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Educator Resources

Tennessee STEM School Designation

Tennessee STEM School Designation was developed to provide a “roadmap” for schools to successfully implement a STEM education plan at the local level. The tools and resources created define the attributes necessary for a school to create a comprehensive STEM learning environment for its students. A school that receives Tennessee STEM School Designation will be recognized by the Tennessee Department of Education for its use of STEM teaching and learning strategies and serve as a model from which other schools may visit and learn. All K–12 schools serving students in Tennessee are eligible.

Resources from TEEA

Tennessee Environmental Education Association (TEEA) provides a directory of resources tailored to educators in Tennessee.

Recipes for Healthy Kids and a Healthy Environment from the U.S. EPA

This nine-lesson program was designed to excite kids about environmental health and empower them to take steps in their everyday lives to improve the environment for their community and reduce their environmental risk.

Investigating Evidence from Cornell Ornithology Lab

This curriculum includes a Teacher’s Guide, accompanying Resource and Journal pages, and rich online resources that will support you in using citizen-science projects and outdoor explorations that generate authentic scientific questions. You’ll lead your students in making observations, crafting and testing hypotheses, collecting and graphing data, drawing meaningful conclusions, and sharing their work.

Nature Works Everywhere from The Nature Conservancy

Teacher resources and interactive lesson plans aligned to standards. Nature Works Everywhere gives teachers, students and families everything they need to start exploring and understanding nature around the globe alongside Nature Conservancy scientists.

Earth Force

Earth Force is committed to developing and delivering high quality programming that supports educators and provides opportunities to young people. Participating students demonstrate increases in 21st century skills such as problem-solving, civic action, and decision-making; participating educators notice an increase in their students’ interest in science; students increase their ability to meet academic standards; and educators increase partnerships with organizations in the community.

YMCA Youth Development

At more than 1000 YMCA sites nationwide, youth are engaged in STEM activities that nurture their curiosity, inspire creativity and teach them how to succeed. Includes ideas for outdoor STEM activities. 

Beetles Project

Infusing outdoor science programs with research-based approaches and tools to improve science teaching and learning. Professional learning resources designed for program leaders to use with field instructors. They provide experiences and rationale about outdoor science instruction designed to inspire instructors to improve their teaching. Student activities will inspire students’ wonder and curiosity about the natural world, support their innate tendencies for exploration and guide them to make explanations based on evidence.

National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP)

NGCP aims to maximize access to shared resources among public and private organizations and institutions interested in expanding girls’ participation in STEM.


Resources that demonstrate why play and recreation is so critical in shaping community health and wellness so you can promote research-based play and recreation initiatives in your community.

Kentucky Green & Healthy Schools

Teacher guides which include questions, contacts, project ideas, and other resources to supplement student initiatives on the topics of energy; green spaces; hazardous chemicals; health and safety; indoor air quality; solid waste; transportation; and water.

The Tennessee STEM Innovation Network (TSIN)

TSIN aims to promote and expand the teaching and learning of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education in K-12 schools across Tennessee.

Tennessee Environmental Council (TEC)

TEC educates and advocates for the conservation and improvement of Tennessee's environment, communities, and public health. Program areas include sustainable practices, tree planting, watersheds support, radioactive waste education, and energy efficiency.

Tennessee Environmental Education Association (TEEA)

TEEA provides resources about environmental education in Tennessee, as well as a directory of local organizations by cost, program area, and region. They assist in the development and coordination of environmental education programs and activities for public schools through support from institutions, organizations and agencies.

Southeastern Environmental Education Alliance (SEEA)

SEEA is a network of state affiliates from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The website provides E-STEM resource kits.

National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP)

NGCP aims to maximize access to shared resources among public and private organizations and institutions interested in expanding girls’ participation in STEM.


Activities & Resources

Captain Planet Foundation Water ecoSTEM Kit

ecoSTEM kits include cutting-edge project techniques, 3-dimensional learning, citizen science, and the best materials and equipment identified for each project. A water cycle kit enables students to model evaporation and precipitation. Students will use the water quality monitoring kit to investigate stream health by testing physical and chemical parameters or searching for pollution-sensitive macro-invertebrates. Actual samples from the Pacific garbage patch will let students explore how plastic pollution affects our oceans and wildlife. Students can then design and conduct a community education project, marking storm drains to prevent dumping — and making an impact on the local watershed by reminding the community that what goes in the drains ends up in the rains!

Local Programs

Water on Wheels (WOW) from the University of Memphis

A mobile learning experience focused on the science of water, allowing schools to increase student knowledge about the water cycle and its impact on daily life. The WOW mobile is a field trip that comes to your school with colorful, interactive educational displays for students in grades 4 and higher. WOW spotlights the Memphis aquifer system, a vast underground reservoir with some of the cleanest water on Earth.

