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 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. Learn more about the logistics of accessing and assigning these lessons (PDF). If you have an idea for a virtual lesson you would like us to make, submit it here.  Email  with questions. 

Lesson description
Bird Migration and Climate Change Students learn about the reserach 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.
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.
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.
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. 
Mr. Trash Wheel Students explore innovative solutions to environmental problems by learning about Baltimore's very own Mr. Trash Wheel! Grades 3–6. 
Oyster Gardening Students learn about oysters and how they support the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Grades 3–6. 

Teacher Demo Kits

In addition to our regular in-class 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 polluntants 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 Science Investigation Videos

Are you trying to figure out how to incorporate lab-based activities into your online curriculum? Let us help! We can create demo videos of science experiments and investigations that your students would normally do for 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.

Click here to request a custom science investigation video or check out our growing library of videos below that we've already created.

And check out lessons created by teachers using these videos!

VIDEO DESCRIPTION
Demystifying Diffusion This video allows students to explore the relationship between surface area and diffusion rate. Grades 9–2. (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 webinar on this lesson.  
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 scence to samples taken from several suspects.  Grades 7–12. (13 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. Our first session will be Wednesday, September 16 and the club will meet every Wednesday through December 9. Students must register to receive weekly Zoom meeting links. Email  with questions.  

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

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. 

If you are ready to schedule a virtual field trip, please fill out our Virtual Field Trip Request Form. Please make sure to submit your request at least two weeks before your desired field trip date. After you submit your request we’ll contact you to confirm the date, time, and details for your lab. 

Our current virtual lab offerings are listed below. Please check this page frequently, as we will be updating the list with more options. 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 will have at home, so they can try it again on their own after the lab. 
What is a Watershed?  3–6 Most students in Maryland 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!  Grab a cup of coffee and log-in to Zoom for 45 minutes of informal discussion with colleagues. The team from the Center for STEM Excellence will lead these informal discussions, providing opportunities for you to discuss everything from distance learning to new teaching tools and techniques. 

Sign up for the Virtual Coffee House by completing this 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. More information about the program available here

We are now accepting applications from middle and high school STEM teachers to be part of of the spring 2021 cohort!  Applications are due November 30, so get yours in now!