Skip to main content

From the Field: Events and Opportunities, January 26, 2021

By Debra Shapiro

From the Field: Events and Opportunities, January 26, 2021

Grades K–12

Webinar: The Plastic Problem and What We Can Do About It  

At 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time on February 3, discover the many meaningful and creative ways people worldwide are working to manage, reduce, and eliminate plastic waste, as well as ideas for classroom activities that can be taught virtually. 

Endangered Species Day, May 21  

Teachers and students can participate in the 16th annual Endangered Species Day in many ways, even during the COVID-19 pandemic and with virtual schooling. The event offers biology, ecology, oceanography, general science, and other teachers an opportunity to educate students about the importance of protecting threatened and endangered plant and animal species. Activities can range from short projects to multi-day or multi-week actions. Visit the website for an event-planning toolkit with infographics, stickers, bookmarks, fliers, and coloring and activity sheets, and a list of suggested books and films. Depending on your school schedule, you can plan events earlier in May or on Endangered Species Day itself. Once a specific activity is planned, the class can register it on the website's map of all the events happening around the world.

Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest   
This contest is part of the Endangered Species Coalition’s annual Endangered Species Day. Student artwork must depict an animal or plant species listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act, or a species that was previously listed  but is now recovered. Entries should tell a story of hope for species conservation and recovery. The contest website has lists to identify eligible plants and animals that are currently labeled as threatened or endangered by the Endangered Species Act or species that have been recovered.  

Judges will select contest winners for the following awards: Grand Prize, First Place, Grade Level, and Semi-Finalist. The Grade Level winners will be judged and categorized in four groups: Grades K–2, Grades 3–5, Grades 6–8, and Grades 9–12. Students can win award packages that include cash and gift certificates for themselves and their teachers. (Deadline March 1)   


Kalo the Hero Contest    

In this contest for two age groups (ages 6–8 and ages 9–11), students submit either an original picture or a poem reflecting what they are looking forward to doing when the world returns to “normal” after the pandemic. Students can win a $300 gift card for their class or educational group to purchase books for reading until life returns to normal. Colorado State University professor and autism and animal behavior expert Temple Grandin will present the award to the winner’s class via Zoom. (Deadline February 5Learn more about Kalo

Middle Level

EarthEcho Academy

The Northrop Grumman Foundation is partnering with environmental education nonprofit EarthEcho International on their inaugural EarthEcho Academy, a virtual learning space developed to provide online courses for teacher professional learning with access to fully remote, asynchronous environmental education modules for students featuring some of EarthEcho’s most popular Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)-aligned classroom resources. While the inaugural course, EarthEcho Expedition: Into the Dead Zone, is offered at no charge to any public middle school teacher, limited grant support of $400 is available to support teachers in the greater Los Angeles; Miami; and Washington, D.C., communities. This funding is earmarked to provide support for teachers serving the frontline communities facing the biggest impacts of environmental degradation.

EarthEcho’s inaugural course opened on January 25 and will close on March 12, 2021. If you have any questions about the program, contact Jaclyn Gerakios, program manager, at 

Western Kentucky University National STEM Scholar Program          

The program works to inspire the creativity and passion of middle school science teachers, 10 of whom will be selected for this prestigious program. Scholars will engage in hands-on, minds-on science activities; connect with speakers and thought leaders in science, technology, engineering, and math (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 30–June 5, 2021, 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 2022. 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)  

High School

Engineering for Us All (e4usa)

This National Science Foundation–funded, innovative curriculum introduces engineering design principles and was developed to be accessible to all high school students. High school teachers and administrators can apply to receive free high-quality professional development, implementation support, a materials budget, and the curriculum. For more information, contact (Priority application deadline: January 29

Pilot Program for Computer Science Courses

Computer science education company Rex Academy has launched a new cybersecurity course designed to teach students ages 14 and older how to protect networks, computers, and data from hackers, malware, viruses, and other attacks, and educators can participate in a high school pilot program to use any two Rex Academy courses, including cybersecurity, per building for the duration of the school year—at no charge. Instructors don’t need a background in computer science to teach Rex Academy courses and can track student progress through in-depth analytics.

Participants can sign up through March 15 by scheduling a virtual product demo of the course(s) they’d like to pilot. The pilot program will run through June 15 for all participants. 

Grades K–College

Department of Education STEM Briefing: Inspiring a Lifelong Interest in STEM 

Research shows that the majority of individuals who have an interest in STEM later in life developed that interest by age 13, and that the major influences are experiences and individuals inside and outside the formal classroom environment. This U.S. Department of Education STEM Briefing will explore what inspires a lifelong interest in STEM. Taking place on February 2 at 2–3:30 Eastern Time, the briefing will discuss the research, resources, and policy implications for how to best inspire a lifelong interest in STEM and how this may shape the future. NSTA Retiring President Dennis Schatz will be a discussant. Other discussants include

  • Miriam Lund, Program Lead, 21st-Century Community Learning Centers, U.S. Department of Education 
  • Sylvia James, Deputy Assistant Director, Education and Human Resources Directorate, National Science Foundation 
  • Adam Maltese, Professor, and Martha Lea and Bill Armstrong Chair for Teacher Education, Indiana University
  • Heidi Schweingruber, Director for Board on Science Education, National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine 

Registration is required to attend the briefing. A close-captioned recording will be available 48 hours after the event.

Find more events and opportunities at

Biology Computer Science Curriculum Earth & Space Science Engineering Environmental Science General Science Instructional Materials Interdisciplinary Life Science Literacy News Professional Learning STEM Teaching Strategies Middle School Elementary High School Postsecondary

Asset 2