STEM Center User Group Training

STEM Center User Group Training & Membership | Teachers K-12

NEXT USER GROUP TRAINING: Saturday, July 15, 2014 from 8:30am - 3:30pm
6 Hours PD / $60 / Includes Lunch & Polo Shirt

STEM Center User Group Professional Development Training prepares teachers (K-12) to use the state-of-the-art facilities, equipment and resources available through the Oakley STEM Center.

Contact Patti Reab, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  or call 931-372-6599.

This unique membership program offers teachers cutting-edge professional development workshops and access to FREE field trips. The EXPEDITION Field Trip experience is the class/school participation component of the User Group program in which the trained teacher/user group member leads their students through engaging hands-on activities and projects.

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Membership Rewards

  • ATTEND one day (6 hrs training) of STEM Center User Group Training to become a member of the STEM User Group for one year!
  • TRAINING includes two (2) hands-on cross-curricular, TN Curriculum Standards-aligned activities, and a Virtual Theater experience. 
  • ACCESS to the STEM Center’s lending library – including books, videos, posters, and select laboratory equipment (this resource is NOT the NASA ERC Lending Library; different lending library/systems).
  • USE the on-site NASA Educator Resource Center (ERC) and online Lending Library.
  • BRING students to the Oakley STEM Center’s free EXPEDITIONS field trip program. During EXPEDITIONS, User Group Members lead science, technology, engineering, and math-related activities in the STEM Center’s premier, state-of-the-art learning studios. In preparation for leading the activities, User Group Members preview and participate in the same activities that students will experience on an EXPEDITIONS field trip.

User Group Training Dates for 2014

  • April 5

  • July 15

  • October 18



EXPEDITION Field Trips: Teacher-Led Experiences
Hands-On Activities in the Learning Studios

EXPEDITION Field Trips for Students K-12 (FREE)

  • EXPEDITIONS take place at the Oakley STEM Center utilizing state-of-the-art facilities, equipment, and resources.EXPL12 chem kids
  • STEM Center User Group Members are eligible to bring their students on an EXPEDITIONS Field Trip.
  • Students will experience two hands-on, minds-on, cross-curricular, standards-aligned activities, and a Virtual Theater Experience.
  • The teacher/member leads the hands-on activities for their students.
  • STEM Center staff will lead the Virtual Theater experience.

Student Capacity

  • Each activity can accommodate 25-30 students.
  • Total capacity is 75-100 students during one EXPEDITION.

EXPEDITION Sample Schedule

  • An EXPEDITION is approximately 3 ½ - 4 hours in length and can be tailored to accommodate a variety of arrival and departure times. EXPEDITIONS are scheduled throughout the months of May and August.

15 minutes: Welcome & Orientation
50 minutes: Activity 1
50 minutes: Activity 2
50 minutes: Activity 3
Though lunch is not provided as part of the program, we can schedule a lunch break and have refrigeration on-site in which to store sack lunches and beverages.

STEM Center User Group Member/Teacher Responsibilities

  • ARRANGE bus transportation to and from the STEM Center for teachers and students.
  • BRING a minimum of 1 teacher per 25 students. At least 2 teachers MUST be trained STEM Center User Group members.
  • PROVIDE lunches and beverages for each student participant and yourself (if needed).
  • LEAD the hands-on activities for your students.
  • MANAGE students while they are guests of the Oakley STEM Center.

Oakley STEM Center Responsibilities

  • DEVELOP three activities/labs that are grade-appropriate and Tennessee Curriculum standards aligned.
  • SUPPLY materials, equipment, and learning studios as appropriate for the activities.
  • MAKE AVAILABLE “lab” instructions or activity sheets for each hands-on project.
  • FURNISH lab aids including visuals, handouts, PowerPoint presentations, and other learning aids as required for the activity.
  • PROVIDE STEM Center support staff to assist with the hands-on activities and technology in the learning studios.

    NOTE: Though STEM Center staff is available for support, it is the teachers’ responsibility to lead the hands-on components of the field trip (based on their training and experience through the STEM Center User Group program).

More About EXPEDITION Field Trips


STEM Center User Group Registration Information
For assistance, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 931-372-6573.

