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Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, October 11, 2022

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, October 11, 2022

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers, Grades K–College

Citizen Science Resources

From apps to activities and projects, this hyperlinked post from National Geographic’s Education Blog has the resources you need to engage students in grades 3–12 in citizen science all year long. Read on to learn more about favorite tools for citizen science from educators at National Geographic. For example, Seek is a child-safe app to help students of all ages identify plants and animals and earn badges along the way. BackyardBio, a global citizen science campaign, engages students in exploring outdoors, discovering local wildlife, and connecting with others to share their love of nature. 

Looking for more projects of interest? Select Citizen Science Projects to view a roundup of more than a dozen citizen science opportunities addressing a wide variety of student interests. For example, students can Take Mountain-top Photographs to help scientists study air pollution as a visibility volunteer for Appalachian Mountain Club, survey frog and toad populations in their local area as part of the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program, or examine space images for evidence of interstellar dust particles in NASA’s Search Space program. 

Resources for Learning @AMNH

Visit the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH)’s Resources for Learning web page to browse more than 450 activities, articles, games, videos, and other materials to bring science and natural history to life. Targeted for learners of all ages from elementary to adult, highlighted resources for K–12 audiences include Ology (grades 2–6), an interactive app created by museum educators addressing science topics from archaeology to zoology; How to Read the Periodic Table (grades 6–8), an online infographic that features key components of the table’s organization and describes how to read it; and The Power of Poison as Medicine (versioned for grades 6–8 and 9–12), an article and student discussion questions exploring how nature’s poisons can be used to cure disease. Educators can find resources to enhance their classroom instruction and their science background knowledge. Select the Educator filter to access resources such as classroom videos modeling instructional practices like Interactive Read-Alouds, Summarizing in Science, and Writing a Scientific Explanation Using the Explanation Tool, as well as Data Visualization Google+ Hangouts, a series of recorded online seminars with scientists exploring data visualizations about global change. 

Space Station Explorers Website

Stay current on happenings aboard the International Space Station (ISS) through the Space Station Explorers website, for audiences of all ages. The site features at-home activities to engage students with ISS scientists and participate in authentic science research. For example, in Orion’s Quest, students participate in authentic space-based research through live or virtual “missions” focused on topics such as butterflies, plants, microbes, spiders, and stem cells. Students analyze photo and/or video data downlinked directly from the ISS and submit their findings to scientists, making real contributions to world-class research onboard the ISS. Other website highlights include the Slime in Space virtual field trip, a 15-minute virtual journey in which students travel 250 miles above Earth to experience for themselves how slime and water react in a microgravity environment.

Justice in the Science Classroom

Learning for Justice (LFJ) and the Smithsonian Science Education Center hosted this webinar in March 2022 to help K–12 science educators integrate social justice into their practice. The approximately hour-long program highlights connections between social justice and STEM education with a focus on the environment and provides strategies and tools for educators to approach complex problems with respect for student and community knowledge. The webinar provides K–12 educators and others with tools for supporting students and spurring them to turn their learning into sustainable action. Register (free) to watch the recording. Afterward, teachers can view a follow-up webinar, Close the Loop: Justice in the Science Classroom, that delves deeper into issues that may arise as teachers integrate social justice into STEM curriculum.  

Opportunities for Grades PreK–College

Bosch Eco and STEM Teacher (BEST) Grant Program

The BEST Grant Program aims to advance sustainability and STEM education and supports innovative inquiry-based learning experiences by awarding grants of up to $2,000 to preK–12 educators. BEST grantees have access to professional learning opportunities and a network of like-minded colleagues. Applicants must teach in Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, and South Carolina in one of the school districts listed on Individuals may apply for a grant of up to $1,000; groups of 2–4 applicants may apply for a collaborative grant of up to $2,000. (Deadline November 6)

A BEST Grant can be used to purchase

  • In-school and after-school projects/programs, including, but not limited to, classroom projects, educational field trips, and speakers; 
  • Interdisciplinary programs/projects that combine the subjects addressed in the BE3ST Teacher Grant program alongside other subjects/content areas; and
  • Software and hardware technology supporting project-based learning and to be used for a specific program or project for which learning objectives and science/math concepts are well defined.

AAUW Community Action Grants 

These grants provide funding to individuals, community-based nonprofits (including universities), AAUW branches, and AAUW state organizations for innovative programs that promote education and equity for women and girls. Funding ranges from $3,000 to $10,000. (Deadline December 1)

Opportunity for Middle Level

Middle School Teacher Working Group for QIS

The Q2Work program invites middle school teachers to participate in a working group that will help develop curriculum for quantum information science (QIS) in K–12 classrooms. Funded by the National Science Foundation, Q2Work is an initiative to provide support and infrastructure that will make it easier for curriculum designers, teachers, and other educational providers to build curriculum and deliver instruction related to QIS. Q2Work is collaborating with teachers to develop a Quantum Education Framework for K–12 subjects, to expand upon the Key Concepts in Quantum Information Science developed in 2020 and intended for eventual use in K–12 math classrooms. 

Q2Work seeks educators with experience teaching and/or developing middle school curriculum. A background in quantum information science is not expected. The group plans to meet approximately five times from October to December 2022, with a schedule decided by the working group participants. Given the time commitment, participants will receive a stipend. If you have any questions, contact Diana Franklin or Chandralekha Singh.

Opportunity for Middle Level and High School

CIRES Education and Outreach Fall Webinars—McMurdo Speaker Series: Antarctica, Space, Lasers (Oh My!) 

Watch this four-part webinar series about life on McMurdo station live from Antarctica with your middle and high school classrooms and learn about the upper atmosphere. The Cooperative Institute for Research In Environmental Sciences (CIRES) is presenting this series in partnership with the McMurdo LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) team from Colorado University Boulder and Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants, an organization that hosts virtual field trips and guest speakers for students and teachers. Register for a camera spot to see your classroom on screen and ask questions directly to the scientists from Antarctica, where they are spending a full year. Register for one or all four webinars, taking place at 1 p.m. Eastern Time/11 a.m. Mountain Time on these dates: 

  • October 11—A Day in the Life at McMurdo station with Jackson Jandreau
  • October 18—Seasons in the Antarctic with Ian Geraghty
  • November 8—Introduction to the Upper Atmosphere with Yingfei Chen 
  • November 15—Introduction to Space Weather with Arunima Prakash 

Learn more at

Biology Chemistry Citizen Science Distance Learning Earth & Space Science Environmental Science Equity General Science Inclusion Inquiry Instructional Materials Interdisciplinary Life Science Literacy Mathematics News Physical Science Preservice Science Education Professional Learning Social Justice STEM Teaching Strategies Middle School Elementary High School Informal Education Postsecondary Pre-service Teachers Preschool

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