Skip to main content

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, February 6, 2024

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, February 6, 2024

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Grades 4–12

NASA’s Eyes on the Solar System

NASA has developed a tool that supports the NGSS and allows teachers and students to explore, learn, and interact with our Solar System in real-time 3D. NASA’s Eyes on the Solar system contains 100% accurate data from NASA mission managers and is fully web-based and free to use on any device that has a web browser and an internet connection (desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc.) Students and teachers can ride along with more than 150 spacecraft, touch asteroids, fly by the planets, travel backward and forward in time, compare sizes, analyze data, measure distances, and get a better understanding of our universe.

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

STEM Biographies Video Lessons for Black History Month

Students can learn about the contributions of African Americans to STEM fields with a series of Edpuzzle Originals video lessons on STEM biographies for Black History Month. Featured in the biographies are astronaut Mae Jemison, mathematician Katherine Johnson, and inventor and agriculturalist George Washington Carver. Cancer patient Henrietta Lacks, who left a legacy in the development of "immortal" HeLa cells, is also featured. Teachers can show the videos to students; if teachers wish to copy the videos, a login is required.

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Middle Level Through College

Mini-Unit: Bioinspired: Looking to Biology for Better Solutions
As part of this mini-unit, students will identify a problem with an existing product and investigate biological functions to inspire a product redesign. Through independent research using AI bots and scholarly sources, students will gain a new perspective on STEM, biology, and the human interface between. This unit includes supporting videos to engage students in real-world bioinspired engineering applications from trains to textiles to construction, as well as videos about how to draw mind maps for ideation and use web technologies to investigate sources of biological inspiration. As a project-/inquiry-based unit, it is easily modifiable for many audiences.

The lessons were developed with an interdisciplinary team at the University of Minnesota and are currently in beta release. Galactic Polymath encourages you to provide feedback to make the final version optimal for your classroom.

Opportunity for Grades K–12

Whole Kids Garden Grant Program

The program provides a $3,000 monetary grant to support a new or existing edible educational garden located at either a K–12 school or a nonprofit organization (501(c)(3) in the United States or Registered Charity in Canada) that serves children in grades K–12. Applicants must 

•    be a charter or public school (including tribally controlled and Bureau of Indian Education schools); nonprofit private school; a nonprofit organization or a tribal entity that serves children in the K–12 age range; or a government entity;
•    regularly engage at least 10 children; and
•    be growing edible plants in the garden.

A Q&A webinar on the grant will be held on February 15 at 12 p.m. Eastern Time. Apply for the grant by March 1.

Opportunity for Grades K–8

National Academies Gulf Research Program’s Empowering K–8 Youth Through Place-Based Education Funding Opportunity

Applications are open for a $5 million funding opportunity to support place-based learning efforts to increase the scientific and environmental literacy and problem-solving skills of children and youth in the Gulf of Mexico region. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Gulf Research Program will fund grants of $75,000 or more to support projects that engage children and youth in place-based educational activities that foster the development of the scientific and environmental skills, competencies, and capabilities that are critical to solving complex issues in the Gulf now and into the future. Nonprofit, state, and local entities, excluding federal agencies, that support educational, service, and/or coordination activities for children and youth in grades K–8 may apply. (Deadline April 10)

Funding Opportunity Q&A Office Hours will take place via Zoom on February 21 at 9–11 a.m. Central Time.

Opportunity for High School and College Levels

Google Summer of Code
Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is celebrating 20 years of bringing new contributors into open-source communities. GSoC is now open to students and to beginners in open-source software development (18 years and older in non-embargoed countries). Contributor applications will be accepted beginning on March 18. The global, online mentorship program is designed to engage contributors with open-source software communities. In the past 19 years, the program has had more than 20,000 participants from 116 countries. 

Participants are paired with a mentor to help introduce them to an open-source community and guide them with their projects. Project topics include AI/ML, Cloud, Operating Systems, Graphics, Medicine, Programming Languages, Robotics, Physics, Science, and Security. GSoC gives contributors invaluable real-world experience, helps them build their skills and resumes, and provides an opportunity to receive a stipend to contribute to open-source software.

GSoC will announce the accepted mentoring organizations on February 21, but interested students can start reaching out to previous mentoring organizations now. The earlier they contact the organizations and express their interest, the better their chances of getting accepted into the program. The application period will run from March 18 to April 2.

For more information, see Advice for Contributors for quick tips and the Contributor Guide for more details, and view the following videos.

Biology Computer Science Distance Learning Earth & Space Science Engineering Environmental Science General Science Inclusion Inquiry Instructional Materials Lesson Plans Life Science News Science and Engineering Practices STEM Teaching Strategies Kindergarten Elementary Middle School High School Postsecondary

Asset 2