Science Teachers Learn at Summer Institute

As school finished up for students in June, it was just getting started for some science teachers.

Since 2007, UCSF's Science & Health Education Partnership (SEP) has hosted the City Science Summer Institute, a weeklong program that brings new and veteran elementary school teachers together with UCSF scientists to collaborate on ways to better teach science.

Early incarnations of the program began in the 1990s, but this year, with funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the California Science Project, the institute hosted more than 120 teachers, roughly one out of every 10 San Francisco Unified School District elementary school teachers. The scientists teach ""adult-level"" science to the teachers while experienced instructors lead their peers through classroom activities and discuss how to improve student understanding of science.

"The teacher participants signed up because they're enthusiastic or a little nervous," said Lency Olsen, a first-grade teacher at Tenderloin Community School. "But they get our enthusiasm, they bring it back to their classroom. When we say, 'It's time to teach science,' the kids cheer.""