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Philadelphia Middle School Educators Integrate STEM Learning into the Classroom with University City Science Center’s FirstHand Teacher Institute

Teachers from three Philadelphia middle schools are heading back to the classroom next week-- as students. From August 14th through the 16th, the University City Science Center will kick off the second FirstHand Teachers Institute. The institute, which debuted in the summer of 2016, provides Philadelphia-based middle school educators an opportunity for professional development related to STEM education.

During the three-day program teachers will be exposed to the FirstHand model, which integrates classroom lessons with 21st century workplace skills, placing an emphasis on teamwork and investigative skills. Teachers are immersed in different aspects of the Science Center ecosystem through resident company lab visits and use of the current FirstHand Lab space. This interactive experience inspires innovative lesson planning, ultimately improving students’ learning experience. The FirstHand Teachers Institute is generously supported by a grant from the William Penn Foundation.

Participating teachers in this year’s program hail from the Harambee Institute of Science and Technology, Esperanza Academy Charter School and Independence Charter School.

Serving Philadelphia youth from under-resourced schools and the teachers, professionals and families from their communities, FirstHand aims to spark an interest in the STEAM disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math that students can explore and cultivate throughout their lives. By giving students the opportunity to explore, ask questions, and create new solutions, FirstHand is opening the doors for the minds of tomorrow.

FirstHand is also supported by generous donations from individuals and the following organizations: AstraZeneca,
BNY Mellon Mid-Atlantic Charitable Trusts, Chubb Limited, Cognizant, The Lenfest Foundation, The Christian and Mary Lindback Foundation, The McLean Contributionship, Microsoft Corporation.

About the Science Center
Located in the heart of uCity Square, the Science Center is a mission-driven nonprofit organization that catalyzes and connects innovation to entrepreneurship and technology commercialization. For 50+ years, the Science Center has supported startups, research, and economic development in the life sciences, healthcare, physical sciences, and emerging technology sectors. As a result, graduate firms and current residents of the Science Center’s incubator support one out of every 100 jobs in the Greater Philadelphia region and drive $13 billion in economic activity in the region annually. By providing resources and programming for any stage of a business’s lifecycle, the Science Center helps scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators take their concepts from idea to IPO – and beyond.

For more information about the Science Center, go to

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