By Debra Shapiro
Identifying Local Environmental Justice Phenomena for Science
Environmental Justice (EJ) is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people—regardless of race, color, national origin, or income level—in the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental regulations and policies. Practice Brief 87: Identifying Local Environmental Justice Phenomena for Science and Engineering Investigations—a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) Teaching Tool from the University of Washington’s Institute for Science and Math Education—provides guidance and resources to help educators identify relevant science learning experiences in the community that focus on EJ. By connecting students to local EJ issues, students can discover and explore the causes, implications, and various perspectives in real-world issues in their communities and work to become advocates for change. The article includes links to additional resources, as well as helpful Reflection Questions (e.g., What does meaningful EJ learning look like from community, student, and teacher perspectives?) and Recommended Actions You Can Take (e.g., Use EPA data and mapping tools to find sites of local relevance and help identify local EJ issues) for teachers.
CADRE’s Spotlights on STEM Topics are useful for researchers and educators. They explore important themes in K–12 STEM education research and development by highlighting Discovery Research (DR) K–12 project contributions, community perspectives, and important resources.
Science of Food and Cooking: STEAM Educational Videos
GoNoodle and America’s Test Kitchen Kids, a company that sells cooking- and food-related materials for children, have partnered to launch new STEAM educational videos and a dedicated channel on GoNoodle.com. GoNoodle is adding to its STEAM library by offering educators, parents, and kids a collection of interactive videos and resources exploring the science behind food and cooking, with the goal of improving the health and well-being of all students. Recipe videos incorporate STEAM lessons and life skills and feature topics like Molecules and Chemistry; Taste: One of the Five Senses; and spherification, a technique that transforms liquids into solid, edible spheres.
Bio-Coding Club Curriculum
The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, a research organization that convenes a community of researchers from across many disciplines and partner institutions—MIT, Harvard, and Harvard-affiliated hospitals—is offering free materials for a Science/Coding Club on their website. The curriculum was created to give educators all the tools needed to run successful student-driven coding projects related to biology and to boost student interest in STEM. The curriculum currently contains four units—Microbiome, Infectious Disease, DNA, and Neuroscience—with two more to come on evolution and robotics. Learn more about Bio-Coding Clubs on the Broad Institute’s website and in the From the Field item below.
Why Does Earth Have Seasons?
Most middle level students can name the seasons without difficulty, but can they explain reasons for the seasons on Earth? If not, SciJinks—National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s weather-education website for grades 4–8—can help. The site features information and illustrations to answer common questions about many weather-related topics. Each one-page article begins with The Short Answer to the topic question, followed by explanatory text that provides more information and relevant diagrams or illustrations. For example, after reading The Short Answer for Why Does Earth Have Seasons? (e.g., Earth has seasons because its axis is tilted), the article addresses a commonly held misconception that Earth is closest to the Sun in summer and farthest in winter and explains how as the Earth orbits the Sun, different parts of Earth get the Sun’s direct rays as the year progresses. The article also includes an annotated diagram illustrating where the Sun’s rays are hitting the Earth in December, March, June, and September, providing visual information about the reasons for the seasons.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Education Resources
On the CDC’s Career Paths to Public Health website, teachers can access health education resources for middle, high school, and college levels to bring public health concepts into classrooms. The resources include case studies, lesson plans, data sets, publications, apps, e-learning courses, and more. Highlights include the career-focused app, Solve an Outbreak (grades 6–12), which introduces students to what it is like to be an epidemiologist, and Salmonella in the Caribbean, a self-paced, web-based case study for grades 9–12 that introduces epidemiologic principles and practices through various interactive exercises.
May 15 Total Eclipse of the Moon
On the evening of May 15, a total eclipse of the Moon will be visible from throughout the United States (and much of North America and all of South America). Retired astronomer and educator Andrew Fraknoi has created a flyer to provide information about the upcoming lunar eclipse. It describes what is happening, when the eclipse will happen in the United States, what will be visible during the eclipse, how to watch it safely, and what to tell children. The flyer can be found in NSTA’s online Eclipse Collection (second item from the top).
Watch a video of a solar eclipse on Mars via a link on the same page or at https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/nasas-perseverance-rover-captures-video-of-solar-eclipse-on-mars.
