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Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, September 26, 2023

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies and Opportunities for Science and STEM Teachers, September 26, 2023

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Grades K–12

Tree Campus K–12 Resource Hub
The Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus K–12 Resource Hub features “tree-centric” curriculum and activities to help students connect to trees. The resources include lesson plans, activities, educator guides, videos, websites, and publications culled from leading environmental and science education groups such as Project Learning Tree, California Academy of Sciences, Nature Conservancy, and Next Generation Science Storylines. The Hub can serve as a useful starting point whether you are seeking classroom activities to explore various forest environments (e.g., Sensational Trees, grades K–2; Virtual Field Trips from Nature Lab, grades 3–9; Discover Your Urban Forest, grades 6–8; and Green Jobs: Exploring Forest Careers, grades 6–12), hands-on tree-planting activities (e.g., Plant a Free Tree, grades K–12, and Tree-Plenish Community Tree Planting, grades 9–12), or citizen science opportunities for students of all ages (e.g., Citizen Science Toolkit, grades K–12, and Trees Around the Globe, grades 6–12).

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary and Middle Level

EiE Career Resources

Capitalize on students’ innate engineering talents with this set of resources developed by Engineering Is Elementary (EiE), the curriculum arm of the Museum of Science Boston. The resources are targeted for elementary and middle level audiences and include an online interest inventory and engineering career fact sheets. After answering questions about their likes and dislikes in an online quiz, students are matched to an engineering career based on their interests and receive a fact sheet about it. Featured careers include acoustical engineer, aerospace engineer, agricultural engineer, biomedical engineer, chemical engineer, computer scientist, cybersecurity engineer, green engineer, and optical engineer. Teachers can access all the career fact sheets (without taking the quiz) by registering their e-mail address. 

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

Edpuzzle Originals: Science Video Lessons

The preview links for these lessons are free to view without a login, but teachers need to sign up for a free account if they want to assign the lesson to their students and collect grades. 

  • For the Fall Equinox. In this phenomena-based lesson about Chicagohenge, students will use models—as well as information about solstices, equinoxes, and Earth’s tilted axis—to explain why the Sun appears to rise and set in a different location every day. The Chicagohenge lesson is aligned with the middle school NGSS Earth science standard MS-ESS1-1.
  • For Hispanic Heritage Month, Edpuzzle has two STEM biography lessons. Students will discover the story of Ynés Mexía and explore her lasting impact on the field of botany. In another lesson, students will explore the life of Mario Molina and discover how his research in atmospheric chemistry helped save the planet from an environmental catastrophe. The STEM biography lessons connect the scientists’ stories to the NGSS Nature of Science Themes. They are appropriate for middle school and high school students. 
  • For Mole Day. In this science key terms lesson about moles, students will observe models and demonstrations to explore the concept of a mole and describe its applications in chemistry. The Moles overview lesson is aligned with the high school NGSS physical science standard HS-PS1-7

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: High School

The Chemistry of Hand Sanitizer and Soap

In this chemistry lab for grades 9–12, students model the interaction between hand sanitizer particles and virus particles, as well as between soap particles and virus particles. Students use their understanding of molecular structure and intermolecular forces to analyze their observations and behavior of the particles to gain a better understanding of how soaps and sanitizers work. The lab supports the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Scientific and Engineering Practices regarding developing and using models, as well as constructing explanations and designing solutions. The lab lesson plan is available on the American Association of Chemistry Teachers website and includes a Teacher’s Guide with relevant links and a Student Activity with background information.

Opportunity for Grades K–12

Slooh to Host Free Livestream of the “Ring of Fire” Annular Eclipse
Online astronomy platform Slooh will be livestreaming the upcoming “Ring of Fire” annular eclipse on October 14 at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. All space enthusiasts are invited to witness the event via Slooh’s professional-grade online telescopes, as well as hear commentary about the phenomenon from Slooh’s science experts. The footage will also be available for individuals and schools to view on-demand after the eclipse. To watch Slooh’s livestream, participants can go to Slooh’s YouTube channel, Twitter page, or Facebook page. 

Opportunity for Elementary Level

Celebrate Mass STEM Week With EiE Unit: Designing Plant Packages
Celebrate Massachusetts STEM Week, October 16–20, wherever you live with a free engineering design challenge from Engineering is Elementary (EiE). EiE has created a modified version of its unit Designing Plant Packages, a challenge for grades 3–5. The challenge takes place over three days and encourages students to apply their knowledge of the basic needs of plants as they engineer a package to help keep a plant safe and healthy during transport. To help educators prepare for the design challenge, EiE Professional Learning Manager Mallory Schmidt will host a step-by-step challenge walkthrough webinar on September 28. Register at

Opportunity for Middle Level and High School

Helping Students ‘Muck About’ in Their Data 
Data Puzzles is a resource that combines classroom-friendly scientific datasets with the research-backed instructional practices of Ambitious Science Teaching to help students make sense of phenomena. On September 28, Kristin Hunter-Thomson from Dataspire to learn more about the different ways teachers can help students "muck about" with data to get comfortable with and better understand it. Hunter-Thomson will discuss the importance of exploratory data analysis ("mucking about") as a complement to more traditional data analysis strategies (making a claim from data). Participants will also practice and discuss how to leverage features in and tools beyond Google Sheets to assist in this work. They’ll reflect on how these strategies and tools can be integrated into Data Puzzle lesson sets.

Participants will receive a professional development certificate from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Opportunity for High School and College

AGI Early Career Professionals in Mapping Webinar Series

The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) will host a series of webinars in which early career geoscience professionals will share their work related to mapping, especially geologic mapping, and experiences entering the geoscience community. The webinar series will be geared toward high school students and adults. Time will be reserved at the end of each webinar for live questions from the audience. The webinars will be recorded and posted on AGI’s YouTube channel.

Upcoming webinars will take place on October 3 and November 2, and the series will continue in 2024. Visit the website to learn more about each webinar and register to attend live or be sent a recording of the webinar. 

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

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