Registration for STEM Center User Group Training | $60

  • Teachers can register online through the STEM Center's MarketPlace Store.
    YOU MUST REGISTER WITH THE OAKLEY STEM CENTER....even if you have registered with your system's My Learning Plan.

    My Learning Plan
    does not submit your intent to register for a workshop to the STEM Center.
  • MarketPlace accepts credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.

Has Your School Made Arrangements to Pay for Your User Group Training?

  • When registering online, please enter the PROMO CODE: SCHOOLPO.

Prefer to Pay by Check?

  • If you prefer to pay the $60 registration fee by check, please complete the Online MarketPlace Registration and enter the PROMO CODE: CHECK.
  • Make check payable to: Tennessee Tech University
  • Mail to: 
TTU Oakley STEM Center
 / User Group / 155 W. 7th St.
 / Cookeville TN 38505

Don't Have Access to a Computer?

  • If you don't have access to a computer for Online MarketPlace Registration, please contact Jonathon Riggsbee, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , or call 931-372-6573 to make arrangements.



Frequently Asked Questions About STEM Center User Group
FAQs for Educators & Administrators

Q: Who may join the STEM Center User Group?

A: K-12 educators and school administrators.

Q: How may I join the STEM Center User Group?

A: By attending a "STEM Center User Group Training" session.

Q: How often, when and where is STEM Center User Group training offered?

A: STEM Center User Group is offered three times per year, typically on a Saturday in the months of April, July and August at the Millard Oakley STEM Center on the campus of Tennessee Tech University.

Q: How long do the sessions last?

A: Sessions take place from 8:30am-3:30pm.

Q: Can I receive in-service credit for attending a User Group training session?

A: The STEM Center will provide you with a letter verifying your attendance at User Group with details about the sessions. It is up to your school district to grant the in-service credit.

Q: What do I receive by attending the STEM Center User Group?

A: You receive training on a minimum of two hands-on, STEM-related, NASA approved/supported activities. This training prepares you to lead these activities when you bring your students to the STEM Center for an Expeditions Field Trip or to present these activities in your own classroom. Included in the activity package at the Oakley STEM Center are PowerPoint presentations, materials list and preparation, standards alignment, and suggestions for extensions and cross-curricular activities.

You experience a Virtual Theater presentation. Topics may include: To the Edge and Back: A Tour of the Universe, Seasons, Moon Phases, the Planets, and History of Astronomy. More Virtual Theater presentations are currently in development.

You gain admittance to the STEM Center's lending library and the ability to check out equipment to use in your classroom (STEM Lending Library only accessible to STEM User Group Members). Duration of loan is approximately 2 weeks; STEM Center administration reserves the right to approve items requested from the lending library.

Q: How long is my membership in STEM Center User Group active?

A: Your membership remains active for one year from the date that you attended STEM Center User Group training.

Q: How may I renew my membership?

A: Membership is renewed by attending additional sessions of STEM Center User Group Training and/or bringing your students to the STEM Center for an EXPEDITIONS Field Trip. If you choose to learn new activities (activities are updated bi-annually), you only need to attend the User Group session related to your grade band and/or a new activity that you want to learn (training time for each activity is typically 1.5 to 2 hours).

Q: When do EXPEDITIONS Field Trips take place and what is the fee?

A: EXPEDITIONS Field Trips take place on select Fridays throughout the fall and spring semesters, as well as for two weeks in August and two weeks in May, annually. Specific dates are determined by lab room availability at the Oakley STEM Center. There is no fee; EXPEDITIONS Field Trips are FREE!!!!

Q: Who leads the hands-on workshops sessions during an EXPEDITION field trip?

A: You, the STEM Center User Group member, lead the sessions for which you have been trained. When you arrive at the STEM Center for an EXPEDITION field trip, the lab rooms will be prepared with a laptop containing the PowerPoint presentation suitable for the activity, completely prepared materials and equipment, and a student/staff assistant.

Q: What is the fee for STEM Center User Group training and how may I sign up?

A: STEM Center User Group's fee is $60. You may sign up for the next User Group training through the STEM Center's website by clicking on the "User Group Registration Guide" tab at the top of this page; it leads you to the Online MarketPlace registration site.