At CRDG we believe that in order to produce real change through program implementation, teachers must be provided with on-going professional development opportunities.

This list of courses reflects the kinds of teacher professional development we do, rather than a list of currently available courses. While we do run courses periodically, we also, more commonly, work with schools to provide programs of professional development that meet their specific needs. All of our programs come out of the research we conduct on various aspects of teaching and learning, assessment, and technology use. If you are interested in one of these, or would like to discuss a professional development program for your school or district, contact us to see how we can assist you.

Teaching Science as Inquiry: Professional Development Courses

TSI offers professional development courses that focus on helping teachers

  • obtain an overview and understanding of inquiry as a pedagogical approach
  • engage students with different learning styles

Teaching Science as Inquiry: Aquatic Science

This professional development is a four-part series uses Exploring Our Fluid Earth; an online curriculum based on CRDG’s Our Fluid Earth and The Living Ocean text books. Teachers explore aquatic science from physical, chemical, biological and ecological perspectives in a series of modules. Each module is a 2-day workshop followed by continued participation in an online learning community, an in-person follow-up meeting, and a Blackboard Collaborate session. Through the online learning community, teachers access course content, activities, and engage with scientists, educators and collaborators.

Teaching Science as Inquiry: Our Project In Hawai‘i’s Intertidal (OPIHI)

Teachers and students are immersed in their local watershed environment through an authentic citizen-science research experience, Our Project in Hawai‘i’s Intertidal (OPIHI). The professional development provides content training for teachers, along with curriculum directly connected to OPIHI research, Ocean Literacy Principles, and NGSS standards. Teachers participate in OPIHI research during the professional development and then replicate this research via classroom and field experiences with their students. OPIHI citizen science research on Hawai‘i’s intertidal environment began ten years ago (in 2004) and resulted in the first comprehensive study of Hawai‘i’s intertidal environment and publication of peer-reviewed scientific articles. Our current TSI OPIHI professional development enables teachers and students throughout the state to contribute to a valuable scientific monitoring project and the decadal review of the original OPIHI work. The OPIHI professional development is also connected through a statewide network of teachers via the Exploring Our Fluid Earth curriculum teacher community (, which will forms the content base and online learning platform for the professional development.

Inquiry Science for High School: Marine Science

Earth is a planet of water. The Fluid Earth and Living Ocean (FELO) capture the human fascination with the ocean in a rigorous, one-year, multidisciplinary science course that integrates biology, physics, chemistry, meteorology, geology, cartography, oceanography, marine-related technology, and ecology. The program, which focuses on developing students’ scientific skills, is appropriate for students of all abilities in grades 9–12.

Inquiry Science for Middle School: FAST

Foundational Approaches in Science Teaching students do real science at a level appropriate for grades 6–10. FAST is made up of three courses: FAST 1, The Local Environment; FAST 2, Matter and Energy in the Biosphere; and FAST 3, Change Over Time. Content in each course is organized into three strands that reflect the recommendations of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) for integrating the sciences: physical science, ecology, and relational study. Teachers learn ways they can help their students develop thinking skills, laboratory skills, and a working knowledge of the foundational concepts of science.

Inquiry Science for Elementary School: DASH

Developmental Approaches in Science, Health and Technology (DASH) is a sequential, inquiry-based program for grades K–6 that integrates the areas of science, health, and technology. DASH reaches a broad spectrum of learners through hands-on activities that are aligned with HCPS III and use a variety of teaching and assessment strategies.

Teaching Science as Inquiry: Astronomy

The activities in this 2-day or 3-day course have been used successfully in part or in whole with grade K–9 students. Participants have the opportunity to explore the world of astronomy using inquiry strategies. Instructors will model inquiry-teaching techniques as teachers add to their own prior knowledge of the sun, the moon, Earth, the solar system, and the universe beyond. Participants will learn to help their students make predictions and observations, construct hypotheses, design and invent experiments and models, and interpret and explain astronomical phenomena. They will learn to use music, movement, drawing, reflection, sharing, writing, reading, and even listening to enhance their students’ inquiry experiences. Participants will, with the help of the instructor, act as a scientific community to analyze, discuss, and reflect on these activities and strategies for applying inquiry teaching in their own classrooms.

Teaching Science as Inquiry: Mechanics

In the 2-day or 3-day course participants will have the opportunity to bring inquiry to their students by exploring the world of mechanical technology and physical science. Instructors will model inquiry-teaching techniques. Participants will practice inquiry techniques for classroom application by predicting, hypothesizing, designing, inventing, experimenting, observing, interpreting, generalizing, and explaining while adding to their own understanding of such concepts as force, friction, and simple machines. They will participate in an assessment inquiry by constructing, demonstrating, and explaining the workings of complex machines they invented. Participants will, with the help of the instructor, act as a scientific community to analyze, discuss, and reflect on these activities and strategies for applying inquiry teaching in their own classrooms.

Teaching Science as Inquiry: Why Things Sink and Float

This 2-day or 3-day course provides experience and research in inquiry for middle school teachers. The course involves participants in the kinds of activities that characterize a modern scientific community. The methods of investigation adhere rigorously to the demands for community validation, with careful attention to experimental design, the setting of controls, execution of experimentation, and interpretation of results. By conducting laboratory and field investigations, teachers develop laboratory skills, thinking skills, and content backgrounds that enable them to better facilitate and coach students in conducting science in their classrooms.

In addition to the laboratory and field investigations, the course provides background lectures to help participants develop an understanding of the physical, biological, and earth sciences necessary to teach middle school science. Participants begin with studies of buoyancy out of which the concepts of mass, area, volume, density, properties of matter, thermal effects on buoyancy, and buoyancy/density relationships of solids, liquids, and gases emerge.

Teaching Science as Inquiry: Matter, Energy, and the Environment

This professional development course provides participants an opportunity to investigate the flow of energy and the cycling of matter through the biosphere. To explore this topic experiments with photosynthesis, food analysis, composting, and interrelationships of plants and animals will be used to develop models of producers, consumers, and decomposers. This course targets multiple grade seven HCPS III life science benchmarks. The instructional materials are built around laboratory studies. The class is conducted as a community of working scientists with the instructor as the facilitator. Inquiry teaching strategies including questioning and modes of inquiry will be modeled and discussed.