New Opportunities (7!): August 24, 2020

PBL Works Series:

Here’s a little something we’ve been working on… a new podcast series: The Project. It’s all about PBL, of course. And we made it with you in mind.

With special guests, like Ron Berger and Carlos Moreno, and PBL teachers telling their stories from the trenches, we’re diving deep into the power, the potential, the pitfalls, and the possibilities of Project Based Learning – to help you, your students, and your colleagues get the most out of PBL. 

The first 6 episodes of The Project are now live! Listen on our website, or subscribe with your favorite podcast app.

Listen & subscribe to The Project

iTunes  |  Stitcher  |  TuneIn  |  Spotify  

Get a quick preview here…

Don’t send a professional to do an 8th grader’s job

What the heck is PBL?

PBL Bloopers: stories from the PBL trenches

This Teachable Moment

The education all students deserve: PBL
and racial equity

The Breaking Bias Project

Pre-service Teacher Scholarship

The NC Space Grant 2020-21 STEM Pre-Service Teacher Education Scholarship is now open for applications.  Your students studying to become K-12 STEM-subject teachers are eligible to apply for this competitive program, which will provide them with a scholarship of $3,500, training from NASA education specialists, an expenses-paid trip to NASA Langley Research Center and other opportunities. 

Undergraduate education majors can learn more and apply here:  Applications are due Oct. 5 and recommendation letters are due Oct. 7, 2020.

This is a wonderful opportunity for pre-service teachers to learn how to bring exciting NASA science into their future classrooms, to inspire the next generation of explorers!  

The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) STEM Scholars Program involves partnerships between NCSSM and interested North Carolina public schools for a two-year cohort program offering Computer Science and math-enriched STEM elective courses for 9th and 10th graders. These courses are designed to better prepare students in small rural schools, particularly students who are historically underrepresented in STEM fields, for the many opportunities they will have in 11th and 12th grade, from AP and IB coursework in their home school to enrollment in NCSSM or Career and College Promise courses. With increased exposure to the foundational skills required to work effectively in STEM, these students will be well positioned for success as future global leaders.

Students participating in the STEM Scholars program are selected by their local schools. Each school participating in the program is committed to enrolling at least 3 students in the same section during the student’s freshman year. These students will follow up taking a 2nd course in their sophomore year.

NCSSM partners with schools across the state to connect students to a new world of resources. Interested in learning more?Visit For more information, contact Camilla Brothers, Outreach and Partnership Manager, by email at or by phone at 919-416-2658.

Register Now! VIRTUAL SciREN Triangle and Educator Open House

Would you like the opportunity to talk directly to local scientists and learn about their research first hand? Do you want access to free, virtual lesson plans and resources you can immediately use in your classrooms? Want to avoid traffic and not have to move off your couch?! This night is perfect for you!  Join us this year for our VIRTUAL SciREN Triangle and Educator Open House on Sept. 24, 2020 from 6:30-8:00pm

This free, live, online event will feature local scientists, Museum educators, and partner organizations showcasing their lesson plans and resources/opportunities in a relaxed environment. Learn about new virtual programs and field trips, outreach programs, and professional development opportunities that are available during this time of social distancing. Through a partnership with SciREN (Scientific Research and Education Network), meet local scientists ready to distribute curriculum-centered lessons based on their current research! This is an excellent way to rejuvenate teaching methods, integrate relevant and real science into student learning, and reach out into the community. Registered educators will be sent Zoom links for each of the scientists and partner organizations that will be available for live chats (drop-in style) from 6:30-8:30pm. You will also receive access to digital lesson plans. Please consider joining us from the comfort of your own home! 

Register now:

U.S. Department of Education Launches Space Mission Challenge for High School Students  

CTE Mission: CubeSat Challenge seeks to inspire, prepare students for a future in aerospace

Building on the Administration-wide commitment to expand student interest in the booming science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, the U.S. Department of Education launched CTE Mission: CubeSat, a national challenge to inspire students to build technical skills for careers in space and beyond. High school students from across the country are invited to design and build CubeSat (cube satellite) prototypes, or satellites that aid in space research, bringing space missions out of the clouds and into the classroom. To learn more, schools can join a virtual information session on September 1, 2020.

