Distance Learning Resources for K-12

The Towson University Center for STEM Excellence has developed a variety of free resources for teachers and students engaging in distance learning. Watch our Distance Learning Resources Webinar (YouTube) for an overview of all of our resources. Check back regularly as we continue to provide new programming. 

Teacher and students in classroom

Virtual Science Lessons

We have created a variety of science lessons you can incorporate into your online learning curriculum. Each lesson is contained in a Google Slides presentation, which you can easily assign to your students through a single link. Instructions for Teachers (PDF) provides logistics on how to access and assign the lessons.

If you have an idea for a virtual lesson you would like us to make, submit a request

Email  with questions. 

Lesson description
Bacterial Transformation Students utilize recombinant DNA technology to make E. coli bacteria glow. After inserting a plasmid specifically engineered with the DNA sequence for a Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP), a gene that confers antibiotic resistance, and an inducible promotor into E. coli cells, students visualize the results under a UV light. Students are challenged to calculate the efficiency of the transformation process. Grades 11–12.
Bird Migration and Climate Change Students learn about the research of a local scientist as they work to answer the driving question:  Are bird migration patterns changing?  Dr. Emily Cohen leads students through a series of investigative questions based on her work studying migration patterns in birds.  This activity is designed for upper level high school students and fits well in biology, environmental science or research methods classes. Grades 9–12.
Celebrating Cicadas The cicadas are coming to Maryland! In this lesson students will learn about periodical cicadas and how to observe them in their local environment. Grades 3–6. Check out our webinar on cicadas and a list of other great cicada resources.  
Cicada Chorus After 17 years, Brood X cicadas are emerging! In this lesson students will compare annual and periodical cicadas, and learn about the three species of cicadas that in Brood X. Grades 7–12. Check out our webinar on cicadas and a list of other great cicada resources.  
Freshwater, Saltwater Students learn about the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States, and what happens when fresh water and salt water mix. Grades 4–6. 
How Do Scientists Know Things? This nature of science activity is perfect for scaffolding students as they develop their observation and questioning skills in science. Grades 4–9.
It's a Gassy World! Students explore issues related to climate change while answering the driving question: “Will warming oceans be better or worse at absorbing carbon dioxide?” Grades 6–9.
Looking Backward, Looking Forward Students act as paleoclimatologists as they gather interpret data to infer Maryland's climate over the past 12,500 years. Grades 6–12.
Looking into Lactase Students explore how enzymes work by learning about how a pharmaceutical can be used to treat lactose intolerance in humans. Grades 9–12.
Mr. Trash Wheel Students explore innovative solutions to environmental problems by learning about Baltimore's very own Mr. Trash Wheel! Grades 3–6. 
Ocean Acidification and Oysters Students learn about the process of ocean acidification while working to answer the driving question "How will increasing amounts of carbon dioxide affect oysters?" Grades 6–12.
Oyster Gardening Students learn about oysters and how they support the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Grades 3–6. 
Save the Bay! Unit Engage students to solve real environmental problems in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Students will learn about the Bay's physical and ecological characteristics, the current issues in the watershed, and how they can take action to help solve these problems. The unit consists of a series of 12 lessons. Grades 3–6.

Teacher Demo Kits

In addition to our regular in-class Maryland Loaner Learning Lab (MDLL) kits, we are offering modified versions of our kits for remote learning. Our Teacher Demo Kits can be sent to your home or school so you can work through a science lab online with your students. Email  with questions.

Ready to reserve your kit? Complete the Teacher Demo Kit Request Form

Science Shorts Video Series

Use the videos below to engage and excite your students in STEM. We'll be adding new content all semester, so check back often for new videos.  

TOPIC description
Baltimore Harbor EcoTour: Oyster Gardens Learn how oyster gardening in the Inner Harbor is helping to increase oyster populations and clean the water in the Bay. (4 min video)
Baltimore Harbor EcoTour:  Mr. Trash Wheel Meet Mr. Trash Wheel!  Located where the Jones Falls meets Baltimore's Inner Harbor, this solar-powered trash wheel prevents trash from entering the Chesapeake Bay. (4 min video)
Baltimore Harbor EcoTour: Rain Garden (with investigation) Learn about how rain gardens help to keep the water in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore clean and healthy!  This version of the video shows an investigation designed to show how the components of a rain garden work to clean the water before it enters the Harbor. (4 min video)
Baltimore Harbor EcoTour: Rain Garden Rain gardens can help to keep pollutants and contaminants from run-off from entering the water in the Inner Harbor.  This short video details what rain gardens are and how they're being used in Baltimore City to keep the Chesapeake Bay healthy! (3 min video)
Science Activities for Kids Faculty and students have created a variety of short educational videos and activities designed to engage students in learning about the research happening at the Institute for Marine and Environmental Technology. 

Custom Virtual Science Investigation Videos

Are you trying to figure out how to incorporate lab-based activities into your online curriculum? Let us help! We will create demo videos of science experiments and investigations that your students usually do themselves in the classroom. These short, inquiry-based videos are designed to be easily incorporated into your existing virtual lessons. You tell us what you need a demo video of, and we’ll film it and make it available to you and your students! Email with questions or to request a teacher answer guide.

Request a custom science investigation video, or check out our growing library of YouTube videos below that we've already created.

Check out lessons created by other teachers using these videos.

