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Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, June 18, 2024

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, June 18, 2024

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary

Design a Bird Challenge

Engage students in grades 3–5 in exploring the connections between habitat and adaptations with an interdisciplinary, two-part science and art challenge from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. In the first part of the activity, students draw an imaginary or real habitat on a blank piece of paper, leaving a blank circle in the center to accommodate a drawing of a bird that could live in the illustrated habitat. Students’ habitat drawings can be real or imagined, but the habitats must include ample food, water, cover, and space for an animal to survive there. 

After students have completed their habitat drawings, the teacher collects the papers and randomly redistributes the drawings among classmates to complete. For the activity’s second part, students must design and illustrate a new bird species adapted to the new habitat they’ve been given. Students must consider what the bird will eat, where it can get water, what it will use for shelter, and how it will defend itself from potential predators. 

To conclude the activity, students share their drawings with a partner, small group, or the whole class and explain why their bird is well adapted to their habitat. The lesson plan includes examples of student work for guidance.

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Middle Level

Real World Science Curriculum Activities

Looking for resources that connect world history and science content in an authentic way? Try Real World Science, a collection of resources for the middle level developed by The National WWII Museum in New Orleans with funding from the Northrop Grumman Foundation. The resources help students understand how citizens turn to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) when faced with daunting challenges in society, such as during wartime. The resources use authentic stories and history of World War II as a focal point for exploring science content including the relationship between buoyancy and density, fluid dynamics and Bernoulli’s principle, mathematical reasoning, systems engineering, and other topics. Each Real World Science lesson plan includes two pdf documents: a Teacher Notes page with the activity’s required materials, procedural steps, and relevant Next Generation Science Standards, and an accompanying Student Worksheet with related question prompts for students to complete. 

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: High School

Chocolate: The New Health Food, or Is It?

Is chocolate a new health food, or not? High school students investigate this question in a digital lesson plan and activity set from the American Chemical Society. The lesson pairs a ChemMatters article explaining the chemical composition of chocolate and how it is made with various discussion questions and classroom activities. The lesson plan is highly adaptable, providing suggested activities to do before, during, and after reading the article. It includes suggested timelines for each activity, student worksheets, and a link to the ChemMatters article. 

Opportunities for Grades K–12

Sprouting School Gardens Grants

Sprouts Farmers Market supports school gardens and nonprofit organizations through its grant programming. To help more schools create or expand their school garden-based programs, the company offers Sprouting School Gardens Grants. Grants range from $5,000 to $10,000 and support school garden program operations, program supplies, and educator stipends that help school gardens thrive. Eligible applicants include schools or 501(c)(3) nonprofits running programs on school campuses in communities where Sprouts Farmers Market has stores. (Deadline: July 15)

ASM Materials Education Foundation "Living In A Material World" K–12 Teacher Grants

The ASM Materials Education Foundation annually awards 20 grants of $500 each to help K–12 teachers bring the real world of materials science into their classrooms. “Living in a Material World” grants recognize creativity and enhance awareness of materials science and the role that materials play in society. (Deadline: August 31)

Opportunity for Middle Level and High School

Virtual Field Trip Workshops

Virtual field trips enable students to explore the world around them free from the limitations and challenges of traditional field trips. Learn how to deliver place-based learning that's accessible for all your learners with Infiniscope's summer workshops, taking place July 8 and 9 at 2 PM Eastern Time or July 10 and 11 at 2 PM ET. This workshop provides all the tools and training that you need to create your own virtual field trip at no cost to you.

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