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Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, November 14, 2023

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, November 14, 2023

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Grades K–12

Addressing Controversial Science Topics in the K–12 Classroom
University of Washington’s Institute for Science and Math Education’s STEM Teaching Tools are a collection of informative briefs highlighting important issues that come up during science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) instruction. Practice Brief #44: Addressing Controversial Science Topics in the K–12 Classroom helps teachers show students how to navigate different perspectives and to make sense of conflicting arguments on issues that impact their everyday lives, a key factor in being scientifically literate. The brief presents a set of Reflection Questions to spur meaningful discussion and includes a section of Recommended Actions You Can Take in the classroom. Suggested actions include ensuring that students understand the science behind a given controversy; establishing norms for discussing controversial topics in the classroom and by providing decision-making frameworks, argumentation scaffolds, and language for students to respectfully express their stances; and emphasizing the role of evidence-based argumentation in resolving controversies within the scientific community. 

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary

The Life Cycle of the Trumpeter Swan

Did you know baby trumpeter swans, or cygnets, can swim and feed themselves within one day of hatching? Your students will discover fun facts about the swan’s life cycle in this short lesson for grade three from Education World’s Emergency Sub Plan Archives. In the lesson, students review a website about the life cycle of the trumpeter swan from the Maryland Zoo, then answer questions about what they read in complete sentences on a provided handout. The lesson reinforces students’ life cycle understandings as well as supports reading comprehension skills. The lesson plan includes links to learning standards, printable student handouts, Maryland Zoo web pages, and related life cycle lessons.  

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

Biography Video Lessons on Famous Figures in STEM: Native American Heritage Month

Edpuzzle has a blog post highlighting its STEM Biographies series, which features the late Fred Begay (Clever Fox), the first Native American (Navajo/Ute) to earn a doctorate in physics. Begay was known for making parallels from modern science to his cultural beliefs and heritage. He worked on NASA’s high-energy gamma ray project, had teaching fellowships at Stanford University and the University of Maryland, and worked for nearly 30 years at Los Alamos National Laboratory. His work focused on the alternative use of laser, electron, and ion beams to heat thermonuclear plasmas (alternative energy sources). Teachers wishing to copy the video to use it in class will need to create a free account with Edpuzzle.

Opportunity for Grades K–12

Youth Garden Grant
This grant supports school and youth educational garden projects that enhance the quality of life for youth and their communities. In early 2024, 50 organizations will be awarded $500 in funding and a collection of gardening supplies for their youth garden program. Any organization in the United States or U.S. Territories planning a new or improving an existing garden program that serves at least 15 youth between the ages of 0 and 18 may apply. Organizations must support, work with, or serve communities with a majority of individuals who are under-resourced (systematically denied resources and opportunities based on race, gender, ethnicity, income level, abilities, geographic location, etc., or currently experiencing hardship such as a natural disaster, etc.). Organizations also must have received less than $10,000 in grants for the garden program during 2022 and 2023 combined. (Deadline December 15)

Opportunity for Middle Level and High School

Toshiba America Foundation Grants

Teachers of grades 6–12 can apply online for a Toshiba America Foundation grant of less than $5,000 to help bring an innovative project into their own classroom. If you have an innovative idea for improving STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning in your classroom, and if your idea involves project-based learning with measurable outcomes, apply by December 1.

Opportunity for High School and College

Hypersonic Horizons: The High Speed Video Challenge
The Joint Hypersonics Transition Office's Workforce Development team has launched this competition to introduce high school and undergraduate students to hypersonics science concepts and career opportunities. Individual students or teams of up to three students will create a video for the Challenge of three to five minutes in length (deadline January 17, 2024). A total of $31,000 in cash prizes will be awarded:
High School Awards

  • 1st-place entry—$5,000
  • 2nd-place entry—$3,000
  • 3rd-place entry—$2,000
  • 4th-place entry—$1,000
  • 5th-place entry—$1,000

College/University Awards

  • 1st-place entry—$10,000
  • 2nd-place entry—$5,000
  • 3rd-place entry—$2,000
  • 4th-place entry—$1,000
  • 5th-place entry—$1,000

Contact if you have any questions about the competition.

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