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Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, January 3, 2023

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, January 3, 2023

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Grades K–12

STEM Teaching Tool: Prompts for Integrating Crosscutting Concepts 

K–12 educators looking for ways to make crosscutting concepts more explicit for students may find this STEM Teaching Tool developed at the University of Washington’s Institute of Science and Math Education of interest. The tool features prompts based on A Framework for K–12 Science Education and Appendix G of the Next Generation Science Standards. The prompts provide guidance for teaching and addressing crosscutting concepts such as patterns; cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; systems and system models; energy and matter: flows, cycles, and conservation; structure and function; and stability and change. The prompts are flexible and intended to be part of a multi-component extended task. They can be used open-ended or turned into multiple-choice questions. 

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary

Green Guardians Environmental Literacy Curriculum

Green Guardians, a California-based educational technology company, has developed an environmental literacy curriculum for grades K–5. The curriculum consists of a series of multimedia lessons and games exploring topics such as pollution, climate change, sustainability, energy, watersheds, waste management, and environmental justice. The lessons use a story base to engage students in learning about their environment, and through inquiry and problem-solving, devise solutions to the problems they study.

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Middle Level

What Is Lake Effect Snow?

Students often hear meteorologists use terms like Nor’easter and lake effect snow in winter months. But do they know what those terms really mean? Discover winter weather basics and more at SciJinks, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) weather education website for the middle level. Each article addresses a specific weather question and includes relevant images and explanatory text.

For example, the short answer to this question—What is lake effect snow?—reveals that lake effect snow forms when cold, below-freezing air passes over a lake’s warmer waters. This causes some lake water to evaporate and warm the air. Then the moist air moves away from the lake. After cooling, the air dumps its moisture on the ground, potentially becoming snow. Additional information and images from NOAA’s weather satellites provide teachers with content to extend student learning.  

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

Virtual Field Trip: Testing the Limits 
Get a real-world glimpse of Boeing test centers around the United States and show students in grades 6–12 what it’s like to be an engineer testing the limits of aerospace to ensure quality, reliability, safety, and performance. Created in partnership with Boeing and Discovery Education, the approximately 30-minute virtual field trip highlights several kinds of testing (e.g., structural, wind tunnel, environmental, electromagnetic, and nondestructive) and features interviews with testing engineers who describe their jobs and roles at Boeing. An accompanying teachers guide provides a pre-trip classroom activity to introduce students to the concept of materials testing, student handouts to complete while watching the virtual field trip, and a follow-up hands-on activity to complete afterward in which students extend their new knowledge of materials testing to a new set of materials (e.g., spaghetti noodles).

Opportunities for Grades K–12

Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators

PIAEE recognizes outstanding K–12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for learning for their students. The White House Council on Environmental Quality, in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), presents this award to honor educators who incorporate environmental education in their classrooms and teaching methods. Awardees will receive a Presidential award plaque and up to $2,500 to be used to further their professional development in environmental education. The teacher's local education agency will also receive up to $2,500 to fund environmental educational activities and programs. (Deadline January 11)

ASM Materials Camp Summer Workshops
This week-long, hands-on lab experience shows educators how to use applied engineering techniques in their classroom. Educators work hands-on with metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites, and develop a greater appreciation for the importance of these materials in modern life. The camp is free for attendees, and participants are eligible to receive four Continuing Education Units and can opt for two graduate-level credits. Camps are offered across the United States, in Canada, and virtually.

National Geographic’s Free Online Classes for Educators
Classes are open to teachers worldwide, and in many of them, learners can earn graduate credits through National Geographic’s university partnerships. Classes will run during January 18–March 8 on these topics:

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

Opportunity for High School

ACS-Hach Professional Development Grant
The grant supports high school chemistry teachers as they identify and pursue opportunities that advance their professional development and enhance the teaching and learning of chemistry in their classrooms. Applicants must teach in a U.S. or U.S. territory school. Teachers can request up to $1,500. (Deadline January 21) Grants may be used for

  • Conference or workshop registration fees
  • Travel expenses
  • Tuition and educational expenses for new/upcoming courses
  • Books and online instructional resources
  • Substitute teacher pay

Careers Chemistry Climate Change Crosscutting Concepts Curriculum Distance Learning Earth & Space Science Engineering Environmental Science General Science Inquiry Instructional Materials Lesson Plans News Physical Science Professional Learning STEM Teacher Preparation Teaching Strategies Middle School Elementary High School

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