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From the Field: Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, July 12, 2022

By Debra Shapiro

From the Field: Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, July 12, 2022

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Grades K–12

ACS Chemical Safety Video Collection

Get the latest on chemical safety in K–12 laboratories from ACS Chemical Safety, a multi-part video collection produced by the American Chemical Society. Each approximately seven-minute video covers a single topic; topics include Safety Mindset; the Safety Data Sheet (SDS); How to Dress for the Lab? And What About Personal Protective Equipment?; Prepping for Emergencies; and using the RAMP strategy (Recognize hazards, Assess risks, Minimize risks, and Prepare for Emergencies) in the lab for both students and teachers. 

EdWeek Special Report: Problem Solving
Need tips for increasing students’ problem-solving and entrepreneurial skills? Figure It Out: How to Teach Students to Be the Ultimate STEM Problem Solvers, a multimedia special report published by Education Week (EdWeek), highlights creative and relevant ways K–12 schools nationwide are integrating problem solving and entrepreneurial thinking into science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) instruction. The report contains a mix of curriculum, videos, topical articles, and opinion pieces culled by EdWeek editors. Learn how educators are encouraging more girls and students of color to pursue studies in STEM areas; review EdWeek Research Center survey data from teachers, principals, and district leaders; find out what problem-solving skills executives from top U.S. companies think schools should teach to best prepare students for success in the STEM workforce; and more.  

Teaching and Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The latest Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education (CADRE) Spotlight shares research on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on STEM education and highlights a project that offers COVID-related teaching materials (see for the materials). The projects featured in this Spotlight explore such topics as the Impact of COVID-19 Recession on NGSS Implementation, responses to the pandemic through science education, the role of K–12 science teachers, preservice teachers learning to teach during the pandemic, and science teachers as public health educators.

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Preschool

Preschool Data Toolbox

This free teacher-facing app has six investigations with preschool-appropriate research questions and allows teachers and preschoolers to work with the data and quickly and easily create graphs and tally charts. The app also has tools to analyze and sort data and discussion prompts to guide analysis and learning. In addition, teachers can create their own investigations and turn them into a data story. These data collection and analysis activities help children engage in meaningful mathematics while developing computational thinking and problem-solving, communication, and inquiry skills. A Teacher's Guide with lesson plans, resources to prepare teachers, and background information is included with the app and is also available here.

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary and Middle Level

Climate Change and Me

Climate Change and Me is a video series produced by Nature-Action Quebec to engage elementary and middle level students in climate change issues and to encourage students to positively influence their lifestyle to help reduce greenhouse gas production. Each approximately 10-minute episode addresses a different topic related to climate change: the greenhouse effect, biomes and ecosystems, the hydrological cycle, the role of plants in climate change, the impact of climate change on the planet, energy sources, the waste cycle, and more. Every episode includes a quiz to test students’ new knowledge, and several episodes feature related experiments to try at home or school to extend learning. 

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: High School

Gray, Green, Blue: Water Security and You!

Ensuring enough reliable, clean water for the health and livelihoods of people and natural environments—i.e., water security—is an essential environmental challenge for the community, but one not commonly addressed in science classrooms. Gray, Green, Blue: Water Security and You!—a four-part video series and teacher’s guide for grades 9–12 from the Nature Conservancy—is designed to change that fact. The series addresses key questions about water security: How do cities secure water? How can natural water management efforts help with water security issues? How can communities use water funds to protect water at the source? What action steps can individuals take to ensure water availability is socially and culturally equitable, environmentally sustainable, and economically beneficial?

The teacher’s guide has student discussion questions (and the teacher answer key) to accompany each video and features a jigsaw learning activity in which students read articles and share knowledge with classmates to develop a deeper understanding of water security. The video series is also viewable in Spanish with subtitles.

Opportunities From the Field: Grades K–12

2022–2023 Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Short-Term Program 

Through this program, expert K–12 educators from the United States travel to participating countries and territories to carry out short-term assignments abroad. Educators support and work in schools, teacher training colleges, government ministries, or educational non-governmental organizations, as identified by U.S. Embassies and Fulbright Commissions. Fields for these assignments include STEM, project-based learning, family and consumer science, assessment, curriculum development, elementary education, education for those with visual impairments, and academic remediation. STEM projects will take place in Peru, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
Project dates run from January to August 2023. Apply by July 18.

Teachers Test Prep ‘Pass the Torch’ Teacher Scholarships Program

The program awards a total of $10,000 to aspiring K–12 educators: one $5,000 scholarship to a recipient planning a career in elementary education and one $5,000 scholarship to a recipient planning a career in secondary education. Funds are awarded directly to the recipients to help pay for living expenses that financial aid typically doesn’t cover. All finalists receive a $100 Amazon gift card and one year of free access to any of the company’s Core Plus Online Prep Programs to help them pass the credentialing exams required by their state.

