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. The Public Broadcasting Service’s (PBS) website has an entire section dedicated to STEM lesson plans that can help kick-start your curriculum and foster an early interest in STEM. For example:
 
  • You can spark curiosity in pre-K and kindergarten students by giving them a science notebook to track their ideas, questions, findings, and data in their first scientific investigations.
  • Kindergarten and first-grade students will enjoy learning about wind alongside Curious George in this science experiment.

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 NOVA Education features resources that can help educators tie videos into their lessons.

For all grade levels

Many STEM resources offer challenging and engaging activities for all grade levels. Check out PhET, a project by the University of Colorado Boulder that features math and science simulations categorized by grade level and subject area. If you’re looking for TEKS-aligned content covering grade-specific math and science concepts, visit IXL.

Resources by subject area

Here’s a quick roundup of STEM resources by subject area:

Science

  • Science Buddies offers free hands-on activities, science project ideas, and more for all grade levels.
  • Project Noah allows citizen scientists from all over the world to share photos and information about the wildlife around them.

Technology

  • Let your students program their own interactive stories, games, and animations using Scratch.
  • Students can watch their HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code come to life in real time with CodePen.

Engineering

Math

  • Find interactive textbooks, animations, and videos geared toward grades 6-12 at Mathigon.
  • Mathway solves and explains math problems entered by the user and provides step-by-step equation examples for algebra, calculus, trigonometry, and more.

Career guides

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.
 
According to Girls Who Code, an organization whose mission is to close the gender gap in tech, 37% of computer scientists were women in 1995. That figure had shrunk to 24% as of 2020. Girls Who Code offers summer programs and after-school clubs for girls to explore coding in a fun, friendly environment and become familiar with the tech industry. Read more about this organization in the Summer 2020 issue of ATPE News.
 
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.
 
 
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