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From the Field: Events and Opportunities, November 16, 2021

By Debra Shapiro

From the Field: Events and Opportunities, November 16, 2021

Grades PreK–College

Trash Travels: Connecting Humans’ Impact on Our Ocean World

Join My NASA Data on November 22 at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time for a free one-hour webinar to explore the Ocean Circulation and Garbage Patches Storymap with EarthEcho International, the environmental and ocean education nonprofit organization founded and led by Philippe Cousteau. Educators in grades 3–12 will explore data visualizations from My NASA Data to connect watersheds, runoff, and ocean circulation to the global issue of ocean plastics. EarthEcho will discuss EarthEcho Expedition: PlasticSeas classroom and demonstrate the real-world impacts of plastics pollution via a  live shorebird bolus dissection to investigate what happens as plastics break down in marine ecosystems. (Register in advance on the website.)

ORISE Empathy in STEM Lesson Plan Competition

Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) offers an opportunity to win supplies to start your own classroom makerspace. ORISE wants to hear how you incorporate empathy for others into a content-specific lesson plan. K–12 teachers of any subject can submit a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) lesson plan that incorporates empathy. Three teachers will win a classroom makerspace filled with maker tools and supplies. (Deadline November 30

Wyland National Art Challenge    

This nationwide environmental mural, individual art, and photography contest celebrates conservation. The theme of the Art Challenge is environmental and water conservation, and students will compete in the grade-level categories K–4, 5–8, and 9–12. The class in each category whose mural best expresses their understanding of conservation will receive a cash prize. Schools may register multiple classes. (Deadline December 1)

  • Classroom Mural. Work together as a class to create a 4-foot by 8-foot (or larger) mural. Three classrooms will win $250 for art supplies.
  • Individual Art. Individual pieces of art, in any medium, supporting the theme of the class mural. One 11th- or 12th-grade winner will win a $500 scholarship. Additional winners from each grade level will receive a $50 gift card for art supplies. (Mural participation is not required for individual art entries.)
  • Individual Photography. Capture a moment of nature. One 11th- or 12th-grade winner will receive a $250 scholarship. An additional winner will get a $50 gift card.

Make Music While Studying Soundscapes and Biodiversity in a Mayan Forest   
This interdisciplinary field project offers teachers a hands-on experience to explore the intersection of art and science. This summer (July 26–August 2, 2022), explore the science of sound in a Maya community and forest. Participants will stay in traditional Maya cabins in a Mayan community located near the famous Coba archeological site. This area is only open to field researchers and is home to more than 400 species of birds, stable populations of jaguar, ocelot, and spider monkeys.

During the course, participants will make field recordings of various environments within the community, collecting the sounds of their experience. They will use their field recordings, as well as those created from found objects, to create a final composition of a soundscape, representative of their impressions of the Mayan community. Participants will review their sound collections and come to a shared expression of their sonic experience as the course concludes.

Registration and a $500 deposit are due by December 10. For more information, e-mail           

CSX Community Service Grants   

CSX provides assistance and support to nonprofit organizations that make a strong, quantifiable impact on their greater communities. Typical grants range between $1,000 and $5,000. PreK–12 schools, charter schools, community colleges, and colleges or universities are eligible. (Deadline December 15)

Spring 2022 DataStreme Courses

To help teachers seeking Earth science professional development, the American Meteorological Society’s (AMS) Education Program is waiving all course fees for the first 36 participants who are successfully matched to a mentor team for each of the three online Spring 2022 DataStreme courses in weather, ocean, and climate science. DataStreme courses can help teachers leverage real time data in their classrooms, advance their careers, inspire their students, and become science leaders in their schools and communities. Participants earn three accredited graduate credits per course.

Teachers should complete the DataStreme Interest Form to be matched with a mentor for the spring semester. Completion of any two courses offered by AMS Education fulfills the requirements to become a Certified AMS Teacher. Learn more about this microcredential. (Deadline January 6, 2022) Computer Science Education Week           

This annual program is dedicated to inspiring K–12 students to take an interest in computer science. Among other activities during December 6–12, students and teachers can participate in a one-hour tutorial designed for all ages in more than 45 languages. Join millions of students and teachers in more than 180 countries starting with an Hour of Code.

