climate science mini-series

Science and Math Mini-Series

With generous funding from Bristol Myers Squibb, BMS PRISM at Montclair State University is proud to offer three mini-series this winter designed to support teaching math and science teachers. All sessions will be held at PRISM located at 1515 Broad Street, Bloomfield.

4-day mini-series: Ambitious Science Teaching (AST)
  • This series is now on a waitlist
  • All grade levels
  • $200 stipend, light dinner, 8 PD hours
  • 5:30pm to 7:30pm on: January 10 | January 24 | February 9 | February 23 (snow date March 9)

Ambitious Science Teaching aims to support students of all backgrounds to deeply understand science, engage with science practices and solve authentic problems.
In this workshop, you will learn about and engage with the four core practices of Ambitious Science Teaching, University of Washington. The Ambitious Science Teaching framework is based on 30+ years of classroom research. Each workshop session will center around one of the practices:

  1. Planning for engagement with important science ideas
  2. Eliciting students’ ideas
  3. Supporting ongoing changes in thinking
  4. Pressing for evidence-based explanations

Ambitious Science Teaching can be done at all levels, therefore this workshop is suitable for K-12 teachers. As much as possible, workshop participants will be divided into groups depending on the grade level they teach so that grade specific content can be used to implement newly learned strategies. Teachers are encouraged to sign up with 1 or more coworkers.

Note: The workshop will follow the Ambitious Science Teaching suggested pathway for groups of educators working together to improve their practice. This pathway includes a 10-15 page reading to support the discussions during each face-to-face session. Sessions will operate from the assumption that participants have engaged with the reading materials ahead of time.

Join the Waitlist for AST
3-day mini-series: Putting 'Talk' into STEM for Science teachers
  • Grades 3-8, specialists, coaches, and supervisors
  • $150 stipend, light dinner, 6 PD hours.
  • 5:00pm to 7:00pm on: January 26 | February 2 | February 16 (snow date March 2)

Looking to break away from the typical I-R-E (initiation, response, evaluation) discourse pattern in your classroom? If so, come join this multi session workshop. Over the course of 3 sessions, participants will experience and reflect upon numerous talk activities infused throughout a sequence of STEM instruction. After engaging in different talk protocols, participants will be able to determine which talk protocol best fits their planned lesson.

Register for Putting “Talk” into STEM
3-day mini-series: Three-session Fraction Bootcamp for teachers
  • Grades 3-6
  • $150 stipend, light dinner, 6 PD hours.
  • 5:00pm to 7:00pm on: January 30 | February 6 | February 13 (snow date February 15)

Let’s help our students catch up with fractions in this three-day interactive workshop where we will explore the across-the-grades development of fractions in elementary school with a focus on how fraction concepts are connected through the grades. Participants will explore how to introduce (or re-introduce!) fractions to students in a meaningful way and then build to teach fraction equivalence, comparison, and fraction operations. We will work with different representations and models of fractions and discuss their affordances and constraints for student learning. We will focus on the development of both conceptual and procedural knowledge for fraction operations and present activities that can help students make sense of the algorithms like “multiplying across” and “invert and multiply.” The high cognitive demand of all session activities will surely enhance every participants’ existing library of effective fraction tasks.

Register for Fraction Bootcamp

Facilitator Biographies

Petra van’t Slot is has been teaching science (mostly Chemistry) at the high school and college level for 15+ years. She currently teaches at the Dwight-Englewood school in Englewood, NJ. Petra is fascinated by how people learn science and she loves to improve her practice together with other educators.


Marisa Castronova has been teaching middle school science for over 15 years and is passionate about bringing high quality learning experiences to all. As a teacher, she is the creator of several grant funded initiatives including STEM PALS and STEM PALS2. As an educational consultant, Marisa works with school districts to support NGSS integration. She also supports STEM education at the university level where she works as a co-PI on two National Science Foundation (NSF) grants.

Marisa strongly believes that learning happens best when it is a community endeavor. To extend her own learning, Marisa is an active member of the New Jersey Science Teachers Association (NJSTA) and serves on the Executive board of the Maitland P. Simmons Memorial Award Committee, a committee dedicated to providing professional training activities for science teachers.

Marisa holds a BS in Biology and MS in Secondary Science Education from Lehigh University. She also possesses a MS in Biology from Montclair State University and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Caldwell University.


Dr. Nicole Panorkou is currently the President of the New Jersey Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (NJAMTE) and also a member at-large at the Association of Mathematics Teachers of New Jersey (AMTNJ). She holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education and is an Associate Professor in the department of mathematics at Montclair State University. She teaches graduate mathematics education content and pedagogy courses to inservice K-12 teachers and engages in extensive work in local schools by providing professional development and engaging teachers in collaborative research projects.