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Lick Observatory Teacher Institute (LOTI)

Lick Observatory hosts the Lick Observatory Teacher Institute (LOTI) each summer in partnership with the Center for Science Education at UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory.

The goal of LOTI is to inspire and energize teachers by exposing them to the real process of astronomical research. To do this, LOTI engages northern California middle and high school science teachers in STEM content in multi-day professional development workshops held on site at Lick Observatory. Workshops feature well-vetted classroom activities that have a proven track record in other teacher professional development programs. In addition, there are tours and demonstrations of Lick Observatory’s various research instruments, as well as nighttime observing opportunities. UC scientists participate in the workshops, providing insights for the connections between educational teaching standards and their research.

Lick Observatory offers a unique setting for teacher professional development: the Observatory and Visitor Center on Mount Hamilton, just 20 miles east of San Jose, California. Tours of the telescopes, discussions with the research astrophysicists in residence, and nighttime observations are an integral part of the LOTI experience. Not only do participants do inquiry-based activities aligned with Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, they practice new astronomy skills under the observatory’s dark skies, weather permitting, and partner with trained and nationally recognized astronomy educators.

Workshop Description

Lick Observatory Teacher Institute (LOTI)
July 7-9, 2015
Recommended for middle school, high school, and lower division undergraduate school instructors
Application Deadline: March 11, 2015
Workshop Fee: $575 ($100 deposit due: April 10, 2015)

Come learn ideas for teaching science and engineering practices, cross-cutting concepts and key Common Core standards within the context of astronomy. Investigate ways of using astronomical data in your classroom using well-vetted, inquiry and standards-based classroom activities. The 3-day/2-Night workshop will feature tours and demonstrations of research facilities at Lick Observatory, as well as nighttime observing with research telescopes. UC astronomers will participate in the workshop, providing insights for the connections between educational standards and their research. Fees cover lodging, meals, registration, and instructional materials. Teachers are responsible for their own transportation.


The benefits of the LOTI program include:

  • Inquiry-based activities that are Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards-aligned
  • Immersion: Three days and two nights at the observatory
  • Meet astronomers and discuss current astronomical research
  • Meet and network with colleagues
  • Practice basic astronomy skills

How To Apply

Applications for the 2015 program are now closed . For those interested in the 2016 institute, applications will be due in March of next year.

2015 Schedule, Fees and Information

The LOTI workshop will take place on July 7 - 9, 2015 at the Lick Observatory.

The LOTI workshop is available at $575/participant. This fee covers lodging, meals, program fees, and instructional materials. A $100 deposit is due April 10, 2015, and the remaining fee is due May 15, 2015.

The LOTI workshop includes both day and night instructional sessions, materials, daytime tours, evening observing (weather permitting), lodging, and meals. Shared dorm rooms have been reserved for registered participants only. Participants who do not wish to share a room with another participant are responsible for reserving and paying for any other additional hotel room arrangements in the nearby San Jose area for themselves or accompanying family or friends. If you are participating in a workshop and will be arranging your own room, please let us know at least 45 days in advance of the workshop. Please be aware that some of the telescope observing activities will last until late hours.

All applications must be submitted by March 11, 2015. You should receive notification as to the status of your application on March 20, 2015. For ALL accepted teachers to the LOTI workshop, we require a $100 deposit to be made to our secure online system by April 10, 2015 to hold your reservations. If the deposit is not paid by this date, your spot will be given to the next qualified applicant.

If you are accepted into the LOTI workshop:

The workshop fee is $575. A $100 deposit is due April 10, 2015. The remaining balance is due May 15, 2015. Your $100 deposit is fully refunded if you cancel MORE than 30 days prior to the beginning of the workshop. If you cancel LESS than 30 days prior to the beginning of the workshop you do not receive a refund of the deposit. You WILL receive a refund of the other funds that you paid. Suggestion: If you are accepted for a workshop and require funds for travel, we recommend you contact your school administration or parents' organization. Some teachers have found support from local businesses and industries in their communities. And some have done fundraising events such as bake sales. Lick Observatory does not have any travel funds available for participants. For the workshop, we post a school email address for each participant so that travel/carpooling arrangements can be coordinated.

See more information about LOTI here.