Smartphone Microscopes

Researchers from the DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have designed a 3-D–printable microscope for mobile devices—a smartphone microscope—using just pennies worth of plastic and glass materials. The technology, which combines an iPhone or tablet with a 3-D–printed clip and glass sphere to create the microscope, has a wide range of potential applications, from classrooms to scientists in the field. Best of all, the microscope’s design specs are available for free, so anyone with access to a 3-D printer—including K–12 teachers and students—can make one in a matter of minutes for less than a dollar each. Read an article about the technology, complete with files and instructions necessary to print your own microscope at this website.Then fuel students’ excitement about microscopes by watching a fun, fast-paced video—produced by PNNL and suitable for middle-level audiences—that describes the importance of microscopy. View this video on the website


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NASA GLOBE Clouds: Spring Cloud Observations Data Challenge

NASA GLOBE Clouds: Spring Cloud Observations Data Challenge
Audience: All Educators and Students
Challenge Dates: March 15-April 15, 2018

The NASA GLOBE Clouds team at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, invites educators, students, and the public to enter up to 10 cloud observations per day from March 15-April 15, 2018. Observations can be logged using the GLOBE Program’s data entry options or the GLOBE Observer app. Participants with the most observations will be congratulated by a NASA scientist with a video posted on the NASA GLOBE Clouds website.

To learn more, visit

Questions about this opportunity should be directed to

Celebrate Pi Day with NASA

NASA Pi Day Challenge 2018
Audience: Educators and Students in Grades 6-12
Challenge Release Date: March 9, 2018
Pi Day: March 14, 2018

Celebrate Pi Day with NASA! On March 9 — in advance of the math world’s favorite holiday, Pi Day (March 14) — NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will release the fifth installment of its popular Pi Day Challenge. The illustrated math problem set gets students and adults thinking like NASA scientists to find solutions to real problems posed in space and planetary exploration. It’s a great way to get students excited about the “M” in STEM.

To learn more and to check out challenges from past years, visit

Science Experiments for Children Ages 5–9

Originally developed in collaboration with the Marie Curie Alumni Association as part of its My Science Super Heroes project, this downloadable e-book from Science Connected has 27 pages of science experiments for adults and children to conduct together using items commonly found around the home or hardware store. The experiments cover a range of topics in physics, biology, chemistry, and Earth science, and with sections explaining What’s It About, What You Need, Useful Words, What to Do, and Science to Know, each experiment provides enough guidance for teachers or parents to successfully conduct the activities in the classroom or at home. Titles include Demonstrating the Forces of Flight; Make It Move: Measuring the Static Friction of a Shoe; How Do Different Materials Affect Temperature?; How Are Colors Created?; How Can You Turn Saltwater Into Drinking Water?; How Can Geckos Climb Walls?; How Does a Solar Cell Create Electricity?; and How Is the Aurora Borealis Created?


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Carbon: Transformations in Matter and Energy (CTIME) Curriculum

Created as part of the CTIME project—a collaborative effort of scientists, teachers, graduate students, and IT specialists to refine K–12 frameworks and assessments for learning progressions that lead to environmental science literacy—these NGSS– supported teaching units for middle and high school science levels focus on processes that transform matter and energy in organisms, ecosystems, and global systems: combustion, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, digestion, and biosynthesis. Four units—Systems and Scale, Plants, Animals, and Decomposers—examine matter and energy in flames and individual organisms. The Ecosystems and Human Energy Systems units address carbon and energy at ecosystem and global scales. Each three-week unit includes formative assessments, hands-on investigations supported by videos, molecular modeling activities, animations and simulations of carbon-transforming processes and carbon cycling, posters, and graphic organizers.


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Announcing Round 2 of the littleBits Lead Educator Program

Are you an educator, administrator, afterschool leader, librarian or makerspace facilitator passionate about STEAM education and project-based learning? littleBits is excited to announce our second littleBits Lead Educator program. This time, we are looking for educators who want to become evangelists and thought leaders for STEAM in the classroom using littleBits.

If you’re interested in this leadership role, you’ll have the opportunity to hold events, write articles, speak at conferences, and engage in other activities that help bring STEAM education to the forefront of educators and administrators across the nation. Oh, and did we mention, get free littleBits Kits and swag?!

Interested? Click here!

Moon Rocks and Meteorite Samples from NASA FREE!

K–college educators can borrow samples of Moon rocks and meteorites from NASA. Visit the Astromaterials Samples for Education site to learn how. The loan for K–12 teachers (in U.S. schools only) includes a clear, acrylic disk containing six samples of either Moon rocks or meteorites, written and graphic descriptions of each sample in the disk, a PowerPoint presentation on CD, a teacher workbook, and additional printable material. Instructors at colleges and universities with a curriculum in the geosciences can borrow a Petrographic Thin Section Package containing 12 polished thin sections of samples from either the Lunar or Meteorite collections. Each set of 12 slides is accompanied by a sample disk of representative lunar or meteorite samples, embedded in acrylic disks suitable for classroom use, and teaching materials. The loan period for any sample is two weeks.

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2018-19 NYC DOE Energy Conservation Artwork Contest!

For the 7th year, DOE Office of Sustainability is conducting an Energy Conservation Artwork Contest. This competition is open to all NYC DOE schools from all grade levels (K-12). Fifteen pieces of original art will be selected that best illustrate how energy can be saved through efficiency and conservation in our schools. The winners will be grouped by age level; 5 Elementary, 5 Middle School, and 5 High School*. The goal of the contest is to create a dialogue and encourage students, teachers, administrative staff, and parents to save energy through art.

A calendar will be produced using the winning pieces of artwork, which will be distributed to schools at no cost after the contest. Prizes will be awarded to all 15 winners at an award ceremony in April at the Tweed Courthouse.

The final artwork will be selected based on the design’s message, subject relevance, and artistic originality.

Contest Rules:

1. All entries should be submitted on an 8.5 x 11 standard white paper, in landscape (horizontal) format.

2. All entries must have clearly written on the back: student full namegrade, school name, teacher, and borough.

    Entries with missing and/or illegible information will be disqualified.

3. No group (more than 1) work will be accepted. One student, per artwork submission.

4. All entries must be submitted with a completed and sign Release FormEntries missing the release form will be disqualified. 

5. Deadline: Received in the Office of Sustainability by Friday, March 9, 2018.

Submission Address:

Lisa Williams

Sustainability Energy Artwork Contest

NYC Department of Education

44-36 Vernon Blvd., Room 510A

Long Island City, NY 11101

CONTEST FLYER: Contest – Flyer1