Professional development:

Life Sciences Change Agent Teachers (LSCAT)

August 15-17, 2023
9:00AM to 3:00PM

For grade 5-12 science teachers and STEM leaders. 


Hands-on labs in gene editing, climate change, and microbiomes

Science teachers nationwide are challenged to engage all learners in inquiry-based approaches. 

Join AceraEI’s Life Science Change Agent Teacher program this summer for a week of complimentary sessions focused on a) integrating hands-on labs to support student understanding of “doing science” and b) transitioning to storyline curricula to foster conceptual understanding of NGSS’s core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and science practices. Lab activities include:

Gene Editing with CRISPR: Gene editing has the power to rewrite the experiences of organisms by altering their DNA. This cutting-edge unit allows students to learn theory in exciting and current ways by using CRISPR to change prokaryotic genes and phenotypes.

The Human Microbiome: Focus on students authentically planning and carrying out investigations, and then analyzing and interpreting their data. Learn how to tie emergent science on microbiomics to natural selection and body systems, using students’ own skin microbiomes as sources of evidence! 

The Secret Life of PlantsDevelop students’ efficacy developing and using models. Learn low-cost labs that aid student understanding of photosynthesis, and then stretch students to design solutions to climate change.


Program information

When: August 15-17, 2023, 9:00AM to 3:00PM

Where: The Acera School
5 Lowell Avenue
Winchester MA 01890

Program fee: $550

Contact: Irina Uk

*AceraEI is an approved DESE Professional Development Provider in Curriculum & Instruction – General, and Science and Technology/Engineering

Program instructors

Michael Hirsch, Science & Math Educator and STEM Curriculum Creator​

Michael is a science and math teacher, a STEM curriculum creator, and an Educator Fellow for NPR’s Science Friday. Prior to launching his career in education, Michael worked as a scientist in Kendall Square biotech, researching and creating therapeutics for metabolic disease and inflammation. In addition to the nine-unit Reinventing Biology portfolio Michael developed for LSCAT, his innovative curriculum includes popular Acera electives like “So You Wanna Work in Biotech,” “So You Wanna Be a Forensic Scientist,” and “Science, Perspective, and the Study of Why.”

Irina Uk, Education and Innovation Program Manager​

Irina is a graduate of the Technology, Innovation, and Education program at Harvard. She has been teaching Math and Creative Computing in formal and informal settings for the last 14 years. She also has worked in EdTech and is very passionate about making educational technologies accessible to teachers and students.

Sarah Zuckerman, Director of Education and Innovation​

Sarah is a graduate of the Arts in Education program at Harvard. Prior to her work in education leadership and program design, she was an art teacher in K-12 classrooms for 10 years, and has received numerous awards for her work, including Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Urban Scholars Fellowship and the Sontag Prize for Urban Education, and has had works published by Education Leadership, Ed Week, and Americans for the Arts.

Program details

Mass teachers can earn 25 PDPs for participating. AceraEI is an approved DESE Professional Development Provider in Curriculum & Instruction – General, and Science and Technology / Engineering.

Fee: $550

Acera: The Massachusetts School of Science, Creativity, and Leadership is a K-12 school founded in 2010 to offer hands-on, STEAM-rich learning in an individualized and question-driven environment. All of AceraEI’s curricula have been developed and pilot-tested with Acera students. Visit the school online at

Acera Education Innovation – AceraEI – is our public outreach division. AceraEI partners with teachers and school/district leaders to cultivate a love of learning in students through choice, voice, agency, and hands-on STEAM learning in public schools.

Contact us

The Acera School
5 Lowell Avenue
Winchester MA 01890
Phone: 781.729.3489

Irina Uk