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Finding the Right STEM Resource

blendedlearning's picture

With the wealth of information available, it can be difficult to find the best resource for illustrate or reinforce the concept you want to teach. Fortunately, the National Science Digital Library and other sites provide variously indexed clearinghouses that provide resources for use in the classroom, review materials, and tools for utilizing technology designed especially for teaching STEM.

Resources covered:
National Science Digital Library
Concord Consortium
Federal Resources for Educational Excellence

The National Science Digital Library (NSDL) is dedicated entirely to curating resources relating to STEM education, and scientific concepts in particular. The resources are sorted by educational level, resource type, and subject. Those categories are useful, but arguably NSDL's best feature is is NSDL Science Literary Maps which show visual and conceptual links between topics. The maps allow student researchers to build on what they know and find resources to expand their inquiries.

While NSDL focuses on providing resources and access to information, the Concord Consortium helps find free and open-source activities sorted by subject and grade level. Although many of their resources are cross-catalogued by NSDL, you can also browse their projects directly. One of their most useful tools is the Molecular Workbench, a free and open-source modeling tool which allows instructors to design and implement their own curricula and simulations. MW promotes integrating and combining different tools and activities.

Federal Resources for Educational Excellence, or "FREE," is not entirely dedicated to science - it also includes World Studies, American History, Language Arts, and Arts & Music. What is unique about FREE is that it's resources are contributed by various federal agencies, including NASA, the National Academy of the Sciences and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The resources indexed include activities for young learners, interactive modules, and hundreds of instructional units.