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Professional Development Course Catalog

Covering a myriad of topics from botany to ecology to sustainability, QBG's Professional Development courses equip teachers with skills and lessons to enliven their classrooms and engage their students. 

Courses cover a variety of science practices and follow a "Science Immersion Model for Professional Learning."  Teachers engage in hands-on activities that align with City, State, and National Standards, as well as the Common Core.

 Depending on topic, workshops run 1/2 to over 5 days in length.

All courses can be customized to meet your group's needs.  Click here for more information.

For more information on Professional Development at Queens Botanical Garden, contact Marnie Rackmill.

Course Catalog

Bringing the Indoors Outdoors and the Outdoors Indoors

Immerse yourself in the natural world as you bring the outdoors indoors and the indoors outdoors. Plan to get dirty and have fun as you study various concepts in ecology and botany and learn techniques to bring your students closer to the world around them. This multidisciplinary course will enrich your curriculum throughout the subject areas.

Classroom Extensions into the Garden and Garden Extensions into the Classroom

Discover how QBG’s garden spaces (and other gardening activities) can be used to teach ELA, social studies, and math.  Create and take a model of a rainforest or desert biome. Examine plants, soils, water, and more. This workshop will include adaptable classroom activities, reproducible materials, and discussion points for various grade levels.   Specific topics such as plants in society, adaptations, soil and water, etc, may be requested.

Ecology in the Urban Environment

Explore the world of microbes and macrobes in this weeklong course.  Collect and examine various microorganisms and learn about how they interact with their environment.  Continue your studies by examining the anatomy and behaviors of invertebrates, insects, and birds.  Participants will examine their own learning and relate it to various teaching and assessment strategies.

Exciting and Easy Classroom Gardening (1/2 day workshop)

Plant roots, bulbs, seeds, stems, and more from around the world to help create their own classroom gardens.  Selected are easy to maintain, create specific learning opportunities, and help to create exciting classroom environment.  Classroom activities and reproducible materials will be provided in this cross-curricular workshop.

Observations with Plants – How do Scientists Think?

Designed for elementary and middle school teachers (general education, special education, science, and literacy), this workshop model lesson begins with basic plant observations.   Participants ask questions, come up with their own hypotheses, and use literature to back up their statements.  This class extends into the garden where participants have the opportunity to further their observations.  Teachers examine various applications to literacy and science curricula and take home their own dish garden for classroom observation.

Sustainability in the School Community

Study various concepts in environmental sustainability and learn techniques to bring your students closer to the world around them. This multidisciplinary course will enrich your curriculum throughout the subject areas.  This five day course on environmental sustainability will encourage teachers to spread the importance of Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling in their school communities. Each day teachers will be provided with resources to use with students, and they will participate in activities based on a variety of sustainability-related topics. These topics will include: forms of energy, waste management and recycling, water quality, conservation, and climate change. Participants will also engage in a study of how man has harnessed and mimicked nature.  Participants will leave with a variety of resources that can be used in the classroom. 


What's the big deal about trees?  New York City is trying to plant over one million of them, but why?  The answer is simple: a tree can do a lot for you!  Learn about the ecological benefits of trees as well as tree structure and function as you "adopt" a tree for a day.  Examine different types of trees and different tree adaptations.  Finally, learn how to identify trees using a dichotomous key.  Math, ELA, and art are integrated into this one day workshop.

Urban School Gardening

This 30 hour workshop helps schools learn how to beautify their grounds  and create a sustainable and peaceful space for students, faculty and parents to enjoy throughout the year.  Teachers participating in this program will learn the fundamentals of gardening and how these lessons can easily translate into classroom instruction that will enhance their Science instruction.  Teachers will learn to make compost and create a “green” space that is environmentally friendly. 

Using Explorations into Botany and Outdoor Spaces to Further Your Teaching Practice 
Teachers Grades K-8
July 7-12, 2014

Monday through Saturday, 9am – 4pm
36 Hours – 3 “P” credits

Explore the outdoors and learn some basic botanical concepts at the Queens Botanical Garden this summer!  Learn about botany and ecology via hands-on, interdisciplinary activities.  This P-credit, educator class includes garden-based explorations, classroom sessions, and a few walking trips.   The course is imbued with various common core-aligned activities as well as formative assessments and addresses a number of Danielson’s competencies.  New York City teachers may register for P-credits by visiting The course fee includes a $250 registration and materials fee and a $125 dollar ASPDP fee.

The Waste Stream

Participants will examine the various paths a piece of trash from NYC can follow.  Participants will leave with an understanding of the overall waste stream, socioeconomic and cultural factors affecting waste management, and more.  Sample classroom activities will be provided. During the full 6 hr version of this workshop, participants will engage in lessons on sustainability, sustainable resources, and will tour the QBG Visitor and Administrative building (a “green building”).  During the full version of this course participants will receive classroom composting materials including a bin, a voucher for worms, and books.

Specialized, Custom Programming

QBG's Professional Development staff can design workshops specifically targeted to your group's needs.  QBG follows the NSTA inquiry-based model and the Science Immersion Model for Professional Learning.  Activities are designed to align with the Common Core Curriculum.  A Professional Development experience at QBG is always hands-on, exciting, and set in the gorgeous backdrop of this 39-acre urban oasis.  Contact Marnie Rackmill for more information.


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