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Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers/From the Field, April 5, 2022

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers/From the Field, April 5, 2022

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Grades K–12

Celebrating Station Science: Mathematics

Celebrate science and math aboard the International Space Station (ISS) with NASA resources connecting mathematics on the ISS to K–12 curricula. On the website, teachers can access math-centered lesson plans, ISS videos, experiments, infographics, and more on the topic. Learn about the array of experiments underway within a range of disciplines, along with 20 years of student experiments conducted on station.

Of particular interest are the videos featuring astronauts teaching math and science concepts aboard the ISS: STEMonstrations on topics such as centripetal force and Newton’s First Law of Motion, grades 10–12; Real World: What Time Is It in Space, grades 5–8; and Volume on the ISS, grades 3–5 and 6–8. As students watch the videos, they get a glimpse of life aboard the ISS while exploring science and math content. Elementary educators in particular will want to check out the short video clip How Math Is Used on the Station? In it, a young viewer stumps astronauts on the ISS with the question. 

Animal Cam Websites

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute has several animal cams that enable K–12 teachers and learners of all ages to view live footage of popular zoo animals, such as giant pandas, cheetah cubs, naked mole-rats, lions, and elephants. Web pages dedicated to each animal cam feature background information, fun facts, frequently asked questions about the animal, news, and a photo and video gallery with key moments from the animal cam’s feed. Watch a panda cub play with bubble bath; see a cheetah cub get its nine-week vet checkup; or glimpse happenings in the zoo’s underground naked mole rat colony. Teachers can also download Animal Cam Bingo Cards with behaviors students might observe while viewing an animal cam’s feed. Students win Bingo when five behaviors are observed in a row. These resources will keep students looking closely and thinking deeply about animal behavior and habitats. 

Sandbox AR App

A new app from Discovery Education lets K–12 students create and explore interactive, immersive learning experiences in Augmented Reality. Available for the iPad, the app allows students and teachers to create, share, and even inhabit virtual environments. Users can transform their current environment into a virtual one, then populate those scenes with any of the app’s hundreds of built-in unique objects from science, nature, and history. Read the article in THE Journal—an online publication dedicated to advancing K–12 learning through the use of high-quality educational technology tools—to learn more about the app’s capabilities, watch an introductory video about it, and access the app. 

Pollinator Partnership

Pollinator Partnership offers resources for K–12 educators to raise awareness about the importance of pollinators in the environment and the critical role pollinators play in our food production and ecosystems. The resources include curriculum, tools, activities, facts, and links produced by Pollination Partnership and other environmental education groups and organizations, such as Discovery Education,, Bay Nature Institute, and the Bee Cause Project. Don’t miss the 126-page curriculum guide Nature’s Partners—Pollinators, Plants, and You (grades 3–6), which explores various aspects of pollinators in the environment from the reasons pollinators are important to creating a pollinator-friendly habitat in your location.

PollinatorLive, a series of interactive webcasts and satellite field trips targeted for grades 4–8, engages learners in digitally studying pollinators, gardening, and conservation. 

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Elementary and Middle Level

Snoopy’s Zero Gravity Mission 

Did you know a Snoopy plush toy is being used as the Zero Gravity Indicator for NASA’s Artemis I mission? Via this website, students in grades K–6 will learn about Snoopy’s mission and spacesuit, the Artemis missions, microgravity, and the technology associated with the missions. The site includes lesson plans, activities, and videos. The content supports the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards.

Mapping Blue Whale Migration

National Geographic’s digital lesson for grades 3–8 teaches mapping skills and engages students in studying animal migration. During the approximately 30-minute lesson, students identify a major migration route taken by blue whales, use a map scale to calculate the distances of migrations of several marine organisms, and consider human impacts on whales and other migrating marine species. To conclude the experience, students create and share stories of whale migrations, drawing on the reasons behind animal migration and using the provided migration map as a visual aid. The lesson also includes links to related resources from National Geographic on the topic, such as a video about blue whales and two collections of materials on Animal Migration and on Maps and Mapping.