Rivive! Nashville

Rivive! Nashville is a movement initiated by the Nashville Waterways Consortium in an effort to revitalize Nashville’s streams and rivers. Rivive! and its member organizations rely heavily on volunteers to help fulfill our conservation goals — visit the events calendar to find an event for you.

Backyard STEM from the UT Institute for Agriculture

This environmental science program focuses on bringing the outdoors into the classroom for experiential learning about our environment. These modules were developed for Tennessee 4-H to support the mission of creating the next generation of well-equipped scientists and engineers. Each module addresses Tennessee Standards of Learning and contains a guided inquiry and leaders guide. Topics include soil, water and watersheds, wildlife, and more. Backyard STEM workshops are offered for educators across the state; contact Jennifer DeBruyn for more information.

Cumberland River Compact

The Cumberland River Compact aims to enhance the health and enjoyment of the Cumberland River and its tributaries through education, collaboration, and action.

TN Watershed Groups

Middle Tennessee State University has compiled a list of watershed associations in Tennessee. These groups often host volunteer clean-ups and other events to engage community members.

Activities & Resources

Edgerton Center: Understanding Air

Understanding Air emphasizes the molecular composition of air. Using LEGO® bricks as atoms, the students build a model of air and then combust fuel models to produce additional carbon dioxide and air pollutants.

Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEANET)

Climate and energy are complex topics, with rapidly developing science and technology and the potential for controversy. Resources include a summary of each of the climate and energy science principles and concepts; suggested pedagogic approaches to teaching these topics, for each grade level; and relevant teaching materials from the CLEAN reviewed collection.

Green and Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI)

GHHI is dedicated to breaking the link between unhealthy housing and unhealthy children through an integrated, whole-house approach that produces sustainable green, healthy and safe homes. GHHI works to educate citizens about harmful health impacts of asbestos, carbon monoxide, fire, lead, mold and moisture, pets, radon, tobacco smoke, and VOCs.

Citizens’ Climate Education (CCE)

CCE gives ordinary citizens the power to educate political leaders, the media, and the general public about climate change solutions.


Activities & Resources

Captain Planet Foundation ecoSTEM Kit: Renewable Energy

ecoSTEM kits include cutting-edge project techniques, 3-dimensional learning, citizen science, and the best materials and equipment identified for each project. Students will investigate electrical circuits by building snap-together electronic projects that demonstrate renewable energy. Invention kits provide opportunities to design and build wind, water, and solar powered devices. Students can test variables, using multimeters to measure the electricity generated by their inventions, and then refine the designs.

Beyond Doom & Gloom: Energy Solutions

A resource page for contacting elected officials with links to policy resources around solar; wind; natural gas; and other clean energy sources.

Campus Conversations

“Feeling cynical or apathetic about making our society better? Do you think writing to elected representatives doesn’t make a difference?” A resource page to help students improve their communication skills and increase their understanding of energy issues with tips for starting dialogues around energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.

Local Programs

TN Energy Education Initiative (TEEI)

Information about energy efficiency, renewable energy and energy management solutions. TEEI provides training, tools, and funding options to help Tennessee organizations take control of their energy usage.

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE)

SACE promotes responsible energy choices that work to address the impacts of global climate change and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast.

Activities & Resources

EarthEcho International

A collection of videos, lesson plans, and other materials designed to support high-quality classroom experiences. They are unique tools to assist educators as they equip young people to explore and protect their local natural resources.

Geography Awareness Week from National Geographic

Ideas for promoting geography awareness from the NatGeo education staff.


A digital tool for reporting nature observations. This global endeavor to document biodiversity is like Facebook for nature nerds! Dialog with other naturalists and researchers as you help each other identify findings.

Tree Planting Fundraising from Forest Nation

Achieve your fundraising targets with a product that supports our environment. ForestNation empowers teachers and youth leaders around the world to foster the connection between nature, humanity and the stories, which bind us together. Grow your own tree and ForestNation will plant a matching tree in a developing country.

Captain Planet Foundation Pollination ecoSTEM Kit

ecoSTEM kits include cutting-edge project techniques, 3-dimensional learning, citizen science, and the best materials and equipment identified for each project. Bring your classroom to life with everything you need to plant an outdoor pollinator garden. This kit includes a classroom set of hand lenses, bug viewers, and field microscopes to get EVERY child engaged in outdoor learning. The cargo wagon, gloves, trowels, and seeds, as well as a gift card for local purchase of a raised bed and compost, will enable students to design and build a schoolyard pollinator habitat. The kit also comes with a classroom set of milkweed seeds for students to take home. When students plant milkweed seeds at home, they will create a monarch butterfly corridor or “way station”. A butterfly rearing kit lets students observe the phenomenon of metamorphosis, and the monarch health project enables students to contribute research that may help stop the decline of the monarch butterfly.

