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From the Field: Events and Opportunities, November 2, 2021

By Debra Shapiro

From the Field: Events and Opportunities, November 2, 2021

Grades PreK–12

AACT Webinar: Becoming a JEDI Master         

The Albert Einstein Fellowship brings K–12 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) educators together to serve in federal agencies or in U.S. Congressional offices to shape the conversation around STEM at a national level. During this American Association of Chemistry Teachers webinar on November 4—Becoming a JEDI Master: Perspectives from Teacher Leaders on How to Foster Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion—Jill Latchana will lead a discussion in which Einstein Fellows and alumni will share their methods of fostering justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the classroom. 

Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision—K–12 STEM Competition

In this tumultuous time, some teachers and students have reported having the “pandemic blues.” One way to lift your and your students’ spirits is by thinking about ways to help loved ones (introducing a lesson plan to incorporate empathy, for example) and envisioning a better future, which is possible when you’re experiencing the real-world problem solving and project-based lessons of the Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision STEM competition. 

“Science is about wondering, investigating, and questioning. ExploraVision is a creative endeavor. As students think about a future technology, they are dreaming about their future. Students learning about science and engineering and seeing themselves in a future that is better than the present is a gift of optimism and hope that we can instill in our students,” observes Arthur Eisenkraft, Distinguished Professor of Science Education and director of the Center of Science and Math in Context at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, in this recent article from Science and Children, NSTA’s journal for elementary science teachers.

For all K–12 teachers, the competition is free and easy to incorporate into your curriculum, whether you’re teaching virtually, in-person, or in a hybrid of both. Download ExploraVision’s free lesson plans for teachers and register online today! 

SSEC Webinar Series: Making Sense of Three-Dimensional Science                                      
The Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) is offering a free webinar series to provide educators with information and examples of the three dimensions and how they are used to teach and assess students. If you are adopting Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) or three-dimensional standards based on the Framework, these webinars will help you make sense of the new science standards. Register for one or all sessions. Registered participants will receive handouts and a recording of the sessions to share with colleagues. (All times are Eastern Time.)

  • The Power of a Good Story, November 17, 2021, 4–5 p.m. 
  • Making Sense of Phenomena and Problems, January 12, 2022, 4–5 p.m. 
  • Everyday Three-Dimensional Assessment, February 9, 2022, 4–5 p.m.

Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program 

The program provides a unique opportunity for accomplished K–12 educators in the STEM fields to serve in the national education arena. Fellows spend 11 months working in federal agencies or in U.S. Congressional offices, applying their extensive knowledge and classroom experiences to national education program and/or education policy efforts. (Deadline November 19)

Darwin Day Roadshow

The Triangle Center for Evolutionary Medicine (TriCEM) is preparing for a Darwin Day Roadshow in February. To celebrate Charles Darwin's birthday (February 12), TriCEM scientists will bring evolutionary science to schools and communities via in-person visits in North Carolina (depending on Covid guidelines) and virtual visits anywhere in the United States. TriCEM’s teams talk to students, teachers, and the general public about their research, career opportunities in science, and why evolutionary science is relevant to everyone. These visits are free of charge, and are accompanied by a collection of resources from TriCEM to enhance the teaching of evolution in the classroom. 

TriCEM works with host teachers to design an event that best serves their school and community. Both the topic and format are flexible to meet specific needs. Apply by November 29. Contact Meredith Spence Beaulieu if you have questions. 

AAUW Community Action Grants      

These American Association of University Women (AAUW) grants provide $3,000–$10,000 in funding to individuals, AAUW branches, and AAUW state organizations as well as community-based nonprofits for innovative programs that promote education and equity through projects focused on encouraging girls to select, before entering college, careers in the physical sciences or engineering. One-year grants of $3,000–$7,000 and two-year grants of $5,000–$10,000 are available. (Deadline December 1)

SPIE Education Outreach Grants          

Qualifying nonprofit organizations such as primary and secondary schools, youth clubs, universities, optics centers, science centers, industry associations, and international optical societies may apply. SPIE, an international membership society, serves scientists and engineers in industry, academia, and government, as well as companies producing leading-edge products. Its constituents work in a variety of fields employing some aspect of optics and photonics, the science and application of light. SPIE provides up to $5,000 in support for optics-related education and outreach projects; some projects may receive partial funding. (Deadline December 1)

U.S. Department of Education’s School Ambassador Fellowship

Educators can now apply for the 2022–2023 cohort of School Ambassadors by January 14, 2022. This Department of Education (ED) program enables outstanding teachers, principals, and other school leaders, like school counselors, to bring their school and classroom expertise to the ED and to expand their knowledge of the national dialogue about education. In turn, fellows facilitate the learning and input of other educators and community members.

