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Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers/From the Field, April 12, 2022

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers/From the Field, April 12, 2022

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Grades K–12

Making Climate Communication Stick With Framing

What’s the best way to effectively communicate key climate change issues in K–12 classrooms and beyond? Get ideas in Making Climate Communication Stick With Framing, a webinar from NOAA’s Planet Stewards program. Hosted by Marlies Tumolo, a climate interpreter and education expert from the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, the approximately 60-minute presentation discusses effective messaging strategies for teachers to help students understand key ideas about climate change, including the ideas that fossil fuels are the primary cause of climate change; our ocean is part of the climate change story; we need alternative energy solutions at the community-based level; and we can and should tackle climate change issues. 
NASA’s Earth Day Resources 
Celebrate Earth Day this year (April 22) with K–12 space education resources from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California: at-home projects (with video tutorials), lesson plans, and other resources to connect research and discoveries from NASA missions to the classroom. You could have students Make a Moon Crater (grades 1–6) at home; conduct an experiment to explore How Warming Water Causes Sea Level Rise (grades 4–12); or play NASA Space Voyagers (grades 6–12), a printable, strategy card game, to learn about current and future NASA missions and investigate space environments such as the Moon, Mars, and Jupiter’s Moon Europa. Back in the classroom, teachers can celebrate with activities using science data from sensors on Earth and satellites. Earth Science Data Visualizations—How to Read a Heat Map (grades 4–12) teaches students how to read and interpret a heat map as well as how to discuss trends and compare data sets to look for potential correlation, while The Science of Wildfires (grades 3–12) has lessons that teach students how to be like NASA scientists and study the burn area and intensity of wildfires. 

Earth Day Fun Facts

Teach your K–12 students about the significance of Earth Day with the U.S. Census Bureau’s Fun Facts handout, which features statistics related to Earth Day. For example, students can learn about different ways homes are heated and renewable energy sources. An accompanying teaching guide presents classroom activities like creating a collage about Earth (elementary), writing about different modes of transportation (middle level), and discussing the pros and cons of using renewable energy 100% of the time (high school).

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Early Childhood and Elementary

Equity in Early Childhood and Elementary Science 

The University of Washington’s Institute for Science and Math Education has a collection of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) Teaching Tools, or Practice Briefs: short articles presenting ways to address specific issues that arise during STEM teaching. This one, Practice Brief 86, tackles this question: How do race and racism connect with science learning in early childhood and elementary classrooms? The brief includes embedded links with additional information and sections to summarize the issue and Why It Matters to You. The article also has Reflection Questions (e.g., How are you building an anti-racist learning community in your early childhood/elementary classroom?) that help educators examine their thoughts on the topic and Recommended Actions to Take (e.g., learn more about what anti-bias learning with young children looks like in practice, and incorporate discussion of race and racial justice into everyday learning that occurs in the science classroom, including in science investigations and engineering projects). 

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers—Elementary and Middle Level

Drip Drop! Music Video and Activity

Use University Corporation for Atmospheric Research’s (UCAR) catchy tune and video to start a conversation with learners in grades 4–8 about climate change and its impact on water. The video and song lyrics, produced by UCAR, describe six indicators of climate change (e.g., rising temperatures in the atmosphere, melting ice caps due to warmer temperatures, rising sea levels worldwide, loss of sea ice in the Arctic, the increasing speed of the water cycle, and the importance of saving water). In the accompanying companion activity, students are presented with a “points to ponder” handout and a student activity sheet. The “points to ponder” page presents photos and links with more information about each of the topics addressed in the song. The activity sheet features song lyrics and questions for students to analyze and answer in small groups. To wrap up, have students reflect on any changes in their thinking based on the video/lesson. 

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: High School and College

Writing Laboratory Reports 

Looking for resources to support high school and college students as they begin learning how to write effective laboratory reports? Check out Michael Alley’s (Penn State University) website, Writing as an Engineer or Scientist. The site features a section on laboratory reports that breaks down the components of a typical report and includes videos and completed examples for guidance. The site also has a Kahoots quiz about the organization of a laboratory report. 

