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Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, June 4, 2024

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, June 4, 2024

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary Level

Streams of Data Earth Science Unit for Grade 4

Streams of Data is a five-day lesson sequence that uses the phenomenon of flash flooding—namely, a specific flash flooding event that occurred in Ellicott City, Maryland—to engage fourth-grade students in learning science using real-world data. The materials, developed collaboratively by the Education Development Center (EDC)’s Oceans of Data Institute and the American Geosciences Institute (AGI), give students opportunities to deepen their analytical skills as they work with data from a real-world event. Through the unit, students learn how to connect data with real-world events, consider the impact of data sources and limitations, and support arguments/conclusions with evidence. 

Teachers can access a lesson plan PDF of the unit, which outlines each day of the learning sequence. Supplementary materials support unit implementation, including links to data sources, information about creating data representations such as the hydrographs, the setup and use of stream tables, and more. 

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Middle Level

Loudspeakers, PA Systems, and the Wall of Sound

This Next Generation Science Standards–based lesson for the middle level developed by explores how Public Address (PA) systems work. After learning about the components of a PA system through images and videos, students create a working loudspeaker in class. Students also learn about the Grateful Dead’s pioneering “Wall of Sound,” which led to changes into how live sound technology is produced and to greatly improved sound at concerts and other large-scale events. Lesson materials include an online teacher guide with relevant videos, images, student handouts, extension activities, career connections, and NGSS information.

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: High School and College

Mini-Unit: Pacific H2O—A Choose-Your-Own STEM Adventure

This mini-unit for grades nine through university level from Galactic Polymath—an education studio that translates current research into open access lessons—was developed with an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural team at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. It covers the science and engineering practices behind treating water, as well as English language arts and social studies, as students learn about the cultural touchpoints of Pacific Island Countries. Students will embody an engineer's mindset as they learn about the cultural significance of engineering clean water in Pacific Island Countries. The mini-unit, which requires about four 45-minute lessons, includes a choose-your-own adventure chemistry lab, as well as engaging videos about how to perform lab procedures and the science behind treatment techniques.

Opportunity for Grades K–12

Teachers on the Estuary Training Workshops
A Teachers on the Estuary (TOTE) workshop is a research and field-based training program held at various research reserve sites. TOTE workshops offer a minimum of 15 contact hours, giving teachers the opportunity to explore coastal habitats and conduct field investigations; interact with local scientists and experienced coastal educators; integrate local and national monitoring data into the classroom; and learn hands-on field activities highlighting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System’s Estuary Education Resources. Workshops will be held in June, July, and August.

Opportunity for Elementary and Middle Level

Camp Invention Connect

Camp Invention Connect® offers children in grades K–6 the opportunity to attend virtual national editions of Camp Invention’s STEM enrichment camp. Camp Invention is a program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame® in partnership with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Making the program even more accessible for families who do not have a local program in their area or those who have local camp scheduling conflicts, a health concern, or children with needs that make an online experience more preferable than an in-person program, Camp Invention Connect makes it possible for kids across the United States to connect, collaborate, and create. Led by qualified educators, participating children will have five full days of creative problem-solving challenges and can make new friends as they join their fellow campers for optional collaborative sessions throughout each day. The program balances active, independent hands-on exploration with opportunities for socialization from home.

Camps will run throughout June and July. An Innovator’s Toolkit filled with materials is shipped directly to each participant. Kids prepare to invent as they receive their very own Innovator Workshop to set up at home. Daily challenges can motivate kids to explore nature, get active, and stretch their imaginations. The program also offers step-by-step activity guides and digital resources. Watch a preview of the curriculum at

Opportunity for High School

Polar Science Curriculum Development Workshop for Educators

The University of Maine, Orono, in collaboration with the National Science Foundation, will hold a week-long (July 29–August 2) in-person workshop focused on developing engaging classroom lessons using real-world polar science data. This workshop provides a unique opportunity for STEM educators from across the United States to collaborate with colleagues, gain valuable professional development, and contribute to the advancement of Polar STEM education. This initiative aims to cultivate student interest in Polar STEM careers, particularly among underrepresented groups. Workshop goals include

•    Equipping educators with the necessary tools and resources to create impactful Polar STEM lessons;
•    Exploring environmental and climate change issues in the Polar regions; and
•    Fostering connections between Polar observations and local community experiences.

Participants will be asked to join this three-year project. 11th- and 12th-grade teachers who are currently teaching Earth science or related classes and are interested in incorporating and/or improving polar science lessons are eligible to apply. (Deadline: June 10) All travel, lodging, stipend, and per diem will be covered for travel to Orono, Maine, this summer. Additionally, participants will earn a stipend of $30 per hour over the course of the workshop (7 hours per day for five days), as well as for virtual check-in meetings twice a year.

Careers Chemistry Climate Change Distance Learning Earth & Space Science Environmental Science General Science Instructional Materials Interdisciplinary Lesson Plans News Phenomena Professional Learning Science and Engineering Practices STEM Teaching Strategies Kindergarten Elementary Middle School High School Postsecondary

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