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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 mdll AT_TOWSON with questions.
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)
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
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 tucse AT_TOWSON with questions or to request a teacher answer guide.
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)
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.
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)
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.
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!
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.
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?
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
Case of the Crown Jewels
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
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
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
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.
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.
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