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From the Field: Events and Opportunities, February 9, 2021

By Debra Shapiro

From the Field: Events and Opportunities, February 9, 2021

Grades K–12

The AAAS/Subaru Prize for Excellence in Science Books

NSTA Press author Jodi Wheeler-Toppen was honored with a 2021 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books, in the Hands-On Science Book category, for her book This Is a Book to Read with a Worm, for K–3 students. The book is an activity guide for finding and observing earthworms; its hands-on experiments help young biologists answer questions like "Which end is which?" and "Do worms make noise?" Wheeler-Toppen is the author of the NSTA Press Once Upon a Science Book series, for middle level teachers and students. Learn more about her from her My NSTA profile.

The AAAS/Subaru Prize for Excellence in Science Books celebrates outstanding science writing and illustration for children and young adults. It is meant to encourage the writing and publishing of high-quality science books for all age groups. Find out which other books received the award this year. Submission of books typically opens in the spring.

NASA Perseverance: The Mission Begins Webinar 

The Perseverance rover lands on Mars on February 18, the same day as this webinar, which will take place at 7:30 pm Eastern Time (ET). Presenters will talk about the mission so far, next steps, and the ways educators and parents can get involved. Activities for students, at home or in the classroom, will also be discussed.
DiscoverE Engineers Week, February 21–27

During Engineers Week (EWeek), educators can show students how engineering depends on math and science. Teachers can invite engineers to their classrooms to speak about their work (virtually during the pandemic). The E-Week website provides resources for teachers, students, and engineers.

Northrop Grumman’s Virtual Engineers Week Webinars     

Teachers and students can attend Northrop Grumman’s Virtual Engineers Week webinars, which are designed for students and open to the public. 

  • February 22—-Engineers Week Kickoff. Presentation from Naia Butler-Craig, an aerospace engineering PhD student, NASA Space Technology Graduate Research Fellow, and GEM Fellow at the Georgia Institute of Technology
  • February 23—Northrop Grumman’s Wildlife Challenge—Operation PolarEye. What started as a weekend Hack-a-Thon sparked a global conservation effort. Northrop Grumman's Wildlife Challenge competition had one goal: Find a new way to map ice formations in the Arctic, in hopes of tracking polar bear migration patterns without disturbing their natural habitat.
  • February 24—Chesapeake Bay Oyster Challenge. Learn how Northrop Grumman employees are developing technology solutions for remote oyster reef monitoring.
  • February 25—Virtual Tour of Northrop Grumman’s Center for Innovative Solutions in McLean, Virginia.
  • February 26—How We Are Going to the Moon? Engineering for the Artemis Mission. Northrop Grumman engineers share details about the Artemis mission and some of the key components they are working on to make this mission a success.


National Park Foundation's Every Kid Outdoors Initiative   
This initiative will provide an opportunity for fourth and fifth graders nationwide to experience federal parks, forests, and recreation areas in person throughout the school year. Families will have access to their own Every Kid Outdoors pass, good until the end of August 2021. This pass, worth about $80, will give families free access to national parks, national forests, and national wildlife refuges.

Print out a paper voucher from the Every Kid Outdoors website. Students and their families can also redeem their paper voucher for a plastic pass at any Forest Service office. (Find office locations here.) Teachers or adults who engage fourth and fifth graders through a youth-serving organization can print paper passes and find activities and lesson plans here. See also

Bonnie Plants Third-Grade Cabbage Program   

Bonnie Plants will award a $1,000 scholarship to one third grader in each state (except Alaska and Hawaii) for growing a cabbage in the third-grade cabbage program. Free plants will be delivered in early spring 2021. Students will then have until September to grow their cabbage and submit their entries. State agriculture department representatives will hold the drawing, which is based on the size and maturity of the cabbage grown by the student.

Middle Level

National Middle Level Science Teachers Association's Opportunity Drawing for Gift Card    

NMLSTA invites teachers to share why they love teaching middle level science. Five teachers will have a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card in an opportunity drawing and may see their response on the association's website or social media. (Deadline February 13

Middle Level and High School

Black Botanists: Building a Legacy in Your Classroom 

Diversity is an important concept in the natural world and in the scientific field. During this virtual workshop, you will learn how to incorporate the Growing Black Roots: The Black Botanical Legacy lecture series into your classroom. This workshop will take place on February 23, February 25, and March 2 at 6–8 pm on Google Meet. (Learn more about the free lecture series, which will run from February 10 to September 2021.) 

Presenters will also discuss the teacher resources that are provided for each lecture. The activities are divided into three sections, Comprehend and Connect, To Do, and Follow Up. This variety of options allows you to tailor your connection to the lectures to meet your goals and objectives. 

Toshiba America Foundation Science and Math Improvement Grants

Do you have an innovative idea for improving STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning in your classroom? Does your idea involve project-based learning with measurable outcomes? What do you need to make learning STEM subjects fun for your students? Apply for these grants to bring your project to life! Application deadline for teachers of grades 6–12 for up to $5,000: March 1. 

High School and Community College

Virtual Information Session: Summer 2021 Research Experiences for Teachers (RET)
High school teachers of science/technology and technical/community college faculty are invited to attend this session about RET summer programs, to be held on February 27 at 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET. The National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) is offering educators the opportunity to experience the excitement of nanotechnology research and to share this experience in their classrooms and with their peers by applying to do paid research at one of four sites this summer. Participating RET sites are Northwestern University, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Minnesota, and University of Nebraska–Lincoln. The virtual program features an overview of nanotechnology, a remote tool session, a talk on careers in nanotechnology, and information on some of the research projects. 

Grades K-College

Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory's Free Virtual Open House

Fermilab's open house, scheduled for February 10–14, will feature five days of online events and activities for all ages. Virtual visitors can also tune in to webinars on a wide variety of topics, including physics, art and ecology. Since the event will take place from Wednesday through Sunday, it will have special opportunities for educators to engage in the event with their classes, much like virtual classroom visits from Fermilab staff. All events include on-demand and livestreamed events (content for grades 1–8) teachers can use in their classrooms virtually, in hybrid classes, or in-person. Activities and events include the following:

  • Ask-A-Scientist,
  • the Mr. Freeze cryogenics show, 
  • a scavenger hunt,
  • tours of the lab,
  • trivia games, and
  • a community art show and more!

For more information or to register for any of the livestreamed events, visit, and follow the Fermilab Office of Education and Public Engagement on Facebook or Twitter for live updates! 

2021 NAMLE Conference: Call for Proposals

National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) seeks proposals for its 2021 conference, to be held virtually July 16–18, 2021. NAMLE encourages educators, media professionals, students, activists, and scholars from any field to submit proposals on the conference theme, “Media Literacy and Social Justice.” The importance of media literacy education has been heightened by events in 2020 that prompted a focus on social justice and racial equity, such as the growing environmental crisis, amplification of educational and digital inequities, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated inequities as it continues to disproportionately affect our most marginalized communities.  (Deadline March 14)

Find more events and opportunities at                     

Biology Earth & Space Science Engineering Equity General Science Inclusion Interdisciplinary Life Science Literacy News Professional Learning old STEM Teaching Strategies Middle School Elementary High School Postsecondary

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