Elementary and Middle Level

Conservation in the Classroom Virtual Event: Our Relationships and Role in an Ecosystem

Monica Terkildsen is a Native Nations liaison for World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-US and a member of the Oglala Lakota Nation. Through her work with WWF, she carries out Indigenous conservation efforts and works to bring the will of her people to the management of their land. During this interactive presentation for grades 2–6 on November 17, Terkildsen will share her story and connection to the Northern Great Plains and will explain to students how they can view their connection to nature from a different perspective, encouraging a sense of empathy. 

GoNoodle's Snoopy's Space Week   

GoNoodle is featuring new videos and STEM-based activities dedicated to Snoopy’s space adventures to drive awareness, education, and anticipation of the Artemis I launch among kids, parents, and teachers on its Take Care With Peanuts Channel. Leading up to takeoff, GoNoodle is providing teachers with the tools to hold a “Snoopy’s Space Week” November 15–19 in the classroom with K–5 activities that will get kids thinking about the world outside, spark their imagination, and help them learn facts about the universe and introductory STEM concepts. Take Care With Peanuts Channel on will host original Peanuts documentary videos on the making of Snoopy’s NASA-approved spacesuit, along with fun and educational activities to help inspire excitement for the launch. Activities in the activity pack include a Snoopy in Space coloring sheet, a team activity to create your own Artemis I badges, and a story-writing exercise about what students would want to explore if they were astronauts.

Middle Level

Free Virtual Workshops and Cornell Lab of Ornithology Biodiversity Kit

Get free training on Cornell Lab’s latest educational kit, eBird Explorers: Biodiversity Detectives, which uses birds and citizen science to help bring science to life and build connections to your local environment with a global perspective. Available free to workshop attendees, this curriculum provides everything needed to teach confidently with eBird while exploring animal evolution and speciation, diversity, and adaptations. During the webinars, you’ll be guided through the curriculum with a strong focus on implementation. Continuing education units are included at no charge as well. 

This program is open to grades 6–8 teachers in any public or private school within the United States. Apply by December 8.

Middle Level and High School

Toshiba America Foundation Science and Math Improvement Grants    
Need funding for your innovative idea for improving STEM learning in your classroom? If your idea involves project-based learning with measurable outcomes, apply for a Toshiba America Foundation grant. Apply for grants of up to $5,000 for grades 6–12 by December 1.

American Rocketry Challenge 

The challenge gives middle and high school students the opportunity to design, build, and launch model rockets and hands-on experience solving engineering problems. Students have the chance to attend the National Finals every May in Washington, D.C., where America’s top 100 teams compete for $100,000 in cash prizes and the chance to win an all-expenses-paid trip to represent the United States in the International Rocketry Challenge (to be held in London, England, in 2022). As part of an ongoing commitment to building a diverse talent pipeline, the competition launched a Title 1 grant program in 2019 to help underserved schools create rocketry programs. More than $120,000 in microgrants have been distributed to date, and the program will fund an additional $50,000 in grants for 2022. The deadline for registering for the challenge is December 1; for Title I grant applications, the deadline is December 12.   

High School and College

Knowles Academy’s Free Online Short Courses      

Led by experienced teachers, these short courses are designed to improve math and science teaching and learning. Participants will engage in interactive discussions with instructors and other participants as they explore new classroom tools and strategies. The short courses will be held via Zoom at no charge. Registration is required.

  • From Blab to Lab! How to Leverage Engineering Design for Increased Student Engagement in Science Labs, November 16, 7:30–9 p.m. Eastern Time (ET)
  • Rev Up Your Engineering Integration With the Knowles Project Complexity Rubric, December 8, 7:30–9 p.m. ET
  • Exploring the Science Practice of Mathematical Thinking to Deepen Physics Understanding, December 14, 7:30–9 p.m. ET

AAPT’s Barbara Lotze Scholarships for Future Teachers   

The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) offers scholarships for future high school physics teachers. The maximum award is $2,000, granted to an individual for up to four years, and a one-year AAPT membership. Scholarships are awarded to U.S. citizens attending U.S. schools as undergraduates enrolled, or planning to enroll, in physics teacher preparation curricula, and U.S. high school seniors entering such programs. (Deadline December 1)

Find more events and opportunities at  

Computer Science Curriculum Earth & Space Science Engineering Environmental Science Evolution General Science Inclusion Instructional Materials Interdisciplinary Life Science Multicultural News Physics Preservice Science Education Professional Learning STEM Teaching Strategies Middle School Elementary High School Postsecondary Preschool

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