Professional Development Opportunities


Great Explorations in Math and Science

Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California at Berkeley

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center is proud to be a member of the nation-wide network of GEMS Sites.  We provide a wide range of opportunities for exemplary professional development, model teaching and curricular planning as part of our support of educators in Washington State and beyond.

GEMS is a leading resource for innovative science and mathematics education. Developed at UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science, and tested in thousands of classrooms nationwide, over 70 GEMS Teacher's Guides and Handbooks offer a wide range of hands-on, inquiry-based learning experiences for pre-school through 8th grade.

GEMS activities engage students in direct experience and experimentation to introduce essential, standards-based principles and concepts. Clear step-by-step instructions enable all teachers to be successful presenting the activities. GEMS units offer effective, practical, economical, and schedule-friendly ways to provide high-quality science and math learning to all students.

GEMS Teacher's Guides

GEMS Teacher's Guides are clearly organized, easy to use, and do not require special background inmath or science. Each unit stands on its own, though many complement each other nicely, and we have prepared recommended sequences of units at various grade levels. Every classroom session is outlined with an overview, materials list, and preparation requirements, followed by clear, step-by-step directions. Complete background information is provided for the teacher, along with photographs, illustrations, assessment suggestions, and literature extensions. Throughout each guide there are comments on presentation strategies and practical advice to help the teacher, suggested by teachers of GEMS units nationwide.

GEMS Curriculum Sequences

GEMS Curriculum Sequences combine the vitality and excellence of GEMS teachers guides with greater coherence, more scientific and educational depth, systematic assessment, informational readings, new learning technologies, and extensive background for the teacher. The goal of each sequence is to focus strategically and effectively on the core science concepts that students need to understand within a scientific discipline, in alignment with national, state, and district standards and benchmarks. This series represents implementation of the latest cognitive theories on learning, supporting next generation Curriculum Sequences.

The three sequences in this series include:

• Ocean Sciences Sequence for Grades 3-5 

• Space Science Sequence for Grades 3-5

• Space Science Sequence for Grades 6-8


Educational Effectiveness of GEMS
There are several research studies that demonstrate the educational effectiveness of GEMS units.  These studies and evaluations indicate that the GEMS program:

  • makes a significant and measurable difference in and impact on student learning;
  • improves student and teacher understanding and practice of inquiry;
  • has the demonstrated capability of reaching all students, including historically underrepresented groups, special education and gifted students, in a wide variety of settings and regions;
  • fosters positive attitudes and motivation of students and teachers in science and mathematics; and
  • has considerable additional evidence of effectiveness and success.

...providing leadership in interdisciplinary educational research and practices in science, technology, engineering and mathematics
For additional information on the effectiveness of the GEMS series, please click here

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  • From a PreK-2 teacher: Most significantly, this training will enable me to build a firm foundation in math and science for my kids’ future learning.  It will also help my students realize math and science are “fun” not scary.
  • From a grade 5-8 department chair: I am a better teacher.  You have given me excellent resources, validation, and motivation.  I always come back pumped up and convinced that I picked out a great job.  I also appreciate, as dept. chair, having resources to give new teachers that have so much potential.
  • From a university director of science education: Ms. Tucker has been instrumental in not only presenting exceptional professional development for individual teachers, schools, districts and national conferences, but also in developing the curriculum aligned to the national science standards to complement and provide the resources necessary for reform learning.
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For More Information, contact:
Laura Tucker, GEMS Site Director

(360) 379-5235