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Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, June 13, 2023

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, June 13, 2023

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Grades PreK–12

Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s STEM Center Teacher Resources

WPI offers a variety of STEM lessons, activities, and resources to support preK–12 STEM educators in providing quality equitable teaching and learning experiences for their students. These resources include

  • Seeds of STEM, a year-long, standards-aligned STEM curriculum for preschool and preK classrooms that engages early childhood students in problem-solving activities. 
  • The I am STEM lesson library, STEM challenges for grades preK–6 that follow the engineering design process to have students solve problems in books. The five-day lessons are aligned to grade-level science or math and ELA standards and incorporate culturally and linguistically responsive teaching practices. 
  • Integrated STEM Challenges lessons for middle level and high school, such as Cacophonous Conundrums, a science, technology, engineering, and music challenge; Shakey Cakey Makey Breaky, a physics and art challenge; and Getting Across the River, a technology and engineering challenge. More lessons are expected to be released in the coming months.

Other offerings are Anti-Racism Resources for STEM Educators and resources for Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in STEM.

STEM Resources From HughesNet and National 4-H Council
Satellite internet service HughesNet® and youth development organization 4-H have developed high-quality STEM resources to supplement a virtual K–12 curriculum. Activities include the How Do Satellites Communicate Augmented Reality (AR) Experience, in which viewers explore an animated model of a satellite and how it connects people to the internet. Other activities available by registering for a free account are a Space Exploration Experience in which a virtual astronaut explains how to grow food in space, operate a lunar terrain vehicle, and see firsthand what it takes to live and work among the stars, and Code Your Communication, in which students create a bracelet with a message in binary code. In Science Bug: Electrical Circuits, children explore how circuits work and make their own to light up a “science bug” necklace, while Get in Gear! teaches students about the power and mathematics of gears as they assemble and test different sets to see how small actions can create big movements.

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary and Middle Level

Smithsonian Science Education Center's STEM Games and Simulations for K–8

The Smithsonian Science Education Center has a collection of online games and simulations to strengthen K–8 students’ skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The resources are vetted by curriculum experts from the Smithsonian and address various science disciplines. Highlights for grades K–2 include Tami’s Tower, a game in which students must use basic engineering design principles to solve a problem, and Penguin Protection, a life science simulation in which players assume the role of an adult rockhopper penguin helping to raise its young. Upper-elementary students (grades 3–5) discover what it’s like to conduct field research as they investigate the mystery of white snapdragons in the life science game Aww, Snap: A Snapdragon Study.

At the middle level (grades 5–8), the games explore themes such as Pick Your Plate! A Global Guide to Nutrition, which teaches students how to build healthy meals using nutritional guidelines from around the world; BumperDucks, which invites students to explore what happens when two objects collide and how mass impacts the acceleration of an object; and Disaster Detector, which helps students learn how to how to analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events.

Opportunity for Grades K–College

Tree Campus K–12
Tree Campus K–12 inspires collaboration among schools, students, and communities to facilitate experiences with trees as a learning tool, both inside and outside the classroom. The program encourages schools and educators to create purposeful opportunities for students to interact with trees by offering resources as well as a framework for becoming recognized and celebrating their efforts with their community. Schools must achieve four goals:

  • Maintain a group with representation from staff, students, and community dedicated to achieving Tree Campus K–12 recognition.
  • Conduct activities that connect students to trees and their global benefits, inside or outside of the classroom.
  • Engage students in a project that brings the school’s tree spirit to the community.
  • Hold a celebration of trees within the school or the community.

Applications for the 2023–2024 school year are due by June 30.

Borrow Historic Objects From the NASA Artifacts Module

Eligible schools, universities, museums, libraries, and planetariums interested in receiving historic NASA objects for their STEM programs have until June 30 to apply for the 60th screening of the NASA Artifacts Module. Artifacts for loan may also be associated with achievements or improvements in technology, our understanding of the universe, and important or well-known personalities. NASA has thousands of items available, ranging from decommissioned programs, science instruments, small hardware flown in space, and other major agency activities for loan through that represent the history behind the science and technology of NASA.

Since 2009, NASA has loaned more than 13,000 artifacts from its extensive collection to organizations across all 50 U.S. states. Following their application, NASA anticipates notifying recipients in July. Called custodians, applicants will be required to pay associated packaging, handling, and shipping of any artifact.

Opportunity for Middle Level and High School

MOSAiC Expedition Teacher Workshop: A Changing Arctic Ecosystem
The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder (CIRES) is hosting a free virtual interactive teacher workshop on July 12–13 entitled A Changing Arctic Ecosystem. The MOSAiC Expedition (Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate) is a large-scale Arctic research expedition. Hear from MOSAiC Expedition scientists and the curriculum developers as they lead you through A Changing Arctic Ecosystem, a middle level and high school curriculum tied to NGSS Life Science standards in which students trace the flow of carbon through the Arctic food web to predict how declining sea ice might impact the Arctic food web. At the end of the course, participants will be able to effectively facilitate each lesson, connecting concepts and standards back to the anchoring phenomenon: How might the decline in sea ice affect Arctic organisms large and small?

Free continuing education credits are available. An option to purchase 1 graduate credit from the University of Colorado Boulder is available for a fee.

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