Voelcker Biosciences Teacher Academy (VBTA)


Quick Links: 

  1. Grant Resources!

  2. C3 Presentations

  3. Spring Conference Links

  4. Partners

  5. Curriculum Resources

  6. STEM Resources

  7. Professional Development

  8. Astronomy Sites

  9. Animal Research

  10. iPhone & Android Apps



VBTA Spring Conference Links  

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C3 Presentations

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The Foundation for Biomedical Research today launches MicroMedia 7 (TM), a new proprietary social media platform designed to push biomedical research stories out over hundreds of social media platforms to user crowds all over the world. Utilizing a team of seven professional bloggers, complex research discoveries are translated into consumer-grade, easy-to-understand stories in less than 200 words with links back to the original stories. FBR's new website hosts the blogs and a state of the art dashboard will capture and display the metrics of user engagement. The seven bloggers are focusing on 50 key diseases and conditions, clinical trials, wounded warrior research, companion pets and endangered species. Please visit, bookmark, follow and share the blogs at www.fbresearch.org.

Texas Biomedical Research Institute (TBRI) 

Primate Center Coloring Books


Curriculum Resources  

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Provides interactives, web features, activities, programs, and events for K-12. Saturday and Summer professional development workshops are available through the Teacher Institute. 

NASA – Educators
Lesson plans, teacher guides, classroom activities, video clips, games, posters, and more for teachers and students in grades K-4, 5-8, 9-12, and higher education.

Kinetic City
Science games for students in grades 3-5. One activity asks students to replace the body systems of a character who sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger. The website requires free registration.

National STEM Video Game Challenge
Middle school (5-8), high school students (9-12), and educators are invited to design games that incorporate STEM content or STEM themes in innovative and engaging ways. Home schoolers are eligible to enter as well. Sign up to be notified about the 2013 competition.

Master Tools
Eight interactive math and science tools and simulations for students in grades 6-12. All simulations and curriculum materials meet the new National Science Education Standards and National Math Education Standards.

Engineer your Life
This guide introduces girls in grades 9-12 to young women engineers and highlights careers. A section for parent and counselors furnishes background in engineering to better advise students. The site has a link to a companion site for girls in grades 5-8.

Discover Engineering
Designed to provide an accessible introduction to engineering. Includes games, idea center, FAQ, downloads, links, and a section about the career of engineers.

STEM Educator Materials
Download posters, educator guides with activities and age-appropriate career information for your students. All activities meet national education standards of learning for math, science and technical literacy. Registration is required but free. 


STEM Resources  

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eGIF Engineering, Go For It! : Here you will find a variety of tools to boost your students’ math and science skills, enliven the classroom with engineering projects, expand your own professional horizons and stay informed.  Free software and engineering curriculum for K-12 teachers.
Central Texas Discover EngineeringHelp inspire the next generation of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) heroes by bringing a hands-on activity into the classroom that unlocks the fun of engineering.
Texas Regional Collaboratives: The Texas Regional Collaboratives for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching (TRC) is an award-winning statewide network of 64 P-16 partnerships (Regional Collaboratives) that provide sustained and high intensity professional development to P-12 teachers of science and mathematics across the state.
PBS Stem Education Resource Center PBS offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning through television and online content.
International Society for Technology in Education:  ISTE is the premier membership association for educators and education leaders engaged in improving learning and teaching by advancing the effective use of technology in PK-12 and higher education.
National Science Foundation:  The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…"
National Science Teachers Association: The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) is the largest organization in the world committed to promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. NSTA's current membership of 60,000 includes science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in and committed to science education.
Stem Education Coalition: The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Coalition works to support STEM programs for teachers and students at the U. S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and other agencies that offer STEM related programs.
NASA Webcasts: NASA's Digital Learning Network presents a series of videoconferences to assist educators in staying current on NASA education resources and related products. Topics to include: Exploring Space Through Math, Robotics, NASA Fit Explorers, NASA eProfessional Development Network -- Robotics Course, MoonWorld, and On the Moon. Questions about these events should be directed to Caryn Long at caryn.long@nasa.gov.
TRC (Texas Regional Collaboratives) Online Learning Community (TOLC): The TRC Online Learning Community (TOLC) supports ongoing communications and collaboration to enhance our statewide professional development programs. All STEM educators in Texas and Louisiana are welcome and invited to participate.
TEA-Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Initiative (T-STEM):The T-STEM Initiative includes academies, professional development centers, and a network all designed to improve instruction and academic performance in science and mathematics-related subjects at secondary schools.
University of Texas Center for STEM Education:  The goal of the Center is to support activities that enhance P-16 teaching and learning of science and mathematics. These activities are data-driven and informed by research conducted at the Center, State, National, and the International levels.
Engineer Girl:  Engineer Girl encourages middle-school age youth to imagine a future in engineering.
T-STEM Centers:  Educate Texas, in partnership with the Texas Education Agency, supports seven Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (T-STEM) Centers statewide tasked with supporting T-STEM Academies and all Texas schools by designing innovative science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curricula, delivering professional development and creating strategic partnerships among businesses, higher education entities, and school districts.
Texas Tech T-STEM Center:  Texas Tech T-STEM Center aims to research, create, and disseminate information on the best practices for innovative teaching and learning using the FRAME Engineering Design process as a framework.

