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Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, September 12, 2023

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, September 12, 2023

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Grades PreK–12

Edible Schoolyard Project Resource Library
The Edible Schoolyard Project focuses on helping preK–12 educators find ways to use organic school gardens for teaching academic subjects and the values of nourishment, stewardship, and community. The project has a searchable database with dozens of lessons addressing life science, physical sciences, food system, health and wellness, social studies, math, and other subject areas. Selected lessons from each grade level include Compost Critters (grades preK–2), in which students learn about worm anatomy and explore the role that worms play in developing healthy soil; Plant Part Salad (grades 3–5), in which students make a salad and a dressing while learning to identify all the parts and colors of a plant that we eat; and Soil pH Lab (grades 6–8), in which students test the pH levels of soil from three different sites in a garden to determine the level of acidity in the garden soil. A notable activity for older students (grades 6–8 and 9–12) is Practices of Organic Farming, which guides students through soil investigation, cultivation, planting cover crops, and creating a compost pile. 

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Early Childhood

Resources for Working With Blind and Visually Impaired Children
This website contains links to organizations dedicated to educating these students. Educators working with blind or visually impaired students in early childhood settings can use these resources to enhance their teaching methods and create an inclusive classroom environment. Resources include lesson plans, information on adaptive teaching techniques, specialized curriculum materials, and technologies designed to aid blind students’ learning.

Early Childhood Education Professionals, such as preschool administrators and curriculum developers, can use these resources to understand the unique needs of blind children and learn what is available to support their growth and development. Special Education Specialists, particularly those focusing on visual impairment, will find resources that cater specifically to the needs of blind children, such as information about assessment tools, intervention strategies, and best practices for promoting inclusivity in educational settings.

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary and Middle Level

2023 NOAA Marine Debris Calendar 

The Marine Debris Calendar uses award-winning student artwork to highlight the impacts of marine debris on oceans. The colorful online calendar features illustrations created by K–8 students participating in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) annual Marine Debris Calendar contest. Addressing the theme “Keep the Sea Free of Debris,” this year’s entries include artwork with messages such as “Stop Debris,” “Keep Our Beaches Debris Free,” “Help Save the Ocean,” and “Water Is Life, Make It Perfect.” The calendar also has a free coloring page and links to additional resources about NOAA’s Marine Debris Program.

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Middle Level

Manufacturing the Future of Aviation Virtual Field Trip

Available on-demand, this virtual learning experience from Boeing and Discovery Education transports middle level students to three aviation manufacturing centers in the United States to meet the diverse mechatronics, robotics, and ergonomic engineers at Boeing. Students learn about the devices and machines that make modern manufacturing safer and faster. The 25-minute video field trip highlights innovative uses of robotics in aviation and showcases dynamic science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers in the aerospace industry. An accompanying Educator Guide features classroom activities (including printable student handouts) to complete before, during, and after viewing the virtual field trip. 

Opportunities for Grades K–College

Miami University’s Project Dragonfly Graduate Field Courses

Project Dragonfly is accepting applications for 2024 Earth Expeditions graduate courses that offer experiences at global field sites in 15 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. Earth Expeditions can build toward the Global Field Program (GFP;, a master's degree that combines summer field courses worldwide with web learning communities so that students can complete the GFP master’s part-time from anywhere in the United States or abroad. Applications will be accepted until January 28, 2024. Courses begin in May 2024.  

Project Dragonfly’s Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP; master’s degree combines web instruction from Miami University with face-to-face experiential learning and field study through several AIP sites in the United States. Applications for Miami's 2024 cohorts will be accepted until February 28, 2024, with place-based experiences provided at zoos and botanical gardens in Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Jacksonville, New York, San Diego, and St. Louis. 

Graduate tuition for all programs has been reduced because of support from Miami University. For 2024 applicants—to help make a Miami education more accessible and affordable, the Miami University Graduate School will waive the $50 application fee for those who attend an Information Session before the fee payment step of the application process. Learn more at

Opportunities for Elementary and Middle Level

World Wildlife Fund’s Conservation in the Classroom Student Livestream Events 
Through free 45-minute virtual events livestreamed on WWF’s website, children can listen as WWF experts share stories of their experience working to protect species and habitats around the world. The following events are aimed at grades 4–8.

  • Superhero Mangroves, September 27 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time (ET). Mangroves are at risk of declining due to climate change and human impacts. During this event, WWF oceans program officer Emily Forinash will share about her recent visit to a mangrove restoration project site in Ambilobe, Madagascar, and further explain what makes mangroves so mighty. 
  • How Climate Change Affects Us and Nature, and What We Can Do About It, October 12 at 1:30 pm ET. Stephanie Roe, WWF’s lead climate and energy scientist, will explain how despite human actions being the leading cause behind the problem of climate change, they can also be the solution.

Opportunities for Middle Level and High School

Society for Science’s STEM Research Grants

STEM Research Grants support teachers of grades 6–12 who want to engage their students in authentic scientific research. Teachers can apply for up to $5,000 to purchase specialized equipment or $1,000 in preselected equipment, including Arduino starter kits, freshwater monitoring equipment, and PocketLab sensors. Priority consideration is given to schools with students who are underrepresented in STEM or those who come from low-income communities. (Deadline October 10)

Population Education’s World of 8 Billion Contest 
Population Education’s World of 8 Billion student video contest challenges students to create a short video connecting world population growth to one of three global topics—Climate Migration, Health, and Invasive Species—and offer a sustainable solution. More than 80 cash prizes of up to $1,200 will be awarded, and participating teachers will receive free curriculum resources matched to the NGSS. Many teachers assign the contest as a small-group project, using the provided lesson plan, background readings, and a video project organizer to optimize learning. (Deadline March 5, 2024)

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