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Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, July 11, 2023

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, July 11, 2023

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Grades K–12

Reaction Time Ruler

Want a fun way to engage K–12 students in testing and studying their reflexes? Try Reaction Time Ruler, a simple ruler drop experiment from educators at Science World, a science center and museum in Vancouver, British Columbia. In the activity, student pairs test their reaction times when catching a dropped ruler. The lesson plan includes explanatory text as well as a reaction time template, key questions to ask to elicit understanding, and extensions ideas to conduct further testing about reaction time. 

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary and Middle Level

Shark Resource Collection

K–8 students can discover facts and more about one of the ocean’s top predators—sharks—and learn about their critical role in maintaining the marine ecosystem. Produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s (NOAA) Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, the collection has resources related to NOAA’s efforts to research and conserve shark populations. Elementary learners can study sharks through coloring pages, fun facts, and species spotlight videos. At the middle level, students can dive (virtually!) into the Hawaiian ecosystem to swim alongside whitetip reef sharks. Explore the Blue: 360° Hawaiian Adventure is a virtual dive and accompanying lesson plan introducing students to three different species from the Hawaiian Islands, their importance to Native Hawaiian culture, and the conservation measures in place for their protection. The site’s Web Stories present research highlights describing the Sanctuary’s work related to shark and ocean stewardship, the relationship between sharks and marine ecosystems, and more.

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

The Estuary Files: National Estuarine Research Reserve Data Mysteries

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System’s (NERRS) educators and ecologists have created these Data Mysteries, which are based on actual events, to enable middle level and high school students to

Each reserve measures Water Quality, Weather (or Meteorological), and Nutrient data, from oyster health to wildfire predictions and water quality. Teachers can work with their students to explore real events using the System-Wide Monitoring Program data. Have students graph and analyze each parameter to find out what happened in the watershed or estuary. 

Opportunity for Grades K–12

ORISE July Social Media Contest

Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) wants to know how you incorporate technology into your classroom. To enter the contest, follow ORISE on social media, complete this (very short) survey, and comment your answer on the post. Teachers must teach in the United States, a U.S. Territory, or a Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) school to be eligible to win. Prizes are LED Light Strips, a Timer, a Voice Amplifier, and a Clicker/Laser pointer. The contest closes on July 31.

Opportunities for High School

Teaching AP Chemistry to the New Curriculum 
The College Board has updated its Advanced Placement (AP) chemistry curriculum since 2019 and has been offering new resources and supports for teachers. The new exam is very different: The content requires students to connect concepts together to master the material. Developing a pacing and style of teaching will be very important to keep both you and your students successful. 

As part of its Summer Professional Development series, the New England Association of Chemistry Teachers (NEACT) has invited experienced AP Chemistry teacher Anthony Stetzenmeyer to share how he teaches AP chemistry, and he will offer resources to beginning teachers to supplement their teaching. Stetzenmeyer also will give participants time to peruse resources and start planning and organizing their curriculum for the upcoming academic year.  Registration is required for this free online event, taking place on July 12 at 3 p.m. Eastern Time.

2024 Knowles Teaching Fellowships
Knowles Teaching Fellowships support beginning high school science and mathematics teachers in the United States. 
Knowles Teaching Fellows benefit from

  • membership in a national community of math and science teachers who are committed to supporting all students;
  • mentoring and coaching from experienced educators; and
  • access to more than $50,000 in financial support, including stipends and grants for professional development and classroom materials.

2024 Fellowships will be awarded to individuals who

  • have the capacity and determination to commit to teaching as their primary career;
  • have earned a degree in a major related to the mathematics or science discipline they intend to teach between 2014 and September 1, 2024;
  • have earned or will earn a valid state teaching credential/certificate/license that enables them to teach mathematics or science in grades 9–12 in the United States no earlier than January 1, 2019, and no later than September 1, 2024; and
  • will be entering their first, second, or third year as teacher of record during the 2024–2025 academic year.

The program has five application windows, with the first on August 7 and the last on January 2, 2024. Early application is recommended. Learn more about applying at

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