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Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, November 7, 2023

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, November 7, 2023

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary and Middle Level

Interactive Graphic Organizer and Mix and Match 

Promote active science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning among K–8 English Language Learners (ELLs) and all students with two teaching strategies from the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC). The strategies—Interactive Graphic Organizer and Mix and Match—can be incorporated into any unit of study and support students’ development of academic language, critical-thinking skills, and meaningful science conversation. 

With the Interactive Graphic Organizer, students and teachers jointly create the organizer to record thinking and develop understandings on a given topic. With the Mix and Match cooperative learning strategy, students develop understanding by creating pairs of topic-related cards. After distributing a card to every student in the class, students move about the room looking for a classmate with a card that creates a pair with their own (e.g., Find a living thing/Duck, Find a nonliving thing that living things need to survive/Water, and so on). As students search for matches, they discuss their reasoning for what makes the pair and deepen topic understandings along the way.

Visit the SSEC website to watch a video of a teacher modeling these strategies as part of a lesson exploring riverbank ecosystems with elementary students. The mix-and-match cards used in the video lesson are also available to download.

Curiosity at Home
Created by the Pacific Science Center, this web page features hundreds of expert-approved science resources for K–8 audiences, ranging from activity-based videos highlighting simple experiments (e.g., Oobleck) and TinkerTank activities (e.g., milk-carton boats, homemade hologram projectors, and others) to lesson plans for formal and informal educators (e.g., Beach Erosion) and video footage of wild animals (e.g., wild dolphins, tarantula) and more. Browse materials by grade level (e.g., K–2, 3–5, 6–8, and early childhood); topic (e.g., biology, animals, physics, chemistry, Earth science, engineering, health and human body, math, energy, and space); type (e.g., activities, videos, and coloring pages); and language (e.g., Spanish and English).  

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: High School

Neuroscience and Society Curriculum

How is our growing understanding of the brain affecting real-world issues in our society? How do these societal factors in turn shape both our brains and emerging neuroscience research? Free curriculum resources from The Franklin Institute, supported by the Dana Foundation, provide teachers with in-depth background neuroscience content, as well as engaging student activities designed to support critical thinking, ethical decisions, and social relevance. This curriculum for grades 10–12 can be used as either a stand-alone elective course or incorporated into other relevant courses by selecting individual units, lessons, or activities that work for you and your students.

Opportunities for Grades PreK–12

National STEM/STEAM Day, November 8

A new guide from Brainly, the AI-powered edtech tool for students, provides educators and parents with tips and tricks to celebrate STEM/STEAM day with students. The guide provides suggestions for at-home lessons and activities and ways to find information on STEM museums and exhibits, summer programs for students, and internships for high school and college students.

To celebrate National STEAM Day, on November 8 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time, Scholastic is hosting a free, livestreamed event to engage elementary and middle school students in learning about STEAM concepts and careers through
•    A Q&A with Herpetologist Dr. Earyn McGee, a professional lizard wrangler, and Scholastic Kid Reporter Luke Lamour; 
•    A behind the scenes look at how a Scholastic game developer codes interactive digital games; and
•    Details about SuperSTEM, the newest resource for grades 3–6, and other STEAM magazines: Science World, Scholastic MATH, and Scholastic Art. 

Additionally, Scholastic Magazines+ has put together a collection of free resources for grades 3–12, including articles, activities, lesson plans, and videos to spark student interest and curiosity.

National Geographic’s Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship

The Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship is a professional development opportunity for preK–12 educators. Exemplary educators are selected to travel aboard Lindblad Expeditions’ voyages for a field-based experience, exploring destinations like Antarctica, the Galápagos Islands, or Southeast Alaska. Fellows will transfer their onboard experience into new ways to teach students, engage colleagues, and bring new geographic awareness into their learning environments and communities. To qualify, applicants must 

  • be a current preK–12 classroom teacher or information educator from the 50 U.S. states, Canada, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Department of Defense Activity schools; 
  • have plans to return to a classroom or teaching environment the year following their assigned expedition and demonstrate the ability to incorporate what they learn into their teaching; and
  • have a proven dedication to geographic education in their teaching field and show promise of continued active engagement in the future.

Fellows represent an array of grade levels and subject areas including STEM, social studies, second-language programs, and art. (Deadline January 7, 2024)

2024 President’s Environmental Student and Teacher Awards
EPA’s Office of Environmental Education requests applications for the 2024 President’s Environmental Youth Awards (PEYA) and Presidential Innovation Awards for Environmental Educators (PIAEE). PEYA recognizes outstanding environmental stewardship projects from K–12 students that promote environmental awareness and encourage community involvement. PIAEE honors outstanding K–12 educators who integrate environmental education and place-based learning into school curricula and school facility management across the country. Applications for both awards are due no later than January 15, 2024.

For PEYA, EPA will select up to two winners in each of the agency’s 10 regions: one regional winner for grades K–5 and one regional winner for grades 6–12. Winning projects will be highlighted on EPA’s website. All student projects must be sponsored by at least one adult age 21 or older. If the sponsor is not a teacher, the project must have a teacher as a co-sponsor. See

For PIAEE, up to two teachers from each of EPA’s 10 regions, each from different states, will be selected to receive the award. Teachers will receive a presidential plaque and an award of up to $2,500 to be used to further professional development in environmental education. The winners’ local education agencies will also receive awards of up to $2,500 to fund environmental educational activities and programs. Winners will be highlighted on EPA’s website. See

Opportunity for High School

Vernier Trendsetters Community

Vernier Science Education seeks innovative high school science, math, and STEM teachers to apply for the first cohort of its newly formed Vernier Trendsetters Community. This professional learning community will help teachers grow in their leadership and knowledge of modern, relevant STEM instruction. As Trendsetters, STEM educators will have the opportunity to collaborate and share best practices, while continuing to learn new ways to engage students with data-collection technology. Trendsetter Community members will have the opportunity to participate in and provide professional development, collaborate on content with Vernier, provide feedback on programming and upcoming products, attend exclusive events at conferences, and more. In addition, community members could be featured nationally for their implementation of data-collection technology and become eligible to receive financial support to attend and present at conferences. 

Applicants must have graduated from a higher education institution and have a bachelor’s degree in teaching, education, science, mathematics, and/or engineering; be state/federally certified in teaching science and/or mathematics; be a current teacher and have at least five years of instructional experience in science, mathematics, and/or engineering within a classroom setting; have knowledge and instructional experience in implementing the NGSS or state standards; and have a clear and in-depth understanding of current Vernier technology, including the Go Direct® family of sensors and Vernier Graphical Analysis® software.

Applications for the first Trendsetters Community cohort will be accepted through November 30, and the first cohort members will be announced by January 2024. Applications will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis, and the full program will launch in fall 2024. 

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