Texas STEM resources

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to featuring new science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) lessons in the classroom—although reinventing the wheel would make a great STEM project! Tons of resources are available online to help you develop STEM lesson plans and encourage students to pursue STEM careers:

Texas-specific resources

The Texas STEM (Tx-STEM) Center Coalition has seven different locations (most on university campuses) around Texas offering professional development opportunities for educators and activities for students. The Texas Tech University location, for example, provides “traveling labs” to junior high and high schools across the South Plains region and offers a LEGO Robotics field trip on which students visit the university’s robotics labs and build LEGO® NXT robots. To locate the Tx-STEM Center nearest you and see what resources your location offers, visit the coalition’s website.
The Texas Education Agency’s online resource, Texas Gateway, offers math- and science-related professional learning experiences specifically designed for Texas educators, as well as lesson and project ideas, K–12 student resources, and more.

Pre-K through fifth-grade resources

Elementary school is a make-or-break time for a students’ interest in STEM subjects. According to the National Center for STEM Elementary Education: “Research shows that a negative interest in science begins in elementary schools where about 33 percent of girls and boys in fourth grade express negative attitudes. By eighth grade, almost half express negative attitudes.”
If math and science aren’t your favorite subjects, be careful not to let your attitude rub off onto your students. The Public Broadcasting Service’s (PBS) website has an entire section dedicated to STEM lesson plans that might help kick-start your curriculum. For example:

Secondary resources

In addition to elementary resources, the PBS website also features STEM activities for sixth- through 12th-grade students:
  • Junior high school educators can lead activities about force, electricity or sound with help from the Design Squad Teacher’s Guide, based on the Design Squad Nation TV series.
  • Students of all ages will enjoy watching the PBS TV show NOVA scienceNow, and the new website NOVA Education features a blog and other resources that can help educators tie videos into their lessons.
  • The Teach Engineering website features “Living Labs” that combine interactive real-world data and lesson plans on several topics. Using the Renewable Energy Living Lab, students can learn how to interpret renewable energy data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory or analyze the potential for solar power in a given location.

Career guides

To help younger students, especially girls, learn about STEM careers, download and print this origami “career catcher” from Girlstart.  Girlstart provides this fortuneteller so students can learn more about careers that they might enjoy.
The interactive website www.EngineerGirl.org is designed to keep middle-school girls engaged in math and science during the early teen years and features interviews with engineers, as well as quizzes and information about different career paths.
Encourage high school students interested in engineering degrees to explore the Engineer Your Path section of www.egfi-k12.org, a website of the American Society for Engineering Education. The site offers advice for students, information about college admissions and scholarships, lesson plans for K–12 classrooms, and more.