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Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, April 25, 2023

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, April 25, 2023

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary

Decomposition Activity Pack

Learn about organisms responsible for breaking down organic matter with the Decomposition activity pack from the nonprofit KidsGardening. Most appropriate for grades K–4, the pack contains four activities and corresponding worksheets centered around ecology, sustainability, and math.

  • Log Hotel teaches students about the decomposition process firsthand as they visit a fallen log over time and record changes observed in the log habitat during each visit.
  • Organic vs. Inorganic Waste Investigation engages students in an experiment to compare the breakdown rates of organic matter (apples) and plastic.
  • Math Decomposers, the final activity, presents students with size ranges of some common decomposers (e.g., earthworms, red wigglers, millipedes, termites, beetles, ants, slugs, and snails) and activity ideas to make math-based comparisons about the organisms’ sizes. For example, students might cut out lengths of paper representing each organism’s size, then create a graph from the paper slips to compare.

STEAM Daydream Podcast

STEAM Daydream is a podcast for grades 1–5 developed by the National Children’s Museum in Washington, D.C., with funding from the Museum and Geico. Now in its second season, the series explores a wide range of topics in STEAM—science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. Each 20-minute episode is led by a young innovator, who, with the help of content experts from across the country, solves an everyday STEAM mystery. Episode themes support national science standards and classroom content, investigating topics such as waste management processes (Trash Day Dilemma), An Instrumental Discovery (sound exploration), and Navigation Equation (how GPS works). Supporting materials for teachers accompany each episode. At the podcast website, teachers can listen to the podcasts as well as access materials to support their use in the classroom, such as the podcast transcripts, lists of relevant vocabulary, information about the episodes’ highlighted young innovators and featured guests, and standards information. 

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary and Middle School

A Kid’s Guide to Climate Change

Written by National Public Radio (NPR) climate correspondent Lauren Sommers and illustrated by NPR news editor Malaka Gharib, A Kid’s Guide to Climate Change is a comic book designed to introduce the topic of climate change to students ages 6–12, who may be just starting to hear about climate change and its impacts. The book tells the story of Gabe, a high school student who was spurred to learn about climate change and activism after a wildfire occurred near his Colorado home. The printable book is in PDF format and features colorful illustrations and engaging, kid-friendly text. The website includes additional resources for discussing climate change with students. 

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: High School and College Website presents new research in astrophysics written in manageable text for high school and first- and second-year college students. Supported by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and considered the “Reader’s Digest” of astronomy journal articles, the website features summaries of articles from astro-ph, the astrophysics section of the open access archive, where researchers post their latest work (often before official review and publication). The summaries are written by graduate students and upper-level undergraduates from universities worldwide who distill the journal articles into digest form. In addition to the Astrobites, the site includes information and advice about Careers in Astronomy, as well as guides to other topics of interest, such as The Electromagnetic Spectrum, Major Telescopes, and Astrophysical Software. 

Opportunity for Middle Level

NanoSIMST 2023 Summer Institute for Middle School Teachers
Excite and engage your students with the power and wonder of nanotechnology. The nanofacilities at Stanford (nano@stanford) in partnership with its National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) network will hold a Nanoscience Summer Institute for Middle School Teachers (NanoSIMST). An in-person four-day experience will take place during June 20–23, and a fully remote five-day experience during July 17–21 will extend the opportunity to teachers nationwide. Selected teachers will learn about the physical concepts underlying nanotechnology and nanoscience in simple terms and will receive hands-on materials, instructional support, and exposure to the wealth of online resources in the NNCI network of 16 sites, such as student field trips and experiences, both in-person and virtual. Teachers will also develop lesson plans that bring nanoscience into the classroom. 

After fully participating in SIMST, teachers receive can receive up to an $800 stipend ($500 after completion of SIMST, $300 after implementing a nano lesson in the classroom). Applicants will be accepted on a rolling basis. (Deadline May 7)

Opportunity for Middle Level and High School

Online Teacher Workshop: Wildfire, Drought, and the Future of Forests
In this free workshop, University of Colorado Boulder curriculum developers will lead teachers through The Future of Forests, a middle school/high school curriculum connected to Next Generation Science Standards life science standards that explores patterns of post-fire recovery (or lack thereof) across the west and inspires classrooms to engage in citizen science using NASA’s GLOBE Observer land cover app. Participants will engage with online interactives from the National Forest Service, authentic datasets, and app-based labs in this online workshop, taking place on June 7–8. Participants will have the option to receive a certificate for 10 PD hours (free) or purchase 1 graduate credit ($90) from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Opportunities for High School

ACS-Hach High School Chemistry Classroom Grant

The American Chemical Society awards this grant to support ideas that enhance classroom learning, foster student development, and reveal the wonders of chemistry. High school chemistry teachers can request up to $1,500 for their ideas. Grants are awarded for 

  • Laboratory Equipment and Supplies 
  • Instructional Materials 
  • Professional Development 
  • Student-Conducted Field Studies

Applicants must be high school chemistry educators teaching in a U.S. or U.S. territory school. (Deadline June 1)

Knowles Teaching Fellows Program Webinar
The Knowles Teaching Fellows Program is a five-year program that supports first-year/preservice high school math, chemistry, physics, and biology teachers in their efforts to become great teachers who lead from the classroom. The application for 2024 Knowles Teaching Fellowships will open in June. Attend this April 26 webinar to learn more about the benefits of the fellowship and the application process. Knowles Teaching Fellows benefit from

•    membership in a national community of math and science teachers who are committed to supporting all students;
•    mentoring and coaching from experienced educators; and
•    access to more than $50,000 in financial support, including stipends and grants for professional development and classroom materials.

Astronomy Biology Careers Chemistry Citizen Science Climate Change Curriculum Earth & Space Science General Science Instructional Materials Interdisciplinary Life Science Mathematics New Science Teachers News Physical Science Physics Professional Learning STEM Teaching Strategies Middle School Elementary High School Postsecondary Pre-service Teachers

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