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High School teachers from Eastern Washington started the new year off with a bang! On January 5th teachers came to learn about the systems and the “Invisible Forest”. The evening started with Anne Thompson. Anne is a Research Assistant Professor in the Biology Department at Portland State University Anne discussed her research on Prochlorococcus, a photosynthetic organism, in the ocean as part of a system referred to as the invisible forest.

Anne sharing the “zigzag” path to her career.

Anne also shared about how her career path was not a straight line but more of a zigzag. (see photo) After Anne’s research presentation, teachers discussed all the places that the NGSS were addressed in the work and the potential of bringing ocean themes and the invisible forest into the classroom. Veronica Kenney, a teacher in Pasco said, “It’s so important to see how the earth systems are connected and how the invisible forest impacts our local ecosystem and all ecosystems on earth.”

The professional development project is a collaboration with the Eastern Washington Educational Service Districts and the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB). In the first session teachers learned about systems thinking and how to show students the interconnectedness of the world. In the second session teachers will continue to dive into the work of ISB. ISB takes the research of scientists and translates that into usable 3D learning with open educational resources, NGSS based modules that can be implemented with high school students. See the modules here:

Eastern Washington Teachers using their evenings to grow in professional development.