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TalentSparks!

BIO Institute EDUCATE Center’s TalentSparks program provides intensive teacher professional development workshops designed to assist teachers in aligning curricula and implementing Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) through real-world, problem-centered, hands-on learning and connections to experts in STEM fields. TalentSparks workshops are organized around life sciences sectors that feed, fuel, heal and save the world.

Since 2007, with financial support from Illinois life sciences industry and a grant from the Illinois State Board of Education, TalentSparks programming has reached over 800 teachers and through them over 70,000 students. Independent external evaluation shows that TalentSparks teachers and their students significantly improve their knowledge of STEM concepts and careers with average gains of approximately 9 percentage points on both science and mathematics content assessments.

Upcoming 2014 TalentSparks workshops are listed below.

Workshop: NGSS in Action! From Farm to Flight: Can Biofuels Green Aviation? MS

Hands-on, problem-based, NGSS workshop exploring the development and potential uses of biofuels to reduce environmental impacts of aviation for Middle School teachers

Dates: Jul 16 – Jul 18, 2014 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Location: Argonne National Lab, 9700 S. Cass Ave. Argonne, IL

Audience: MS Teachers

Materials and Supplies + One Set of NGSS books provided!

Scholarships Available! Email ann.reed@ibioinstitute.org


Workshop: NGSS in Action! From Farm to Flight: Can Biofuels Green Aviation? HS

Hands-on, problem-based, NGSS workshop exploring the development and potential uses of biofuels to reduce environmental impacts of aviation for High School teachers

Dates: Jul 30 – Aug 1, 2014 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Location: Argonne National Lab, 9700 S. Cass Ave. Argonne, IL

Audience: HS Teachers

Materials and Supplies + One Set of NGSS books provided!

Scholarships Available! Email ann.reed@ibioinstitute.org


Workshop: NGSS in Action! Plants and Pollinators: Birds, Bees, Flowers and the Fruit

Engage through hands-on collaborative inquiry about the importance of flower structure and aspects of mutualism and coevolution through exploration of pollination and how these authentic investigations exemplify NGSS and Common Core.

Date: Sept 13, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM

Location: NEIU Center for College and Career Access and Success, 770 North Halsted St. Suite 420, Chicago, IL

Audience: MS and HS Teachers


Workshop: NGSS in Action! Helpful Hydrogels in Agriculture and Healthcare

Hands-on, collaborative inquiry activities related to hydrogels and their role in food science, agriculture and healthcare. Explore how this investigation connects to various disciplines and exemplifies NGSS and Common Core.

Date: September 19, 2014 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM

Location: Illinois State University Alumni Center, 1101 N Main St., Normal, IL

Audience: MS and HS Teachers


Workshop: NGSS in Action! Plants and Pollinators: Birds, Bees, Flowers and the Fruit

Engage through hands-on collaborative inquiry about the importance of flower structure and aspects of mutualism and coevolution through exploration of pollination and how these authentic investigations exemplify NGSS and Common Core.

Date: September 20, 2014 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM

Location: Illinois State University Alumni Center, 1101 N Main St., Normal, IL

Audience: MS and HS Teachers


To learn more about TalentSparks email educate@ibioinstitute.org.

To view itineraries of previous TalentSparks!, select a year below.

201320122011 2010200920082007

Math Science Partnership Grant Project: TS3

TS3TalentSparks3! incorporates 1) hands-on biotechnology experiments, 2) in-depth professional development in STEM education and problem-based learning (PBL) and 3) facilitated career exploration for middle school and high school teachers. The workshop is co-facilitated by iBIO Institute EDUCATE Center staff, Monroe Randolph Regional Office of Education, industry partners and Illinois State University faculty.

TalentSparks3! models and assesses how hands-on, high-tech skills development in biotechnology, as experienced through authentic problem-based learning projects, facilitates students’ understanding, achievement and exploration of STEM concepts and careers.


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