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Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, September 20, 2022

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, September 20, 2022

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary

SciShow Kids!

SciShow Kids! is an online science series for grades 1–3 that tackles topics for curious kids (and adults!). Join Jessi, Mister Brown, Squeaks the Robot Lab Rat, and their friends at the Fort as they conduct experiments, research new questions, and talk with experts to learn about the science-filled world around us. Each approximately five-minute episode focuses on a single topic (e.g., Stupendous Squirrel Storage, Where Do Icicles Come From? How Do Sharks Find Food With Electricity? How Do Snakes Smell With Their Tongue?) and supports the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). On the YouTube page, teachers can select Video to browse individual program episodes, or browse the SciShow Kids! YouTube home page to access episodes organized by featured theme, including Exciting Experiments!, Winter Is Alive!, Amazing Animal Senses!, and I Want To Be a Scientist!

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary and Middle Level

Bocadillos Científicos

The Exploratorium’s collection of no-cost, Spanish-language general science activities for elementary and middle level audiences uses inexpensive, readily available materials to explore various science topics. Experience sound with a Oboe de pajilla (straw oboe); discover the true taste of sweets in Tu sentido del gusto (your sense of taste); or investigate physics and static electricity in Rodillo a control remote (remote control roller). Preview these and other science activities from the collection on the website.

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Middle Level

COVID-19 Learning Module

Developed by educators Heather Milo, from the Washington University in St. Louis’s Institute for School Partnership, and Mary Bueckendorf of Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls in St. Louis, Missouri, this learning module for the middle level embraces students’ real-world experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic and their questions about the virus. Through various module lessons, students explore pandemics of the past, how coronavirus spreads, and how the spread can be contained. In addition, the module features lessons to teach students how to critically evaluate media and public health information about the virus and use social media to amplify preventive measures to reduce transmission. The website includes an introductory overview about the module and module materials such as a teacher’s guide and student pages with embedded links throughout.

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

Colorful Solutions: Chemical Engineering Dyes to Brighten Lives

In this lesson, students in grades 8–12 will learn to think like chemical engineers as they study three dye technologies: Tyrian Purple (a 4,000-year-old dyeing method that uses sea snails); Tānekaha Red (a traditional Māori dye derived from tree bark); and mauveine (the first synthetic dye—created from fossil fuels—and invented by a teenager in the 19th century). The lesson has three parts, each expected to take about one 45-minute class period.

In Part 1, groups of students will read an article about a dye technology, fill out a concept map to understand the chemical process described, and teach this process to their group mates. Part 2 builds on students’ understanding of these dye technologies by challenging them to work in groups to solve an engineering puzzle: Using a set of cards representing steps in a dyeing process, students will figure out the correct sequence for all three dye technologies. Each step also has an associated cost, and students will add up the costs, calculate a starting price, and begin to reflect on the pros and cons of each technology.

In Part 3, students acting as chemical engineers have to choose one of these technologies, taking into account a wide variety of factors. Ultimately, this lesson aims to broaden students’ conception of what technology is and to better understand the value of engineering, whether or not they decide to pursue it as a career.

Opportunities for Grades K–12

Whole Kids Foundation Bee Grant Program           

K–12 schools or nonprofit organizations can receive support for an educational beehive through this program. Three grant options are available:

  • Monetary grant of $1,500
  • Equipment Grant: Indoor Observation Hive 
  • Equipment Grant: Outdoor Traditional Langstroth Hive

The equipment grants include a small monetary grant of $300 to cover the first year of expenses. Grant recipients also receive educational materials and technical support and consultation from The Bee Cause Project. (Deadline October 15)

Opportunities for Middle Level Through College

Young Marine Biologist Summit

The Marine Biological Association’s annual Young Marine Biologist Summit will take place on November 26 at 10:00–16:00 GMT. This free online (on Zoom) event is open to aspiring young marine biologists, students, and anyone interested in learning more about the ocean. Attendees will hear from speakers and panels from across the world who will share their knowledge and enthusiasm around the theme “The Hidden Ocean.” The theme will showcase microscopic marine life-forms and the processes that support all life on Earth.

Students with an interest in marine biology will be able to meet professional marine scientists and science communicators. Presentations are aimed at ages 13–18, but all ages are welcome.

Opportunities for High School and College Levels

HHMI BioInteractive Workshops

Life and environmental science educators can connect and hear about new resources and strategies for their classroom in these free online workshops from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s BioInteractive. Upcoming workshops include Making Sense of Ecology Phenomena Through the Lens of Science Concepts; Engaging All Students in Science Practices Through the Phenomenon of Elephant Tusklessness; and Enhancing Data Literacy in Advanced Biology (AP/IB/Dual Credit) Using BioInteractive Resources. Workshops are scheduled through December 8, and all will be synchronous and conducted on Zoom.

Opportunities for the College Level

Artificial Intelligence Approaches for Antibiotic Discovery

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) is hosting its annual Judith H. Greenberg Early Career Investigator Lecture featuring César de la Fuente Ph.D., Presidential Assistant Professor, Departments of Bioengineering, Microbiology, and Psychiatry, at the University of Pennsylvania. His talk, Artificial Intelligence Approaches for Antibiotic Discovery, will take place on September 28 at 1–2 p.m. Eastern Time via Zoom and NIH Videocast. Dr. de la Fuente will discuss his belief that innovations in artificial intelligence may help to replenish the arsenal of effective drugs, such as those to treat antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. Following the talk, Dr. de la Fuente will answer questions about his research and career path from students and other early career scientists during a 30-minute Q&A session.

Registration in Zoom is required to participate in the Q&A. This lecture aims to expose students to energetic investigators working on cutting-edge science, and to encourage them to pursue careers in biomedical research. 

Biology Careers Chemistry Curriculum Distance Learning Earth & Space Science Engineering English Language Learners Environmental Science General Science Instructional Materials Lesson Plans Life Science Multicultural News Phenomena Physical Science Physics Professional Learning Science and Engineering Practices STEM Teaching Strategies Middle School Elementary High School Postsecondary

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