K-12 STEM Programs

STEM learning opportunities offered for teachers and students at every level
STEM graphic

Acknowledging that the key to innovation and economic growth is science, technology, engineering and math education (STEM), the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education is committed to improving science education for students. In this mission, ORISE places a high value on equipping elementary, middle and high school teachers with tools and experiences to enhance their classroom instruction and student engagement.

ORISE partners with the U.S. Department of Energy and other federal agencies to help strengthen America’s educational competitiveness by:

  • Providing students and teachers opportunities to experience scientific research being conducted at U.S. national laboratories, such as Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and research centers across the country.
  • Offering professional development workshops for K-12 teachers to participate in research demonstrations, discover new trends in STEM education, and collaborate with other STEM educators.
  • Developing summer learning programs for teachers and students to participate in opportunities that encourage teamwork, problem-solving and demonstrations that enhance learning STEM disciplines.
  • Serving as a resource center with lesson plans and other teaching resources that help make K-12 STEM education more effective.

Most ORISE K-12 STEM education opportunities are offered through ORAU. During the summer months, ORAU offers a variety of programs to provide K-12 teachers, as well as middle and high school students, opportunities to engage in hands-on activities that broaden their interest and knowledge in STEM disciplines.

Group of middle school students and teachers working on a STEM learning activity

K-12 student and teacher competitions

Each month, ORISE holds competitions to encourage students and teachers to demonstrate their excitement for science. Students can win cool prizes for sharing how they incorporate technology into their learning and teachers can add to their classroom technology by creating lesson plans that engage students in STEM subjects. 

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Collierville High School team wins virtual 2021 Tennessee Science Bowl

The show must go on as ORISE manages science bowl virtually

The 2021 Tennessee Science Bowl proved to be very different from how the event looked over the previous 30 years. The 31st annual event was held virtually for the first time ever and required a completely different level of preparation than years past.

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