Applicants must be enrolled in a teacher preparation program in the United States for the 2022–2023 academic year and be able to demonstrate financial need. Apply by July 31.

Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation

The foundation gives grants to nonprofit organizations with programs and projects that provide environmental and arts education opportunities to children and youth. Funds support programs for educators and artists to improve and apply their teaching skills in these subjects and efforts to advance environmental and arts education programs. Organizations seeking a grant should begin by submitting a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) through the foundation’s online application system. LOI applications are due by August 2.

ORISE Social Media Contest

Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) wants to know your most effective routines or strategies that help you to manage your time throughout the school year. Teachers must teach in the United States, a U.S. Territory, or a DoDEA school to be eligible to win. Three randomly selected winners will receive a time management kit containing a Fitbit Inspire 2 with a free one-year Fitbit premium trial; a Lesson Planner; and a Sunrise Alarm Clock. (Deadline July 31)

Opportunities From the Field: Elementary and Middle Level

Rivers to Range: Exploring the Geology of the Pioneer Valley

Join the Wade Institute for Science Education and its collaborating partners for a graduate-level course that will engage you in hands-on, minds-on, inquiry-based investigations and increase your STEM content knowledge. Connect with scientists, engineers, and STEM professionals, and work with educators at collaborating partner institutions to explore real-world phenomena through standards-aligned, hands-on, minds-on investigations that you can bring back to your classroom. 

Known for its basalt flows, mountain ranges, dinosaur footprints, and fertile soils, the Pioneer Valley region of Massachusetts has a rich history of geologic change. Explore opportunities for integrating science and math as you learn about the geologic history of the Pioneer Valley. Visit local field sites, delve into museum collections, investigate the traces that animals can leave in sediment, learn how rivers can shape a landscape in geological time, participate in inquiry-based investigations, and discover how the modern landscape can provide clues to a very different past. 

This course has been designed for grades 3–8 educators and will be held on July 18–22. All institutes offer 40 professional development points and optional graduate credit for an additional fee.

Opportunities From the Field: Middle Level Through College

NEACT Summer Professional Development Series

New England Association of Chemistry Teachers is holding free virtual professional development sessions that are open to both members and nonmembers. Upcoming programs are

Adventures With Cement, July 14 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time (ET). NEACT Western Division Chair Sue Klemmer ran an interdisciplinary project with her Honors Chemistry and Lab Physics classes last year around small bars made of mortar (concrete without the aggregate). She will share what it took to set this up, what happened, and her takeaways. (RSVP by July 13 at

A Method for the Determination of the Entropy Change for a Reaction, July 28 at 11 a.m. ET. By combining two experiments for the reaction Zn + Cu2+ --> Zn2+   + Cu: 1) the measurement of Ecell and 2) the calorimetric determination of reaction, it is possible for students to evaluate the free energy change and the enthalpy change. Then using the Gibbs-Helmholtz equation, the entropy change can be determined. The data is collected using a Vernier temperature probe and EMF measurements in sequential experiments. (RSVP by July 27 at

New Standards Using Storylines: The Good, the Bad and…, August 9 at 4 p.m. ET. Interested in using Storylines to teach chemistry? Give your lessons meaning, integrate problem-solving skills, and include more writing, modeling, and small-group work into your transition to using Storylines. In this session, discuss how to read through the resources, try it out in your class, and evaluate what works for you. (RSVP by August 8 at 

Study Habits in Post-Secondary General Chemistry With the COVID Cohort, August 11 at 1 p.m. ET. Through a series of completely anonymous and voluntary pre- and post-exam surveys given over the course of the semester, student study habits and feedback about changes made throughout the duration of the course were collected and analyzed. This open feedback allows the instructor to adjust to student needs in real-time and focus efforts on the tools students are finding most helpful, while also serving as a periodic reminder to the students of the types of support available to aid in success. (RSVP by August 14 at

Roundtable Discussion: Supporting Chemistry Students With SEL and Behavioral Concerns, August 15 at 10 a.m. ET. How can chemistry teachers support their students, help them find productive ways to deal with stress, and develop productive classroom routines? This will be an informal discussion among likeminded chemistry teachers who want to have some constructive conversations to prepare for the upcoming academic year. (RSVP by August 14 at 

Administration Assessment Chemistry Climate Change Curriculum Distance Learning Earth & Space Science English Language Learners Environmental Science General Science Inclusion Inquiry Instructional Materials Interdisciplinary Lesson Plans Mathematics News NGSS Phenomena Physics Preservice Science Education Professional Learning Research Safety STEM Teacher Preparation Teaching Strategies Middle School Elementary High School Postsecondary Pre-service Teachers Preschool

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