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Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, July 18, 2023

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, July 18, 2023

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Grades K–12

K–12 STEM Resources @GTRI
Looking for K–12 resources in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)? Check out Georgia Institute of Technology’s (GTRI) STEM Learning Resources database, which includes classroom lesson plans as well as activities to explore STEM concepts at home. Select “website view” to read annotated descriptions of each resource in the database, including STEM category, grade level, content area, and a link to the resource itself.

At the elementary level, lessons like Getting the Iron Out of Cereal (grades K–2, 3–5) engage students in using magnets to observe the added iron in breakfast cereals. Older students (grades 6–8, 9–12) can develop data analysis skills through lessons such Comparing Soccer Kicks or learn about the applications of nanoparticles in medicine through a collaborative reading protocol, Chalk Talk. (Note: E-mail registration is required to access resources.)

Recycling Resources for Classrooms and Families

If you need ways to boost recycling efforts in K–12 schools and classrooms, PepsiCo has a collection of educational materials on the topic. The resources include videos, lesson plans, games, worksheets, and crafts to inform students and families about the importance of recycling and generate participation in recycling programs at school and home. Share videos and infographics about the life cycles of recycled plastic bottles and aluminum cans, then test students’ knowledge with a Jeopardy-style Recycling Game Quiz on waste behaviors. Another activity, Recycle Bingo, features printable game cards and recycling fun facts to share during game play. 

Also of interest are the lessons The Five Rs (grades 3–5), which expands the common sequence associated with responsible waste management—reduce, reuse, and recycle—to include the terms rot (to incorporate composting) and reflect (to incorporate awareness of global issues related to waste). And Here’s How to Do a Waste Audit at Your School (grades 4–12) guides teachers and students through the processes of collecting and analyzing data about recycling behaviors on campus and making recommendations for improving waste management on campus. 

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary

Play It Safe!

With hurricane season (June 1–September 30) now upon us, what better time to teach about natural disasters and emergency preparedness measures in the United States? Play It Safe is a series of cooperative learning stations on the topic developed by the U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistics in Schools program. Created for fifth grade, but adaptable to other grade levels, the activity’s lesson plan includes a downloadable guide for teachers, as well as a student version with relevant handouts for printing (e.g., data tables, infographic, and photographs). The stations engage student groups in these activities:

  • analyzing a Census Bureau infographic on emergency preparedness in the United States (Are U.S. Residents Ready for an Emergency?);
  • brainstorming thoughts about Potential Dangers and Ways to Prepare for Disaster and recording ideas in a T-chart (How Does a Natural Disaster Impact a Community?);
  • reviewing Census Bureau data tables to determine which states have the highest risk for hurricanes (Hurricane Risks);
  • examining photographs to determine which buildings are most likely to survive a natural disaster (Which House Will Survive?); and
  • developing a sample disaster preparedness kit to address potential disasters in their local community (Create an Emergency Preparedness Kit).

Opportunities for Middle Level and High School

Virtual Summer Symposium: Structuring a Successful School Year 
On July 19, starting at noon Eastern Time, the American Association of Chemistry Teachers will hold a three-hour webinar in which you’ll hear from several teachers about how they structure their school year and what they incorporate to make learning both meaningful and thorough. Topics to be covered include Macro- and Micro-Chemistry With NGSS, Structural Chemistry, Station Labs, and Stepping Up to Stoichiometry.

CCS High School Chemical Safety Grant

The American Chemical Society (ACS) Committee on Chemical Safety’s grant promotes chemical safety excellence in secondary education in one of the following areas: 

  • Integrating chemical safety into curriculum (e.g., incorporating risk management, RAMP [Recognize hazards, Assess risks, Minimize risks, and Prepare for emergencies] into lab activities, teaching risk assessment to students and creating a culture of safety in the classroom);
  • Advocating for safe chemical practices (e.g., developing and implementing peer professional development for teachers and administration, obtaining Chemical Hygiene Officer training); or
  • Improving chemical safety infrastructure (e.g., improvements in chemical storage, inventory management, ordering, or waste disposal).

Middle or high school science teachers can request up to $3,000 to fund actions or opportunities that will improve chemical safety in their teaching environment. Applicants must be middle or high school science educators who use and/or manage chemicals and teach in a U.S. or U.S. territory school. Individuals or small educator teams (up to four people) meeting the eligibility requirements can apply. (Deadline August 1) Grants may be used for

  • Attending an approved (ACS, NSTA, American Association of Chemistry Teachers) safety workshop;
  • Personal Protective Equipment or informational materials for the laboratory;
  • Safety-oriented professional learning;
  • Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO) training;
  • Inventory and ordering management program;
  • Compensation for safety consultants; or
  • Substitute teacher pay.

Opportunity for Middle Level Through College

2023–2024 Ocean Odyssey Grants 

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ocean Exploration invite educators and education program implementers who are advancing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) in ocean education and career pathways by providing STEM education and/or workforce development opportunities for diverse youth (middle school, high school, and college students) historically and consistently marginalized from the field to apply for the following Ocean Odyssey Grants. (Deadline August 15)

  • Mini-grants of up to $5,000 for formal educators—middle level or high school educators or education support personnel. Mini-grants are available to support projects that build capacity for educators at underserved middle or high schools to bring ocean science and exploration into the classroom, deepen students’ understanding of ocean sciences, increase their awareness of ocean careers, and help students develop STEM skills needed for future education and career demands.
  • Grants of up to $20,000 for formal or informal education programs supporting middle school, high school, or college-age students. Grants are available to support education programs that advance STEM skill development and provide exposure to industry experts and/or technologies beyond the walls of a traditional classroom for communities historically and consistently marginalized from ocean science education and career paths.

Chemistry Disabilities Distance Learning Earth & Space Science Environmental Science Equity General Science Inclusion Instructional Materials Interdisciplinary Lesson Plans Literacy News NGSS Physical Science Professional Learning Safety Science and Engineering Practices STEM Teaching Strategies Middle School Elementary High School Informal Education Postsecondary

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