just come to unwind, have fun, and learn something about their favorite childhood “monsters” and their world.

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Inspire Me! Documentary Series

How do extraordinary experiences for teachers translate into extraordinary experiences for their students? How can close encounters with the deep power of the natural world and our connection to it change a teacher’s worldview, and change their students’ lives?  The intent of the series is to address these questions, celebrate the art of teaching, and to serve as a powerful call-to-action to do it better, through experiences.



Inspire Me! Weightless Flights of Discovery

Inspire Me! Weightless Flights of Discovery chronicles teachers across the country on the life-changing experience of flying on the Zero-G airplane to experience weightlessness just as the astronauts do. It highlights the education crisis in America, the growing disinterest in science among American youth, and the urgency to inspire and motivate young people in order to become leaders in meeting the world’s challenges.

Inspire Me! Weightless follows 6 incredible teachers as they take the Zero G journey from experience to hands on application with their students. Overall roughly 720 teachers in 12 different cities across the US participated in this program. The film explores deep issues surrounding the science education crisis in America, education as a profession, inquiry-based and experiential learning, and the sorely needed inspiration of the next generation of Americans to reclaim the worldwide lead in science and technology in the new millennium.


Inspire Me! AfricaIMA

28 Teachers. 15 Days. 1 Vision.

Inspire Me! Africa takes audience members on a journey with 28 Colorado teachers. They travel through the heart of the Serengeti with its dramatic biological diversity, to Maasai villages, Tanzanian schools and AIDS orphanages for close interactions with the people and cultures of Africa. And, they trek up to the very roof of the African continent on the giant volcano, Mount Kilimanjaro. The film also follows the film’s subjects back into their U.S. classrooms to explore how their extraordinary experiences in Africa translate into inspiration for their students.

Inspire Me! Africa is directed by Brad McLain at CU Denver’s Experiential Science Education Research Collaborative (XSci) within the School of Education & Human Development. Anthropologist Jane Goodall makes an appearance in the film, to share a story about her most inspirational teacher. In addition, Inspire Me Africa features a heroic former Evergreen High School teacher, Leslie Jankausky, who passed away in a tragic car accident following her trip to Africa.

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Space-Faring: The Radiation Challenge

nasaIn collaboration with NASA, this innovative project combined a dramatic fictional video story of astronauts encountering a massive solar storm while they are en-route to Mars with a set of co-curricular activities for middle and high school students centering on the nature of space weather and radiation, its effects on the human body, and NASA’s countermeasure technology to protect astronauts.

This unique teacher guide focuses on Radiation biology which is an interdisciplinary science involving biology, physics, astrophysics, planetary science and engineering – and also examines the effects of radiation on living systems. The Space Faring: The Radiation Challenge educator guide links these disciplines in the context of a lunar outpost by providing background, discussion and research questions, objectives, and inquiry-based activities to introduce radiation biology to middle school students. The guide includes a pretest, lessons, student sheets and answer keys.

Radiation Guide activities include:

  • Radiation: Radiation Exposure on Earth
  • Radiation Damage in Living Organisms: Modeling Radiation-Damaged DNA
  • Protection From Radiation: Space Weather Forecasting
  • A section on Applications to Life on Earth: Radiation as a Tool is also included.

Supplemental videos include:

  • Space Faring: The Radiation Challenge Act 1: What Is Radiation and Where Does It Come From?
  • Space Faring: The Radiation Challenge Act 2: Space Radiation and Human Health
  • Space Faring: The Radiation Challenge Act 3: Protection From Space Radiation

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Apps Go To School

Educational Apps for mobile devices such as smart phones (e.g., iPhone, Andriod, BlackBerry) and digital tablets (e.g., iPads, Slate, Galaxy Tab, Xoom) represent an extraordinary and largely untapped array of tools for educators and their students to build the skills, knowledge, and expertise needed for work and life in the 21st century.

Currently, the vast majority of players in the development of educational Apps are profit driven. The Apps Go To School program will provide the opportunity for middle school and upper elementary STEM educators and their students to develop, design, use, and distribute their own unique Apps.


