QUEST 2022 Follow Up

It was all absolutely amazing! Each of the teacher leaders provided us with different areas of expertise that were so beneficial… Everybody was so easy to approach, so helpful, and willing to push me to my limits! Being out in the world, formulating my own questions, having time to collect and analyze data… This has been a tremendous experience! I can’t wait to see what’s going to be offered next year!
QUEST 2022 Machine Learning Participant

QUEST institutes have been held each summer for over 30 years and are designed to enhance teachers' knowledge of science and mathematics through laboratory experiments and experiences aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards. The program made an enthusiastic return to campus this summer led by cutting edge professors, researchers, and lead teachers. During this summer’s QUEST summer institute, we featured 3 teacher institutes: Machine Learning: Discovering the Rules of Life through Images, Weather & Climate, and Climate Change: Exploring Solutions to a Complex Problem. 

Machine Learning: Discovering the Rules of Life through Images

Local STEM teachers went out in the field to investigate their own questions through image analysis during QUEST 2022 Machine Learning: Discovering the Rules of Life Through Images. Starting with individual curiosities, the teachers began by noticing patterns in nature, capturing images, developing a structured data set, and then using image analysis software to make the invisible become visible! 

See photos on the Teacher Prep Instagram page! 

What teachers said about their experience: 

  • “It was all absolutely amazing! Each of the teacher leaders provided us with different areas of expertise that were so beneficial… Everybody was so easy to approach, so helpful, and willing to push me to my limits! Being out in the world, formulating my own questions, having time to collect and analyze data… This has been a tremendous experience! I can’t wait to see what’s going to be offered next year!”
  • “I used to think images could only be used to make simple observations but now I know they can provide quantitative data that can be arranged in informative patterns” 

Weather & Climate

Elementary and middle school teachers joined together to engage in hands-on learning to deepen their understanding of weather and climate concepts, data analysis, and pedagogy related to developing models. 

What teachers said about their experience

  • “I really enjoyed this experience at QUEST. I am grateful for the opportunity and I am looking forward to participating in other professional development with you all. Everyone was so knowledgeable and amazing. Thank you!”
  • “I learned that science is in every aspect of our lives, as a result of my participation in this QUEST program I am more interested in learning new ways to incorporate more hand-on activities in order to help my students visualize and understand science concepts appropriate to their grade level. For example: making clouds was one activity I really enjoyed watching. I know that bringing this and other ideas into my classroom will really spark some new interests and learning.”

Climate Change: Exploring Solutions to a Complex Problem

Teachers from 8 different districts throughout NJ toured the PICSciE Supercomputer Center during "Climate Change: Exploring Solutions to a Complex Problem" to see the computing power and systems that help create the climate models they explored. These fantastic teachers spent four days taking a deep dive into the causes and effects of climate change, hands-on labs, evaluating mitigation scenarios (such as bicycle-only transportation) and geoengineering solutions (enhanced weathering), acted as stakeholders in an en-roads simulation, learned about high waterline project as an innovative science communication project, and reflected on classroom applications. It was a very full and exciting four day learning experience for everyone involved. 

See photos on the Teacher Prep Instagram page!

What teachers said about their experience:

  • “Thank you all for such an enriching learning experience. I enjoyed all the activities and lectures.”
  • “I am leaving with a much clearer picture of how to teach climate change in a manner that is not as intimidating as I first thought it was. I have a much deeper understanding and appreciation for the mitigation efforts and geoengineering strategies that once I would not even consider as possibilities.”
  • “One of the best pd's I have attended. Will definitely keep my eyes open for future pd's provided by Quest and teacher prep.”

The Teacher Preparation Program acknowledges and appreciates the generous support from Professor Rubenstein and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, The Cooperative Institute for Modeling the Earth System (CIMES), Princeton University Department of Geosciences, and High Meadows Environmental Institute. We also truly appreciate teachers as experts in education and are honored to continue offering programming that is both meaningful to teachers as learners and practitioners. Thank you to all the participants for investing in your own learning this summer with us!