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Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, December 5, 2023

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, December 5, 2023

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Grades K–College

The Equity Compass Tool

Developed as part of the University College London Institute of Education (IOE)’s Youth Equity+STEM project, the Equity Compass is a tool to help formal and informal science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) educators and others adopt a social justice mindset when developing K–college STEM programs, policies, and practices. The tool provides a framework and guiding questions for evaluating equity issues within K–college STEM programs, policies, and practices and addresses eight multiple dimensions of equity, including power, interests and needs, approach, orientation, centrality, participation, resources, and time. The goal is to help users ensure that their STEM programs and policies move STEM from being a destination for an elite few to a vehicle that serves and belongs to the whole community. 

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary and Middle Level

Explore Like a Scientist Online Course

Monterey Bay Aquarium’s multimedia online course for grades 3–6 introduces students to different types of scientists and what they do. Students learn what scientists do (ask questions, work with models, investigate, analyze and interpret data, use math, explain and design, argue based on evidence, and more) and conduct hands-on activities practicing key science skills, such as observation, data collection, and scientific illustration. The course also presents information about different kinds of scientists (e.g., zoologist, marine ecologist) and provides activities that teach students what it might be like if they had a career in that field. The course concludes with a reflection activity in which students produce a creative project (digital book, song, game, stop-motion video, etc.) that summarizes what they learned. 

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: High School

Concepts Across the Sciences: Stability and Change

Explore how graphs can be used to study stability and change with an activity from the Library of Congress’s (LOC) blog, Teaching with the Library. Most appropriate for high school students, the activity takes teachers and students through an analysis of the graph Death Rates for Selected Causes, which appears in the LOC’s 1970 Atlas. The activity describes various ways to use the graph in the classroom and includes a link to the document Teachers Guide: Analyzing Charts and Graphs. The guide provides questions for teachers to prompt students as they analyze the graph, such as these: What kinds of information do you see on the graph? What numbers do you see? What information seems the most important? 

Once students understand what the graph is showing, the blog post offers ideas for further investigation, such as researching one of the causes of death to explain why a pattern of stability or change is being observed over a particular time period. Students might also use the graph to compare death rates for several diseases among various racial groups. The activity includes questions for teachers to guide this discussion and more. 

Opportunity for Grades K–12

National WWII Museum’s STEM Innovations Summer Teacher Workshop 2024
The workshop, taking place during July 14–20, 2024, is open to K–12 educators: classroom teachers, building master teachers, curriculum specialists, and administrators. This year’s topic is “World War II, Women, and STEM.” Educators will gain a deeper understanding of World War II and will be able to implement the use of the STEM Innovations Curriculum (Little Engineers, Real World Science, and STEM Corps Live!) into their own classrooms. This includes learning about the role women played in STEM during the war. Educators also will gain pedagogical tools and strategies to not only strengthen their teaching of STEM subjects, but also to integrate literacy practices and social studies into science investigations with students.

Participants will spend time in whole-group sessions as well as in cohorts based on the grade band in which they teach (Little Engineers K–4, Real World Science 5–8, STEM Corps Live! 9–12). They will have time to explore the Museum’s galleries and to take field trips to support STEM/WWII learning. Free time can be spent exploring the city of New Orleans.

Participants will receive

  • Arranged airfare or a reimbursement for travel, if within driving distance;
  • Transportation from and to the airport, if flying, or paid parking, if driving;
  • Double-occupancy rooming at The Higgins Hotel (across the street from the Museum);
  • All breakfasts, lunches, and two dinners;
  • Two excursions/field trips; and
  • Curriculum, books, and materials.

(Deadline January 29, 2024)

Opportunity for Middle Level

National Air and Space Museum’s Teacher Innovator Institute

Middle school teachers (grades 5–8) will spend two weeks (July 8–19) in Washington, D.C., working with education and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) experts to explore the connections between informal STEAM education and authentic learning. Teachers will participate at no charge, and most expenses will be paid by the museum. Through hands-on activities, museum tours, visits to other museums, group work, and expertise from museum educators and content experts, teachers will use aerospace science, history, and technology to shape their ideas about authentic learning and bring informal education techniques into their classrooms. 

Early career educators, educators of color, LGBTQ+ educators, educators with disabilities, and educators working in the public sector, particularly Title I schools, are strongly encouraged to apply. The application deadline is January 15, 2024. Participants will remain with the program for two summers, returning to Washington, D.C., in year two to reconnect, develop their practice, and mentor the newest class of Teacher Innovators.

Opportunity for Middle Level and High School

National Geographic Slingshot Challenge 
National Geographic Society is holding Year 2 of the Slingshot Challenge, in which youth from around the world can share their ideas for “slingshotting” our planet forward! Students ages 13–18 will create a one-minute video sharing their solutions to our current environmental problems. A selection of entries will be eligible to receive funding for up to $10,000. Participation is free of charge.

The submission deadline is February 1, 2024. Check out the Slingshot Challenge Resource page at to register for virtual information sessions for students to meet with National Geographic Explorers to ask questions and workshop their ideas and challenge solutions. The page also has user guides and toolkits, as well as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). 

Aerospace Careers Distance Learning Environmental Science Equity General Science Inclusion Instructional Materials Interdisciplinary Lesson Plans Literacy News Professional Learning Science and Engineering Practices Social Justice STEM Teaching Strategies Technology Kindergarten Elementary Middle School High School Postsecondary Informal Education

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