Meghan McCleary - U of I Extension

Extension Professional Staff

Meghan McCleary
Extension Educator, STEM

Meghan McCleary

Cook County Unit
9415 South Western Avenue, Suite 201
Chicago, IL 60643
Phone: 773-233-2900
FAX: 773-233-9183

Meghan McCleary is a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) Educator with the University of Illinois Extension. Meghan uses her expertise to provide educators and administrators professional development in science and engineering throughout Cook County.

Meghan graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Bioengineering focusing on therapeutics engineering, drug delivery systems, and biomaterials. During her time at the U of I, Meghan taught multiple undergraduate courses including a Cell and Tissue Engineering Laboratory in the Department of Bioengineering and a Biomaterials Laboratory in the Department of Materials Science. She was also an instructor for a variety of programs including Girls Adventures in Math, Engineering, and Science (G.A.M.E.S.) Camp, the Illini Summer Academies, and the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) BioNanotechnology Summer Institute.

Prior to joining Extension, Meghan worked for the Illinois Natural History Survey as a technical writer. She performed extensive data analysis and wrote numerous reports on human dimension factors in resource and wildlife management and environmental health for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

She is currently a member of the National Science Teachers Association, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She is also a trained facilitator for the Next Gen Science Exemplar System (NGSX) and the Exploratorium's Fundamentals of Inquiry program. 

Meghan is currently a Co-PI for an Illinois State Board of Education Math-Science Partnership Grant, PrIMES -- Practices Intgrated across Math, Engineering, and Science. In addition to the professional development included in PrIMES, she works with schools and districts in Cook County to focus on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Workshops are tailored to fit the needs of the requesting school and are updated often to reflect the growing body of knowledge surrounding the standards.


Program Offerings

Thinking about NGSS: Introducing the Practices (Grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12)

Looking for ways to begin to align your instruction with the NGSS? Learn ways to incorporate science and engineering practices into your instruction. Participants will experience and examine a series of science and engineering activities as a starting point for integrating the NGSS. Extension Educators will help you update and revise your curriculum so that it begins to address core disciplinary ideas, crosscutting concepts and scientific practices. Sessions and activities can be tailored to desired grade levels and ambitions; choose science and/or engineering concepts as the focus of the session.

Introducing Engineering in the NGSS (Grades K-5, 6-8, 9-12)

Don't know how to start using engineering in your classroom? Use this introductory session as a take-off point to start using the engineering design process with your students. This workshop is aimed at teachers new to engineering in the context of the NGSS.

Engineering Design Projects for Specific Grade Bands (Grades 3-5, 6-8)

Are you ready to jump into engineering design projects? This workshop will walk participants through iteration and optimization of the three different NGSS disciplinary core idea activities: physical, life and earth and space science. It is recommended that you attend an introductory NGSS session or are familiar with the NGSS prior to this workshop.

NGSS for Administrators: An Introductory Guide to Implementation

The NGSS is up to us! If you're wondering how to get your school started, we're here to guide you. An introduction to NGSS, as well as research based methods for implementation will be discussed. Connect with other administrators and educators, get answers to your critical questions, and leave with a better idea of how to get your school on the right path.

EQuIP Yourself for NGSS - 2 parts (Grades K-12)

In this two-part workshop, teachers will get to know the EQuIP Rubric for Science and begin to evaluate lessons and units for their alignment to the NGSS. Furthermore, teachers will further develop their proficiency with the EQuIP Rubric for Science by reviewing lessons and units for instructional supports and monitoring student progress. Attending one of our other NGSS sessions prior to this workshop is highly recommended.

Evaluating and Creating NGSS Lessons and Units (Grades K-12)

In this full-day workshop, teacher will learn how to evaluate lessons and units with the EQuIP Rubric for science. They will also learn research-based strategies for their own unit and lesson planning. Participants will have in-depth conversations with their peers and have many opportunities for collaboration. It is a prerequisite that you attend an introductory Engineering NGSS session or are very familiar with the NGSS prior to this workshop.

Next Gen Science Exemplar -- NGSX (Grades K-12)

NGSX is a blended professional learning system designed to help teams of K-12 science educators apply the pedagogical shifts described in the Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards to their own teaching. NGSX is organized into learning pathways structured to immerse participants -- as learners and as teachers -- in 3-Dimensional learning using a web-based system of tasks, tools and resources. The NGSX experience combines first-hand science investigations, videotaped expert commentary and classroom case studies along with facilitated individual, small group and whole group discussions. In a collegial, seminar-like environment, NGSX participants will engage in modeling and constructing explanations of complex phenomena, hallmarks of Next Generation Science. They will also learn to use questioning strategies, or talk moves, to create a classroom culture in which students explain their thinking, listen to and build on the ideas of others and function as a community of critical thinkers.

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