With more than 20 million Apple iPads and in excess of 100 million iPhone and iPod Touch devices in use, exponentially rising numbers of universities, K-12 schools, and institutions are selecting the iPad and iPod Touch as the platforms of choice for both face-to-face and distance education classrooms. However, a disparity exists between the individuals responsible for creating the Apps (i.e. development companies with little to no instructional experience, masked behind the business-minded protection of the iTunes App store) and the ultimate consumers in the classroom (educators and students).

The classroom teacher can no longer be viewed as simply the end user or content expert; they must serve an important role in Apps design to create transformative change. Apps Goes To School leverages mobile Apps design and use by middle school and upper elementary STEM educators and students to strategically build upon our existing UNM program to achieve the following specific goals: Sponsored by Nokia, The Mobile Apps in the Classroom program builds on our nationally recognized Mobile Design, Research, and Integration program for educators at UMN.

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Underwater Polar SIM

The IPY: Polar Hydrobot Simulator (or Polar-SIM) was designed to be a sophisticated computer-based simulation of configuring, piloting, operating and collecting data with an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) in polar ocean and lake waters.

The simulation is designed to address specific STEM learning goals. Users of the simulator make design decisions concerning the hydrobots they create; deal with navigation issues such as directional propellers, buoyancy, cameras, lights, power management, and tether management; and work to obtain scientific data including sonar mapping of the sea floor and bio-census data for the region. The virtual ROVs options have a host of scientific instruments for examining extreme environments in the search for different kinds of life.


The Polar-SIM project is an informal science education project with linkages to K-12 education. The target audience was upper elementary through high school students in out-of-school environments.


In support of NSF goals to entice young people to STEM careers through unique learning opportunities, The IPY: Polar Hydrobot Simulator was generated as a multifaceted challenging activity requiring the development of a base of polar science content knowledge to successfully play the “game.” The content included Antarctic geography and geology, marine biology, links to astrobiology, and the technology and skills needed to conduct underwater exploration in unique polar environments.

scini2Real World Links

The SIM was designed with the realism needed to provide training for student competitors in annual regional, national, and international hydrobot ROV competitions conducted through the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center ( To this end, the virtual Polar-SIM hydrobot was designed after the actual polar hydrobot called SCINI.


Project Background

EUROPA-SIM: The project leveraged financially and developmentally from a prior pilot project funded by NASA entitled Virtual Prototyping a Europa Exploration. That small project prototyped a virtual simulator for a futuristic hydrobot designed to explore the large saline sea widely thought by researchers to exist under the thick surface ice of Jupiter’s moon, Europa.

The Europa-SIM simulator, unlike Polar-SIM, required the coordination of several isolated operators working remotely but in real-time concert to manage hydrobot operations and scientific investigations. Building on the success and lessons learned from Europa-SIM, PI McLain and the development team sought to generate a more realistic simulator akin to those exploring Earth analog sites for extreme environments like Europa. Therefore the team became interested in the work going on in Antarctica.

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GEOG/ENVS 4995/5995 Travel Study (3 credits)

Representative of the West Indies in general, the tri-island nation of Grenada represents a unique learning environment for studying sustainability. This program introduces students to many concepts of sustainability distinct to lesser developed countries (LDCs) while offering practical, hands-on experience in various field techniques, methods, and assessment (e.g., transects, geographical analysis, survey construction, trail impact, etc.) with an international perspective usable in any locale.

The program builds upon specific research projects as determined each year likely including tourist sector documenting and health analyses and ancient cultural rock art conservation studies. Make no mistake: this is NOT a “look see” “trip” where you’re driven around from place to place, get out and take pictures, and end up back at a hotel.

Students will keep journals, participate in focused reflections on translating their experiences into practice, create their own experience documentary videos and be responsible for presenting on previously researched topics in-situ and may work alongside local researchers. Upon return, students will take part in debriefing, transfer to classroom planning, and assessment activities as well as a film-festival in which to screen their documentaries.