VIDEO DESCRIPTION
Combustion of Steel Wool This video allows students to investigate the effects of combustion on the mass of steel wool. Grades 9–12. (3 min video)
Crime Scene Investigation This video supports lessons centered on the process of DNA gel electrophoresis.  Students are introduced to the process of gel electrophoresis and are challenged to compare banding patterns of DNA found at a crime science to samples taken from several suspects. Grades 7–12. (13 min video)
Demystifying Diffusion This video allows students to explore the relationship between surface area and diffusion rate. Grades 9–12. (4 min video)
Flame Test These videos can support the common 'flame test' lab activity in which students must figure out whether the cation or the anion determines the color of the fire when a compound burns. Grades 9–12. (14 sec videos). View the webinar for this lesson.  
Making Salt Join us as we react sodium hydrogen carbonate (aka baking soda) with hydrochloric acid (like the acid found in your stomach) to produce sodium chloride (table salt), carbon dioxide and water.  Perfect for chemistry students in grades 9–12. (7 min video)
Observing Fermentation This video allows students to observe the process of fermentation using yeast, sugar, and water. Grades 7–12. (2.5 min video)
Unknown Substance Identification This video is perfect for chemistry or forensic science classes. Videos show how eight known over-the-counter medications react to several different chemicals. Students can then be challenged to identify up to ten of the 'unknown' samples, using evidence and reasoning gained by comparing them to the known samples. Grades 9–12. (2 min videos)

Science Explorers Club

The virtual Science Explorers Club will meet every Wednesday from 4:00–5:00 PM and is open to any Maryland student in grades 3–5. Students are welcome to attend every session or drop-in when it fits their schedule. Students must register to receive weekly Zoom meeting links. 

Sign up for the Science Explorers Club by completing the registration form.

Email  with questions.  

Virtual SciTech Field Trips

We’re bringing SciTech field trips to your remote classroom! Schedule a virtual field trip, and our instructors will meet with your students virtually to complete a scientific investigation. Our field trips have flexible timing, but you can generally expect the experience to take 60 minutes. 

We have been blown away by the level of interest in SciTech virtual field trips this year. Thank you to all the students and teachers who have participated and shared your virtual classrooms with us! Due to the high level of interest, we are currently completely booked for the rest of the year. We will send out updated field trip registration information for next year in our newsletter, so please keep an eye out. We hope to see you during the 2021-2022 school year! 

If you have questions, please email

Elementary Education Field Trips

LAB NAME GRADE LEVEL DESCRIPTION
Oyster Encounter 3–6 Why are oysters so important to the Chesapeake Bay? Students will look at an oyster up close through a microscope and learn how they filter water and provide habitat to other Chesapeake Bay organisms. 
Rain Gardens  3–6 This lab gives students a chance to explore how rain gardens can help reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. We'll make a model rain garden in the lab and test it out with some polluted water! This lab uses everyday materials that many students  have at home, so they can try it again on their own after the lab. 
What is a Watershed?  3–6 Most Maryland students don't live right on the Chesapeake Bay, but they do live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. In this lab, students will explore their watershed and learn how pollution travels to the Chesapeake Bay.

Secondary Education Field Trips

LAB NAME GRADE LEVEL DESCRIPTION
Case of the Crown Jewels 9–12 The Case of the Crown Jewels lab uses restriction enzyme analysis and DNA gel electrophoresis to solve a fictional crime. Students will learn how DNA can be analyzed once it is collected from a crime scene. They will also learn about lab techniques like making an agarose gel and using a micropipette.
It's a Gassy World 6–9 This lab explores the issues of global warming, climate change, and the role of carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. We’ll conduct an investigation to test the question: will warming oceans be better or worse at absorbing carbon dioxide?
Looking into Lactase 9–12 In this lab, students will explore and investigate lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose. We’ll identify mystery milks with the help of a lactase solution and conduct an investigation to explore enzyme function in different environments.
Mystery of the Crooked Cell 6–12 Students will explore how sickle cell anemia is genetically passed down. We’ll run protein gel electrophoresis to test a fictional patient for the presence of sickle cell hemoglobin. Students will also learn about lab techniques like using a micropipette and making an agarose gel.
Wildlife Forensics 9–12 In this lab, students will explore the issue of shark finning. We’ll investigate how DNA gel electrophoresis can be used to test samples of powdered shark fin in order to build evidence for a legal case. Students will also learn about lab techniques like PCR, making an agarose gel, and using a micropipette. 

Virtual Coffee House

The Towson University Center for STEM Excellence hosts a virtual coffee house on the third Tuesday of each month from 4:00–4:45 PM. Grab a cup of coffee and join us on Zoom for 45 minutes of informal discussion with colleagues. The Center for STEM Excellence team will lead these informal discussions, providing opportunities for you to discuss everything from distance learning to new teaching tools and techniques. 

Join us for the Virtual Coffee House by completing the registration form

TU Mentoring & Classroom Connections Program (TU MC2)

The TU Mentoring and Classroom Connections (TU MC2) program is a virtual 'near-peer' STEM mentoring program designed to foster connections between Towson University STEM students and secondary students in classrooms across Maryland. The program's goals include increasing student interest in, and access to, STEM fields of study and will focus on students traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields.

For more information about the program, see TU MC2 Program & Classroom Connections FAQs (PDF).

We are no longer accepting applications. Join our mailing list to hear about future opportunities.