TechnologyObserving FacilitiesEducation and OutreachAbout Haystack

Research Experiences for Teachers

MIT Haystack Observatory will host two local high school science teachers for 78 weeks in summer 2019, to be paid under the sponsorship of the NSF. Located 40 miles northwest of Boston, MIT Haystack is a research center engaged in atmospheric science, radio astronomy, geodesy, computer science, and engineering.

The goal of the program is for STEM teachers to develop a series of inquiry-based introductory lesson plans for a particular high school level.


Mentors: Geoff Crew and Mary Knapp

Teachers will work with MIT scientists currently building a NASA cubesat (small satellite) to study the atmosphere. The goal is to produce materials that will give students experience in designing and building instruments that will bring practical experience to the equations that they see in the classroom. Teachers will work with a team of MIT scientists and undergraduates on a combination of contributing to the technical development of the system and creating classroom materials to integrate technology into their curriculum.

A meeting will be held at Haystack Observatory on March 26, 2019, at 3:30 p.m. to provide more information and answer any questions related to this program. Directions to Haystack can be found at (Attendance is encouraged but not required.)



We plan to host two high school science teachers for seven to eight weeks during the summer of 2019 who will work at the research facilities of the MIT Haystack Observatory. Studying with MIT scientists at Haystack Observatory, the teachers will acquire sufficient background information to develop lesson plans at the requisite grade level for students in the classroom. The teachers will interact with staff and students, and learn about special research projects as they attend the summer seminar series and activities planned for students and teachers. As they begin their project, scientists will guide them in their studies of the subject.

The goal of the program is for the teachers to develop introductory lesson plans for a particular K-12 level based on their summer research internships. These plans can then be followed by other teachers interested in using these units or by students pursuing independent study. The lesson plans will be placed on the Haystack website and will be linked to a rich base of other research and educational materials located there. Links will also be provided to other sites associated with Haystack's research disciplines and to educational materials relevant to the effort. This will simplify access to the materials by all teachers and students in the future. Haystack will encourage all interested teachers to take advantage of these materials and to apply them to their class activities prior to visits or interactions with our group.

During the summer, stipends of $1,000.00 per week will be paid to the participating teachers. Scheduling of time is somewhat flexible, but requires a joint starting date. While the project is in progress teachers will have the use of working space equipped with a personal computer connected to our network. Opportunities are also available for the participants to report on their projects at selected professional meetings. Participation in this program requires a commitment from each teacher to integrate some part of this experience into his or her classroom activities. Participants are usually invited to return to Haystack for two to four weeks the following summer to refine their materials.

Questions about the program can be e-mailed to

Application deadline is April 10, 2019. All applications must include the following items:

Application should be submitted via email at:

The decision on teacher selection is expected to be made in mid April.


The results will be a series of inquiry-based lesson plans to be used as an introduction to the research discipline described above not only by the participating teacher but also by other teachers. These lesson plans will also be made available through the Web to all teachers as part of our expanding education program. Teachers are also encouraged to present the results of their experiences at professional forums such as the AAS, AAPT, NSTA or AGU meetings.