USGS Water Science School

The USGS Water Science School offers information on many aspects of water, along with pictures, data, maps, and an interactive center where you can give opinions and test your water knowledge. The site includes multi-lingual resources for all ages.

Steps to Designing Justice-Focused Assessments in Science

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This resource outlines a nine-step process to help teams develop Framework-aligned assessment tasks in science focused on justice-centered phenomena and scenarios. It builds on the thinking about 3D assessment design from STEM Teaching Tool #29 (from March 2020), but has been significantly revised.

Justice-focused assessments are assessments where students use science knowledge and engineering design practices to solve problems involving matters related to the unequal distribution of consequences (e.g., benefits, harms) to communities that result from human-nature interactions and/or unequal voice of communities in matters affecting their thriving and sustainability. Justice-centered assessments are pertinent when assessing performance expectations that require students to engage in engineering practices, because such practices involve developing and testing solutions that address human needs. In addition, justice-centered assessments engage students with the idea of science as a human endeavor, as called for in the Nature of Science connections of the NGSS.

Smithsonian Science Education Center launches new biodiversity guide for youth

Read the full story from the Smithsonian Institution.

The Smithsonian Science Education Center, in collaboration with the InterAcademy Partnership, announces the launch of Biodiversity! How can we balance the needs of people with the needs of other living things? This community research guide for youth ages 11–17 is the newest guide in the Smithsonian Science for Global Goals series. Based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, it aims to help young people understand the relationship between people and other living things in their community to ensure a more sustainable world.

The other guides in the series are:

An Introduction to Green Chemistry

This lesson introduces students to Green Chemistry, the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and/or the generation of hazardous substances. Green chemistry is a pro-active approach to pollution prevention that teaches chemists how to develop products and materials in a manner that does not use hazardous substances, thus avoiding much waste, hazards and associated costs.

The goal of this lesson is to introduce students to the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry and how they relate to a chemical process. These principles provide a framework for scientists, engineers and chemistry students to use when designing new materials, products, processes, and systems. The Principles focus on sustainable design criteria and have proven to be the source of innovative solutions to a wide range of problems.

Through this lesson, students will also use weight and measurement to understand the concept of a recipe as it is applied to a chemical process and think critically about that process and how it might be improved. Students will be asked to use a wasteful, inefficient procedure to make glue and be challenged to improve the procedure-during which they will unknowingly use the 12 Principles.

Before starting this lesson, students should have been introduced to the periodic table and properties of matter. The estimated time for this lesson is 50-60 minutes.

For more information:

Educational tool highlights COVID-19 and arsenic research

Read the full story in Environmental Factor.

A new online educational resource invites high school students to examine ways that humans are exposed to arsenic and how exposure might influence susceptibility to COVID-19 infection. The tool was developed by the NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC).

Building Energy Education (BEE) Fundamentals Training Program

Energy efficiency index ratings from a-f, Model house, stack of $100 bills, and calculator

The University of Illinois Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC) , in partnership with the State Energy Offices of Illinois, Nevada, and Hawaii, is launching the Building Energy Education Fundamentals Training Program.

They are kicking off the launch with a series of webinars in each state, which will target college instructors, industry professionals, and building code officials. They will be introducing the curriculum and providing information about 21st century energy efficiency training needs.

Following the launch webinars, SEDAC will host a special workshop for instructors who plan to utilize the curriculum in their training programs.

Register for the webinars and the Train the Trainer workshop on SEDAC’s website.

The Watershed Game

Participants in the Watershed Game learn about practices, plans, and policies that improve and protect the quality of a stream, lake, river or coastal region while making management choices about land use in a fun, and low-stress environment.

The object of this team-building simulation is for each participant or team to use limited financial resources to reduce excess nonpoint source pollution (e.g., excess sediment, nitrogen and/or phosphorus) to levels that meet a clean water goal. The Watershed Game illustrates that cooperation is an essential part of managing water and land use. Participants learn to consider and involve all land uses within a watershed as they work to achieve their clean water goals.

Good Thinking! The Science of Teaching Science

The Smithsonian Science Education Center has partnered with FableVision Studios to create Good Thinking! The Science of Teaching Science, a new animated series, that helps teachers see into the minds of their students.

The original web series is designed to support K-12 science educators through targeted short-format videos that explore common student ideas and misconceptions about a range of science topics such as energy, chemical reactions, and natural selection, as well as pedagogical subjects like student motivation and the myth of left and right-brained people. Each episode is grounded in findings from peer-reviewed science and education research, has been vetted by experts, and was developed with national standards in mind.

Next Generation Climate Lesson 5 – In what ways can the repercussions of climate change be minimized?

In this multi-part activity for grades 6-8, students distinguish between adaptation and mitigation, in response to climate change, and research and discuss/debate strategies to minimize the effects of climate change.

River Lab: A virtual field trip of the Chicago River

River Lab is a free STEM curriculum for high school students, developed by Current with support from the Walder Foundation.

In this water-focused virtual field trip, high school students will be introduced to water quality parameters, discover the Chicago River, and explore real science data. Students will begin with a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style experience along the Chicago River, uncovering information about everything from historic events to local wildlife. Then as a classroom, they will learn about how scientists measure water quality and explore real data sets for themselves. Finally, students will reflect on how they are personally connected to water, how they can make a positive impact on local waterways, and be introduced to careers in water science.