Curious Minds Initiative

How to guide your students from the classroom to science fair success!

Teachers talked and we listened! In response to requests for more support in your classrooms, MSEF developed three courses to help you take three steps toward a student-centered classroom and student independent research projects that will qualify for a science and engineering fair. These steps are exactly the steps that will enable you to integrate the revised MA STE Standards into your curriculum.

CMI Courses

Three Steps for STEM teachers – a CMI course for each step!

  • Integrate science and engineering practices into your existing curricula - no need to start with new curricula!
    • Guide your students to develop stellar Independent Research Projects in STEM.
      • Course: Teaching Science through the Inquiry Process (TSIP) Apply Now!
  • Develop classroom projects that:
    • Evolve over a period of time
    • Ask students a specific question that data and analysis will answer
    • Prepare students to ask and answer their own questions through independent experimentation
      • Course: Project-based Classroom Science (PCS) Apply Now!
  • Organize a school science and engineering fair, and manage a classroom with students working on different project topics.
    • Everything you need to guide your students through the research & innovation process
    • Learn how to navigate the regional/state science fair process, including required research forms, using MSEF’s online wizard
      • Course: Guiding Research and Innovation Projects by Students (GRIPS)  Apply Now!

These graduate courses are part of MSEF’s Curious Minds Initiative (CMI) and are offered in partnership with Framingham State University (FSU). Completion of all three courses for graduate credit earns teachers the “STEM Certificate in Science & Engineering Practices” from FSU.

Want more information? Click on the course name in the box to the right for details about the courses and to enroll. Spots fill up quickly, so register as soon as possible. A limited number of tuition scholarships are available thanks to our CMI donors!

MSEF Educator Day at MIT

A special free conference held on Friday during the Science & Engineering Fair for high school students @ MIT. Highlights include: walking the Exhibition Hall of 300 “Best of the Best” high school student science fair projects in Massachusetts; a seat in the Judge Orientation Program (with ~300 judges from academia and industry); feedback and discussion about inquiry and project-based approaches in your teaching practice; and breakfast and lunch.

MSEF Mini-Grants for Schools

Building life skills and STEM competencies: Massachusetts Science & Engineering Fair (MSEF) and Curious Minds programs.

MSEF Mini-Grants enable schools and teachers to inspire children through direct engagement in research and invention projects, and the excitement of science fair competition.

Your Mini-Grant will include tuition scholarships to Curious Minds courses for STEM teachers. Learn ways to bring the professional science and engineering practices right into your classrooms and to align with the new MA STE standards.

Apply Now! Rolling Applications - No Deadline

Eligible Schools:

All schools with grades 6-12 in Massachusetts that currently do not offer,

OR aim to expand their annual Science and/or Engineering Fair program.

Goal:

Schools develop or expand a sustainable Science Fair program, and teachers bring science & engineering practices into their classrooms.

Benefits:

• Grants up to $3,500 for a multi-year program and up to $1,000 for one-year.

• Tuition Scholarships of $3,500 for up to 6 STEM teachers to enroll in CMI Courses

scifair.com/curious-minds/

• Science Fair consultant to visit your school upon request

• Invitations for Teachers & School Leaders to:

— Join meetings of the MSEF High School Committee that helps to shape policy and organize the statewide science fair programs

— Attend MSEF Educator Day (free) at MIT – a look behind-the-scenes at the Science & Engineering Fair for high school students held annually in May.

For more information on how to become a MSEF Mini-Grant school, email us at: minigrants@scifair.com

STEM Mentors for Students

MSEF partners with school districts to create an after-school STEM mentoring programs for students. Professionals from local STEM businesses and STEM college majors help to both guide students working on independent research projects and to support STEM teachers.

In Lowell, MA – 200 middle school students joined after school STEM Clubs at all middle schools. Students work 1:1 with mentors as they develop independent research and innovation projects for the district’s new science fair.

To inquire about the CMI Student Mentoring program for your district, email us at: cmi@scifair.com

2019 CMI Courses

Course 1:

Teaching Science through the Inquiry Process (TSIP)

Apply Now!

Motivate Your Students with the “Real World” Discovery Process Provides teachers with practical strategies to infuse more inquiry into their teaching practice and existing curricula. TSIP is a hands-on course, and science teachers bring 2-3 of their existing labs or classroom activities that they will adapt in order to make greater use of inquiry-based techniques.

WHEN: Monday, August 12 - Friday, August 16 & November 17, 2019, 8:30 am - 3:15 pm

WHERE: TBD

GRADUATE CREDITS: 3 Please Note: teachers who want to enroll for graduate credit will receive an application from MSEF, which must be submitted with payment of fees before the course begins.

:: More about TSIP

Course 2:

Project-Based Classroom Science (PCS)

Apply Now!

Teach Science Concepts with Exciting & Challenging Project-based Units Enables science teachers to develop effective project-based units for targeted science concepts, and also provides an introduction to guiding students who work on independent research projects.

WHEN: Monday, August 19 - Thursday, August 22 & November 17, 2019, 8:30 am - 2:30 pm

WHERE: TBD

GRADUATE CREDITS: 2 -- includes online component. Please Note: teachers who want to enroll for graduate credit will receive an application from MSEF, which must be submitted with payment of fees before the course begins.

:: More about PCS

Course 3:

Guiding Research and Innovation Projects by Students (GRIPS)

Apply Now!

Help Your Students Learn to Think for Themselves! Provides a framework and guidance for best practices in the logistics of managing a classroom with students working on independent research on different topics, and running a science fair program and building district-based support for it.

WHEN: Thursday & Friday, August 5 & 6, 2019, 8:30 am - 3:15 pm

WHERE: TBD

GRADUATE CREDIT: 1 -- includes online component. Please Note: teachers who want to enroll for graduate credit will receive an application from MSEF, which must be submitted with payment of fees before the course begins.

:: More about GRIPS

MSEF Educator Day at MIT

A special free conference held on Friday during the Science & Engineering Fair for high school students @ MIT. Highlights include: walking the Exhibition Hall of 300 “Best of the Best” high school student science fair projects in Massachusetts; a seat in the Judge Orientation Program (with ~300 judges from academia and industry); feedback and discussion about inquiry and project-based approaches in your teaching practice; and breakfast and lunch.

TEAMS of teachers from the same school district and CMI course participants receive priority for enrollment and scholarships.

WHEN: May 3, 2019, 8:30 am - 1:30 pm

WHERE: MIT, Cambridge, MA

:: Registration