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Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, March 12, 2024

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, March 12, 2024

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Grades PreK–12

Pollinator Resources
Looking for preK–8 pollinator resources?’s resource library has an extensive array of pollinator-themed educational materials. The resources include lesson plans, activities, growing guides, and more to teach students about the importance of pollinators. Engage preschool and primary learners (grades preK–2) with exploration-based activities such as Bug Hunt and Biodiversity Detectives, and elementary and middle level learners with activities such as Petal Hunt (grades 3–5) and Bugs in Balance (grades 3–5, 6–8). Activities like Plant a Butterfly Garden, Hooked on Hummingbirds, and Pollinator Journal are suitable for students in grades preK–12.

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

Tracking Objects in Orbit

Excite middle and high school students about new careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) with this episode of X-STEM All Access. In this 30-minute, on-demand program, presented by the USA Science and Engineering Festival and the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force, students meet Captain Adrian Castillo, who discusses his job managing the development of emerging Space Domain Awareness technologies within the Air Force Research Laboratory. Castillo works in the field of adaptive optics, ensuring we can clearly see the objects in space for space domain awareness. An accompanying classroom lesson plan supports the episode and engages students in exploring lenses and their role in creating a sharper image. 

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: High School and College

Exploring Ecology as a Career

Students can learn more about careers in ecology with resources and articles from the Ecological Society of America (ESA)’s Ecology Career Center. Most appropriate for high school to college levels, the resource page and job database offer insight and advice to guide students interested in pursuing careers in ecology. Students can browse the job database to become informed about qualifications necessary for various positions, or read journal articles to discover new areas of interest in the field. Many of the site’s journal articles are written by young ecologists conducting science research in areas from sustainable agriculture and agroecology to invasive species studies in freshwater environments and more. The articles provide a personal look at different ecology-based careers and can help students gain a better understanding of what is involved in scientific research. Also of interest is the site’s collection of archived webinars addressing various topics relating to Careers and Ecology, Diversity and Ecology, and the Science of Ecology. 

Opportunities for Grades PreK–12

McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation Teacher Development Grants

The grants support small teams of teachers in implementing groundbreaking K–12 classroom instruction, and provide opportunities for teachers to integrate new strategies that encourage critical inquiry and to observe their effects on students. Teachers will be able to share their results with other teachers. The foundation awards grants to licensed K–12 teachers employed in public or private schools in amounts up to $10,000 per year for a maximum of $20,000 over two years, provided the eligibility requirements continue to be met. (Deadline April 15)

McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation Academic Enrichment Grants 

These grants aim to develop in-class and extracurricular programs that improve student learning. Funded programs nurture the intellectual, artistic, and creative abilities of children from low-income households. The foundation awards grants to individuals in amounts up to $10,000 per year for a maximum of $20,000 over two years, provided the eligibility requirements continue to be met. Applicants must be employed by schools or nonprofit organizations (community centers, museums, etc.) and have direct and regular contact with preK–12 students. (Deadline April 15)

Voya Unsung Heroes Awards Program

In this program, 50 educators are selected to receive $2,000 to help fund their innovative class projects. Three of those are chosen to receive the top awards of an additional $5,000, $10,000, and $25,000. Applicants must be employed by an accredited K–12 public or private school located in the United States. They must be full-time educators, teachers, principals, paraprofessionals, or classified staff with effective and innovative projects that improve student learning. (Deadline April 19)

Careers Earth & Space Science Equity General Science Inclusion Inquiry Instructional Materials Lesson Plans Life Science News Science and Engineering Practices STEM Teaching Strategies Kindergarten Pre-K Preschool Elementary Middle School High School Postsecondary Informal Education

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