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Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, May 2, 2023

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, May 2, 2023

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Grades K–12

Resources to Excite Students About Space Exploration

Involve K–12 students in the excitement of human spaceflight with engaging science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) resources from NASA. The resources span a range of interests and levels and feature a mix of videos, online comic books, student challenges, educator newsletters, and more. Show students To the Moon and Back: The Journey of Artemis I so they can learn more about NASA’s Artemis missions. Share the excitement of current and future space exploration with K–12 audiences or have them read about Artemis missions in an online comic book series, The Adventures of Commander Moonkin Campos. 

Other resources engage students in authentic science challenges. For example, middle and high school students can participate in space-related challenges such as Student Launch, the Human Exploration Rover Challenge, and the Great Lunar Expedition for Everyone. And everyone can benefit from the Surprisingly STEM video series, which offers a behind-the-scenes look at STEM careers such as marine biologist and soft robotics engineer. 

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary

Plant Heroes

The American Public Gardens Association’s Plant Heroes website features nature-based education resources to engage K–5 students in forest health, ecology, and plant conservation. The resources—many of which are available in multiple languages (e.g., English, Spanish, and Chinese)—include lessons, journal pages, conservation comics, field guides, and activity books. Of particular interest are the digital field guide entries, which feature clear photographs and student-friendly text describing more than 15 garden organisms.

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary and Middle Level

Museum of Science Kahoots!
Quiz-based learning platform Kahoot! and the Museum of Science (MOS), Boston, have produced a collection of STEM learning resources for K–8 audiences. The STEM content is featured on the Kahoot! platform and was created through the “MOS at School" initiative, which brings together museum expertise, educators, and Engineering is Elementary, the museum’s curriculum division. The quiz-based resources support the Next Generation Science Standards and address various themes, including Timely Topics (grades 1–8), Space (grades 1–3, 3–5), Mars (grades 4–7), Climate (grades 6–8), Animals (grades 3–5), Resources (grades 2–5), Forces and Motion (grades 1–8), and Women in STEM (grades 1–8). 

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Middle Level Through College

Jewish American Heritage Month: Resources for STEM Teachers
May is Jewish American Heritage Month, and to help STEM educators incorporate this event in their lessons, this website from Western Washington University’s Science, Math, and Technology Education Department features a range of resources about Jewish scientists, including videos, podcasts, books, and journals. The Scientists/Role Models section has links to lists of Jewish scientists and inventors, in the United States and worldwide. A Scholarships section contains links to scholarships for Jewish students interested in STEM careers.

Opportunity for Grades K–12

LifeChanger of the Year Program
LifeChanger of the Year recognizes K–12 educators and school employees nationwide who are making a significant difference in students’ lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence, and leadership. Each nominee will automatically be eligible to win a cash prize of up to $10,000, as well as other prizes that are shared by the individual educator and their school. The Grand-Prize Winner also will receive an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Maui in May 2024.

All K–12 public, private, and charter school or school district employees are eligible. Anyone can make a nomination, anonymously or by name. Nominations will close on December 31.

Opportunity for Middle Level and High School

2023–2024 ENGAGE (Earth, NASA, GLOBE And Guided Explorations) GLOBE Mission Earth Educator Cohort
Discover how to help your students improve their observation and science writing skills. NASA Langley Research Center’s GLOBE Partnership is accepting applications for the ENGAGE (Earth, NASA, GLOBE, And Guided Explorations) GLOBE Mission Earth virtual educator cohort for the 2023–2024 school year. Inservice middle and high school educators in the United States can apply to participate in this year-long program, which includes virtual professional development and ongoing support from a NASA mentor. Participants will incorporate The GLOBE Program (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) to help students use observation skills, explore Earth science content, and practice science writing skills. Pacing guides and lesson plans centered on outdoor environmental observations will be provided. The sequence will culminate in student writing that will be considered for publication on the GLOBE website. Apply by May 31.

Opportunities for High School

Smithsonian DataLabs, Virtual Summer Workshops
Join the Smithsonian for a free professional learning opportunity about the Smithsonian DataLabs—Spectrum Lab and DIY Planet Search—two different technology-enabled instructional modules that, over 3–8 class periods, engage high school students in authentic investigations using real data and online data visualization tools. Teachers will hear from experts in the fields of spectroscopy and exoplanet research, gain ongoing access to the curriculum developers, and receive all the materials needed to implement the DataLabs with their students. (Deadline May 15)

  • Spectrum Lab: Investigating the world of light and color will take place during June 12–15 or July 24– 27. The Spectrum Lab is an online data visualization tool and associated investigations that support students in learning about light, color, and the electromagnetic spectrum by working with authentic scientific spectral data. It has been tested in physics, chemistry, astronomy, and Earth science classes.
  • DIY Planet Search: A laboratory for the study of exoplanets will take place during June 26–29 or July 31–August 3. In DIY Planet Search, classrooms use the MicroObservatory Robotic Telescopes—operated by the Center for Astrophysics|Harvard & Smithsonian—to gather, analyze, and interpret their own observational data to search for the signals of planets orbiting distant stars, so-called exoplanet transits.

Teacher Workshop: Scientific Thinking Toolkit for All

This free, online interactive one-hour workshop is part of the Nobel Prize Summit: Truth, Trust, and Hope, and will introduce teachers to an innovative high school curriculum on scientific thinking that equips students with strategies and skills to evaluate evidence and make informed decisions. The curriculum is based on an interdisciplinary University of California Berkeley undergraduate course, Sense & Sensibility & Science, and the professor who started the course, Nobel Laureate in Physics Saul Perlmutter, will speak during the workshop, which will take place on May 17 at 4 p.m. Pacific Time. Advance registration is required.

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