Skip to main content

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, February 14, 2023

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, February 14, 2023

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Grades K–College

Citizen Science Opportunity: Budburst

Engage students of all ages and levels in authentic science research by having them participate in Budburst, Chicago Botanic Garden’s nationwide citizen science project investigating plant and pollinator responses to climate change. In this web-based project, students submit observations of plants wherever they live. In addition, Budburst offers supporting phenology-related classroom activities to hone students’ observation skills, deepen understandings, and engage learners in tracking seasonal change. For high school and college levels, the project is ideal for semester-long studies (both remote and in-person) focused on biology or environmental studies. 

Visit the Budburst website and mobile app (available in both Spanish and English) to learn more and access participation instructions. Teachers can easily set up class groups to manage, track, and submit classroom data. Teachers can incorporate their own class data into lessons and use the data collected from Budburst participants nationwide so students can analyze data to ask and answer their own ecological research questions. 

EquIP HQ: Inventions, STEM, and STEAM

Activate the inventive mindset within each student with EquIP HQ, an invention-focused learning platform for K–12 audiences. Developed collaboratively by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and Second Avenue Learning, the platform presents standards-based lesson plans, games, activities, videos, and more to inspire teachers and students to invent solutions to real-world problems using science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) skills. The platform is organized into grade-specific content portals (K–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12) and includes a guide for teachers and families. Each content portal contains explore and learn panels to discover more about the invention process; video interviews with real-life inventors; an inventions timeline; an inventors’ match game; and student activities. 

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary and Middle Level

Seeds of Success Toolkit for School Gardens

Check out KidsGardening’s Seeds of Success Toolkit for tips for establishing an effective school garden program. Targeted for K–8 educators, and available in both English and Spanish versions, the publication features advice compiled from school gardeners nationwide, covering everything from the basics of starting and funding a school food garden program to the essential steps for designing, planting, maintaining, and harvesting a school garden site. Teachers can download the book in its entirety or select individual chapters of interest. In addition to the publication, the toolkit offers access to archived webinars supporting instructional use of the garden at school. Webinar topics include STEAM in the Garden, Culturally Inclusive Garden-Based Learning, Teaching for Sustainability, and more.

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Middle Level and High School

The Physics Classroom
The Physics Classroom offers numerous tools for in-class and at-home physics learning. Most appropriate for middle and high school levels (i.e., beginning physics learners), the site includes simulations, quick animations demonstrating physics principles, test prep questions, resources to cultivate students’ science reasoning skills, virtual laboratories, a photo gallery of physics-related images, and more. In addition, it has Teacher Toolkits featuring groups of related online resources to support teaching key physics topics such as Mechanics; Static Electricity; Electric Circuits; Waves, Sound, and Light; and Reflection and Refraction. 

Opportunities for Grades K–12

ORISE Acts of Kindness Lesson Plan Competition
Random Acts of Kindness Day takes place in February. The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) wants to see how you incorporate kindness into your STEM lesson plans. Submissions should show how your lesson engages students in acts of kindness, to one another or to their communities. Teachers of any grade level or subject may submit a STEM lesson plan that includes kindness. Three teachers who submit lesson plans will be selected to receive mini grants up to $1,500 to help buy equipment for their classrooms. (Deadline February 28)

Robert F. Schumann Foundation Grants 
Nonprofit organizations focusing on animals (preferably emphasizing ornithology), environmental sustainability efforts (preferably emphasizing open-space habitats), and arts and education may apply to receive grant funding through the foundation. Applications are due by February 28. 

DIG Field School

The DIG Field School provides a unique opportunity for teachers to join paleontologists from the University of Washington and the Burke Museum during one week (July 21–25) of their summer field season. Teachers will engage in prospecting for fossils, identifying microfossils and extracting or protecting larger bones. A special day is included to plan how to take the experience back to classes. This is supported by the DIG box, which has lesson plans, resources and even the microfossils that are part of the research, so that your students can also participate in this experience. This area of Montana—Hell Creek State Park—is the area where the very first T-Rex was found and has more than a 100 years of dinosaur discoveries.  

Credits and continuing learning hours are available to those who want them. Apply by March 10.

Opportunity for High School Student Scholarships wants to empower women by helping them reach their education goals. To do that, they’re offering several Student Scholarships for women pursuing college degrees in various fields of study. These scholarships award $1,000 to $2,000. The scholarships will be available in these fields, and all have an application deadline of May 1.

• Scholarship for Women in STEM
• Scholarship for Women in Computer Science
• Scholarship for Women in Engineering
• Scholarship for Women in Environmental Science
• Scholarship for Women in Science
• Scholarship for Women in Business

Biology Citizen Science Climate Change Computer Science Distance Learning Earth & Space Science Engineering English Language Learners Environmental Science Equity General Science Inclusion Instructional Materials Lesson Plans Life Science News Physics Professional Learning Science and Engineering Practices Social Justice STEM Teaching Strategies Middle School Elementary High School Postsecondary

Asset 2