Offering K-12 educators a variety of STEM-related curriculum for the classroom
There is a wealth of STEM curricula and classroom resources available to assist educators in developing in students thinking, reasoning, teamwork, investigative and creative skills that they can use in all areas of their lives. The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) is committed to providing relevant and complete materials to assist educators in engaging students in STEM subjects. Below you will find activities and lessons that support the U.S. Department of Energy's Harnessed Atom middle school curriculum, as well as K-12 lesson plans, and STEM videos that complement classroom learning.
The Harnessed Atom middle school STEM curriculum provides teachers with non-biased information on energy science and nuclear energy for classroom instruction. Developed under a contract with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy, the curriculum has been updated with current information and aligned with the latest national science standards. The curriculum covers the essential principles of energy and matter and provide teachers with an engaging platform to excite students’ learning about these topics.
The Harnessed Atom Activities
The Harnessed Atom Lessons
The Harnessed Atom - Student edition (7.7 MB PDF)
The Harnessed Atom - Teachers' edition (19.3 MB PDF)
The Harnessed Atom Teacher Presentations
K-12 Lesson Plans and Other Resources
Lesson Plan: What Does an Animal Eat?
Subject: Second Grade Science
Students will be able to sort animals by the types of food they eat and develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of the ecosystem.
Lesson Plan: Sports Collisions: What Makes a Player Great?
Subject: Fourth Grade Science
Students will use various sports equipment to investigate the transfer of energy and the transfer is impacted by different types of materials.
Lesson Plan: The Great American Eclipse of August 21, 2017
Subject: Fifth Grade Science
This lesson includes links to many resources for teaching about solar eclipses including videos and web articles. Students will create a model to illustrate the motion of the moon and Earth around the sun and use the model to illustrate solar and lunar eclipses. Students will create a pinhole camera to calculate the diameter of the sun and use powers of 10 to compare the size of the sun and Earth.
Lesson Plan: Rainbow Science
Subject: Middle and High School Optics and Geometry
Students will conduct a series of activities which illustrate how scientists investigate natural phenomena by using appropriate models. Students will be prompted to think about ways the models used in this lesson serve as good representations for rainbow production, and what the limitations of the models might be.
Lesson Plan: Shedding Light on Solar Energy
Subject: Eighth - Twelfth Grade Physical Science
Following instruction on solar energy, students will construct a moving Solar Cockroach using a 2V Solar Cell and construct a solar oven that can be used to cook s’mores. Data on the internal temperature of the solar oven can be collected and graphed.
Lesson Plan: Macromolecule Manipulative Review
Subject: High School Biology
Students will arrange manipulative cut outs to test their knowledge of the four macromolecules: lipids, carbohydrates, proteins, and nucleic acids. This activity can be done individually, in pairs, or in groups.
Lesson Plan: Nuclear Chemistry Card Sort
Subject: High School Chemistry
Students will complete a Venn diagram using manipulative cards to compare and contrast Fission, Fusion, and Nuclear Decay.
Subject: High School Chemistry
Students will follow a lab procedure to create crystals of the protein lysozyme and then complete a web quest to learn how Molecular Dynamics Researchers would use their crystals to learn more about the structure of lysozyme.
Lesson Plan: Building Materials to Study Heat Transfer
Subject: High School Environmental Science or Chemistry
Students will conduct a series of three experiments to investigate heat transfer in a variety of materials. Experiments include examining how the temperature of water affects the movement of food coloring in water; exploring the effect of cup type on the temperature of the liquid inside over time; and investigating the temperature and light intensity on opposite sides of different types of panes of glass.
Subject: High School Physics
Following a presentation based on the work of researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, students will write an article that explores the construction and benefits of superconductors.
Subject: High School Physics
Students will construct fruit batteries, use multimeters to measure the current and voltage of their batteries, and calculate the power.
Resource: STEM Resource Book for Teachers
This document contains links to hundreds of websites with a variety of resources for educators. Websites are hyperlinked, annotated, and listed by subject and grade. The document includes a table of contents to help you quickly find what you are looking for whether it is an academic competition for your students, professional development opportunities, or an amazing E-Resource that can be used in your classroom.
STEM Videos for the Classroom
Dr. Kenneth Wesson, education consultant for Delta Education, discusses the Emotional Gap in education. This clip could be used to start a discussion among educators at an in-service about how to promote student buy-in and hold student interest in their classes.
Jeff Martin, senior vice president and Creative Director of GMMB, discusses the rebranding of the STEM initiative to reach students—connecting STEM to life.
Dr. Kenneth Wesson, education consultant for Delta Education, shares survey results comparing high school teacher’s perception of their student’s preparation to actual college student performance. This fascinating clip is a springboard to spur teacher discussions on improving the college readiness of their students.
Tad Douce, professional development instructor for META Solutions, discusses realistic ways to integrate the Educational Design Process into your classroom. His discussion includes using balloon-powered cars and paper rockets.
Kimberly O’Dell, a teacher at Clinton City Schools, gives descriptions of three classroom-ready hands-on activities for K-2 teachers to integrate literature, math, and engineering using the stories of the Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and the Gingerbread Man.
Kimberly O’Dell, a teacher at Clinton City Schools, describes a STEM lesson she uses in her fifth grade classroom that asks students to improve the design of a fountain. All four aspects of STEM are integrated.
Angus McBeath, superintendent with the Edmonton Public School Board, explains why teaching is important in preparing young minds for the world ahead.
Anthony Smith, technology curriculum coordinator for Athens City Schools, describes the difficulties in setting up a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) atmosphere in a classroom and gives the solutions that were used in his school district.
Dr. Kenneth Wesson, education consultant for Delta Education, discusses things that impact memory and uses a fun activity to demonstrate how difficult multitasking is for students.
Dr. Ian Anderson, director of Graduate Education and University Partnerships at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, explains the differences between diamond and graphite with students at a Science Saturday program. The main point is that the location of the atoms affects the material’s properties. He demonstrates a simple activity that can be used in a classroom using a pencil and a synthetic diamond.
An introduction to Vernier products and probeware by Terry Bunde, Vernier consultant and Professor Emertis of Chemistry at Maryville College. If you are considering adding probeware to your classroom, check this out! This video describes many types of experiments that can be done using Venier probeware.