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Tennessee STEM Education Center

Innovative Educator Workshops

The TN STEM Innovation Network (TSIN) and the Middle TN STEM Innovation Hub, hosted at the TN STEM Education Center (TSEC), continue their long-standing collaboration to bring exciting professional development credit opportunities to educators all over the mid-state through the annual Innovative Educator Workshop series.

These professional development opportunities provide teachers with the resources and skills they need to expand STEM learning both inside and outside of the classroom.  The day-long workshops offer catered lunch, mileage reimbursement, and PD credit alongside the expert knowledge offered by local educators. These speakers, leaders in their fields, guide middle TN k-12 teachers through many different challenges they may face, from school STEM designations to implementing experiential learning.


Combined Hub Meeting and Innovative Educator Workshops

Past :

Combined Hub Meeting and Innovative Educator Workshops

Empowering Minds in STEM: Unlocking the Potential of Inquiry-Based Learning

June 6, 2023
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at MTSU

Designed for middle school/high school teachers

Inquiry-based learning isn’t just another buzz phrase – it’s a proven teaching method that encourages students to explore real-world problems and think critically through investigation. This workshop will cover the theory and application of inquiry-based learning through both student and teacher perspectives. In this interactive workshop, you’ll experience inquiry-based learning from both the student and teacher perspectives. We’ll guide you through a hands-on inquiry-based lesson that will leave you motivated to try it out in your own classroom. Then, you’ll discover how ANY lesson can be moved up the inquiry spectrum, giving you the freedom and flexibility to apply these techniques to any topic. By the end of the workshop, you’ll have a boosted lesson plan that’s ready to implement, as well as the tools and resources to keep the inquiry-based learning momentum going. So bring a lesson you want to take to the next level and get ready to open a whole new world of options for your instruction toolkit.

  1. Participants will gain a comprehensive understanding of inquiry-based learning, including its underlying theory, principles, and benefits, as well as how it can be used to promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills in students.
  2. Through hands-on activities and demonstrations, participants will learn how to implement inquiry-based learning strategies and techniques in their classrooms, regardless of the subject matter or grade level.
  3. By the end of the workshop, participants will have developed and refined a lesson plan using inquiry-based learning and will have access to a range of tools and resources to help them continue using this powerful teaching approach effectively in their classrooms.
  • Designed for Middle / High School Educator focus
  • Mileage Reimbursement
  • Lunch & Refreshments 
Expert Panel

Jessie Lumpkins is from Castalian Springs, Tennessee. A 2005 graduate of Gallatin HS and 2009 graduate of MTSU, she spent 10 years in the agriculture classroom at Page and McGavock High Schools. Her proudest accomplishment on paper as an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor was facilitating her students’ recognition in 2017 as the first chapter in Tennessee to be named a Model of Excellence. The most significant accomplishment is her ongoing friendships with former students; she loves being their cheerleader! While in the classroom, Jessie was named the 2018 CTE Teacher of the Year for Metro Nashville and was National Board Certified in Career and Technical Education. Jessie finds joy in roles where she can advocate for and support teachers.

*Space is limited to first 30 teachers that register

How to Spike Your Lesson Plans

June 8, 2023
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at MTSU

Designed for elementary school teachers

Do you find yourself being dragged through scripted lesson plans that lack fun? Are students walking into your class in a fog of noninterest? Well, it’s time to SPIKE your lessons with CS & Robotics!!! As we all know, TN will be implementing Elementary CS standards in 2024/2025, so why not get a jump on it? The object of this class will be to:

  1. Gain insight into the new TN standards;
  2. Utilize beginning coding skills through basic drag-and-drop software;
  3. Build a working robot;
  4. Explore how CS & Robotics can be used throughout all content/learning levels; and
  5. Where to go to seek out grants and funding because ain’t nobody got money in the classroom!  Best news ever….you get to KEEP your Spike Essential Robotics kit to be added to your awesome classroom!
  • Designed for elementary school teachers
  • Mileage Reimbursement
  • Lunch & Refreshments 
Expert Panel

