By Debra Shapiro
Show K–12 students what science researchers do with a virtual visit from scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The visits connect students and community groups with ORNL research staff and can be viewed in classrooms, camps, outreach events, and other settings. The virtual sessions last about one hour and can be tailored to your group’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) topic(s) of interest (Artificial Intelligence, A Day in the Life of a Scientist, and Biosciences, for example). To participate, teachers can complete an online form with details about their desired session and goals, including group type, event objective, organizer contact information, event dates, STEM interest area, preferred videoconferencing platform, audience age level, and number of session students/participants.
OpenSciEd has ready-to-use learning units exploring COVID-19 and health equity for elementary and high school audiences. The multidisciplinary, multiple-lesson units support numerous learning standards (e.g., Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core State Standards, and Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Core Competencies), integrate social-emotional and science learning, and feature extensive teacher support materials, including video webinars to facilitate classroom implementation and remote learning adaptations. Titles include What Can We Do to Keep Our Community Healthy? (grades K–2), How Can We Make Decisions to Care for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our Communities? (grades 3–5), and How Can We Slow the Spread of the COVID-19 Virus to Protect Our Communities? (grades 9–12).
From preschool astronomy explorations to emoji science worksheets and virtual field trips, these STEM education resources supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and partners can help preK–12 educators enhance virtual science instruction. Teachers can access links for resources such as Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s My Sky Tonight program (preK–K), which presents age-appropriate activities to teach preschool learners about the phases of the Moon and the Sun’s energy. In addition, the Greenbank Observatory’s Try It at Home website offers hands-on activities for K–12 students and families to explore topics such as acidic and basic substances, the electromagnetic spectrum, and birds of prey. Highlights for Earth science educators include printable worksheets from NSF educators exploring water cycles, plate tectonics, fossils, and other topics with students in grades K–7 and links to videos and coloring pages from NSF’s Earth and Environment Classroom Resources Page.
Educators of grades 5–12 can explore physics and chemistry using everyday objects with students using NSF’s emoji-inspired lesson plans and videos. Topics include Newton’s Laws and Saltwater Separation. And educators of all ages and levels can expand students’ science horizons with virtual field trips to meet NSF scientists. See the world’s largest solar telescope without leaving the classroom, or invite an NSF scientist to visit your students.
Science educator Lee Trampleasure has developed videos that replicate the American Modeling Teachers Association's Physics Mechanics Modeling Instruction paradigm labs so that students who miss lab day can gather data on their own. Trampleasure is now developing a series of labs that include an introductory demonstrations video (the “record your observations of this phenomenon” introduction), followed by a collection of multiple videos showing what students would do in class, which can be assigned to students individually or by lab group. All labs and future video sets can be found on his Teacher Resource page. Each lab includes a Teacher Notes page to provide background, protected by the password thermodynamics; the introductory video, which includes pauses for students to record observations; and the actual videos for student use. (Trampleasure includes at least 10 videos so teachers can assign them to students and they won’t all get the same results, just like in class.)
AIHA, the association for scientists and professionals committed to preserving and ensuring occupational and environmental health and safety (OEHS) in the workplace and community, launched a new website with free resources for students, teachers, and counselors interested in learning more about this profession. This rapidly growing “behind-the-scenes” profession has gained visibility during the pandemic, as scientists and professionals deal with workplace respiratory protection programs, fit testing personal protective equipment, cleaning/disinfection protocols, and engineering controls strategies. AIHA also has a video, I Am IH (Industrial Hygienist).
The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of General Medical Sciences and Scholastic have produced Pathways, a series of virtual curriculum modules about basic science and its importance to health, as well as research careers students can pursue. Designed for grades 6–12, the latest unit explores viruses, bacteria, and superbugs. The materials discuss how viruses and bacteria differ, why some of these pathogens can’t be treated with drugs, and how students can help prevent the spread of superbugs. The digital module contains a student magazine, teaching guide, vocabulary list, and an online quiz.
Free print copies of the magazine and teaching guide from previous issues are available for order, and copies of the current issue will be available soon.
Visit the American Chemical Society (ACS) website MiddleSchoolChemistry.com for a collection of remote learning lessons on popular chemistry topics including matter, changes of state, density, the periodic table, the water molecule and dissolving, and chemical change. The lessons feature videos of experiments, animations, and questions to create virtual lessons students can do at home. The remote lessons use Google Forms and can be assigned to be completed asynchronously or used during a synchronous virtual class. Each form may be used alone, or teachers may choose to cover specific chapters or sections that support their curriculum. A short video tutorial shows teachers how to use the Google Learning Assignments with students.
Curiosity Camp After School, a virtual science enrichment program, brings the excitement of a STEM camp to students at home. Targeted for ages 6–12—with an emphasis on encouraging girls to explore careers in STEM—the program features engaging videos, downloadables, and creative projects to explore STEM topics such as climate change, data science, and deep sea research. Each video spotlights a female STEM leader and role model who shares her STEM journey and ideas for getting students engaged in STEM. In Draw Her Life videos, students learn about each scientist’s life to date, discovering what her goals were and are, how she has achieved success, and more. In Cool Tools videos, scientists introduce the special objects, tools, and products important in their work and research. What’s the Scoop videos offer background knowledge for students on STEM topics.
Ozkan Ozer, assistant professor of mathematics at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky, offers short calculus and differential equations videos on his YouTube site, Instagram account, and web page. In his videos, he solves examples using demonstrations, covering such topics as finding the volume of a solid, sketching lines in the plane, and finding the acceleration. His goals for the videos are to help students see the fun side of calculus, to supplement calculus courses, and to encourage calculus students not to give up before they complete all of their calculus courses.
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