“This is such an exciting way to rethink education and get students engaged in hands-on learning in the growing aerospace and technology fields,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “I look forward to seeing the innovative prototypes students develop and hope this challenge inspires our next generation of American space explorers.”

Investors predict that space will be the next trillion-dollar industry, and as missions in space continue to expand, so do the career opportunities. This multi-phase challenge offers high school students across the United States the chance to build CubeSat prototypes while learning creative, collaborative, and technical skills for 21st century careers.

Schools interested in entering CTE Mission: CubeSat should form a team and submit a mission proposal by 5:59 p.m. ET, on Oct. 16, 2020 — no in-person collaboration or prior experience with CubeSats is required. The online submission form asks for school information, a team profile, a project proposal, and anticipated learning outcomes. Curated educational resources are available to students and teachers online in the CTE Mission: CubeSat resource hub

Up to five finalists will be selected to receive prizes and participate in Phase 2, which runs from January to May 2021. Finalists will have access to expert mentorship and additional virtual resources as they build CubeSat prototypes and plan flight events to launch their prototypes. The Department understands that due to current conditions, schools will need flexibility to safely collaborate when designing and building prototypes during the challenge. The Department looks forward to the creative solutions in the mission proposals it receives as challenge entries.

Each finalist will receive an equal share of the $25,000 cash prize pool, as well as satellite development, hardware, and software kits. Challenge sponsors include Arduino, Blue Origin, Chevron, EnduroSat, LEGO Education,, MIT Media Lab, and XinaBox.

“Developing a CubeSat prototype is an opportunity for students to learn competitive skills and explore a wide range of careers in space — or their own communities,” said Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education Scott Stump. “Through CTE Mission: CubeSat, we aim to bring students new learning opportunities to build valuable technical skills for in-demand and rewarding careers.”

About Ed Prizes

CTE Mission: CubeSat is part of Ed Prizes, a series of prize competitions to develop new products and services to both increase access to, and expand the capacity of, career and technical education. The Department has awarded $1.7 million in prizes through three previous challenges. Learn more at


P.S. Join us August 25, 2020, 1:30-3:00pm ET for the next STEM Webinar on Cybersecurity Education.  Live streamed here.

STEM Research Grants Application Now Open!

Dear Fair Director,

Since many schools will not meet in person this year, we know that many students will not have access to lab equipment at school to complete their projects. We have modified out STEM Research Grants program and moved up the timeline to get take-home lab equipment to teachers as quickly as possible. We hope they will loan this equipment out to students to complete the projects. One hundred teachers will be selected to receive $1,000 in take-home kits.

Please pass this message on to teachers connected to your fair and encourage them to apply.

Thank you for all you do to support students in science fair, especially in these unusual times.

Learn more details about the program here:

Corporate StrategiesDesigned by The Science House of NC State University, Digital Development: Tackling Remote Learning in STEM Education is an affordable, virtual, and four session (3:30 – 5:30 each day) professional development training to empower teachers, schools and districts to leverage online STEM resources to create authentic and flexible remote learning experiences.
What does the program cover?✔ Planning and Harnessing Quality Lesson Plans✔ Citizen Science In (or Out) of the Classroom✔ Interactive Virtual Labs and Simulations✔ Big Data and Education Data Mining✔ Bias in Resources
Program Details:
Grade Level(s): K-12 Teachers
Date(s): Monday, August 31 – Thursday, September 3, 2020 (Daily sessions 3:30 – 5:30 pm
Location: Online using Zoom Video Conferencing
Cost: $100 for the week
Description: This professional development will be delivered online using Zoom video conferencing. Participants are expected to participate in the live daily sessions all four days (Monday – Thursday afternoons). In addition to the four live sessions (8 hours of content) an additional offline assignment requiring two hours of work will be included, bringing the total hours up to 10 and offering a certificate of completion for 1.0 units of digital learning and content. Please note the sessions will be recorded for asynchronous viewing only if needed.
Contact(s): Scott Ragan (
Application Deadline: This professional development opportunity is limited to 30 participants. Registration will remain open until all spots are filled, at which point new applicants will be added to a waiting list. Registration is not confirmed until the course fee has been paid (online using a credit card or mailing a check to campus). Registrations are accepted using REPORTER – the NCSU registration center for this type of activity. If you have not used REPORTER before you will need to create a free personal login at the link below.

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