There seems to be an awful lot of interest in the field of science these days–especially improving students’ performance in the sciences, getting more girls interested in science, and introducing science in the elementary schools to pique young children’s interest.

If you’re looking for curriculum materials to use in your science classes, there is an abundant supply of resources available on the internet. I’d suggest that you check out some of these resources, especially if you’re looking for funding and putting science-related proposals together. You might be able to save money by using some of the many free resources that are available, thereby reducing the amount of funding you need to request to buy curriculum materials.

Here are just three examples of what is available on the internet if you are looking for science-related curriculum materials:

1. The U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE) web site has hundreds of federally supported teaching and learning resources. Go the web site (http://www.ed.gov/free) and click on “Science,” and you will find 20 topics ranging from astronomy to technology, with instructional units, chat rooms with scientists, experiments, interactive games, field trips, articles, and photographs, just to name a few examples.

2. NASA’s Center for Distance Learning (http://dlcenter.larc.nasa.gov) at Langley Research Center in Virginia provides K-16 educators with free multimedia instructional programs that increase awareness of how science relates to the real world. Five K-12 programs currently available are:

(a) Kids Science News Network (KSSN) for grades K-5. On the web site (http://www.ksnn.larc.nasa.gov), kids can find answers to frequently asked questions. For each question, there is a one-minute video newsbreak and a follow-up written explanation, a hands-on activity, related print and electronic resources, and a computer-graded quiz.

(b) Noticiencias NASA (http://ksnnsp. larc.nasa.gov/intro.html) is targeted to Spanish-speaking students and features kids teaching kids about science, math, and technology.

(c) SCI Files (http://www.scifiles. larc.nasa.gov) seeks to motivate students to become critical thinkers and active problem solvers. Each program contains a 60-minute broadcast, a companion educator guide, and an interactive web site targeted for students in grades 3-6.

(d) NASA’s Destination Tomorrow! (http://www.destination.larc.nasa.gov) is a series of 30-minute educational programs designed to give an inside look at NASA and demonstrate how research and technology relate to our everyday lives.

(e) NASA LIVE (Learning Through Interactive Videoconferencing Experience) is a series of programs that provide opportunities for learning, instructional enhancement, and professional development by engaging students and teachers with NASA researchers. These programs (http://www.live.larc.nasa.gov) are appropriate for high school students at the pre-college level.

3. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has several curriculum resources on its web site. NOAA’s National Ocean Service (http://www.nos.noaa.gov/education) offers products that enlighten students and educators about scientific research, technology, and activities in the areas of oceans, coasts, and charting and navigation. Most of the products are for students at the high school level; however, they can be adapted to students in middle school.

NOS offers Discovery Kits, which contain interactive tutorials, roadmaps to data resources, and formal lesson plans; Discovery Stories, or case studies in coastal and ocean science, which include student and teacher guides, interactive quizzes, exercises with real data, and interviews with National Ocean Service scientists; and Discovery Classroom, a collection of inquiry-based, formal lesson plans that cover major thematic areas.

Deborah Ward, CFRE, is an independent grant writing consultant. She welcomes questions at (717) 295-9437 or Debor21727@aol.com.