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Freebies for Science Teachers/From the Field, March 15, 2022

By Debra Shapiro

Freebies for Science Teachers/From the Field, March 15, 2022

From the Field: Middle Level and High School

QuanTime Event and Free Quantum Activities

Illinois Quantum Information Science and Technology Center is offering a new program for K–12 classrooms called QuanTime during April 11 to May 31, 2022. During this time, the center invites classrooms nationwide to try out a free quantum activity. The activities can be a fun way to introduce middle and high school students to quantum information science. Teachers can choose between online and hands-on activities. 

No teacher expertise in quantum science is required. Teachers can register to let the center know their interest (some activities are mailed and others are available online). The program is supported by the National Q-12 Education Partnership and the National Science Foundation-funded program Q2Work. 

From the Field: High School

Youth Summit on Climate, Equity, and Health

Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard Chan C-CHANGE) is hosting this event for high school students in Boston, Massachusetts, July 24–30. The week-long summit is designed for a diverse group of students from across the country who are interested in becoming climate leaders in their communities. In workshops and field-based activities, students will learn from Harvard Chan experts, including scientists, health and policy experts, academics, and energy innovators; form a community of likeminded, climate-concerned peers; and create a climate action plan to bring back to their home. Students will engage with the program themes through the lens of their chosen Action Focus group: Climate Communications, Press, and Media; Climate Science; Entrepreneurship, Industry, and Technology; Environmental Justice; Global Health, Epidemiology, and Infectious Disease; Medicine and Healthcare; and Policy and Advocacy.  

Full and partial scholarships are available and specifically designed to provide equitable access for students representing diverse voices, backgrounds, and perspectives. Apply by April 15.

Freebies for Science and STEM Teachers: Grades K-12

Climate Science Educator Resources

To increase awareness and interest in climate science, NASA has developed educator resources to help students better understand the meaning of climate data. For example, NASA’s online Guide to Climate Change for Kids answers key questions about climate science for an elementary audience. Questions include these: What is the difference between weather and climate? Why is Earth warming? What is climate change? How are scientists studying climate change? 

Students in grades 5–12 can explore climate science through activities such as Graphing Global Temperature Trends, a classroom activity in which students analyze more than 137 years of global annual temperature data measurements. Students in grades 9–12 can deepen their understanding of climate science through resources such as the Future Temperature Projections Unit, which teaches students how to use NASA climate model data to evaluate future temperature projections up to the year 2100.

COVID-19 and Health Equity Units

Check out these K–12 resources exploring the science of COVID-19 and health equity on, a database of open-source, locally adaptable science education learning units. The units What Can We Do to Keep Our Community Healthy? (grades K–2) and How Can We Make Decisions to Care for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our Communities? (grades 3–5) explore health equity issues and the basics of how the virus affects people. In both units, students design investigations to explore how it spreads from person to person and learn what can be done to prevent that spread. 

The unit How Can People Help End Pandemics? engages middle level students in studying pandemics in history to learn about the disease and how the actions of individuals can help end the pandemic. For high school students, What Can We Learn from the Spread of the COVID-19 Virus to Protect Our Communities? examines the transmission of the COVID-19 virus and the impacts of the pandemic on communities, especially communities of color. All the units feature a Unit Summary and include the materials necessary for implementation, such as video playlists for both students and teachers, student worksheets, and standards information.

Women in STEM Video Resource Collection

Whether it’s tracking black bears, exploring the depths of the oceans, or mapping the migration of birds, women worldwide are contributing to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to help increase our understanding of our planet and protect it. National Geographic Society’s Education Resource Library has a collection of video resources highlighting women in STEM and their research contributions. Targeted for grades 5–12, the videos present more than 30 short (about five minutes each) interviews with scientists about their work and provide insight into the dynamic and varied career opportunities available in STEM fields. For example, viewers will meet astrophysicist Munanzza Alam, who is searching for an Earth twin; wildlife photographer Louise Johns, who documents human/wildlife conflict outside Yellowstone National Park; electrical engineer Michelle Rodriguez, who explains how the drop-cam (a deep ocean, autonomous camera system) works; and many other noteworthy scientists.  

