By Debra Shapiro
Tricky Tracks Activities
Targeted for grades K–4, this series of activities from the National Wildlife Federation introduces students to animal tracks and the stories they tell. Students will learn to identify different animal tracks and explore how tracks can provide information, such as the animal’s species, behavior, and direction, or movement.
Teaching About an Almost-Forgotten Form of Transportation
Use this article from the blog Teaching with the Library of Congress (LOC) as inspiration to investigate a unique mode of transportation and its role in history. Most appropriate for middle and high school science classrooms, the article highlights the use of canals and canal boats, which in the 1800s, before the widespread use of trains, were critically important to American travel, trade, and growth. Share materials from the LOC—such as an engraving of The Canal Boy, H and C Koevoets, N.Y., 1881, along with the film, Down the Old Potomac, Edison Manufacturing, 1917—to give students an idea of how the canal system worked. The materials can serve as a phenomenon in the science classroom, and students’ questions can spark discussion and spur an exploration of forces and friction.
Planted: A STEM Careers Podcast
Planted: Finding Your Roots in STEM Careers, a weekly podcast series, introduces high school students to career opportunities in tree- and conservation-related fields. Developed by science and educational professionals at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois, the series celebrates the diversity and potential within plant-related professions. Episodes highlight careers such as tree and shrub breeder, science journal editor, landscape architect, and policy analyst. Additional featured guests include an agriculture educator, an expert in fiber sustainability for paper products, a postdoctoral fellow in botany, a community tree planting coordinator, and the leader of an organization promoting horticulture among young people and the public.
Each episode is approximately 30 minutes long and accompanied by materials such as a Next Generation Science Standards–supported lesson plan, guest profiles, and other bonus content. (Teachers must create a free account and register for the Planted Podcast Bundle to access the supplementary materials.) All three seasons of the podcast are available through the website, as well as on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.
Sally Ride EarthKAM Mission
Sally Ride EarthKAM is a free STEM educational program managed by the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. During April 11–14, EarthKAM will allow students to take images of Earth from space using a camera aboard the International Space Station. Educators can use EarthKAM as a teaching tool for Earth science, space science, environmental science, geography, social studies, mathematics, communications, and art. The activities section of the website features lesson ideas.
Beyond Doom and Gloom: How to Teach Climate Change Toward Empowerment With CLEAN
In this hour-long webinar on April 20, educators will learn about Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network’s (CLEAN) new resources related to teaching about climate change while addressing students’ anxiety about it. The webinar will feature strategies and activities educators can integrate into their curriculum.
Research Experiences for Teachers (RET)
The National MagLab is seeking participants for this summer’s Research Experience for Teachers (RET). This year’s program will help accepted applicants to learn how to incorporate MagLab research subject areas into their STEM lessons and curriculum. The program consists of a one-week MagLab experience, July 10-14, in Tallahassee, Florida for science content. This will be supplemented with weekly online meetings with pedagogical experts and scientists and engineers through the fall semester. The goal of the program is for educators to update their lesson plan/curriculum to utilize in their classrooms during the 2023-2024 school year. Each teacher accepted by the program receives a $3,600 stipend paid at the conclusion of the program. The deadline to apply is April 8.
Toshiba America Foundation Grants
Teachers of grades 6–12 can apply online for a Toshiba America Foundation grant of more than $5,000 to help bring an innovative project into their own classroom. If you have an innovative idea for improving STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning in your classroom, and if your idea involves project-based learning with measurable outcomes, apply by May 1. Grant decisions will be made by July 1.
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