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Teachers Attend Hands-On Science Workshop

Summer Event Sponsored by NSF

Workshop participants Josh Segaloff, right, and Frank Nigh

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Fifteen middle and high school teachers from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Washington recently attended a summer workshop funded by the National Science Foundation. Called “iSENSE: Internet System for Networked Sensor Experimentation,” the workshop was a collaborative project between UMass Lowell and Machine Science Inc., a supplier of educational robotic and electronic kits.

iSENSE trains educators on hands-on science using networked sensor probes. Its goal is to develop a web-based system for collecting and sharing sensor data. Such a system will allow students to view, graph, analyze and export data from individual sensors and then combine them with information from multiple sensors to examine regional, national and global phenomena.

The workshop’s faculty included Asst. Prof. Fred Martin of Computer Science, Assoc. Prof. Sarah Kuhn of the Regional Economic and Social Development Department, Asst. Prof. Michelle Scribner-MacLean of the Graduate School of Education, and Sam Christy and Ivan Rudnicki of Machine Science.

“The program supports teachers and students in developing science projects with topics that range from human health to environmental science and energy conservation,” says Martin.

For Josh Segaloff of North Andover, his main reason for participating was to train with other educators on new data-collecting devices and techniques and to share his knowledge and experience with his seventh-grade science students at the Alexander B. Bruce School in Lawrence.

“Our project involved using sensors to capture daylight illumination, temperature and humidity levels at various locations in Lawrence, using the school as home base,” said Segaloff. “Our students would then use the sensors to learn about geography and the environment, and make the connection from the classroom to the real world.”

Frank Nigh found the workshop to be very useful in taking actual data and connecting students to that information through the Internet. Nigh teaches physics and math at the Lawrence International High School. “I hope this will inspire my students to collaborate with schools all over the country,” he says.

“It was a very rewarding experience,” says Augusto Casas. A first-time workshop participant, Casas teaches computer science at St. Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkill, N.Y. “I now have a new teaching tool that I can use,” he says. “I’ve always been interested in information technology, and I’m constantly searching for new ways to motivate and help students learn.”

For more information about the iSENSE program, visit For more photos of the workshop, visit UML's photo gallery.

a headshot of Augusto Casa, a member of Umass Lowell's iSENSE program.
Augusto Casas