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Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, March 28, 2023

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, March 28, 2023

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Grades K–12

Hands-On AI Projects for the Classroom Educator Guides
How can Artificial Intelligence (AI) best be used in K–12 education? International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and General Motors (GM) teamed up to explore the possibilities and developed a series of teaching guides, all titled Hands-On AI Projects for the Classroom, but versioned for elementary (grades K–5), secondary (grades 6–12), elective, and computer science educators. Each guide contains background information and four student-driven projects that directly relate to subject-area standards, while providing foundational learning on what AI is, how it works, and how it impacts society. Through the hands-on projects, students work directly with innovative AI technologies, participate in “unplugged” activities, and create products—from chatbots to presentations to video games—to demonstrate their learning. In addition to the grade-specific guides, a guide for all K–12 educators explores Ethics and Artificial Intelligence.

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary

Virtual Learning From Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in Calabasas, California—one of the nation’s largest urban-wildland national parks—offers free distance learning programs and virtual field trips that support the Next Generation Science Standards and are designed for Title 1 fourth graders. Topics include local ecology, adaptations, and flora and fauna. Educators must complete an online form in advance to request these programs.

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

The DNA Decoded Program

Developed by Illumina Foundation and Discovery Education, DNA Decoded provides ready-to-use, standards-supported lessons and activities for middle and high school levels to explore genomics in their everyday lives. The resources are divided into three sections: Cracking the Code classroom activities to introduce students to the study of genomics and what it is; Investigating the Code digital lesson bundles for deeper exploration of technology used in genomics; and Exploring the Code project activities in which students investigate real-world applications of geonomics, such as genetic screening to reduce risks for student athletes or functional geonomics to provide customized care for patients.

In addition, an interactive Virtual Genomic Sequencing Lab guides high school students through the process of genomic sequencing and exploring some of the exciting fields that genomic sequencing is transforming, such as microbiology, agriculture, conservation, and human health. The interactive lab includes an educators guide as well as the necessary handouts and links (Capture Sheets) for students to complete the lab activities.

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: High School

Interactive Chemistry Games and Simulations

Chemistry teacher Steve Sogo and students from Laguna Beach (California) High School developed these interactive chemistry games and simulations. The website features open-source games and simulations to help teach principles in chemistry and physics classrooms. Explore simulations such as Covalent Bonding With 21st-Century Dots, Combustion Simulator, Photosynthesis Simulator, Double Replacement Reactions Using Matchmaker Models, Ionic Reaction Simulator, Electron Transfer 2020, Heat Transfer 2020, and more.

Opportunity for Grades PreK–College

Children’s Environmental Health Network’s Child Health Advocate and NOW Youth Leadership Awards 

Nominations are open for the Children’s Environmental Health Network’s (CEHN) 18th Annual Child Health Advocate and NOW Youth Leadership Awards. This celebration honors advocates for their leadership in children's environmental health, equity, climate action, and justice. The event is typically held on or near Children’s Environmental Health Day (October 12, 2023).

  • The Child Health Advocate Awards honor outstanding children’s environmental health leaders (age 22 and older) in Policy, Science, Community, Business, and Arts/Media. These child health champions have gone above and beyond to create systemic change, protecting children from environmental hazards.
  • The NOW Youth Leadership Award honors Executive Director Nsedu Obot Witherspoon. This award recognizes a young person who has demonstrated exceptional environmental health leadership—protecting human health, especially of our most vulnerable populations.

Nominations may be made before March 31 at

Opportunity for Grades K–12

National Geographic’s Free Online Courses 

National Geographic’s online courses begin on April 5. Some courses focus on National Geographic’s project-based learning (PBL) strategy, the Geo-Inquiry Process. Courses are open to any educator worldwide who works with K–12 students in either a formal or informal setting. In many courses, learners can earn graduate credits through National Geographic’s university partnerships. Choose from

  • Collecting Data to Explore Plastic Pollution in Our Communities 
  • Teaching Global Climate Change in Your Classroom
  • Mapping as a Visualization and Communication Tool
  • Connecting the Geo-Inquiry Process to Your Teaching Practice
  • Teaching Students to Ask Their Own Geo-Inquiry Questions
  • Integrating Service With Learning Goals

Opportunity for Grades 4–8

Marine Turtles: Why Are They So Cool and What Can We Do to Protect Them? Livestream Event
Marine turtles are an important part of coastal and marine ecosystems and are critical to the well-being of local communities. But marine turtles face numerous threats in their natural habitat, such as entanglement in fishing nets, plastic pollution, and being hunted for their shells, which are transformed into accessories like bracelets. In this presentation, marine turtle experts Ceci Fischer and Michael Jensen (World Wildlife Fund Coral Triangle) will take you on a journey through the world of marine turtles, exploring their unique behaviors and delving into the challenges they face. This event will take place on April 12 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time.

Opportunity for Grades 6–10

Earth’s Report Card: The Status of Our Planet’s Biodiversity Livestream Event

Every two years, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) publishes The Living Planet Report, a thorough summary of the health of the natural world. In this talk, WWF’s Chief Scientist, Dr. Rebecca Shaw, will explain the state of biodiversity around the planet and discuss what this means for climate change, the environment, and human health. She’ll also share what is contributing to biodiversity declines and what we can do to protect biodiversity for the future. This event is scheduled for March 29 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time.

Chemistry Climate Change Computer Science Distance Learning Earth & Space Science Environmental Science Equity General Science Inclusion Inquiry Instructional Materials Interdisciplinary Labs Lesson Plans Life Science New Science Teachers News Physical Science Physics Professional Learning Science and Engineering Practices Social Justice STEM Teaching Strategies Technology Middle School Elementary High School Informal Education Postsecondary Preschool

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