July 17 or 23, 2019
8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Teaching Science Outdoors (TSO) brings elementary teachers to an outdoor environment and allows them to practice science in a variety of outdoor habitats, with a focus on aquatic and terrestrial. Next Generation Science Standards and technology (iPads, website and google docs) are incorporated throughout the experience. Teachers develop skills to adapt existing science curriculum for the outdoor classroom, plan and carry out an investigation, analyze and interpret data and engage in argument from evidence and build a network of resources to refer back to once they return to the classroom. 

During this one-day workshop, you will participate in three outdoor investigations, practice outdoor teaching techniques, discuss barriers and benefits of teaching outdoors and begin a plan for a lesson or activity.

Kellogg Biological Station
 (KBS) has a commitment to working with K-12 science teachers. Learn more about teacher professional development at KBS. The Teaching Science Outdoors program started in 2014 to provide a more in depth science experience for K-5 teachers. More details about Teaching Science Outdoors 


  • Kara Haas, KBS Science Education and Outreach Coordinator, will lead instruction.  Kara has worked for MSU and Kellogg Biological Station since 2009 and leads the community outreach team. She has experience working as an informal educator in Michigan habitats and offering science teaching professional development to K-12 teachers.  
  • Renee Bayer, Associate Director for Engagement, CREATE for STEM, MSU, Renee Bayer began her work teaching environmental and secondary science education before moving into community-based public health research, teaching and practice. Her research interests include issues in educational and health equity and community-based participatory research (CBPR).
  • Noelle Knowles, Noelle comes to KBS from nearly 20 years as a classroom teacher. Most recently she engaged students in hands-on learning experiences in a museum as an education Program Specialist at Penn State University. Before that she was part of the Grand Valley State University team overseeing student teachers as they graduate and become the newest members of our profession. She would happily share stories from her summers teaching at environmental Ed camps with the National Parks and welcomes hearing your stories about your teaching adventures.
  • Gabe Knowles, Gabe has 16 years of experience as an elementary teacher for Whitehall District Schools. He recently completed a year working at Penn State University as a STEM Education Outreach Specialist working with scientists and researchers in developing professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers. Gabe has extensive experience in environmental stewardship and education opportunities with the National Park Service, such as developing curriculum and outreach opportunities for Grand Teton and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Parks. Prior to teaching, Gabe worked as a wildlife ecologist in southern Nevada studying the desert tortoise for four years.

What to expect: Lunch and snacks are included. Dress to be outside. Please bring an existing lesson plan or activity to adapt to using outdoors or an outdoor lesson you would like to expand or improve (ex. life science units of the Cereal City kits all have an outdoor activity). Please also plan to bring your smartphone, tablet or laptop (school or personal). 

Cost: Free, there is no charge for this program as it is generously funded by the KBS Long-tern Ecological Research Program (National Science Foundation). Teachers will receive a $75 stipend for participation.

Access to web-based resources (google drive), become more familiar with some common Michigan plant and animals, practice collecting data using ipads/tablets, engage in best practices for teaching outdoors

SCECHs: Yes, 6 hours and fees are included.

Who should apply?  K-5 educators and administrators

Location: Kellogg Biological Station, 3700 East Gull Lake Dr., Hickory Corners, MI 49060

In the registration, you will be asked, ‘Tell us why you would like to participate and how you hope to use what you learn in your classroom?’ 300 word max. It is helpful to draft this before starting your application and then cut and paste.

Registration closes on Thursday, July 12.


Registration for Teaching Science Outdoors Best Practices Workshop is open.
Registration closes at 11:59 p.m. on July 22, 2019.


Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting the event contact two weeks prior to the start of the event. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.

Contact Information

For information contact Kara Haas, KBS Science Education & Outreach Coordinator, at karahaas@msu.edu or 269-671-2360.