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2023 Fall Curriculum Laboratory

The Curriculum Lab, a streamlined version of TIP’s traditional seminar program features two 10-week seminars. Participants (called fellows) acquire cutting-edge knowledge from university professors and write original curriculum units based on the material they have learned. Fellows develop creative ways to teach material required by District, state and national curriculum standards, improving results in the classroom. Seminars, described below, meet Wednesdays, 5:00-7:00pm, on the Penn campus. Fellows who complete the program earn 20 Act 48 credits and a $1,000 stipend.

Fall 2023 Curriculum Lab currently underway; spring 2024 program here.

Children’s Environmental Health
Marilyn Howarth, Penn Medicine

Children are particularly vulnerable to environmental contamination. A major source of exposure in Philadelphia is air pollution, which causes asthma and exacerbates allergies in children, making asthma rates much higher than statewide and US rates. Another is lead, which poisons more than 1000 children every year. This seminar will provide teachers with actionable information that they can use to promote civic engagement among their students around environmental issues. It will cover the principles of biology, cell physiology and pathology underlying environmental health for children. We will consider the current state of the environment, the regulatory framework that protects our health, and preventative measures such as anti-idling programs, air monitoring in schools and lead testing of soils and water. The seminar will link participants to curriculum-building resources and experts whom they can bring into the classroom for demonstration and enrichment. Strategies for effective communication with City Council members, environmental regulators and legislators will be discussed. Though focused on STEM, this seminar is open to STEM and non-STEM teachers in any grade level.

Click to view video.

The Science, Engineering, and Operation of Drones
Dinesh Thakur, Penn Engineering & Pennovation Center

Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are becoming increasingly popular for both commercial and recreational use. They are also being used as a tool for STEM education, coding, and other subjects. Drones can be used to teach students about aerodynamics, flight mechanics, programming, and more. They can also be used to help students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. In this seminar we will learn about the many specialized components of a drone and how they work together. We will also explore drone history, current applications, safety, and regulations. Finally, we will use an inexpensive educational drone kit for demonstrations and hands-on training with drone programming in either Scratch or Python. For high-school-age students, this training can lead to participation in an FAA drone certification program that will be offered during the summer in the School District of Philadelphia. This seminar is open to STEM teachers in the middle and high school grades.