MIT STEP Lab Presents

Science and Engineering Program for Teachers (SEPT)

Teacher professional development that brings innovative teachers from around the world to talk shop with an outstanding group of passionate educators


For one week every summer, teachers from across the world gather on MIT’s campus to learn more about the groundbreaking research that is happening on campus. Teachers attend presentations and lectures presented by MIT professors and then reflect on their own curriculum and how they could utilize what they’ve learned back at their own schools. This year, SEPT week will be held July 5th- July 11th.

Last summer, over 50 teachers from across the United States, Spain, South Africa, Germany, Grand Cayman, Brazil and Argentina arrived on MIT’s campus in early July to participate in the 30th Anniversary of our annual week-long Science and Engineering Program for Teachers (SEPT). 15 MIT professors from a variety of disciplines gave interesting and insightful talks about their work and provided the teachers with powerful learning experiences. The schedule of speakers can be found here- .

This year, we had three separate tracks for the afternoon sessions: Use & Design of Games and Simulation, Broadening Participation in STEM and Bringing PBL & Inquiry into STEM Classrooms. We added a new afternoon track of workshops this year, titled The Use and Design of Games and Simulations, led by Rik Eberhardt, Studio Manager at the MIT Game Lab. 25 of the teachers contributed to MIT research by collaborating with MIT Researchers and providing feedback and input into the design of research instruments for learning science. The track played games centered on molecular biology, climate change and world energy policy, geometry, and the Tragedy of the Commons. The group explored how teachers can use games as assessment and to help gain perspectives on understanding complex systems. We also discussed what is play and how we might bring that into our classrooms. Teachers ended the session by designing a lesson plan or unit design, a game or activity, informed by the research they experienced. Some of our teachers designed prototypes or modified existing activities about engineering challenges, 3D molecular design for chemistry, the food chain, and math. Others created lesson and unit design using the climate change and world energy models.

The Project Based Learning (PBL) track was led by Alex Hargroder, a PBL Coach and Designer in the STEP lab. The teachers learned about the foundations and design of PBL and created rigorous questions that lead to engaging projects for students. The teachers were asked to co-create a project that they would bring back to their classrooms and students. Their projects ranged in topics from rising coastal water levels and water quality to how we can create contemporary art using geometry to improve mental health. We’re excited to hear from the teachers about how they use these projects with their students.

The Broadening Participation in STEM track was led by Kristina Heavey, previous Program Manager of the Scheller Teacher Education Program. The week for this group was full of discussions and exercises about biases, awareness, and microaggressions. The teachers learned about ways to implement culturally responsive teaching into their classrooms and left with new techniques that will enable them to create a classroom environment that honors all student experiences.

The application deadline for the 2020 Science and Engineering Program for Teachers has passed. Please keep an eye on our website for more information about applying to our 2021 program.  If you have any questions in the meantime, please reach out to



For more information on resources please visit

Project Specifics



Content Area


Project Contact

Mary McCrossan