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: High School and College

Teaching the Science and Rhetoric of Climate Change 

Targeted for high school and college educators, and presented jointly by Krista Hiser, English instructor, and Wendy Kuntz, a professor of biology and ecology, both at Kapiʻolani Community College in Hawaii, this webinar from NOAA’s National Ocean Service agency helps teachers learn to effectively communicate climate change topics. The first half of the approximately hour-long program presents strategies for communicating about climate, while the second half tackles questions such as these: What are students learning about climate change in college and how do the NGSS translate and transition to higher education? What is an effective interdisciplinary course design for teaching climate? What is the most important climate science concept to teach, and why? How can teachers use climate communication strategies to engage students?  

From the Field: Opportunities for Grades K–12

Kids Garden Month Contest

The contest asks kids to tell Kids Gardening how their garden takes care of them. Creativity is encouraged: Students can do this with a picture, video, song, dance, poem, art, craft, or anything else they can think of! Kids ages 18 and younger are eligible to participate. Entries are welcome from around the world, but only entries from the United States and U.S. territories can win prizes. Enter by April 30.
Weekly winners will be chosen and announced on April 8, 15, 22, and 29. Weekly winner packages will include the following: 
•    A care package from Mrs. Meyers Clean Day
•    A $50 gift card to Gardener’s Supply Company
•    Gardening gloves from Watson Gloves in child and adult sizes
•    Miguel's Community Garden, by JaNay Brown-Wood
•    A mushroom grow kit from Back to the Roots
•    A nozzle from Dramm
•    A kids garden tool set and watering can from U+Me
•    A seed collection and peat pots

In addition, Kids Gardening will choose two grand-prize winners: an individual (one child or family entry) and a group or class. Grand-prize winner packages will include the following: 
•    All of the above
•    A large care package from Mrs. Meyers Clean Day
•    A VegTrug from Gardener’s Supply Company
•    Garden tools

Wade Institute for Science Education Summer Professional Development Institutes

The Wade Institute for Science Education and its collaborating partners will hold graduate-level courses that will engage teachers in hands-on, minds-on, inquiry-based investigations that can increase their STEM content knowledge. Participants will connect with scientists, engineers, and STEM professionals and work with educators at collaborating partner institutions to explore real-world phenomena through standards-aligned, hands-on, minds-on investigations that you can bring back to your classroom. Earn PDPs and optional graduate credits. 

For Grades 3–8 Educators
Pioneer Valley Region
Rivers to Range: Exploring the Geology of the Pioneer Valley, July 18–22
Berkshire Region
Investigating Watersheds: From the Mountains to the River Basin, July 25–29
For Grades 6–12 Educators 
Central Region
Nature and Design: Connections Between Science, Engineering, and the Natural World, July 11–15
Southeast Region
Utilizing Your Local Ecosystems as Laboratories for Investigations, July 18–22
2022 Possibility Grant Sweepstakes

Enter the sweepstakes daily for your chance to win $5,000 for STEM-related equipment, supplies, technology, or other related tools and software to promote STEM instruction. This year, five schools will have the opportunity to win. The sweepstakes is open to all schools. (A portion of the available grants will be reserved for Title 1 schools.) Enter by April 22.

NanoEducators Quarterly Forum

The National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) is starting an educator forum, virtually, to connect teachers who are interested in or who teach nanoscience in the classroom. The forum will be held four times each school year and will feature guest speakers, lab demonstrations, and discussion time for teachers to learn from one another and share resources. The first meeting will be on April 6 at 5:30–6:30 p.m. Eastern Time.  

From the Field: Opportunity for High School

Climate and Equity Education: A Summer Institute for Learning and Teaching

TERC, in partnership with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, invites high school teachers to apply for a one-week, all-expenses-paid intensive on Climate and Equity Education on the coast of Maine, July 17–23. Teachers will share best practices for learning and teaching; become founders of a national network of colleagues; have conversations with scientists; explore the inequitable impacts of climate change; and earn a $1,000 stipend. Apply by April 15.

Biology Climate Change Curriculum Distance Learning Earth & Space Science Environmental Science Equity General Science Inquiry Instructional Materials Interdisciplinary Lesson Plans Life Science Literacy Mathematics News NGSS Phenomena Physical Science Physics Professional Learning STEM Teaching Strategies Technology Middle School Elementary High School Postsecondary

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