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Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, August 15, 2023

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, August 15, 2023

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary Through High School

Wayfinder Society for Environmental Education 

The nonprofit Algalita Marine Research and Education has launched Wayfinder Society for Environmental Education, an online program that provides educators with interactive environmental education resources such as lessons, videos, and reusable toolkits, along with an extensive Guides and Insights section to help teachers use these resources. The program features real-world environmental movements, aligned with educational standards. Lessons include How and Where Are Plastics Made? (grades 7–12), in which students learn how plastics are produced in the United States and how this process impacts communities, and Trash Cam LIVE (grades 4–12), in which students monitor plastic pollution (remotely) in Alamitos Bay and observe how environmental conditions influence the flow of plastic through the environment. 

Toolkits include Synthetic Sand Lab (grades 5–12), which has students investigate beach sand for plastic contamination levels and observe human impacts on coastal ecosystem health, and Investigate Microfibers Lab (grades 6–12), which allows learners to study microfiber air pollution in the classroom with clip-on microscopes. Wayfinder Society also offers free online events and mini-grants for educators and students. 

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Early Childhood, Preschool, and Elementary

My STEM Adventure App

My STEM Adventure is a family-friendly app for early childhood learners (ages 3–6) and their caregivers to explore science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts together. Produced collaboratively by University of North Carolina’s STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education (STEMIE) Center and Bridge Multimedia, the app engages students and families in exploring STEM concepts at home and in the neighborhood and creating a storybook that details their investigation. Through 10 STEM adventures—Big and Small!, Snack Time!, I Can Make Things Happen!, Living and Nonliving Things!, Make a Pattern, Building Patterns!, Pattern Pros!, I Can Push and Pull, Ramp It Up, and Rough and Smooth Things—students explore their environment and complete simple STEM-related tasks (e.g., Find three items that are rough). Students take pictures in the app, recording their findings as they go. 

The app provides hints and explanatory text that describe the STEM concepts they are learning. At the end of each adventure, students create a book of their investigation. The app is designed for use on phones and tablets for both Apple and Google platforms.

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Middle Level

Activity: When It Rains, Does It Always Pour?

Looking for data-forward activities to explore local weather patterns with middle level students? In this activity, developed as part of the National Science Foundation’s WeatherX curriculum project and published in the Concord Consortium’s online newsletter, students are presented with an authentic challenge to solve and led through a series of steps to solve the problem. The challenge asks students to examine weather data to look for evidence of an extreme weather event, which climate scientists define as “a measurement within the top or bottom 5% or 10% of all records for that date.” In the activity, students use Concord Consortium’s Common Online Data Analysis Platform’s (CODAP) free educational software to get the data, create a bar graph and analyze the data, investigate other weather data from that date, and dig deeper into data analysis. 

Opportunity for Grades K–12

National Geographic’s Free Online Courses 

National Geographic’s online courses begin on September 27. Some courses focus on National Geographic’s project-based learning (PBL) strategy, the Geo-Inquiry Process. Courses are open to any educator worldwide who works with K–12 students in either a formal or informal setting. In many courses, learners can earn graduate credits through National Geographic’s university partnerships. Choose from

  • Collecting Data to Explore Plastic Pollution in Our Communities 
  • Teaching Global Climate Change in Your Classroom
  • Mapping as a Visualization and Communication Tool
  • Connecting the Geo-Inquiry Process to Your Teaching Practice
  • Teaching Students to Ask Their Own Geo-Inquiry Questions
  • Integrating Service With Learning Goals

Opportunity for Middle Level Through College

Ecology Project International’s 2024 Teacher Fellowships
Experience EPI’s methods for teaching field science as you conduct hands-on conservation research during these eight-day fellowships. Fellowships are open to formal and informal educators worldwide who teach in any subject area. EPI’s curriculum is appropriate for middle level, high school, or university educators. EPI funds most of the fellowship costs. 

Choose from the Baja Teacher Fellowship (March 2–9), the Winter Yellowstone Fellowship (March 16–23), or the Costa Rica Teacher Fellowship (April 6–13). (Application deadline: September 1)

Opportunity for High School and College

August 2023 NEACT ChemChat
ChemChats are monthly open roundtable discussions on Zoom facilitated by the New England Association of Chemistry Teachers (NEACT). The August ChemChat, taking place on August 17 at 4 p.m. Eastern Time, will focus on Nuclear Chemistry. In some schools, this is taught in physics or Earth science, but for many teachers, this falls into the chemistry curriculum. ChemChats are aimed at high school and college chemistry teachers, but are open to all STEM teachers. Come to share ideas, to ask questions, or to enjoy the collegiality. RSVP online by August 16.  

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

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