QUEST 2020

Weather  -  Elementary Math - UnleadED - Fire Ecology - Science Research


QUEST is designed to enhance teachers' knowledge of science and mathematics through laboratory experiments and field experiences aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards.  Each session is co-taught by current researchers and teachers so that teachers develop skills to apply science/math content knowledge in their classroom.  QUEST seeks to increase teachers’ enthusiasm, knowledge and confidence teaching science and math. 


QUEST will offer four summer institutes on the Princeton University campus and a field based program in collaboration with the Pinelands Preservation AllianceOur Changing Weather will take place July 6 - 9, 2020 from 8:30am until 3:30pm, Elementary Math: from anxiety to mastery will take place July 7 - 9, 2020 from 8:30am until 3:30pm & UnleadED - what is in our drinking water? will take place July 7-9, 2020 from 8:30am until 3:30pm all here on campus.  What's Happening in Energy Research? will take place July 27 - 31, 2020 from 8:30am until 3:30pm at PPPL and on campus.  The Pine Barrens Fire Ecology unit will take place with researchers in the field July 27 - 30, 2020 from 9:00am until 5:00pm in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.  Detailed descriptions of all sessions are below.




1. Our Changing Weather for teachers in grades 3-8 in all content areas, July 6 - 9, 2020, 8:30am - 3:30pm at Princeton University

Weather is a result of the interactions of air, water, and land powered by energy from sunlight on the rotating Earth.  Teachers will experiment with ​or model air pressure, temperature, seasons, the greenhouse effect, humidity, clouds, wind, and the Coriolis effect.  We will explore how those factors relate to both typical weather and extreme weather such as hurricanes, ​other storms​, and droughts.  We’ll also consider how changes in climate may affect weather patterns.

With Steve Carson, John Witherspoon Middle School and Danielle Schmitt, Department of Geosciences through support from the Cooperative Institute for Modeling the Earth System (CIMES) which is a collaboration between Princeton University and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) to carry out research in earth system sciences.

Click here Quest Weather 2020.pdf for a printable copy.


2. Elementary Math: from anxiety to mastery for teachers in grades K-5,  July 7-9, 2020, 8:30am - 3:30pm at Princeton University

For elementary students to embrace and excel at math we must spark their engagement, serve different learning styles, and enable the self-pacing that is critical to mastery.  K-5 teachers will engage in hands-on math lessons that tackle all three of these goals while reducing math anxiety.  The lessons tap neuroscience and behavioral research, and align with NJSLS-Math as the basis for best practices.  Strengthen mental math visualization and develop understandings of place value, decomposition and number sense, as you equip yourself with tools to build the confidence of all students.

We recommend that teachers attend with a colleague within their school and across grade levels to build vertical integration concepts and differentiation strategies.

With Laura Overdeck ’91, Founder, Bedtime Math and Shayna Sackett-Gable former elementary teacher, curriculum writer, and math coach.  “Bring the Fun Factor to Math Class” is co-developed by the Bedtime Math Foundation and Columbia Teachers College.

Click here Quest Math 2020.pdf for a printable copy.


3. UnleadED - what is in our drinking water? for teachers in grades 6-12,  July 7-9, 2020, 8:30am - 3:30pm at Princeton University

The Flint Water Crisis brought lead in drinking water back into the national spotlight, and many NJ municipalities have similar water quality issues.  At QUEST we will consider the geographic distribution of lead levels in drinking water to understand the structural and environmental factors associated with variation in measured lead water levels. Teachers will interact with an ongoing interdisciplinary research team including a Princeton University sociologist, a geologist, a biologist, and an education policy scholar. We’ll engage in the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices as researchers identify areas with the highest measured lead water levels, and communicate to the public water lead level data and possible solutions to reduce lead exposure risk. QUEST participants will be asked to collect water samples in their school community.

With Jennifer Jennings '00, Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, Princeton University and a former high school teacher at Trenton High School, whose recent research has focused on large-scale informational interventions in K-12 schools. John Higgins, Professor of Geosciences, Princeton University and Robert Darnell, Visiting Scholar at the Lewis-Sigler Institute on Genomics and Professor of Biology at Rockefeller University.

Click here Quest UnleadED 2020.pdf for a printable copy.


4. Pine Barrens Fire Ecology for teachers in grades K-12 in all content areas, July 27 - 30, 2020, 9:00am - 5:00pm in the New Jersey Pine Barrens

In this program teachers will investigate how forests vary in their response to varying fire disturbance histories.  Participants will spend three days in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, an approximately 1.4 million acre fire adapted system in southern New Jersey.  Data collection will take place in a 1,000 acre cranberry bog and surrounding buffer as well as an adjacent 1,000 acre preserve.  Plant diversity, abundance and insect community assemblage will be investigated at sites with varying disturbance regimes.  Participants will develop a hypothesis based on expected response to fire seasonality and intensity and will consider how fire can be used as an ecological management tool.

The Pinelands Preservation Alliance located in Southampton, NJ will serve as our home base for discussing Pine Barrens ecology, developing hypotheses, analyzing data and presenting.  Participants are expected to come prepared for rain or shine field data collection and will be expected to present their findings upon the conclusion of the program.  Upon completion of the unit, teachers will have become more familiar with the ecology of the region, developing a hypothesis, collecting and analyzing ecological data and presenting on these data with research scientists.

With Ryan Rebozo, Director of Conservation Science, Pinelands Preservation Alliance.

Click here Quest Fire Ecology 2020.pdf for a printable copy.


5. What's Happening in Science Research? for teachers in grades 9-12 in all content areas, July 27 - 31, 2020, 8:30am - 3:30pm at PPPL and Princeton University

Teachers will learn about current research in plasma physics, nanotechnology, materials science and astrophysics.  Scientists and engineers will discuss their research, data and discoveries.  Teachers will explore how interdisciplinary science and engineering practices are collaborative within research centers, maximizing the impact of human, scientific, and technological resources. In effort to support future needs of society, we’ll consider how research can improve science communication with the broader audience.  With PPPL and PCCM scientists.

Click here Quest Research 2020.pdf for a printable copy.



Registration fee is $150 for Elementary Math, $200 for Our Changing Weather and Fire Ecology and $250 for Science Research before 4/3/20.  All fees increase by $50 after 4/3/20. UnleadED is offered with no charge and availability is limited.  Apply here.

Space is limited and we may not be able to accept all applications.

Contact Anne Catena, Ed.D. with questions at or 609-258-3336.


Quest 2020.pdf


Thank you to the Cooperative Institute for Modeling the Earth System (CIMES), Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, Princeton Center for Complex Materials, Princeton Environmental Institute, Bedtime Math Foundation and the Overdeck Education Innovation Fund for their generous support of QUEST!