The fellowship offers two separate nine-month tracks: full-time and part-time. The full-time appointment is based at ED’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., and requires fellows to relocate to the Washington, D.C., area. The part-time fellowship does not require relocation and allows educators to maintain their regular school responsibilities in their home communities, while also participating in the School Ambassador Fellowship experience. Participants must

  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident;
  • Currently be a teacher, administrator, counselor, social worker, or other school staff member (and anticipate being employed in this role during the 2022–2023 school year);
  • Be employed by a traditional public, charter, private, virtual, military (DoDEA), or tribal school that serves any grade, preschool through 12;
  • Have at least five years of experience in their role, up to and including the current school year; and
  • Have daily interaction with students and/or educators in their school/district role.

Elementary and Middle Level

National Geographic Explorer Classroom Sessions    

Explorer Classroom connects classrooms worldwide with National Geographic Explorers, bringing science, exploration, and conservation to life through live video events. Students can ask the explorer their questions directly. Each month Explorer Classroom features a new theme and provides supporting resources for educators. (All times are Eastern.)

  • Bees, Honey, and Heritage. November 4, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Ages 9–14/Grades 4–8. 
  • Seals From Space. November 15, 11 a.m. Ages 4–8/Grades K–2. 
  • Polar Conservation. November 18, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Ages 9–14/ Grades 4–8. 
  • All About Elephant Seals. November 22, 11 a.m. Ages 4–8/Grades K–2. 

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching 

These awards are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K–12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science teaching. This year's awards will honor teachers working in grades K–6. Nominations close on January 7, 2022.   Applications close on February 6, 2022.

Middle Level

Sally Ride EarthKAM @ Space Camp Mission       

EarthKAM (Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students), an educational outreach program, allows middle school students worldwide to take pictures of Earth from a digital camera on board the International Space Station (ISS). During EarthKAM missions (periods the EarthKAM camera is operational), middle school students request photos of specific locations on Earth. The next mission is scheduled for November 3–8. All students and educators are welcome, including participants in after-school programs. 

The optional online curriculum at the Sally Ride EarthKAM website is targeted to middle school students, but could easily be adapted for other grade levels. The entire collection of ISS EarthKAM images is available in a searchable ISS EarthKAM image archive. This image collection and accompanying learning guides and activities can help teachers engage students in Earth and space science, mathematics, geography, social studies, communications, and art.

Middle Level Through College

Educators’ Session on COP26

On November 3, learn about COP26 (United Nations Conference of the Parties), taking place in Glasgow, Scotland, November 1–12. Discover the importance of policy and collaboration in finding climate change solutions, and access resources to connect your students with the climate change solutions developed at this year's U.N. Climate Change Conference. Educators will also leave with best practices and strategies for effectively using Climate Generation’s COP26 Educator’s Toolkit.

The Robert F. Tinker Fellows Program

The program aims to promote innovation, creativity, and cross-disciplinary conversations in educational technology for STEM teaching and learning. Organized as a residency program, the fellowship is intended to bring individuals to the Concord Consortium to spark new ideas, tinker with novel technologies, cultivate outside perspectives, and provide opportunities for reflection. The program includes a total honorarium of $5,000. The Concord Consortium hosts one fellow per year. Apply by December 1.

This year’s theme focuses on inclusion, equity, and access in STEM education. Proposals should address educational technology-related approaches in one or more of the following topics, or similar areas of research and scholarship.

  • Designing culturally relevant pedagogy
  • Leveraging learners’ funds of knowledge
  • Increasing learner agency, engagement, and/or STEM identity
  • Designing place- or project-based learning
  • Connecting STEM or data science learning with social justice
  • Using technology to promote equitable and just STEM learning

High School

AOPA High School Aviation STEM Symposium

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s (AOPA) symposium brings dedicated educators from around the nation together virtually during November 14–16 for sharing insights, ideas, and best practices for starting and building aviation STEM programs. It’s an opportunity for educators and administrators to discover how they can prepare students for success in these exciting and well-paying careers. The symposium specifically targets aviation and aerospace content. Learn about AOPA’s free aviation STEM curriculum, available to those attending the symposium. 

Find more events and opportunities at    

Administration Aerospace Assessment Careers Chemistry Climate Change Curriculum Distance Learning Earth & Space Science Engineering Equity Evolution General Science Inclusion Instructional Materials Interdisciplinary Lesson Plans Life Science Mathematics News NGSS Phenomena Physical Science Professional Learning old Social Justice STEM Teaching Strategies Technology Three-Dimensional Learning Middle School Elementary High School Postsecondary Preschool

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