Inquiry in Rain forests:

A field-Based Professional Development course for Teachers



... hands-down, the single most profound professional development experience of my teaching career. Kristen Edwards, Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow, NASA, Washington, DC

A recipe for career-changing PD:

Start with a model for hands-on, field-based instruction, perfected at the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) an internationally-renowned institution for research and education. Stir in dynamic staff with decades of experience in science, in multiple modalities of teaching, and in teaching about teaching. Season with video production and techniques addressing the challenge of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Blend in awe-inspiring ecosystems and garnish with certification for two graduate credits through the University of Washington and 96 contact hours of CE/PD credits through OTS.

Re-ignite your passion for biology ... by working like scientists – observing amazing organisms and ecosystems, asking questions, formulating hypotheses, designing experiments to test those hypotheses, collecting and analyzing data, and presenting results for peer review.

Re-invigorate your joy in teaching ... by designing exciting projects that engage students ... while incorporating computational thinking, argument from evidence, and communication about the nature of science.

Boost your confidence in teaching through inquiry ... through projects, discussions, and workshops that focus on creative teaching, while emphasizing  crosscutting concepts, and core ideas recommended by the National Research Council’s Framework for K-12 Science Education.

Develop digital video skills to engage “wired” students ... in meaningful ways, through workshops and assignments involving smartphones and other readily-available cameras, editing software, and pre-production planning.

Step up to the frontier of 21st-century global studies ... through discussions with Costa Ricans engaged in education, research, ecotourism, and agriculture that offer first-person perspectives on conservation and sustainable development in tropical forest environments.

Past participants agree that the course is challenging, enjoyable, and has transformed their teaching. Check out this video.

Members of minority groups and teachers serving minority/under-represented communities are encouraged to apply, and to watch the video below, featuring additional testimonials from some participants who also appear in the main course video.

Course activities: July 8 through July 21, 2015, following this schedule.  Please see additional information about the course and what to expect.

Applicants with funding, as well as those seeking scholarship assistance  can apply directly through OTS.

A limited number of competitive scholarships are available for qualified applicants.

NOTE: OTS forms reflect actual dates of course activities; travel to San José (airport code SJO) on July 7; return home from SJO on July 22.


Clockwise from upper left; Joe Levine with Daniel José Lugo during an orientation walk; Barbara Bentley in action; participants shooting an iPad video report on a field research project

July 7-20, 2018 (Arrive San José 7/6; Depart 7/21)

Course fees: $2,795; Internal schedule will be updated for 2018 soon.

Eager to join us in 2018? We will again have limited scholarships.

Check out potential sources of funding ... local, Fund for Teachers, etc.