By Christine Gianas Weinheimer Yellowstone Forever
Are you a teacher, or do you know of a teacher, who would like to get students excited about learning from the outdoors? Educators play an increasingly critical role in connecting young people to parks and wild places, and those living near Yellowstone National Park have one of the nation’s premier outdoor classrooms in their backyard.
In order to help teachers draw from this wonderful source of learning and inspiration, the park offers popular workshops especially for educators, taught collaboratively by the National Park Service and Yellowstone Forever. These workshops are designed to aid teachers in discovering innovative ways to incorporate STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) into their classrooms.
The Yellowstone STEAM Teacher Workshop will take place two times this year: June 17-21 and July 15-19. In Yellowstone, participants will learn how to use both traditional and innovative methods to incorporate art into STEM lessons for middle school and high school students. Throughout the workshop, the group will explore new ideas and strategies while networking with other educators on best practices for cross-curricular design.
The first day will include an evening orientation with Yellowstone Forever and NPS staff. The following three days will be spent immersed in Yellowstone’s natural wonders, introducing hands-on activities that participants can use with students. Each day will include a mix of classroom lessons and field activities, followed by evening sessions with guest experts to further integrate art with STEM and give participants tools to engage a variety of learning styles in the classroom. The final morning will be devoted to discussing ways to incorporate Yellowstone STEAM into the classroom and creating individual action plans.
In addition to STEAM workshops, Yellowstone will offer a Yellowstone Spark Teacher Workshop this summer from July 29 to Aug. 2. With Yellowstone as their classroom, teachers will explore STEAM and other interdisciplinary activities that will enliven learning for students in grades four through eight. This active workshop incorporates field hikes and is designed especially for teachers who want to use Yellowstone to excite students, whether in the classroom or when they bring students to the park.
“Yellowstone National Park is the perfect backdrop and laboratory for teachers to immerse themselves in experiential place-based learning,” said Amanda Hagerty, assistant director of Institute Programming at Yellowstone Forever. “The information and skillsets gained through these workshops can be transformed across a variety of educational disciplines and locations.”
To participate in one of the STEAM Teacher Workshops, interested teachers must fill out an application, which is available at Yellowstone.org. A registration fee including meals and lodging is required for those selected to attend. Programs are based in Gardiner, Montana, at Yellowstone Forever’s Overlook Field Campus. Teacher workshop applications are due Feb. 28 and selected teachers will be contacted by April 1. To register for a Yellowstone Spark Teacher Workshop, visit yellowstone.org/teacher. Financial aid is available.
Yellowstone Forever is the official nonprofit partner of Yellowstone National Park.