ASM Materials Education Foundation’s Camps
The ASM Materials Education Foundation provides for the advancement of scientific and engineering knowledge through its support of education and research. The free ASM Materials Camp for adults who work with youth in grades K–5 will be held on August 1–5 at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. It is the only K–5 camp ASM offers and welcomes teachers, informal/nonformal educators, and youth workers who lead STEM educational programming. Participants will experience a week of hands-on experiments and lessons and will be equipped to use them in their classroom or program; engage with NGSS science and engineering practices through real-world applications of materials science, chemistry, and engineering; and meet STEM industry professionals and build connections to benefit their students.
ASM also hosts free Materials Camps for middle school and high school teachers in the United States and Canada, and the camps will be in-person this summer. Teachers will engage with NGSS science and engineering practices through real-world applications of engineering and hands-on activities you can incorporate in your classroom. The camps provide an opportunity to meet volunteers from industry and build connections to benefit your students. Visit the website for dates and more details.
Summer Institute for Climate Change Education
This three-day conference on climate change education was created by educators and climate change professionals from across North America. Attendees will gain the skills, tools, and resources to teach climate change in all subject areas and educational settings. The event is structured to allow time for learning and networking. During the first two virtual days hosted by Climate Generation on July 18 and 19, educators can select from concurrent workshops. Featured themes are Climate Change Observations and Data, Climate Change Communication, Equity and Justice, Power of Education, and Overcoming Barriers to Teaching.
During the third day, taking place on July 20, 21, or 22, educators will attend a cohort workshop facilitated and hosted by a regional cohort leader to focus on place-based climate change education and the need for ongoing support throughout the year. Cohort days may be in-person or online, depending on educator and cohort leader needs in that region. Each group of 20–50 educators will explore local impacts, actionable solutions, connections to local experts, and planning and networking.
Analyzing Primary Sources With a STEM Lens Webinar Series
The Library of Congress (LOC) will host a series of three STEM-related webinars for educators. The series will take place at 7 p.m. Eastern Time on April 28, May 5, and May 12.
Conservation in the Classroom Student Livestream Events
Through free 45-minute virtual events livestreamed on World Wildlife Foundation’s website, students can listen as WWF experts share their experiences working to protect species and habitats worldwide. Students can submit questions for the expert, participate in polls and quizzes, and interact with the expert by showing how much they learned. Participants can include teachers with students, parents with children, and anyone interested in bringing conservation experts into their classroom or living room. Upcoming events are
Bio-Coding Club Educator Program
The Broad Institute’s Office for STEM Engagement and Inclusion created the Bio-Coding Club as an after-school program to teach students in grades 6–8 about both biology and computer coding. The Bio-Coding Club curriculum combines engaging hands-on activities with coding challenges using the Scratch programming language. Educators are given all the tools needed to run successful student-driven coding projects related to biology and to boost student interest in STEM. Modules cover topics related to DNA, Neuroscience, Infectious Disease, Human Microbiome, and Evolution. Free curriculum is available at https://www.broadinstitute.org/bio-coding-club-curriculum.
Educators or community-based organizations serving students in grades 6–8 can launch their own Bio-Coding Club with support from the Broad Institute. Learn more at https://www.broadinstitute.org/educators/bio-coding-club-educator-program. Apply by May 7.
Walthers STEAM Scholarship
Model railroading can lead to a lifetime of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) learning. Walthers, a company that sells supplies for model railroading, has launched their second annual $2,500 STEAM Scholarship. The scholarship is open to 2022 high school seniors or graduates active in model railroading and pursuing a degree in STEAM programs at a two-year or four-year technical college or university. Two scholarships will be awarded. (Deadline July 1)
For more information for teachers on model railroading and STEAM, visit https://trains.walthers.com/full-steam-ahead and watch the video at https://www.dropbox.com/s/jnmuyytnnmdmpzf/Walthers_STEAM_April_21_v5.mp4?dl=0.
Assessment Astronomy Biology Careers Chemistry Climate Change Computer Science Curriculum Earth & Space Science Engineering Environmental Science Equity General Science Instructional Materials Interdisciplinary Lesson Plans Life Science News NGSS Phenomena Physical Science Professional Learning Research Social Justice STEM Teaching Strategies Middle School Elementary High School Informal Education Postsecondary Preschool