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Past Workshops and Conferences

Past Jack Hunt STEM workshops include:

Physics First in Tennessee (PFIT)

PFIT is an initiative to equip teachers to become certified to teach an introductory or conceptual physics to high school freshmen in the state of Tennessee. Our rationale is that students who gain a basic understanding of physics are better equipped to carry on their education and become better citizens. Workshop participants were given a short intense course on introductory physics and teaching physics.  From this workshop, the teachers were prepared to gain an endorsement in 7-12 Physics and add physics qualified teachers to Tennessee’s teacher base.

Integrated Elementary and Middle School STEM Workshops

These two-week workshops, held in 2010, 2011 and 2012 introduced teachers to both STEM subject matter and the mindset of the STEM approach.  Participants gain hands-on experience and have the opportunity to refresh and deepen their knowledge of STEM subjects. Stipends were provided and the possibility of both continuing education credit and graduate credit were available.

MOMENTUM:  Building Capacity for Change through Connections

Funded through the state’s Race to the Top initiative, MOMENTUM was a series of daylong workshops on incorporating children’s literature into elementary school math and science lessons. For example, taking the phrase “crane your neck” from a children’s book and asking students, based on their height, how long their necks would be if they had one similar to a 4-foot tall crane.

The program, which has 30 slots for K-6 teachers, met on Saturdays at APSU from September 2011, and ended with a weeklong academy during the summer of 2012.

Summer 2013 STEM Summer Workshop for 7th Grade Math/Science Teachers

The APSU Jack Hunt STEM Center in partnership with the Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub offered a one week, full day teacher workshops for teams of seventh grade science and mathematics teachers in June at the Jack Hunt STEM Center.  The focus was Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, targeting the science and math content and engaging hands-on practices.  Science and math teacher pairs developed and shared integrated science and mathematics units ready for the classroom.  Teachers met in early June 2013.

At Our Own Backdoor Workshop Stewart/Houston County

APSU in partnership with Stewart and Houston Public School system offered a workshop to teachers of grades 5-8.

The goal of Problem-Based Learning (PBL) instruction is to help teachers improve student achievement through rigorous, authentic projects that address academic standards as well as the development of 21st century skills. The most effective PBL instruction is based in the real world, addressing problems that the local community actually experiences.  This workshop for teachers of grades 5-8 demonstrated PBL instruction and strengthened the classroom community bonds by visiting local sites and resources.  Teachers were given time to write effective problem-based units that reflected local issues or problems.

This workshop met for five full days during a week in early summer 2013.

Hands-On, Minds On Workshop - Dickson/Humphreys

APSU in partnership with Dickson and Humpreys County School Systems offered a Summer 2013 workshop for teachers of middle and high school science regarding inquiry based lessons.  This workshop allowed participants to engage in inquiry as a learner to experience the benefits and challenges of this approach to science learning.  Participants explored age-appropriate strategies for using scientific inquiry in middle and high school classes.  Incorporating CCSS for ELA and Math with inquiry-based lessons is also a focus of this workshop.  The goal of the workshop was for teachers to leave with the confidence to bring these fun and effective scientific practices into the classroom while supporting the district's implementation of CCSS for ELA and Math.

This three day workshop took place in late June 2013 and was held in Dickson, TN.

The Legacy Cycle Workshop- Robertson/Cheatham

The Austin Peay State University STEM Center in partnership with Robertson and Cheatham County School Systems provided a one week workshop for High School Math and Science teachers presented by Mrs. Melinda Higgins from Harpeth Hall School for Girls.  Melinda used her research to write engineering project-based curriculum based on the Legacy Cycle for learning.  She has published the curricula she developed at

In this workshop teachers had the opportunity to learn how to write a project-based lesson that will enable students to succeed in the chosen topic.  Engagement, teamwork, understanding, and application of knowledge can be achieved using the Legacy Cycle.  The 5 day workshop took place in early June 2013 in Springfield, TN.

PBL Workshop for Middle School Teachers

APSU in partnership with Robertson, Cheatham, and Sumner and Dickson, Humphreys, and Houston School Districts offered two three-day workshops in May and June 2014

Project Based Learning (PBL) is a teaching methods in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to a complex question, problem, or challenge.  This is a three-day PBL workshop that provides attendees with the skills and knowledge needed to design, assess and manage a rigorous, relevant, and standards-based project.   

Teaching DNA, Proteins, and Protein Synthesis Concepts with LEGO Molecules

The APSU Jack Hunt STEM Center in partnership with the Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub offered a one day workshop for Biology teachers in May 2014.

Presenters:  Community Outreach Education and Engagement Core (COE2C) at the Center for Environmental Health Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Kathleen M. Vandiver, Ph.D., Outreach Director

Amanda Gruhl, PhD.  COE2C  Coordinator 

The goal of this workshop is to teach key biology concepts in cellular biology using LEGO® brick models.  These models are designed to teach what the molecules do,not just what they look like.  LEGO® brick molecules are made to be manipulated, so students can perform functions like DNA replication, mRNA transcription and tRNA translation.  Amino acids chains can be produced and folded into working protein shapes.  Abstract molecular concepts become concrete, and because the models do the teaching, a teacher can easily adjust the level of abstract vocabulary to be appropriate to learners.  Diverse populations including English language learners and AP biology students will find the learning experience interesting and memorable.

Professional Development for Chemistry Teachers Project TIME (Transforming Instruction through Modeling Experiences)

The goal of Project TIME is to improve the learning of Tennessee high school students in chemistry through the use of Modeling Instruction (MI, see so that they will be better prepared for the new Tennessee End of Course (EOC) chemistry exam.  MI is an inquiry-based pedagogy that effectively engages students in the learning process. A body of educational research shows that when students in high school physics, chemistry and biology learn using MI, they have excellent gains in conceptual knowledge, increased retention of content and improved national and state science scores. Teachers will receive $100 per day for their time in professional development and districts will be reimbursed at a rate of up to $75 per day for substitutes for the spring, summer and fall PD days.


Teaching Middle School Chemistry Concepts with LEGO® Molecules

The goal of the workshop was to transform your teaching of abstract chemistry concepts through the use of Atoms and Molecules Lego Kits.  Unlike most teaching aids, the LEGO® brick models are designed to teach what the atoms and molecules do, not just what they look like. These LEGO brick molecules are made to be manipulated. Abstract molecular concepts become concrete with these LEGO brick models and because the models do the teaching, a teacher can easily adjust the level of abstract vocabulary to be appropriate for the learners.  Diverse populations including English language learners have found the learning experience interesting and memorable.

The workshop was held on December 5, 2014 and offered to eighth grade teachers from Clarksville and Stewart County.

 Each teacher was given a classroom set ($400.00 value) for their school. These sets includes 14 student kits, laminated instructional mats for each lesson, teacher guides including kit management tools, posters, and extra LEGO kits for further experiments.

Presenter: Amanda Mayer, PhD., Outreach Coordinator for the Community Outreach Education and Engagement Core (COE2C) at the MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences.