Skip to main content

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, September 13, 2022

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, September 13, 2022

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Grades K–12

'Penguin Misfits' Bookmarks

Some Adélie penguins look slightly different from their standard-colored penguin friends, but they’re just as successful at finding a mate. K–12 students can learn more about these colorful animals with a set of printable bookmarks from the National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs. With color photographs and explanatory text highlighting the birds’ unique colorations (e.g., Crop Top, Camo, Ivory, Ninja, Platinum, and Crème Fraiche) the bookmarks can help interest students in the conservation of birds and other wildlife in polar regions. Folding and gluing instructions for creating the bookmarks are included.

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Early Childhood and Preschool

Sifting Sand Activity

Sand in a sandbox, at the beach, in a park, or in a container placed on the floor provides a positive sensory exploration for many children. Sifting Sand, an activity for students ages 0–5 developed by educators at the STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education (STEMI2E2) Center, presents ideas and adaptations to maximize the learning benefits of working with sand with young students of various physical abilities and cognitive skill sets. The activity includes open-ended and guiding questions to ask during sand play and a list of sand-related children’s trade books to extend learning. The activity also features visual cue cards and other suggestions for adapting the environment, materials, and teaching practices to accommodate students with disabilities. 

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary and Middle Level

Getting Started: A Guide for Creating School Gardens as Outdoor Classrooms

The content in this publication from the Center for Ecoliteracy addresses everything from initial planning steps such as involving school administrators and determining the garden’s purpose, to selecting and preparing the garden site, keeping the garden in the public eye, and maintaining the garden throughout the year. In addition, the publication features tips and suggestions from successful school garden programs at sites around the country. 

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

The Most Effective Sunscreen

In this lab from the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT), students research and compare the effectiveness of various Sun Protection Factor levels in sunscreen lotions. Students use an ultraviolet (UV) bead detector to determine the lotion’s ability to block UV radiation from the Sun. The instructions include a downloadable Teacher Guide and Student Activity Sheet, as well as ideas for connecting the activity to math, reading, writing, and social studies.  

Opportunities for Grades PreK–College

Extreme Zoo Makeover: A STEM Approach to Habitat Design

Students in grades 5–8 nationwide can use their STEM skills and creativity to participate in Extreme Zoo Makeover: A STEM Approach to Habitat Design, a free Massachusetts STEM Week Design Challenge. Elementary and high school students also may participate in this event, held by the Wade Institute for Science Education and its collaborating partners, the Lloyd Center for the Environment and Buttonwood Park Zoo. The competition will engage students in an experience that integrates science and engineering concepts in a series of inquiry-based investigations that lead up to a student-driven challenge: to redesign habitats for the Zoo’s animals. The Challenge will include the following:

  • A professional development session for educators. Pre-Challenge Professional Development Sessions will be held on September 21 and 28, 3:30–6:30 p.m. ET (virtual session) or on September 17, 8:30 a.m.–3 p.m. ET (in-person session at Buttonwood Park Zoo).
  • A curriculum guide providing background information and inquiry-based investigations that can be used to lead up to the Challenge.

Massachusetts teachers also will receive a materials kit for implementing the challenge. Register at

Become a Space Foundation Teacher Liaison

Space Foundation Teacher Liaisons are preK–20 educators who use space-related education programs and principles in the classroom to act as advocates for space-based education in their schools and districts. Teachers selected for the program receive Space Foundation training and resources to further integrate space into their classrooms, along with benefits and privileges that improve teaching skills, strengthen resumes, and influence space and science education at an international level. The program is open to public, private, and homeschool teachers, as well as school administrators, principals, specialists, curriculum and instruction developers, and others who deliver education programs to students. Apply by September 30.

Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program

Are you a K–12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educator who would like to serve in the national education arena? Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellows spend 11 months working in federal agencies or in U.S. Congressional offices, applying their extensive knowledge and classroom experiences to national education program and/or education policy efforts. Current sponsoring agencies include the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy (DOE), the Library of Congress, NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Science Foundation. The DOE sponsors up to five placements in congressional offices.

Fellows gain access to a national network of education leaders and programs and develop a better understanding of the challenges and possibilities in STEM education and a renewed passion for teaching, ready to make significant contributions to the educational community. Apply by November 17.    

Opportunities for Middle Level and High School

Conservation in the Classroom: How Can I Make a Difference? Helping the Planet as a Young Person
Conservation in the Classroom, World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) free livestream series, connects students in grades 6–10 with conservation experts and scientists. In each 45-minute virtual event, students can watch live as the presenters share about their experience and answer questions submitted. On September 28 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time, WWF activism specialist Ryan Zlatanova and young activist Reid Chapman will teach students about how they can take action and demand change for their future. Educators can register to receive event reminders and indicate how they’d like to participate (as an off-screen viewer or as a featured group selected to be on camera). 

Administration Chemistry Disabilities Distance Learning Earth & Space Science Engineering General Science Inclusion Inquiry Instructional Materials Interdisciplinary Labs Life Science Literacy Mathematics News Professional Learning Science and Engineering Practices STEM Teaching Strategies Middle School Early Childhood Elementary High School Postsecondary Preschool

Asset 2