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Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, April 9, 2024

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, April 9, 2024

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary

Learning Materials for Arbor Day

Arbor Day is April 26, and teachers will find a range of helpful resources at the Arbor Day website. Lesson plans include Forestry/Natural Resources Lesson Plans for grades K–5. Online activities include Leaf ID, in which students match leaves to the trees they belong to, and The Life of a Tree, in which students examine tree trunks to learn about the lifespans of trees. Among the printed activity sheets is Top Ten Things Trees Do for Us, such as helping us save energy and providing homes for animals. Videos in the library are episodes of Tree ID With Pete, Arbor Day Foundation’s resident arborist, as he shares some identifying features of common trees. In addition, the site features Neighborhood Forests, a guide developed for teachers to plan lessons and activities for students to understand the importance trees play in our communities.

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Middle Level

Identifying and Addressing Pseudoscience

Discover strategies to build middle level students’ critical-thinking skills by identifying and addressing pseudoscience. In this approximately one-hour Science Connections podcast, host Eric Cross—a California-based middle level science/technology educator and digital innovator—and guest Bertha Vazquez—former middle level science teacher and current director of education at the Center for Inquiry in Florida—discuss the importance of integrating critical thinking into the science classroom. Listen as Bertha shares her experience engaging students through teaching learners how to identify pseudoscience and shows listeners how developing this skill in students creates an identifiable impact on the real world. Links to the transcript and to additional resources mentioned in the podcast are included.

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: High School and College

Updated MIT Climate Primer: Climate Science, Risk and Solutions

This interactive climate change primer was written by Kerry Emanuel, professor emeritus of Atmospheric Science at MIT and an expert climate communicator and hurricane researcher. The primer allows learners with no prior background in climate science to explore how scientists came to realize that the climate is changing, and what actions people can take today to adapt to and mitigate the impacts. The Climate Primer now contains four more years of global climate research, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s sixth comprehensive assessment report (AR6) on the state of climate science. The updated Primer includes more precise estimates of future global warming and its effects on global temperatures and extreme weather events, important advances in climate modeling, new actions taken around the world to adapt to the impacts of climate change, and the latest data about the pace at which clean energy and other critical climate solutions are being deployed.

The updated Primer is also enhanced by linked resources for further learning, drawing on four years of publications at MIT Climate explaining key climate topics and answering frequently asked questions about climate change. The other interactive elements were created in conjunction with MIT Open Learning to include best-in-show multimedia elements to reach all kinds of learners, including the “climate curious,” who are newly interested in climate change or in a new climate topic, and are searching for easy-to-understand answers from trustworthy sources.

Opportunity for Elementary and Middle Level

AGI/ExxonMobil Geoscience and STEM Teaching and Learning Academy
American Geosciences Institute (AGI) is recruiting K-8 teachers for the academy, which will be held this summer in Denver, Colorado. The academy will build on AGI’s long-standing expertise and extensive resources in geoscience education and is designed for teachers who are recently entering Earth and space science teaching roles. Two sessions will be held: An Elementary School Level TLA for K-4 teachers will take place on July 7-10 and a Middle School Level TLA for 5-8 teachers will take place on July 10-13. Travel costs (up to $200) for travel to and from Denver will be reimbursed to participants. Room and board in Denver during the academy will also be provided. 

Along with the face-to-face academy, participants will take part in webinars throughout the following academic year to support them and build their professional networks and enhance the impact of the overall experience. Review of applications will begin on May 1 and will continue until the academy is filled.

Opportunity for Early Childhood to High School

Kids Garden Month Contest

Kids Gardening is asking kids to share their favorite thing about gardening, or why kids should garden. Entries can be from individuals, classrooms, or other groups of young gardeners. Entries are judged on creativity, originality, and enthusiasm. Kids can submit short videos, art, photographs, or creative writing. Kids ages 0–18 may participate. (Deadline April 30)
One grand prize winner will receive the following:
•    $500 for your school or youth garden
•    A care package from Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day
•    A seed collection from High Mowing Organic Seeds
•    KidsGardening socks
•    A watering can
•    Leather gardening gloves for kids
•    A growbag
•    Gardening tools

Eight winners will receive the following:
$250 for your school or youth garden
A care package from Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day
A seed collection from High Mowing Organic Seeds
KidsGardening socks
A watering can
Leather gardening gloves for kids
A growbag
Gardening tools

Opportunity for Middle Level

Nanoscience Summer Institute for Middle School Teachers (NanoSIMST)

nano@stanford will offer two NanoSIMST paid professional development workshops in nanoscience for middle school teachers this summer: virtual and in-person. As a community of teachers from across the country, you’ll learn and play with nanotechnology while getting paid! Explore the nanoworld as a learner and discover resources about high-demand STEM careers for your students. Teacher kits are provided so you can engage in hands-on activities during the workshop that can be implemented directly into your classroom. In addition, the workshop will include talks and demonstrations from staff scientists and offer the opportunity to remotely use a scanning electron microscope. 

The in-person option will take place during June 24–27. The virtual option is fully remote during July 15–19. Teachers will receive a stipend after completing the workshop ($500) and for classroom implementation ($300). Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until April 26.  

Careers Climate Change Climate Science Distance Learning Earth & Space Science General Science Instructional Materials Interdisciplinary Lesson Plans Life Science News Professional Learning Science and Engineering Practices STEM Teaching Strategies Kindergarten Pre-K Preschool Early Childhood Elementary Middle School High School Postsecondary

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