Introduction to Innovation scheduled for July 15-19, 2024

Introduction to Innovation is the centerpiece of CWRU’s campus-wide broader impacts strategy to strengthen elementary school teachers’ science and engineering content and practice. Funded by the National Science Foundation and the Gelfand STEM Center, the program is designed to use standards-based science content and processes in grades 2-5 as mechanisms to introduce fundamental concepts of engineering and design, explore the natural connections between science, engineering, and literacy, and enable teachers to appreciate the tremendous importance of science and engineering to society at large. The program is aligned with the Ohio STEM School Designation rubric and contains several key elements used by reviewers.

Teacher putting rice on a penny

Leonard Gelfand STEM Center staff provide the overarching structure for the program and organize contributions by faculty from the College of Arts and and Case School of Engineering. University faculty help teachers explore ways engineering practices can be used to enrich the study of standards-based science content. A veteran elementary school teacher assists in the translation of college-level content to the classroom and leads the integration of literacy into the curriculum. The problem-based approach we use reflects the practices and strategies researchers use in their own investigations and provides a model teachers will be able to replicate in their classrooms.


Bill Badders, Cleveland Metropolitan School District (retired), and former president, NSTA.

Shane Parker, Ph.D., Asst Professor, Department of Chemistry

Erman Ayday, Ph.D., Asst Professor, Department of Computer and Data Science

Sarah Diamond, Ph.D., George B. Mayer Chair in Urban and Environmental Studies, Asst Professor, Dept of Biology

Michael Fu, Ph.D., Research Asst Professor, Dept of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Jim Bader, Executive Director, Leonard Gelfand STEM Center

ELIGIBILITYTeachers breaking chocolate

To be eligible for this program, applicants must have a regular appointment as a grade 2-5 teacher at a public, private, or charter elementary school in Cuyahoga, Lorain, Medina, Lake, Ashtabula, Summit, or Geauga counties. Teachers with at least three years experience are preferred, but all teachers are welcome to apply. Preference will be given to teams of teachers from the same school. Teams may be composed of teachers from the same or consecutive grade levels.


The program meets daily from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM on the campus of Case Western Reserve University. Parking on campus is paid for through the program.


Participants are expected to attend all sessions, develop at least one lesson/laboratory for use in the classroom, conduct assessment of project impact in their classroom, and provide examples of student work for discussion at a year-end meeting.


Each participant will receive a $500 stipend plus $250 to purchase supplies necessary to implement the lessons in their classroom.


Each applicant must submit a complete application package consisting of the application form, resume, essay, and a reference letter from your principal. Forms may be submitted by mail at the address shown below, by fax to (216) 368-5465, or by email to


Enrollment is limited to 12. Applicants will be accepted on a first come, first served basis.

Contact Jim Bader for more information (; (216) 368-5289).

2024 Application

2023 Introduction to Innovation Schedule

2022 Introduction to Innovation Schedule

2019 Introduction to Innovation Schedule

2018 Introduction to Innovation Schedule

2017 Introduction to Innovation Schedule