PEN provides a teacher training program infused with MIT-style learning-by-doing to promote hands-on science regardless of resource constraints

    Pro hands-on learning science

    "Around 250 million children are not learning basic skills, even though half of them have spent at least four years in school… Investing in teachers is key: in around a third of countries, less than 75% of primary school teachers are trained according to national standards."


    UNESCO Global Monitoring Report 2013/14

    Positive hands on science learning

    Hands-on science and curricula with real-world relevance improve student engagement and learning outcomes.

    Teaching lesson using hands-on science

    PEN offers a series of workshops where STEM trainers learn, design, and share hands-on activities which complement the national curriculum and are created from low-cost and locally available materials.

  • "Am so grateful and I can boldly say am now teaching science with confidence...In fact my students have started calling me a champion madam can you imagine? This is because my lessons are now practical than theoretical."

    Madame D., Kpone-Katamanso District, Greater Accra


    We host teacher training workshops to explore hands-on STEM activities that use low-cost, locally available materials.

    Practical Education Network Introduction to Hands-on Science Workshop in Ga Central, Greater Accra, Ghana

    Material resource constraints often leave teachers feeling limited to employing rote approaches. PEN empowers teachers around the world to engage their students in hands-on science projects. We train teachers in executing these activities within the structure of traditional education programs.


    Our material blends constructivist learning with design training to allow participants to discover key concepts and then harness that to engage in projects with relevance to their daily lives.

    PEN's Introduction to Hands-on Science Workshop in Ashaiman District, Greater Accra, Ghana



    PEN has a special emphasis on the challenges of STEM education in the developing world – large class sizes, scarce material resources, and the novelty of interactive pedagogies.


    We employ a teach-the-teachers business model, leveraging our partners' networks to reach scale.


    Since 2014, we have been running workshops around Ghana with our local partners.

    We have grown at the pace of an order-of-magnitude increase in reach each year!

  • Workshops are our foundation. On that, we holistically equip our teachers, providing material starter packs and follow-up content via video.

    Hands-on Training Workshops

    Training Workshops

    Curriculum Packs

    Material Packs

    Hands-on science teacher videos




    Teachers trained in hands-on activities


    Activities mapped to the Ghanaian JHS syllabus


    Local alternatives/sources of lab equipment

  • Practical Education Network's Teacher of the Month


    Nothing can be more excited to us than to see more teachers engaging their students with hands on science. Out of many we would like to celebrate Cornelius Adjia as the teacher of the month from Ga East. Some of the activities experimented on in class are the solar system, electromagnetism, filtration, mixtures and osmosis etc

    students as atoms


    Cornelius Adjia

    Some of his students are experimenting on immiscible liquids by using the process of filtration.


    Cornelius Adjia

    Solar system built by his students.


    Cornelius Adjia

    His students have worked on osmosis using pawpaw, electromagnetism and more!

  • TEAM

    Heather Beem, PhD

    CEO & Co-Founder

    Heather has run hands-on science workshops around the world, led the founding of MIT's D-Lab: Education class, and completed graduate work at MIT in Mechanical Engineering.

    Saddik Mohammed

    Ghana Program Coordinator

    Saddik is both Chairman of GAST - Greater Accra and District Science & Maths Coordinator for Ga South. He was recently selected as Best Science Teacher in Greater Accra Region.

    J.D. Rainey

    Business Head

    J.D. is a recent graduate of MIT’s Sloan School of Management where he was a Sloan Fellow. He has worked in a variety of industries, bringing a wealth of start-up and growth experience to PEN as it continues to scale its business.


    Noah Alorwu

    Marketing & Communications Head

    Noah is a STEM educator and builder of all things digital and physical. He founded the Ketasco Mobile Learning Society and teaches electronics and ICT everywhere he goes. He leads PEN in widely promoting hands-on science.

    Emmanuel Ocquaye

    Master Trainer

    Emmanuel is the GAST National JHS Panel Convener. He is a Master Trainer in PEN’s approach, commanding a refined skill in guiding teachers through practical activities.

    Anna Waldman-Brown

    Content Specialist & 


    Anna was a 2012 Fulbright Fellow in Ghana, researching appropriate technology and piloting several PEN initiatives. She teaches science and supports makerspaces around the world. She leverages her strong network to connect PEN with key partners and resources.

    Belle Archaphorn

    Content Specialist


    Belle served two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania, where she taught secondary level math and science. She also joined Shika na Mikono, developing teaching resources, coordinating conferences, and training teachers to use locally available materials.


    Steve Bonomo

    Content Specialist

    Steve served three years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania, where he taught secondary level math and science. He joined Shika na Mikono, facilitating several student workshops, teacher trainings, and working with the Ministry of Education to implement interactive teaching methods.


    Gordon Adomdza

    Professor, Ashesi University

    Joost Bonsen

    Lecturer, MIT Media Lab

    Aron Walker

    STEM Teacher, Nueva School

    Founder, Shika na Mikono


    We are pleased to present the following partnerships


    A hands-on science initiative by 

    Peace Corps Volunteers



    Ghana Association of Science Teachers

    The leading professional society for 

    Ghanaian STEM educators

    Greater Accra, Ghana



    The Practical Education Network is supported in part by a grant from the 

    D-Lab Scale-Ups program at MIT.

    MIT D-Lab Scale-Ups Fellowship (2016-2017)

    GrowthMosaic Education Challenge - Winner (2016)

    MIT Sloan Africa Innovate Business Plan Competition - Winner (2015)

    IEEE/IBM Smarter Planet - Best Curriculum (2012)

    MIT IDEAS Competition - Winner (2011)


    We'd love to be in touch. Reach us at any of the below options or email us:

    info@ practicaleducationnetwork.com