Professional Development  

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STEM Education Resource Center
Provides nearly 4,000 science, technology, engineering and math resources for PreK-5, 6-12 as well as free, self-paced modules for teachers teaching global climate change to middle school and high school students.

NASA ePDN - Electronic Professional Development Network
NASA offers free online professional development certificate programs for K-12 teachers in robotics, statistics, project-based inquiry learning, and technology integration and self-directed courses in astrobiology, microgravity, and outer space environment.

A Compendium of Best Practice K-12 STEM Education Programs ( PDF, 6.2 MB, 106 pgs.)
All 38 K-12 STEM programs included in this report provide challenging content/curriculum, an inquiry-learning environment, defined outcomes/assessment, and sustained commitment/community support. Each program entry gives an overview, defines target population and learning environment, and presents highlights of results. Contact information is provided. 


Astronomy Sites  

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SOFIA Active Astronomy

Dr. Michelle Ballard “More Than Your Eyes Can See”

Project Spectra

Spitzer Space Telescope Infrared Tutorial

The Science and Math Informal Learning Educators(SMILE) website is a national partnership among science and technology centers, museums, community-based organizations, and out-of-school educators and a resource of the National Science Digital Library (NSDL).


Animal Research  

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Benefits of Animal Models in Research

Animal Research - The Top 10 Questions

Animal Welfare and the 3Rs

A look at Responsible Research with Monkeys

Animals as Models

Animal models: Ads against chimp research criticized


iPhone & Android Apps  

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3D Cell (free) – look inside a cell at the organelles.  Click on the organelle to learn more and watch videos.
Mitosis (free) – this app walks you through the cell division process and explains along the way.
Speed Bones (free or $.99) – game for students to learn and practice identifying bones and parts of bones. The $.99 version is more detailed.
Speed Anatomy Quiz (free or $.99) – game for students to learn and practice organs of the body.  There are different pages for different areas and systems. The $.99 is more detailed.
Human Anatomy! (free) – quick reference app with images and information on 16 organs and systems.
Khan Academy: Biology 1,2, & 3 (free) – The biology is broken down into sections.  Biology 1 covers cells, evolution, DNA, mitosis, meiosis, genetics, and cellular respiration.  Biology 2 covers cellular respiration (more details), photosynthesis, diffusion, respiratory system, circulatory system, and beginning of the nervous system.  Biology 3 covers nervous system, muscular system, immune system and excretory system. The 10-18 minute videos can be watched directly on the student’s phone!
GermBlaster (free)- immune system game where the player has to select the correct drug according to the type of pathogen.  
Draw MD (free) – this series of app has drawing of different body structures.  Students can add labels to the drawing to check for understanding.
HeartDecide and others ($4.99 but sometimes free) - this series of app had interactive animations of body parts. It will show the area in motion and contains videos to explain problems with the area.
GroovyGrader or GradeIt (free) – if you don’t have your slider ezgrader, you can put this on your phone. GradeIt shows the number correct as well as wrong.