Animals at Risk from Climate Change

An educational poster that presents a succinct overview of the fundamental impacts of greenhouse gases—the causes, effects and risks of extinction to all forms of life on the planet.

Local Programs

Junior Ranger Program (Tennessee State Parks)

Summer sessions provide hands-on opportunities for exploring and learning about the natural world through an array of fun and creative activities. Sessions are led by dedicated rangers, seasonal interpretive recreators, and naturalists.

Citizen Science from Great Smoky Mountains Institute

Local citizen science programs include bird banding, monarch tagging and butterfly identification, weather monitoring, salamander investigations, phenology and Project BudBurst, and more. Students can design their own research projects, collect data, and contribute to larger long-term studies.Friends of Tennessee State Parks Groups maintain and enhance the purposes, programs and functions of the state park system by volunteering at their favorite state park.

Center for Cedar Glade Studies 

The cedar glades can serve as a natural laboratory to teach many branches of science. The Center for Cedar Glades Studies at MTSU has assembled a group of local teachers who regularly teach science in the cedar glades and have developed lesson plans for students of all ages.

Tennessee Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy has conserved more than 300,000 acres in Tennessee for people and nature, with a focus on water quality of streams and rivers across Tennessee. The Conservancy has helped create or significantly expand 29 State Natural Areas, 12 State Wildlife Management Areas and 2 National Wildlife Refuges for people and nature.

The Land Institute

The goal of The Land Institute is to create an agriculture system that mimics natural systems in order to produce ample food and reduce or eliminate the negative impacts of industrial agriculture and sustaining ecological biodiversity.

Local Programs

Keep Tennessee Beautiful (KTnB)

Since 1983, KTnB has served as a state resource center for litter prevention, community greening, and recycling and waste reduction education.

Turnip Green Creative Reuse

Turnip Green Creative Reuse (TGCR) is based out of passion and research started in 2010 by founding board members.  TGCR has 4 areas of service: a retail donate what you wish ($) store, education/outreach, artist support, and a green gallery. It provides a welcoming and neutral place for artists, educators, and any creative person to connect.

Activities & Resources

Captain Planet Foundation ecoSTEM Kit: Earth

ecoSTEM kits include cutting-edge project techniques, 3-dimensional learning, citizen science, and the best materials and equipment identified for each project. Mini-stream tables and soil test kits provide the tools for students to observe erosion and analyze soil composition. A drip irrigation kit offers a chance to engineer water solutions in the school garden. Students can investigate decomposition with a see-through composter and minimize cafeteria waste by feeding lunch scraps to worms. Reusable snack cozies will help limit use of disposable plastics. Students will design a stewardship project to recycle, reduce waste, refuse disposables, re-purpose used materials, or create compost to improve soil health.

EPA Guide to Conducting Student Food Waste Audits (PDF)

Activities performed during an audit including project planning, data collection, data analysis, and conducting interviews, can be incorporated into math and science curriculum or used towards community service hours.

Transgressive Learning

Climate change and sustainability education research network: “The t-learning transformative knowledge network actively works on reframing dominant narratives in education and learning spaces. It embraces a commitment to the commons and the common good, to decolonisation, the good life, ecological economics, real sustainability and will seek to bring environmental and social justice into being.”

Sustainability Increases Student Learning (SISL)

Toolkits for empowering students to participate in civic issues and for teachers to integrate sustainability into their curricula. The disciplinary perspectives guide lists articles, newsletters, practitioners, professional organizations and institutes and other resources for teaching sustainability in a wide range of disciplines, including biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, geosciences, mathematics/quantitative reasoning, physics, and psychology.

The Center for Green Schools

More than 60 resources for educators can be filtered by type, audience, and content, including curriculum guides, case studies, and videos to empower teachers and students to make their schools and classrooms more environmentally friendly.

U.S. Partnership for K-12 & Teacher Education

Resources, case studies, stories, assessment tools, webinars, and learning activities about teaching sustainable development.

Local Programs

Turnip Green Creative Reuse

Turnip Green Creative Reuse (TGCR) is based out of passion and research started in 2010 by founding board members.  TGCR has 4 areas of service: a retail donate what you wish ($) store, education/outreach, artist support, and a green gallery. It provides a welcoming and neutral place for artists, educators, and any creative person to connect.

Get Food Smart TN

Get Food Smart TN seeks to promote the sustainability of Tennessee’s food resources.

Urban Green Lab 

Urban Green Lab (UGL) is a Nashville-based nonprofit organization that teaches communities how to live sustainable, healthy lives. UGL facilitates learning opportunities that promote a culture of sustainable living in classrooms, households, and workplaces, with a focus on individual responsibility for energy waste, water waste, and food waste.  


This Page Last Updated: March 5, 2020 at 1:46 PM