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From the Field: Events and Opportunities, October 13, 2020

By Debra Shapiro

From the Field: Events and Opportunities, October 13, 2020

Elementary and Middle Level

The Science of Ice Live Virtual Lesson for K–8

Have your students join CLEAN (Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network) on October 21 at 1 p.m. Mountain Time (United States and Canada) for a virtual live lesson about melting ice and its relation to climate. Students will experiment with ice during this hands-on lesson, which only requires ice, salt and pepper, and dark- and light-colored plates, if students have them! (Clear cups, a ruler, thermometer, and stopwatch are also useful, but not necessary.) 

Middle Level and High School

Black Botanists Virtual Scientist Lecture Series 

Holden Forests & Gardens (HF&G) and the Black Botanists Week Committee will hold the 2021 Scientist Lecture Series: Growing Black Roots, the Black Botanical Legacy, a free virtual lecture series to inspire others to pursue a career in plants and highlight pathways to diversity and inclusion in botanical sciences. This 11-part series will take place online with a new speaker on the second Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. Eastern Time from October 2020 through August 2021. 

The series will cover a broad range of botanical disciplines and delve into the historical legacy of formally trained and self-taught Black Botanists. Organizers and contributors seek to spotlight the black roots within botany, foster a community of Black Botanists, demonstrate the diversity within this community, and inspire others who may not have considered botany as a career choice. The talks will take place on Zoom with a livestream to YouTube. The talks are free to view, but participants must register.

HF&G will provide free supplemental educational materials for middle and high school students, teachers, and families based on each talk. The videos will be made permanently available on YouTube for public viewing after the live event has ended. The YouTube video description will contain a link to a special series web page describing and hosting the educational materials. These materials will be interdisciplinary, connected to educational standards, and focused on the comprehension of and connection to the biological concepts and lived experiences of the speakers as presented in the talks.

Registration is now open for the Wednesday, October 14, lecture with Maya L. Allen, botanist at the University of New Mexico. Registration will be open for all lectures soon. Register here.

High School

Brain Initiative Essay and Video Contest

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is supporting the scientific programmatic, communication, and engagement activities for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative, a research initiative aimed at revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain. 

As part of this effort, NIH is holding an essay and video contest for high school students. Students are asked to express their perspectives on the ethical implications of new brain technology used to watch living brains in action, record brain signals, and stimulate brain regions for treatment purposes.

Ideas can be submitted as a written essay or a video. Winners could receive up to $1,000 in prize money. The submission deadline is October 31, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. For more information, go to

Grades K-12

Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s Scientists in Action Virtual Program   
Scientists in Action, a monthly virtual program, takes students behind the scenes of the museum and to unique field locations for live Q&A sessions with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals. Students will drive the content of each program with their questions and learn from the experts about their careers and discoveries. These programs are available to classrooms, organized youth groups, homeschools, families, and senior groups, and can be accessed whether you are leading in-person, hybrid, or all-remote learning. Sign up and distribute the Zoom link to join to any students connecting from remote locations! Recordings will be available after the programs end for groups requiring an asynchronous option.

All sessions will take place at 9 a.m. MT, 10 a.m. MT, 11 a.m. MT, and 1 p.m. MT:
•    Ancient Mummies, New Discoveries, October 29, 2020
•    T. rex to Turkey, November 19, 2020
•    Virtual Voyage Through the Universe, December 17, 2020
ORISE Lights, Camera, Teach! Lesson Plan Competition            

The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) is asking teachers to submit a lesson plan that converts an in-person interactive lesson to an at-home digital lesson plan. Teachers of any grade level or subject are invited to submit a STEM lesson plan.

The prize package will include a video studio kit with three backdrops and lighting, Canon Vlogging Camera, 60-inch tripod, video and movie editing software, and a lapel mic. Three winners will be chosen for a grand prize. (Deadline October 31)

Virtual Assembly Showcase

Academic Entertainment’s Virtual Assembly Showcase will take place on October 15 from 1:05 to 3:15 p.m. Eastern Time. This free online live preview will feature virtual school assemblies and online school shows available nationwide. Topics include STEM and physics. Each presenter will have about 10 minutes to preview what their virtual assembly is all about. Register here.

2020 Walmart’s National Day of Design Mission

The mission—“Virtual Voyagers: Boldly Navigating Security and Virtual Collaboration”—takes place during the month of October (Cybersecurity Month) and encourages students to employ critical-thinking skills, teamwork, STEM principles, and an entrepreneurial mindset to create a solution to a real-world, relevant challenge. Students will design a new invention that will help people collaborate virtually while keeping their personal information secure and protecting privacy.

Educators guides have implementation guidelines for individual, group, in-person, and virtual use. National Day of Design Mission activities support Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core State Standards, and International Society for Technology in Education Standards.

Biology Careers Computer Science Earth & Space Science Engineering General Science Instructional Materials Interdisciplinary Life Science Literacy News Physical Science Physics Science and Engineering Practices STEM Technology Middle School Elementary High School

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