Resource Smorgasbord

A Variety of STEM Resources for Teachers

So many resources, so little time . . . to browse and pick out the best. Evaluating is time consuming and can be overwhelming. On this page, we list and describe select and interesting resources. Since we teach different grade levels and subject matter, we won’t all find the same sites useful.

Feel free to share a resource you’ve found very useful by emailing the link and a short description to

Based at Northwestern University, BCSE offers teacher curriculum and skills workshops, videos, and meet-ups; they lend lab equipment and provide support for its use. “By developing programs based on real-world scientific challenges, the Baxter Center hopes to inspire a lifelong enthusiasm for STEM disciplines that will inform students’ daily lives.”

From the Children’s Book Council, this list is a joint project of multiple organizations and provides recommendations of STEM books for kids. Useful for educators, librarians, parents, and guardians.

This Cornell University site “creates innovative resources that build science skills while inspiring young people to connect to local habitats, explore biodiversity, and engage in citizen-science projects.” Resources, workshops, citizen science, an e-newsletter, and more.

At this site you’ll find ideas to inspire open-ended design challenges for your classroom. The tasks involve real-world problems and should encourage curiosity, creativity, innovation, and collaboration within and between your students. The activities require low-cost household materials.

The page is maintained at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Local and international competitions are geared towards high school, but could provide ideas and guidelines for middle school, too. The construction and testing of model bridges promotes the study and application of fundamental principles of physics and also helps high school students develop “hands on” skills through bridge construction.

By participating in the Bridge Building Competition students get a flavor of what it is to be an Engineer, designing structures to a set of specifications and then seeing them perform their function. They are also provided with an academically-oriented extracurricular activity which is recognized school-wide.

STEM resources hosted by Illinois State University.

Education programming relating to architecture and the human built world. We read mathematics applications, physics and engineering connections into that! Through hands-on, real-world explorations discover how to turn your local community into a dynamic setting for teaching and learning. Buildings, structures, people, and events help young people discover how architecture and the built environment impact their lives every day. Teacher workshops and curriculum materials.

What works in education, from the George Lucas Foundation. You’ll find articles, discussions, blogs and videos on a wide range of topics. You can even begin a discussion, yourself. Some of the topics at the site are: Game-Based Learning, Problem-Based Learning, Common Core, Social and Emotional Learning, Technology Integration, Apps, Drop-out Prevention, Engaging Students – the physics of skateboarding is a topic in this category – and so many more. You really need to check out this site to see the breadth and depth of information.

Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education is a project of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. They offer training workshops on Illinois-specific topics and supply the tools needed to implement the topics into your classroom. You’ll take part in activities, some outdoors, and work with resources professionals. Continuing Professional Development Units are available at all ENTICE workshops.

Resources to advance environmental education.

We prepare, eat, and delight in food every day. What’s more, we shop for it, read and talk about it, and enjoy it with family and friends. Importantly, we couldn’t survive without it! Food is authentic and motivational content we can use to teach STEM. Curricula developed by nutrition and health experts are available free for your use. You will find hands-on and virtual learning activities for grades 3-5, 6-8, and higher learning.

Here find a cross-curricular educational program to engage middle school students in problem-based learning. Working as a team with an educator and engineer mentor, students imagine, design, and build cities of the future. The students work through the engineering design process: researching, problem solving, and building tabletop scale models. They can compete at regional and national levels where they present their ideas to judges.

From University of IL at Urbana-Champaign, resources for teachers and students, news of events, funding opportunities, and more. You can sign up for a weekly newsletter.

Professional development for you, the K–12 teacher. How do you integrate technology effectively into your classroom, so that you engage students and prepare them for success in the digital world? Can you develop an action plan to involve them in problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration? This is an eLearning program.

We live in a world that we have shaped and are shaping; we humans are “making” all of the time. Are you providing opportunities for your students to create and design and “make”? Are you giving the children occasions to look at authentic problems, think about and create solutions, design, make, test and remake?

Focusing on teaching and learning in grades 4-8, MiddleWeb posts articles on a wide variety of middle school topics: subject matter, school life, and teaching strategies. You can subscribe to their newsletter, submit a guest post, and read or write book reviews.

Award winning photos and videos, Nat Geo also has activities, lessons, and units for you that are searchable by grade, type, and topic.

The National Science Teaching Association has a wealth of resources for us to use. You will find lesson plans, book selections, professional learning, networking opportunities, and much more.

Standards-aligned videos, interactives, lesson plans, and other resources for Illinois teachers. You can browse by subject (including science, engineering, and technology), grade level, or a variety of national standards including NGSS. You can synch with Google classroom and do much more!

Interactive science simulations maintained at the University of Colorado. The simulations are searchable, with a wide range of topics. They can be used as teacher demo or by individual students. Some simulations have teacher contributed directions, lesson plans, and homework assignments.

A program of the American Forest Foundation that “uses the forest as a window on the world.” Since 1976 their peer-reviewed and field tested curriculum resources have been engaging students to be critical thinkers and problem solvers. The lessons can be integrated into your existing curriculum. PLT provides ideas and activities for all grades and subject areas with an overall theme of environmental education.

Lesson plans, science fair tools, engineering design activities, videos, a newsletter, and more, at this great site that we’re sure you will find useful.

A great source for daily science news.

The SEPA program is part of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health. SEPA funds inventive Pre-K-12 STEM and informal science education projects with expectations of creating a more science literate citizenry. The projects promote partnerships among biomedical and clinical researchers, and educators and their institutions. State and national K–12 standards for STEM teaching and learning are targeted. You’ll find a range of resources at this site, as well as links to research, funding opportunities, newsletters, and more.

A project of Southern Methodist University School of Engineering. This resource is “for teachers, mentors, parents, STEM professionals, volunteers, and everyone passionate about getting children eager to learn about science, technology, engineering, and math.” Topics include crime scene investigation, medicine, space, robotics, weather, the animal kingdom, and more. Find articles, activities, and career information.

This online community was conceived in 2007 for sharing instructional videos. More educationally focused than YouTube, it was meant to be a safe location for teachers and learners. TT also provides opportunities for professional development with teachers teaching teachers. You can post videos designed for students to view; yet the site also houses audio files, photos, blogs, and much more.

DoIT STEAM is a recently developed online set of STEAM resources focused on connecting students and educators with a range of STEAM opportunities.

Teachers around the country are implementing the Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS) in hopes of improving the quality and consistency of science education in the US. There are a multitude of resources here to help you meet this challenge.

Click to read, and/or subscribe to, the monthly newsletter NGSS NOW. You’ll find discussion, research results, opportunities, “how-to guides”, and more.

K-12 grants for which you can apply, a teacher resource page with a science book list, math and biology lessons, selected websites, and more.