Program objectives:

  • To gain international experience using field techniques and methods
  • To understand sustainability issues on a world-scale
  • To compare and contrast sustainability issues in lesser-developed countries (LDCs) and more-developed countries (MDCs)
  • To recognize the role cultural impact (past and present) plays on sustainability
  • To understand current crises facing LDCs and proffer feasible solutions
  • To develop skills and perspectives for transferring this science learning experience into instructional practice as science educators

Project Requirements include:

Rock engravings (petroglyphs) left by the Carib Indians are rare. Yet Grenada hosts several panels. Students will be trained in the

  • Rock Art Stability Index—which uses over three-dozen weathering (rock decay) elements—to assess the geologic stability of these panels. Our work with RASI in Grenada represents the first attempt at quantifying this priceless cultural heritage resource, and subsequent participants will continue to monitor the sites for stability.
  • As part of an on-going research project focused on Grenada, participants will also be able to participate in first-hand research documentation of land-use in the business and tourist sectors of St. George’s Parish (Grand Anse specifically). This will entail qualitative analyses as well as a quantitative data collection, with the intent of creating longitudinal data-sets of tourist-district land use that can be utilized for future planning endeavors.
  • Participants will choose, from a pre-determined list, one topic to present to the group while on-Island. You essentially become the expert on that topic, researching it before leaving the States, and gathering more data while on-Island to create a bang-up, in-the-field, spontaneous presentation.
  • Participants will create a personal documentary video from the video that they take during the excursion and produce two versions: 1) A final edit for screening at the film festival held at course completion (date TBD); 2) A director’s commentary version which includes a self-interview audio track over the existing audio and video of the documentary. This version will only be viewed by course instructors and is to focus on provided interview prompts related to your personal meaning of the experience as an educator.

In each of the on-going monitoring projects, students will return to campus and both “crunch” and analyze data. This will be done during the post-excursion meetings along with other assignments being presented, turned in, and graded.

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The Experiential Science Education Research Collaborative (XSci) at the University of Colorado Denver has established a museum educator/theater network of eight museums around the country, pairing larger with smaller institutions to create the Science Theater Education Programming System or STEPS.

The initial set of theater programs focus on astrobiology, along with a suite of training programs and communication formats for educators. The STEPS technology allows these programs to be delivered both on site and via outreach, depending on the goals of each organization. An in-depth research component examined the impact of the project’s designed community of practice structure utilizing team leadership theory in terms of professional identity construction for participating informal educators. STEPS deliverables include:

  • Formation of the museum partnership network
  • Creation of STEPS system and programs
  • Professional development tutorials and workshops
  • Program evaluation and research products

STEPS Show Components Include:


STEPS Collaboration:

The STEPS project brought together a network of informal science educators and contractors to create an interactive museum theater authoring and presentation system to increase educational capacity for small and large museums across the country.

The software package includes an authoring tool for the creation of multimedia science theater productions; a presentation player for displaying the shows to audiences in museum theaters, planetariums, and in outreach facilities; a web-based tutorial for the astrobiology content and STEPS software; and three pre-packaged shows varying in length and dramatic effects to showcase the potential uses of STEPS for informal science learners ages 7-12.

The professional development of the of informal science educators in the network was the primary goal of the project with all other tangible deliverables stemming from that collaborative effort.

To download STEPS please click the Download link on the left hand side of this page. You will be able to download all software as well as all 3 show components and teacher guides.

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Yellowstone National Park

Recognizing the key role teachers play in helping future generations appreciate the value of national parks, the Yellowstone Association Board of Directors has approved the use of operating funds to provide full-tuition scholarships for Institute Field Seminars for approximately 50 teachers in 2013.

Teachers made up a significant portion of the seminar audience into the late 1980s and ’90s, said YA Director of Education Jenny Golding. “Then funding for their participation in programs like ours sharply declined. We still feel that field seminars are a great resource for teachers, so we’ve implemented the new scholarship program to make it possible for them to attend again.”

The in-depth information shared in Institute Field Seminars can be incorporated into most subject areas. It’s especially beneficial for teachers of biology, geology, history, and art. The Association will provide letters of completion for teachers pursuing continuing education credit, and also plans to offer college credit in the future.

In 2011, the National Park Service issued a Call to Action that asked park partner organizations to work alongside NPS staff to ensure that parks are relevant for future generations. “People have to care about parks in order to protect them,” Golding said. “Unfortunately, younger generations are increasingly disconnected from not only parks but from the natural world. This could become a crisis for the natural places we care about. Providing teacher scholarships is an incredibly efficient use of funds to help connect young people to parks. A teacher can reach hundreds, even thousands, of students in his or her career. That multiplier effect is important. The Yellowstone Association is serious about educating youth, which means we’re serious about educating teachers.”

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