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From the Field: Events and Opportunities, January 25, 2022

By Debra Shapiro

From the Field: Events and Opportunities, January 25, 2022

Grades PreK–College

National Park Trust Kids to Parks Day School Grants Program 

Kids to Parks Day is a nationwide grassroots movement with kids and families across the country participating in activities to discover and explore America’s parks, public lands, and waters. Open to students from U.S. Title 1 schools (40% of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch) in grades preK–12, this grant program provides classrooms up to $500 for distance learning experiences or up to $1,000 for in-park experiences. Funding can be used toward program fees, transportation costs, hands-on materials for remote learning activities, stewardship supplies, and any other materials needed for a robust learning experience.

This program is designed to be student-driven, and student-teacher collaboration is a must. Applications must include a stewardship element and a park-themed educational component that focuses on either environmental education/science, outdoor recreation and healthy lifestyles, or history. (Deadline February 11)

Presidio Graduate School Teaching Extreme Weather Online Course 

This free course gives science, math, and English Language Arts teachers an opportunity to explore the driving forces behind extreme weather events. Though not all extreme weather events are correlated to climate change, climate change is playing an increasingly primary role. In this course, you’ll collaborate with peers with support from an instructional facilitator. The course complements downloadable lesson plans and resources by showing in depth how to teach about extreme weather and make it relevant to your own location and geography. Participants will create a lesson or series of lessons focused on extreme weather that align to the Next Generation Science Standards as well as to state standards for their grade level.

Participants can opt to receive Professional Development (PD) hours, Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or Graduate Credits. Those who complete the course can claim 15 PD hours, 1.5 CEUs, or 1 Graduate Credit ($128 fee). The next course begins on February 14 and runs for six weeks.

Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators 

The award recognizes outstanding K–12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for learning for their students. Up to two teachers from each of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 10 regions, from different states, will be selected. Applicants will be evaluated based on five primary factors: innovation, achievement, service to the community and underserved populations, leadership, and integration of environmental education. 

Teacher awardees will receive a presidential award plaque and up to $2,500 to be used to further their professional development in environmental education. Awardees will also receive a congratulatory letter from a senior official from EPA and/or the White House. The teacher's local education agency will also receive an award of up to $2,500 to fund environmental educational activities and programs. Honorable Mention recipients will receive certificates of recognition. (Deadline February 18)

Great Backyard Bird Count: Citizen Science Opportunity 

This annual event happens in backyards, parks, and nature centers; on hiking trails, school grounds, balconies, and beaches—anywhere you can find birds worldwide. Bird watchers count the birds they see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count (February 18–21), then enter their checklists. All the data contribute to a snapshot of bird distribution and help scientists see changes over the past 20 years.

You’ll need a free Cornell Lab of Ornithology account to participate. Cornell Lab's free Merlin Bird ID app can help you identify a bird, and you can enter your sighting right from the app. Watch a welcome video

American Electric Power Teacher Vision Grants 

Teachers of preK–12 students who live or teach in American Electric Power (AEP) service areas in Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia or in communities with major AEP facilities may apply. Grant awards range from $100 to $500. Any project that has an academic focus and a goal to improve student achievement will be considered. AEP has a special interest in science, mathematics, technology, electrical safety, the balanced study of energy and the environment, and energy efficiency. Highly regarded projects will incorporate matching funds, community resources, and interdisciplinary or team-teaching projects. (Deadline February 25)

Youth Learning As Citizen Environmental Scientists Grants

Do you work with youth in the K–12 grades to do research projects through environmental citizen science? Submit proposals for support to help acquire the scientific instruments or other necessary data collection tools or materials. Educators working with students both in formal education systems as well as informal education settings such as parks or nature centers, in the United States and globally, may apply.

In general, equipment, supplies, or materials available commercially and included in grant awards will be purchased directly by YLACES and shipped to the grant recipient. All equipment, supplies, or materials should be clearly defined in the proposal; if specific models or brands are desired, specify in the application, along with sources of supply. Proposals of up to $1,250 will be considered. (Deadline February 28)

Bayer Fund Grants 

These grants support projects in one of four areas: science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education; food and nutrition; health and wellness; or community development. K–12 STEM programs for underserved youth that occur during the school day are of particular interest. Grantees can use funds for STEM curriculum development, technology, equipment and materials, enrichment programming, or professional development for teachers or school leaders. (Programs taking place outside of the regular school day should apply for a community development grant instead.) Applicants must first request an invitation code at and be invited to apply. Nonprofit organizations in St. Louis, Missouri; Northern New Jersey; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Berkeley, California, are eligible, as are those within 55 miles of smaller Bayer fund sites (see the list at (Deadline February 28)

