Frequently Asked Questions

Is Van Andel Institute for Education a school?

Van Andel Institute for Education is not a school. Rather, we are an innovation laboratory for teacher professional development in an effort to create classrooms where curiosity, creativity and critical thinking thrive; plus, we offer a variety of K–12 student programs that allow students to think and act like scientists.

How do I get my child involved in High School Journal Club?

High School Journal Club is designed for teachers to bring a select group of students to participate in scientific discourse with scientists, as well as with other teachers and students from different schools. VAI sends out invitations to teachers, and those teachers can select the students. Parents cannot sign up their children without a teacher’s involvement.

How do I sign my child/class up for a Field Trip?

Field Trips are set up by the teacher for a class. A parent cannot sign up an individual student. To set up a Field Trip, please email information@vaei.org or call 616.234.5528.

How can I participate in Science on Saturday (SOS)?

SOS is designed for an adult and child to participate as a team. For more detailed information visit our dedicated SOS page. To sign up, please email information@vaei.org or call 616.234.5528.

Who do I contact for Professional Development opportunities?

Please email information@vaei.org or call 616.234.5228.

How do I know if a workshop is canceled due to inclement weather?

VAI follows the inclement weather cancellation policy of Grand Rapids Public Schools. If Grand Rapids Public Schools are closed due to inclement weather, VAI student and teacher programs will also be closed. Click here for more information on GRPS closings.

Can I help support teachers and students through the efforts of Van Andel Institute for Education?

Of course! Any monetary donation to our programs will be used directly to support student and teacher learning experiences. If you are interested in supporting students or teachers, all donations will be in support of creating classrooms where curiosity, creativity and critical thinking thrive at VAI and across the nation. For more information, please call or email.

What is NexGen Inquiry®?

NexGen Inquiry is an interactive, web-based resource for inquiry-based science. Built by teachers for teachers, NexGen Inquiry is the result of over a decade of work with students and science educators at
Van Andel Education Institute in Grand Rapids, MI.

NexGen Inquiry includes the following to support your success with inquiry-based teaching and learning in your classroom:

  • Content – Choose from a variety of NGSS-aligned, downloadable and customizable inquiry-based lessons.
  • Classroom – Assign lessons and connect with your students with our interactive Teacher Classroom and Student Science Journal.
  • Support – Extend learning with the hundreds of strategies in our Resource Library and ask questions, share ideas, explore best practices, and collaborate with fellow science and engineering teachers in our Teacher Community.