From the Field: Opportunities for Grades K–College

Zero Barriers in STEM Education Accessibility and Inclusion Program

The Smithsonian Science Education Center’s Zero Barriers in STEM Education Accessibility and Inclusion Program is an initiative focused on increasing the prevalence of accessible and inclusive practices in STEM education and school culture for students with disabilities. The program invites teams of educators representing schools, districts, and state education agencies across the United States for an education summit taking place July 12–14 in Washington, D.C., to develop logic models that focus on a problem of practice related to accessible and inclusive STEM programs and school culture within their context for students with disabilities. Teams must also be comprised of a diverse group of individuals who operate within different areas of the organization, that include a teacher or administrator who has expertise in working with students with disabilities. The program also provides mid-year professional development to educators selected for participation.
Following the summit, selected summit teams and their mentors will be expected to participate in a virtual professional development a few months after they begin implementing their logic models. This workshop series will focus on accessibility and other topics relevant to expanding STEM opportunities for students with disabilities. The deadline to apply as a team or mentor is May 27.

Screening and Discussion of My Garden of a Thousand Bees

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) is partnering with PBS Nature and HHMI Tangled Bank Studios to host a screening of My Garden of a Thousand Bees, followed by a post-film discussion, Designing for Pollinators, led by Patricia Algara, PLA, ASLA, and Clay Bolt, World Wildlife Federation expert. Topics discussed will include the impact of systemic pesticide contamination and the sourcing of plants from growers who are committed to not using systemic pesticides. Taking place on April 14 at 1:30–3:30 p.m. Eastern Time, this event is among the first of ASLA’s DREAM BIG with DESIGN 2022 pre-event celebrations. DREAM BIG with DESIGN is a two-day virtual preK–12 summit for students. 

Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth's On-Campus Programs

Johns Hopkins University (JHU) is hiring for its On-Campus Programs, which will return across the United States. Positions tend to fall into one of four categories:

  • Academic Roles. The academic team at most sites is composed of instructors and teaching assistants under the guidance of JHU’s Academic Dean.
  • Administrative Roles. The administrative team at each site works to ensure smooth, safe operations and oversee the whole experience for students and staff. JHU’s Site Director, Office Manager, and Dean of Operations head up this team.
  • Student Life Roles. The student life team works to support the extracurricular and co-curricular programs at each site. Under the leadership of the Dean of Residential Life or Dean of Students, residential assistants and program assistants support community development at each site.
  • Wellness Roles. Students receive support from the Academic Counselor and the Site Nurse and Health Assistant.

JHU will hold three information sessions about these positions:

  • April 13 at 7 p.m. Eastern Time (ET)
  • April 20 at 7 p.m. ET
  • May 18 at 7 p.m. ET

For more information, see

From the Field: Opportunities for Elementary

K–5 Citizen Science Retreat 

During August 8–10, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s K–12 Education team will hold an Educator Retreat in Ithaca, New York. The program includes hands-on activities, guest speakers, and outdoor exploration and will highlight best practices in citizen science, nature-based education, and social-emotional learning. This retreat will help you incorporate citizen science and nature exploration into elementary classrooms. Participants can earn two Continuing Education Units from Cornell University.

The retreat is aimed at K–5 classroom educators, STEM coordinators, and school librarians looking for innovative ways to teach STEM content and develop science literacy. Informal science educators also may attend. Full scholarships are available, including some travel support. Apply by April 24.

K–5 eBird Explorers Workshop

Cornell Lab of Ornithology is offering this workshop at World Bird Sanctuary near St. Louis, Missouri, July 18–20. The program will feature hands-on activities, guest speakers, and outdoor exploration and will highlight best practices in citizen science and nature-based education. Participants can earn two Continuing Education Units from Cornell University.

The workshop is open to K–5 classroom educators, STEM coordinators, and school librarians looking for innovative ways to teach STEM content and develop science literacy. The workshop is free, but participants are responsible the arrangement of and costs for any travel and lodging they may need. Apply by May 15.

From the Field: Opportunities for Middle Level and High School

FDA Professional Development Program in Food Science

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) holds a training program for middle level and high school science, agriculture, health, and family and consumer science teachers. Subject-matter experts will show teachers how to provide inquiry-based lessons in food science for their students through hands-on labs and other activities. Content will include the farm-to-table process, food safety, nutrition, agricultural biotechnology, and more. This virtual training event will take place July 11–15.

This ongoing program is supported and directed by the FDA and administered by Graduate School USA. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, hold teacher certification, have taught for a minimum of three years, and currently teach in a public or private school in the United States, U.S. territories, or Department of Defense school system. Apply by May 27.

Administration Citizen Science Climate Change Disabilities Distance Learning Earth & Space Science Environmental Science Equity General Science Inclusion Instructional Materials Interdisciplinary Leadership Lesson Plans Life Science Literacy Mathematics News Professional Learning Social Justice STEM Teaching Strategies Middle School Early Childhood Elementary High School Informal Education Postsecondary

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