Middle Level

Western Kentucky University’s National STEM Scholar Program 

The program aims to inspire the creativity and passion of middle school science teachers, 10 of whom will be selected. Scholars will engage in hands-on, minds-on science activities; connect with speakers and thought leaders in STEM education; learn with skilled science educators; and develop a creative Challenge Project for classroom implementation. Each Scholar will receive a Chromebook and funding for Challenge Project supplies and materials. The next set of Scholars will be hosted by The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science and The Center for Gifted Studies May 29–June 4, 2022, at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

National STEM Scholars will share midpoint progress with their colleagues while attending the NSTA National Conference in April 2023. All expenses, including travel costs, materials, mentoring, and Challenge Project supplies will be covered by a grant from the National Stem Cell Foundation. Mentoring will be provided throughout the year by WKU faculty. (Deadline February 1)

Smithsonian’s Teacher Innovator Institute 

Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum's immersive, STEM-focused program will teach middle level (grades 5–8) STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) educators how to bring the museum experience into their classrooms by exploring connections between informal STEM education and authentic learning. The two-week program in Washington, D.C., will welcome 10 teachers from across the country during July 11–22. Participants will receive lodging, food, and travel to and within Washington. Teachers will remain with the program for two summers, returning to Washington, D.C., in year two to reconnect, develop their practice, and mentor the newest class of Innovators.

The program will include hands-on activities, museum tours, behind-the-scenes museum experiences, visits to other museums, and group work. Teachers will benefit from the expertise of museum educators and content experts and be able to use aerospace science, history, and technology to shape their ideas about authentic learning and bring informal education techniques to their classrooms. (Deadline February 15)

Middle Level and High School

Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year Awards 

These awards honor 10 all-star teachers working diligently to help students in underserved and underrepresented communities pursue futures in computer science and robotics. All registered Amazon Future Engineer high school and robotics teachers are encouraged to apply. Honorees will be formally recognized by Amazon and will receive $25,000 to expand computer science and/or robotics education at their school, plus an additional $5,000 cash award. (Deadline February 14)

High School

AACT Webinar: Using Chemical History to Enhance Student Learning 

During this American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT) event, taking place at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on January 27, teachers will delve into key experiments, chemists, and drama in the history of chemistry. AACT will present lesser-known chemists, conflicts, and how student misconceptions compare with historical theory. Most of the discussion will be focused on events that occurred between 1600 to 1920.

My STEM Story National Science Educator Fellowship 

The fellowship seeks 30 high school science teachers serving diverse students in grades 9 and 10 to integrate video storytelling experiences into classroom teaching and learning and provide feedback on the experience. The My STEM Story program is a series of five, hour-long modules built around digital videos that students engage with and complete across five class periods. These classes can be spread across several weeks, based on your scheduling needs. The lessons are online, self-contained, and include all required instructional materials. Teachers will receive

  • A $1,000 stipend;
  • The opportunity to receive college credit equivalent to 20 PDUs from the University of Oregon;
  • A fully supported five-unit online instructional package to support your students’ exploration of college and career futures; and
  • An opportunity to participate in a virtual community.

In addition, teachers will have continued access to the My STEM Story program and relevant materials after the fellowship is complete. The program materials include more than two dozen videos with associated reflection questions to support student discussion. (Deadline January 28)

Air Force Junior ROTC Grant 

The grant promotes aerospace education throughout classrooms where funds currently are not available. Funds (up to $250) may be used for any aerospace education-related activity from purchasing textbooks or videotapes, to going on a field trip to an aerospace museum, Air Force base, or other aerospace facility. One unit per school may receive a grant every other academic year. (Deadline February 10)

Physics of Atomic Nuclei Student Summer Program

In the Physics of Atomic Nuclei (PAN) free summer outreach program, student participants will conduct research in nuclear astrophysics while learning the impact of nuclear science and its applications for society. The high school student program will meet either virtually or in-person during July 24–29, hosted by Michigan State University. Teachers recommend students for the program. (Deadline March 28)

PAN-CAKE Masterclass in Nuclear Astrophysics for Science Educators
Michigan State University's (MSU) Physics of Atomic Nuclei (PAN) free summer program for high school students has an online class for science educators scheduled on May 14 (with the possibility of an optional on-campus event on May 15). Science teachers (from preservice to veterans) in the United States and Canada will learn about world-class scientific research in nuclear astrophysics at MSU’s Facility for Rare Isotope Beams. Meet scientists and other educators, take a “virtual tour” of a leading rare isotope laboratory, collect tools and demos for your curriculum, and discover the future of research. (Deadline March 28)                             

Find more events and opportunities at                                                                                                                      

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