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Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, February 27, 2024

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, February 27, 2024

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Grades 5–College

“First Woman” Camp Experience Activity Guide

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to explore the Moon? Check out First Woman, NASA’s graphic novel series on the topic. First Woman tells the story of Callie Rodriguez, the first woman to explore the Moon. While Callie is a fictional character, NASA’s Artemis missions will eventually land the first female astronaut and first person of color on the Moon. Excite students about space exploration and this historic event with hands-on activities from the “First Woman” Camp Experience Guide. Most appropriate for use in informal education events or afterschool programs and camps, the guide contains hands-on activities exploring aerodynamic drag, deep space communications, the use of robotic tools in space, and storing and moving rocket fuel in space. The graphic novels and activity guide are available in Spanish and English versions.

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary and Middle Level

Alcohol and the Developing Brain Interactive

Use this resource to teach upper-elementary and middle level students about the different parts of the developing brain and alcohol’s effects on them. Developed by, an alcohol awareness initiative from the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, the interactive module presents information about various parts of the brain and their functions and describes how alcohol affects each part. Students and teachers can work through the module as a class, or students can complete the module individually online. The module contains a quiz to assess what students learned and to reiterate the healthy choices students and their friends can make to avoid underage drinking.   

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: High School

Teaching Scientific Literacy: The Case of the Alien Abduction

Engage high school students in exploring the difference between science and pseudoscience by applying the definitions of each to a story of alien abduction. Described in the Library of Congress blog Teaching With the Library, the activity enables students to build scientific literacy and critical-thinking skills as they analyze “evidence” surrounding the 1961 alien abduction story of Barney and Betty Hill in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the origin of the modern alien abduction story. The activity provides opportunities for students to examine Carl Sagan’s evaluation of the story and can spur valuable conversations about scientific bias, including students’ own biases and the biases of others. 

Opportunity for Grades K–12

World Quantum Day 2024/QuanTime, April 8–June 15

Interested in adding quantum information science to your classroom? Learn more with QuanTime, an international event dedicated to celebrating quantum science and making it accessible to K–12 educators and students. Register to receive free activity kits and access to engaging online games on the National Q-12 Education Partnership’s QuanTime website. Registration is required to receive kits and information in advance. Activities require up to one 50-minute class period, and kit supplies will be shipped to arrive before World Quantum Day (April 14). Registrants will also be entered into a drawing for a quantum goodie bag.

Opportunities for Middle Level and High School

The Exploratorium’s Summer Institute for Teachers

Spend three weeks (June 10–28) at the Exploratorium in San Francisco learning how to introduce more inquiry into your classroom. You’ll collaborate with other teachers to deepen your own practice, build content knowledge, and support a more equitable learning environment in your context. Explore natural phenomena related to human perception, physical science, life science, Earth science, and the environment. Engage in activities that promote noticing, wondering, and experimenting so you can build understanding and create equitable and anti-racist science classrooms. Each day includes museum exhibit explorations and class time, as well as independent project time. You’ll have opportunities to attend electives, create small versions of Exploratorium exhibits in the machine shop, and meet with Teacher Institute staff to focus on your specific needs.

Applicants must be current in-classroom science teachers of grades 6–12 and should have at least three years’ experience teaching science in a classroom. Educators of color and educators working in public schools, especially Title I schools, are encouraged to apply. (Deadline March 4)

The Summer Institute is free of charge; attendees pay only for travel, food, and lodging. Each participant will be awarded a $2,500 stipend after completing the institute. Six graduate-level semester units of continuing education credits are available for a fee.

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies Research Experiences for Teachers (BIORETS) Program
Middle level and high school STEM teachers with at least a year of classroom experience can spend six weeks during the summer at Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York, conducting research in ecology with Cary scientists. A culminating in-person, two-day writing workshop will support teachers in publishing their work, and four virtual school-year follow-up sessions will be held to support implementation of new curriculum. Paid travel and housing are available for out-of-area teachers, and educators will receive an $8,800 stipend for full participation. Participants will

•    Increase their knowledge of ecology;
•    Develop skills in conducting original research, including research design, implementation, and data analysis;
•    Increase their knowledge of effective pedagogy and curriculum design for building ecological and data literacy; and
•    Be part of a collaborative community of middle and high school teachers, scientists, and educational researchers.

Teachers who work with historically marginalized and underserved students, and/or work in under-resourced schools, including those in rural and urban communities, are especially encouraged to apply. (Deadline March 15)

Earth & Space Science English Language Learners Environmental Science Equity General Science Inclusion Inquiry Instructional Materials Life Science Multilingual Learners News Phenomena Physical Science Professional Learning Science and Engineering Practices STEM Teaching Strategies Kindergarten Elementary Middle School High School Postsecondary Informal Education

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