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Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, April 2, 2024

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, April 2, 2024

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Grades K–College

The Solar Eclipse and Citizen Science

Observing a solar eclipse is one of many ways to get in on the fun of doing science. Participants both in and outside the eclipse path can join NASA to learn more about our Sun and Earth and the effects of a total solar eclipse. Projects are available for participants of any skill level. Examples are GLOBE Observer (ages 13 and older), in which participants will take several different kinds of data using their cell phones, and join the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) community; Radio JOVE (ages 14 and older) in which students and amateurs build their own radio telescopes and tune in to radio signals; and Eclipse Soundscapes (all ages), in which participants document changes in the environment during the week of the April 8 total solar eclipse, using their own senses or an audiomoth sound recorder.

Earth Day Posters
In honor of Earth Day, the National Environmental Education Foundation has partnered with the School for Visual Arts art college in New York City to launch the Earth Day Gallery. This online gallery showcases original student art posters promoting sustainability and environmental education. Download free 11”x17” posters for your classroom or home.

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Grades K–12

SolarPalooza! K–12 Solar Eclipse Resources

K–12 educators can engage students in this extraordinary event with resources from the University of Southern Indiana (USI)’s SolarPalooza! website. The resources include USI-developed videos and activities alongside links to eclipse-related lessons for K-12 classrooms from partner institutions including the National Solar Observatory, Exploratorium, and NASA. The videos feature various professors from USI discussing topics such as Eclipse Viewing Safety, the Science of an Eclipse, and Solar Eclipse and The Animal Kingdom. Activities for elementary audiences include a printable solar eclipse coloring book, with facts and information about solar eclipses as well as downloading instructions for creating a pinhole camera to view the eclipse safely. Middle and high school levels can participate in the Eclipse Observation Activity, which includes a Safety Briefing Sheet with information on eye safety during an eclipse event as well as a sketching activity for students to safely capture observations during the various stages of the eclipse.

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary

Solar Eclipse Resources From Scholastic Magazines+

These resources can help students, families, and educators learn about and celebrate the solar eclipse. Classes can experience the eclipse with a small amount of household materials and get a glimpse into the history behind this celestial event. 

Solar Eclipse Viewer. This hands-on activity instructs students on how to create their own personal eclipse viewer, with safety top of mind. It includes simple directions and requires only a handful of household materials. 

Model an Eclipse. With this interactive eclipse model, students will learn about the different aspects of planetary movements, how an eclipse travels through space and time, and the technicalities behind such a phenomenal event. 

“When Dragons Swallowed the Sun.” From ancient Chinese and Egyptian mythology to present-day science, this article tells how historians and scientists from different cultures have documented these rare occurrences through the ages, including NASA’s plans to perform five experiments during the eclipse’s duration. 

“Something Big Is Coming!” (Grades 1–2) Find a fictional text, game, lesson plan, skill sheets, and more in an article in this interactive eclipse-themed issue of Scholastic News, available for Grade 1 and Grade 2

The Eclipse Party Disaster (Grade 3) Build knowledge and vocabulary, and make connections with this realistic fictional play about the solar eclipse from Storyworks 3. 

What You Need to Know About Solar Eclipses. Students, families, and classrooms can use this introductory video to test their knowledge with specific facts about the different types of eclipses, how planetary movements affect wildlife, and strategies to know how to catch a glimpse of one. 

What Is an Eclipse? (Grades K–2) For younger learners, this animated video will help students understand what an eclipse is and how it impacts the Earth, from Scholastic News.

Opportunity for Grades K–College

Endangered Species Day

Every year on the third Friday in May, thousands of people worldwide participate in Endangered Species Day by celebrating, learning about, and taking action to protect threatened and endangered species. On Endangered Species Day 2024, on May 17, schools, libraries, museums, wildlife refuges, gardens, community groups, nonprofits, and individuals will hold special programs or events. Celebrate Endangered Species Day on May 17 and throughout the month of May. Visit the website to find events and programs in your area, and check out the resources for educators on

Opportunities for Middle Level and High School

EclipseEd: Illuminating Learning Paths for the April 8 Total Solar Eclipse

Educators of grades 6–10, join the Cooperative Institute for Research In Environmental Sciences (CIRES) Science Show & Share on April 3 at 11:30 a.m. Mountain Time for a webinar featuring Science on Sphere. In honor of the April 8 total solar eclipse event, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Science On a Sphere program has developed datasets showing cloud cover potential, eclipse paths, and a narrated movie describing the total eclipse phenomenon. In this workshop, participants will dig deeper into the datasets and best practices for sharing them with your class, ways to incorporate art into your eclipse teaching, and lessons you can add to your unit using citizen science applications: Globe Observer and CrowdMag. 

Register at The webinar will be available to view on YouTube in case you want to show it to other classes.

Soil Science Workshop

The American Geosciences Institute and Natural Resources Conservation Service will hold an immersive Soil Science Workshop for middle and high school science teachers. The workshop will take place June 24–27 at the University of Wisconsin in Platteville, Wisconsin, and is designed to deepen participants' understanding of soil science and its integration into curricula. The workshop will be held in conjunction with the North Central Regional Soil Survey Conference. Participants will attend presentations by and interact with soil scientists and other educators during the event, including a day-long field excursion.

Apply to be part of this immersive workshop about soil science at Review of applications will begin on April 26 and will continue until the workshop is filled. Participants will be provided with conference registration, room, and board for the duration of the workshop and will also be reimbursed for up to $800 for travel expenses.

Opportunity for High School

AI and Societal Decision-Making High School Educator Workshop
In this interdisciplinary workshop, teachers and administrators will learn the core principles behind artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning through hands-on activities using free and easily accessible computing platforms. No prior coding, computer science, or AI background is presumed. Participants will discover the impact of data on machine learning algorithms and debate the social implications of machine learning models. Understanding how this technology works will allow participants to explore its impact on human decision-making in the criminal justice system, public policy, the allocation of scarce resources, and medical diagnoses. In addition, effective strategies for the use of generative AI in the classroom will be addressed. Educators will leave with a set of teacher-tested units and assignments, ready to be implemented where appropriate into their existing curriculum. 

The workshop will take place on July 8–11 (virtual), with an optional in-person session on July 12. Workshop attendees from Pennsylvania will receive Act 48 continuing education credits. Attendees from outside Pennsylvania will receive a certificate of completion after the event. Teachers in Massachusetts will receive professional development points. Participants also receive a stipend. Apply by April 5.

Citizen Science Computer Science Distance Learning Earth & Space Science Environmental Science General Science Instructional Materials Interdisciplinary Lesson Plans Life Science Literacy News Phenomena Professional Learning Science and Engineering Practices STEM Teaching Strategies Technology Kindergarten Elementary Middle School High School Postsecondary Informal Education

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