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Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, October 24, 2023

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, October 24, 2023

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Grades K–12

Leveraging AI/ML in K–12
Are you concerned about how artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will impact education? The digital news publication THE Journal is providing a downloadable brief that explains how demands on classroom teachers and other staff can be relieved when educators use generative AI to instantly create new materials and tailor classroom lessons for high levels of interaction, personalized content, and grade levels. 

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary

Grade Two Activity: Frog Life Cycle

In this lesson from Education World’s Emergency Sub Plan Archives, students share what they know about frogs and their life cycle, then read a brief related article. Next, students answer questions about the article. The final question challenges students to describe the frog’s life cycle using details from the text. The simple activity reinforces students’ life cycle understandings and supports reading comprehension skills.

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary and Middle Level

Reset Earth: Ozone Layer Resources

Engage upper-elementary and middle level students in learning about the ozone layer with Reset Earth, a three-episode animation series and game developed by educators from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the governing body responsible for protecting the ozone layer around the Earth. The first episode covers what the ozone layer is; the second episode addresses the causes of the hole in the ozone layer; and the third episode explores the impact that individuals and groups can have on solving environmental challenges, like protecting the ozone layer. Accompanying education materials include graphic organizers and discussion questions to spark student conversation on the topic.   

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

X-STEM All Access Lesson Plan Library
USA Science and Engineering Festival has expanded its library of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) lesson plans for middle and high school levels. Each standard-supported lesson plan pairs with an X-STEM All Access video featuring a role model in a related STEM career, providing students examples of real-world applications in the field. For example, the lesson Laws of Motion With Homemade Helicopters (grades 6–12), pairs with the X-STEM All Access video High Flying Role Models. In the video, students meet Helicopter Instructor Pilot Esther Beckett as she discusses the different roles involved in flight school and jobs for helicopter pilots, then create their own “helicopter” in the classroom to explore Newton’s first and second Laws of Motion. 

Another lesson, Climate Models (grades 9–12), pairs with the X-STEM All Access video Do the Climate Rock, featuring NASA climate scientist Josh Willis. After learning about Willis’ research, students model the work of scientists as they examine data related to ice melt and sea level change and create climate models using various NASA resources.

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: High School

Connecting With Energy Professionals Through Solar Decathlon Pathways 
Spark high school students’ interest in STEM careers by hosting a classroom visit—virtually or in person—with an energy professional who can introduce students to a dynamic STEM field with many career possibilities. Educators can register online to be matched with alumni from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Pathways program who are currently employed in the energy industry. During the visit, the presenter will share their personal journey to an energy career, highlighting the path they took and what sparked their interest in the field. 

Opportunities for Grades K–College

Gerhard Salinger Award for Enhancing STEM Education through Technological/Engineering Design-Based Instruction
The Gerhard Salinger Award is sponsored by the Council on Technology and Engineering Teacher Education (CTETE) and the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association. The award aims to recognize classroom teachers, university educators, school administrators, or others engaged in using technological/engineering design-based instructional practices to effectively integrate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics or who have made contributions to the understanding of successful practices in technological/engineering design and their outcomes at the K–12 level.

Awardees will receive a plaque of award and recognition at the CTETE Business Meeting. A letter acknowledging the award will be sent to the awardee’s supervisor (where applicable) by CTETE’s president. The deadline for nominations is December 31.

National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Food and Agriculture Non-formal Education Competitive Grant Program
NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI)—Education and Workforce Development focuses on developing the next generation of research, education, and extension professionals in the food and agricultural sciences. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) requests applications for the AFRI’s Education and Workforce Development program areas to support the following:

  • professional development opportunities for K–14 educational professionals;
  • non-formal education that cultivates food and agricultural interest in youth;
  • workforce training at community, junior, and technical colleges;
  • training of undergraduate students in research and extension; and
  • fellowships for predoctoral candidates and postdoctoral scholars.

The recording of an October 5 webinar related to this request for applications (RFA) can be found at Choose Technical Assistance Webinar, then A7801 Food and Agricultural Non-formal Education, where you’ll find a recording embedded in the page. The website also has information on the RFA and applying for the grant. The deadline for grant applications is December 7.

Opportunity for Middle Level and High School

NASA TechRise Student Challenge
NASA invites student teams in grades 6–12 to design experiments that, if chosen, will be tested on a high-altitude balloon or rocket-powered lander next summer. The TechRise Student Challenge provides an opportunity for students nationwide to get hands-on insight into the payload design and flight test process, with the goal of inspiring a deeper understanding of space exploration, Earth observation, coding, electronics, and the value of test data. 

Sixty winning teams will be selected to turn their proposed experiment ideas into reality. Winners will receive $1,500 to build their experiments, a 3-D printed flight box in which to build it, and an assigned spot for their payload on a NASA-sponsored flight test. (Deadline November 13)

Opportunity for High School

A Paid Study for High School Science Teachers 

Charlie Black, a STEM education researcher at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, is studying how to make biology curricula more inclusive through a grant from the National Science Foundation. He is looking for teachers who are willing to use some specific lesson materials he has created for a few times throughout the school year. He will also ask your students and their parents for their consent to participate in some short surveys or interviews. He seeks instructors who teach the following four topics in their high school courses:

  • Reproductive Life Cycles
  • Genetic Inheritance
  • Mating Behavior
  • Sex Differentiation and Development

A small stipend is available to participating teachers. If you are interested in making biology education more inclusive of women and LGBTQ people and you cover one or more of these topics in your high school course, contact Blake at

Opportunity for College Level

DOE’s Office of Science Accepting Applications for Summer 2024 Undergraduate Internships
Applications are being accepted for the Summer 2024 term of two undergraduate internship programs offered by the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science: the Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI) program and the Community College Internships (CCI) program. Through these internships, undergraduate students and recent graduates discover science and technology careers at the DOE national laboratories and gain the experience needed to transition from intern to employment. Interns work directly with national laboratory scientists and engineers, assisting them on research or technology projects that support DOE’s mission. SULI is open to full-time students attending four-year institutions and community colleges or recent graduates within two years of receiving their bachelor’s degree or associate degree, while CCI is exclusively for community college students. 

Both programs are stipend-based and offered three times annually in Fall, Spring, and Summer terms. The application deadline is January 9, 2024. Three workshops will provide strategies for submitting a compliant application and learn about the internship experience from CCI and SULI alumni. Two workshops will introduce the program and application process for each program; the final workshop will review the application process for each program before highlighting the research opportunities and internship experience at the DOE National Labs through an alumni panel discussion.

In addition, prospective SULI and CCI applicants can engage with representatives from the DOE National Laboratories at the Summer Internship Fair on November 8 at 1-5 ET. Register at 

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