A note from the South Dakota Discovery Center

The SD Discovery Center is offering three distance summer professional development opportunities for summer 2020. We set the following criteria for our PD during this pandemic:

  • Support educators in using three dimensional instruction.
  • Comply now and in the future with CDC guidelines.
  • Utilize hands-on, experiential learning.
  • Keep screen time at a minimum.
  • Be adaptable for in person and remote classroom teaching.
  • Be enjoyable for the educator.

A tall order to be sure but we think did it with these three classes. We hope that we are able to offer other, pop up opportunities for teachers too so keep an eye on our social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). Please reach out  to Anne with questions or comments about our professional development.

STEM Research in the Classroom

Connecting Research to Students

June 11-12, 2020

Use cutting edge research conducted in South Dakota to teach science
through hands-on lessons.

This virtual professional development workshop will use Zoom and edmodo for teacher interaction and “face to face” sessions with scientists doing research throughout South Dakota. Participants will learn about the EPSCoR STEM Education Portal and how to bring cutting edge science research into their classrooms. The portal provides dozens of modules aligned with SD Science standards for middle school and high school classrooms. Participants will receive a kit in the mail with supplies needed to practice the inquiry activities presented in the modules.

Dates: June 11-12
Location: Remote
Fee: Members $15, Non-members $25, School District partners Free
Credit: One (University of Sioux Falls, pending)
Grade target: 6-12
To register: https://sd-discovery.org/event-3760346

 Sponsored by South Dakota Space Grant 

Field Research for Teachers

June 29 - Aug 7

Teachers conduct local, place based field research
using iNaturalist and GLOBE
to develop phenomena for student investigation.

In this independent study professional development opportunity, teachers use iNaturalist and GLOBE in place based field research that specifically addresses NGSS cross cutting concepts and disciplinary core ideas. The teacher researchers will integrate their research into lessons as the phenomena for student inquiry and investigation. The lessons will be formatted so the lesson can be delivered remotely, in person, or in a hybrid format.

The research will focus on one of three investigation questions:

  • How does energy move through the organisms in my place?
  • How do land and water in my place impact each other?
  • How does my place change over different time scales?

This is an independent study PD with regular check-ins with the course facilitator. Those contributing data to the GLOBE database must become GLOBE trained. Those already who are GLOBE trained will need to become trained in the protocol for their research question if they are not already.

For more information about the course see https://sites.google.com/sd-discovery.org/field-research-for-teachers/home

Dates: June 29-Aug 7
Location: Remote
Credit: One per investigation. (Credit pending from University of Sioux Falls)
Fee:  Members $5, Non-members $10, School District partners Free
Grade Target: 4-12
Registration:  https://sd-discovery.org/event-3838255

To receive credit:

  • Complete online training.
  • Conduct field work
  • Develop lesson plan from template using data from field work.

How To Teach Nature Journaling
June 15 - July 27

A professional learning community for educators who want to effectively integrate nature and field journals into instruction.

This professional development will facilitate a professional learning community of educators who want to dig deeper into the idea of using a nature journal in their instruction. We will use How to Teach Nature Journaling as our text. We will go beyond drawing and sketching to experiencing the journal as a cross curricular method of instruction.

This hybrid course will meet weekly via Zoom to share work and reflections on how to integrate the nature or field journal into instruction both in person and online. There will be an optional day long excursion to Badlands National Park on June 30 for an ethnobotany hike with Richard Sherman and other journaling activities. A tentative live stream with Richard is being planned.

Dates: June 15 - July 27
Location: Remote
Credit: One (pending from University of Sioux Falls)
Fee:  Non-members $5, Members and School District partners Free
Grade Target: K-12
Registration: https://sd-discovery.org/event-3838392

To receive credit:

  • Attend weekly online meeting
  • Complete assigned reading
  • Complete field journaling activities

Links to presentations at the 2020 SD STEM Ed Conference Feb 7-8


The South Dakota Discovery Center is a training partner for GLOBE. GLOBE is an international science and education project sponsored by NASA and NOAA dedicated to earth systems monitoring and research. GLOBE trained educators in South Dakota are eligible for mini-grants to purchase classroom supplies to support implementation. Become a GLOBE trained educator through online e-training or at an in person professional development opportunity.


The South Dakota Discovery Center will provide contact hour certificates if you participate in and reflect up a webinar from NASA, GLOBE, or CLEAN. 

Please visit our mini-site for more information.

National Geographic Educator Certification
The South Dakota Discover Center supports South Dakota educators pursuing their National Geographic Educator Certification.  Contact Anne for more information.


The SD Discovery Center offers professional development to formal and non-formal educators in science using proven, high quality, inquiry resources.

We offer:

  • Accredited Hybrid and in person workshops throughout the year in GLOBE, GEMS, the Leopold Education Project and Project WET that include Phase One training of the National Geographic Educator Certification. We can offer these learning opportunities at minimal cost to participants thanks to partnerships with the Space Grant Consortium and the SD Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Many of these opportunities offer a stipend. Educators who are trained in GLOBE are eligible for implementation stipends as well as mini-grants to purchase supplies.
  • Mentoring and coaching for your science staff. Our specialty is empowering elementary and middle school educators to be confident STEM educators. Contact Kristie for more information.


Upcoming events

Thank you to the 
Friends of the South Dakota Discovery Center. 
Friends provide on going support so that the
children and families in our community have access to hands-on science learning, now and in the future.

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