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Freebies for Science Teachers, September 2, 2020

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies for Science Teachers, September 2, 2020

Cultural Inclusion and Representation in Formal and Informal Settings

Taking place on Monday, September 14, at 6–7:30 p.m., this presentation provides a sneak peek into some of the products of Dr. Catherine Quinlan’s NSF-funded research on using the lived experiences and narratives of African American Gullah Geechee in the STEM curriculum. Register by clicking the link above. Invited presenters are  

  • The Deadly Challenges of Raising African-American Boys: Black Mothers Navigating the Controlling Image of the “Thug.” Dawn M. Dow, J.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, College Park   
  • Parent Panel. Shari Watkins, Ph.D., Research Fellow, CTRL, American University, and Jacqueline Randle, Sr. Enterprise Architect and IT Strategist   

Learning in Places 

This National Science Foundation–funded project works with educators of grades K–3, families, and community partners on research and best practices in field-based science education in outdoor places, including gardens. The project publishes frameworks and lessons for seasonal storylines focused on socio-ecological learning and decision making.

Digital Coronavirus Learning Activities

Serendip Studio—a collaborative network of higher education institutions focused on dialogue-based learning, public teaching, and community-based digital publishing—has released a series of digital learning activities relating to coronaviruses. Targeted for high school learners, and suitable for remote instruction, the three activities support the Next Generation Science Standards and explore basic biology concepts using coronaviruses as the central focus. The activities emphasize analysis and discussion and include relevant student handouts and Teacher Notes in each. 
Coronaviruses—What They Are and How They Can Make You Sick examines how coronaviruses replicate. Students learn about immune responses to a coronavirus infection and the effects on the respiratory and circulatory systems, which helps them understand how a coronavirus infection can cause mild temporary illness or serious and even fatal illness. 
Changing Recommendations About How to Reduce Your Risk of Coronavirus Infection—What Is the Evidence? explores the scientific recommendations relating to reducing the spread of coronavirus infections. Students learn about and discuss how changes in the recommendations resulted from new research findings about the situations and behaviors that increase or decrease the risk of coronavirus infection. 
In Where Did the New Coronavirus Come From?, students investigate the main hypotheses about the origins of the coronavirus causing the current pandemic and explore strategies for preventing new spillover infections.

Calculators in Everyday Life—an ad-free, personal finance website for all ages with applications for home and K–12 school use—includes an online guide about calculators in history and the ways calculators are used in everyday life, including in science fields. The guide has fun facts explaining how, where, why, and when calculators were invented, and examples of online calculators (health, scientific, weather, financial, conversion, time) for students to practice using. It also features links to calculator-based math and science games and websites. For example, Penguin Waiter (FunBrain, grades 4–12) develops basic arithmetic skills as students calculate appropriate tips for dinner bills. Another link, The Solar System Model Calculator (Exploratorium, grades 4–8), develops student understandings about size and diameter, and how numbers affect a planet’s size and distance, as students build a scale model of the solar system.

Direct Air Capture and the Future of Climate Change

A chemistry-based technology—Direct Air Capture—offers a promising solution for slowing global warming. Direct Air Capture and the Future of Climate Change, an eight-minute film and accompanying lesson plan for grades 9–12, produced by, describes how the Direct Air Capture technology works and its potential. The process involves removing carbon dioxide from the air and injecting it into the ground for geologic storage. The technology reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the air every year, but it’s expensive. Scientists are working to scale up the use of the technology to increase the amount of carbon dioxide removed, while also trying to reduce the cost and make the procedure more efficient. 
The film’s lesson plan includes activities and student handouts to further explore these ideas. The handout Video Notes for Discussion includes questions to answer during the viewing and can easily be incorporated into virtual instruction.

AAS Video Series: Teaching Astronomy Online 

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has a collection of YouTube videos to support high school and college astronomy educators in their transition to virtual instruction. Featuring input from leading astronomers and educators, the videos vary in length from three to 30 minutes and address a range of practical topics from the functional aspects of virtual instruction (e.g., How Will Students Engage, How Will You Communicate? and Teaching Astronomy Online: Tools and Tips) to how to access no-cost, digital resources for the course (Textbooks for Your Online Astronomy Course and OpenStax’s Astronomy Textbook and Ancillary Materials). Another video, Interdisciplinary Tools for Teaching Online, presents ideas for using astronomy-inspired music, science fiction, plays, and products in digital and in-person instruction. 

“125 Consequences and Facts About Wasting Water”

Did you know one of the biggest impacts on water conservation has nothing to do with wasting less water? It relates to wasting less food! Educators and others can discover this and other useful water conservation tips and facts in this article, which was recently posted on Swanky Den, a conservation-themed, consumer-oriented science blog. Of interest to educators of all ages and levels, the article features quick facts and statistics, as well as an embeddable infographic highlighting the negative impacts of wasting water on ecosystems. 

Astronomy Biology Chemistry Climate Change Earth & Space Science Environmental Science General Science Inclusion Inquiry Instructional Materials Interdisciplinary Lesson Plans Life Science Mathematics Multicultural News Physical Science Professional Learning old Research STEM Teaching Strategies Technology Middle School Early Childhood Elementary High School Postsecondary Preschool Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4 Grade 5 Grades 6-8 Grades 9-12 Grade K

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