Currently serving as the STEM Coordinator for the Lawrence County School District and 23-year veteran teacher certified as a Reading Specialist, K-8 Gen. Ed. K-12 Special Ed., Middle School, and 7-12 Business Ed. Annemarie brings a dynamic perspective to building a CTE STEM Program.  She also sits on the State Computer Science Advisory Board, leads the Lawrence County School Systems STEM Designation movement, and is the Executive Director of the 501c3 program STEMtech21 – which provides STEM Programs to rural communities and at local Children’s Hospitals.  Her other hats include FIRST LEGO Event Manager, REC Drone Event Manager, CS Ambassador, Webmaster, Proud Grandmother of 12, and grant writer who has brought in over $780,000 in the past five years.  Her awards include Az Point of Pride (2007), TN Special Education Teacher of the Year(2014), LCSS District Teacher of the Year (2018), and TN Regional Teacher of the Year (2019).

Data Science Teacher Ambassador Program – 2nd meeting

[February 28, 2023] Presented by Dr. Ryan Otter
A continuation of the November meeting.  No new registrants, please.

  • Middle / High School Educator focus
  • Mileage & Reimbursement for Substitute Teacher provided
  • Lunch & Refreshments 

Data Science Teacher Ambassador Program – 1st meeting

[November 7, 2022] Presented by Dr. Ryan Otter
Have you ever wondered, “What is data science and why should I care?” Join us in learning about its relevancy and real-world applications within the classroom. 

  • Middle Educator / High School Educator focus
  • Mileage & Reimbursement for Substitute Teacher provided
  • Lunch & Refreshments 

Middle TN STEM Innovation Hub Meeting and Innovative Educator Workshops for Elementary Educators

[November 2, 2022] 
Attend four separate one-hour workshops on topics including problem-based learning, coding, inquiry-based learning, engineering design in elementary school, and integrating STEM throughout the day. 

  • Elementary Educator focus
  • Mileage & Reimbursement for Substitute Teacher provided
  • Lunch & Refreshments

The Journey of STEM or STEAM Designation

[June 23, 2022] Presented by Lea Bartch
Whether you have started the process, just beginning, continuing, or thinking about reapplying to become a Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) STEM/STEAM School, this session is designed for participants to collaborate with fellow colleagues who are traveling the same journey. In this session, individuals or groups will be guided to explore big ideas and details in a STEM/STEAM culture, answer individual questions to build or solidify the school’s STEM/STEAM vision, and consider key aspects for staying organized along the way.  As a result of this PD and the utilization of thinking forms, discussions, and critical thinking, individual questions will be answered, and your “next steps” will be clearer, regardless of where your place in the process. The Tennessee STEM Innovation Network (TSIN) STEM Designation Rubric will be the guide for learning and planning.

Incorporating Biotechnology in the Classroom

[June 16, 2022] Presented by Melissa Bunch
Join us for a day of fun and learning in the lab at Oakland High School. In this workshop, teachers will explore ways to incorporate biotechnology in the classroom as well as discuss setting up a biotechnology program at their school. Participants will engage in hands-on laboratory activities and learn basic microbiology techniques, how to perform Gram stains, and how to make, load and run an agarose gel using a Huntington Disease activity as a model. 

Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL)

[June 14, 2022] Presented by Dr. Amy Phelps
In this workshop teachers will be introduced to Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL), and they will explore the benefits of active learning in the classroom. Participants will engage in POGIL-based learning, explore how POGIL activities are structured, discuss group formation, and wrestle with challenges of implementation related to bringing POGIL to a classroom. POGIL can be used with any STEM discipline.


Contact Dr. Kevin Ragland, TSEC Associate Director, at

Contact Us


Tennessee STEM Education Center
820 Fairview Avenue
Fairview Building, Suite 102
MTSU Box #82
Murfreesboro, TN 37132