Elementary and Middle School

Scout Patch Programs

Cabot Creamery’s Scout Patch Programs offer science lessons and online activities for K–8 students to complete at home, in the classroom, or with their local troop or group. The program provides opportunities for students to earn patches while completing lessons and activities on topics such as the importance of pollinators in the community, sustainability, how food travels from farm to table, and environmental health. Each program features a digital booklet with student activities and virtual experiences related to the theme.

For example, Farm Love presents virtual tours (and accompanying worksheets) to show students what life on a working dairy farm is like and the path of milk from farm to store shelf. In the Sustainability lessons, students learn about ways to reduce waste, then complete a project to share what they’ve learned with the larger community.  Once the activities in a patch program booklet have been completed, teachers can submit a survey about students’ experiences and receive patches to distribute.

Middle Level and High School

Modeling of the Universe With an Orrery Planetarium

Inspire middle and high school students to make connections between historical and current understanding of the universe and using models in astronomy with an activity from the blog Teaching With the Library of Congress. The activity uses a drawing of an orrery (a planetarium model) designed by George Adams, a mathematical instrument maker for King George lll in Great Britain, as the basis to spark discussion and reflection about astronomical understandings in history, the use of models, and development of scientific thought. In the activity, students examine the drawing, record observations, and reflect on their questions about the model.

Afterward, students discuss what the people of England may have thought the solar system was like in 1799 (based on the drawing), then compare Adams’ model to our current representation of the universe. (Students may need to do research to gather information about current representations of the universe). The activity also includes links to other images of solar system models in history, which students can use to further reflect on how models—and scientific thought—change and grow over time. 

Volcanic Eruptions Story Map

NASA’s My NASA Data program features the Volcanic Eruptions Story Map. Most appropriate for grades 7–12, the story map includes question sheets, Google Forms, answer keys, and connections to the Next Generation Science Standards’ (NGSS) three dimensions. In the activity, students explore the formation and impacts of ash and aerosols from volcanic eruptions worldwide. After investigating how ash and aerosols are produced from volcanic eruptions and how volcanoes are formed, students graph the concentrations of aerosols from a volcanic eruption over time and use evidence-based reasoning to determine the impact that ash and aerosols produced from volcanic eruptions may have on human ecosystems. 

High School

Ecology Project International (EPI) Classroom
EPI Classroom is an experiential learning–based environmental curriculum for grades 9–12 developed by environmental advocacy group Ecology Project International. The curriculum features NGSS–supported lessons exploring two themes: Human Impact in the Costa Rican Rainforest and Population and Pressures in the Yellowstone Ecosystem. The lessons can be used as stand-alone lessons or taught together as a storyline to introduce concepts addressing energy flow and community interactions, anthropogenic impacts on ecosystems, the value of protecting diversity, and the link between environmental literacy and positive environmental change. Each lesson includes teacher resources such as suggestions for scaffolding, links to standards, and alternative methods of implementation. 

High School and College

ChemEd X

Targeted for high school and two-year college chemistry educators, the American Chemical Society’s Chem Ed Xchange (ChemEd X) website features activities, blogs, opportunities, and other resources from chemistry educators worldwide. The site allows chemistry educators to exchange and share resources within the chemistry community to boost teachers’ chemistry knowledge and enhance classroom instruction. Some of the site’s innovative resources include a Stoichiometry Scavenger Hunt for students and an Iconic Formula Chemistry WORDLE game. To search for resources on a specific topic (such as acids/bases, atomic properties, consumer chemistry, density, food science, gases, laboratory instruction, magnetic properties, phase transitions, thermodynamics, and understanding reactions), scroll to the bottom of the page and select the topic of choice (in blue).

Astronomy Careers Chemistry Climate Change Computer Science Curriculum Distance Learning Earth & Space Science Environmental Science Equity General Science Inclusion Instructional Materials Lesson Plans Life Science News NGSS Science and Engineering Practices STEM Middle School Elementary High School Postsecondary

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