The Science Education Institute at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) offers a series of workshops for teachers and supervisors on how to support students as they investigate phenomena. The workshops will model what instruction aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) may look like. All workshops are for grades K-12 and include interactive presentations, investigations, breakout room discussions, practice and planning by grade level.

Each workshop can be attended in-person or online. The in-person workshops at RVCC run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and include a light breakfast and lunch. The online workshops consist of two 2-hour sessions from 4 to 6 p.m. with investigations done offline at home. The workshops will be led by Dr. Wil van der Veen, author and a nationally recognized expert on the NGSS, and supported by NGSS Teacher Leaders. Participants will receive five hours of professional development for completing each workshop.

Using Core Ideas to Construct Explanations for Natural Phenomena

  • At RVCC: Wednesday, Nov. 10, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Online: Tuesday, Nov. 16, 4-6 p.m. and Thursday, Nov. 18, 4-6 p.m.
  • Online: Tuesday, January 25, 4-6 p.m. and Thursday, January 27, 4-6 p.m.

Engaging Students in Practices Using Performance Tasks

  • At RVCC: Wednesday, Dec. 8, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Online: Tuesday, Dec. 14, 4-6 p.m. and Thursday, Dec. 16, 4-6 p.m.

Making Crosscutting Concepts Explicit

  • At RVCC: Tuesday, Feb. 1, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Online: Tuesday, Feb. 8, 4-6 p.m. and Thursday, Feb. 10, 4-6 p.m.

Using Explanation and Argument to Assess Student Learning

  • At RVCC: Wednesday, March 2, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Online: Tuesday, March 8, 4-6 p.m. and Thursday, March 10, 4-6 p.m.

Defining Problems and Designing Solutions for Engineering Phenomena

  • At RVCC: Wednesday, March 23, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Online: Tuesday, April 5, 4-6 p.m. and Thursday, April 7, 4-6 p.m.

The fee is $125 per workshop per teacher.

To register online visit For more information contact Tina Gandarillas at or 908-526-1200, Ext. 8942.

This workshop series is supported by a grant from the New Jersey Space Grant Consortium.

Breaking Bias: Lessons from the Amistad

The New Jersey State Bar Foundation’s program Breaking Bias: Lessons from the Amistad has released its newest unit: Jim Crow and the Great Migration. The unit has six brand new lessons to teach about this time period through an anti-bias and culturally relevant lens. To access the curriculum, visit

The Breaking Bias: Lessons from the Amistad curriculum was developed for grades 3-12. We provide a FREE training that introduces best practices when teaching African American history and discusses the following questions:

      1. How can I teach important content about Black history and structural racism?

      2. What are effective methods for teaching this topic?

      3. How can I make certain Black voices are heard?

      4. How can I and my students take personal and collective responsibility for standing against racism?

While the curriculum can be used without attending a training, NJSBF recommends attending in order to be familiarized with the content, learn effective pedagogy to teach the material and have a chance to experience the material firsthand. The current training covers our background unit and units 1 and 2. Please stay tuned for part two of this series, which will cover units 3-5.

NJSBF will be offering the Breaking Bias: Lessons from the Amistad trainings later in the fall. To access their workshop calendar, which is updated monthly, click

Starlab Training: Dec. 1

Starlab is an inflatable dome on which you can project vivid images of the night sky, ancient mythological characters, our solar system and galaxy, Earth’s weather patterns and geological features, or the biological cell. Starlab is easily transportable and fits into a small car; it can be set up in fifteen minutes and accommodates up to thirty students. The Starlab dome does require a clean floor space of 20 x 22 feet and a 12 feet high ceiling.

Starlab is the perfect tool to make science come to life for students. It helps teachers prepare for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) by allowing students to make observations, collect and analyze data, and construct explanations for natural phenomena in astronomy, earth science, and biology. Astronomical phenomena such as the daily and yearly motions of the Sun, Moon, planets, stars, and constellations are easily observed with Starlab. Data from these observations present students with the evidence to develop models and construct explanations for these phenomena. Starlab also includes projection cylinders related to earth science concepts such as ocean currents, weather and climate, and plate tectonics, and biology concepts such as the cell. At the training, participants will learn how to set up, maintain, and repack the Starlab system.The Starlab Training will be held in-person at Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg (NJ) and will begin promptly at a.m. and end by 4 p.m. Light breakfast and lunch will be provided.

The fee is $150. Teachers who complete the training are eligible to rent Starlab for a fee of $400/week ($300/week between June 1 and December 1).

To register online, visit For more information contact Tina Gandarillas at or 908-526-1200 Ext 8942.

This Starlab Training is supported by a grant from the New Jersey Space Grant Consortium.

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