Resources for Middle School Educators
Are you a middle school educator interested in supporting your students in scientific research, and/or applying to the Thermo Fisher Scientific Junior Innovators Challenge (JIC)? Read through our educational resources, tips, and professional development opportunities for educators below.
Educational Resources for STEM Classrooms
We encourage you to use this collection of educational resources with your class. Follow the suggested order of the resources or tailor your students’ adventure by selecting one or two of the resources that relate most to your goals.
Science News Explores
Science News Explores publishes stories about recent research and current events across the full breadth of STEM fields. The articles are written for readers grades 5 and up, and many are paired to Science News articles appropriate for readers grades 9 and up. Allow your students to explore the articles while looking for a research topic or combine it with the Experiences Planner to help them dive deeper.
Use this planner to help your students explore STEM through Science News Explores articles and videos. They can use the experiences planner to describe their favorite takeaways and start thinking about topics they want to continue investigating.
STEM Story Graphic Organizer
Help your students consider their STEM interests and future potential with this STEM story graphic organizer.
This is a great activity for students to step into the shoes of a journalist to explore project design, the impact of science research, and pathways to creating a STEM research project. Use the journalist notebook to help students do background research on three alumni student scientists’ projects.
Supporting nominees through the application cycle
The Thermo Fisher JIC is the nation’s premier STEM research competition for middle school students. Society affiliated science & engineering fairs are provided the opportunity to nominate the top 10% of 6th, 7th and 8th grade student participants for this national competition through their judging procedures. Nominees then need to complete an online application for a chance to compete at the national level. To learn more about Thermo Fisher JIC and what students can win just by entering, click here.
If your student is interested in conducting a science project or has already been nominated for Thermo Fisher JIC, review this document with them to make sure their project follows our rules.
View a PDF of the Application
View this PDF of the Thermo Fisher JIC application with your student nominees to go over the questions asked and make a plan for completing each section. If your students weren’t nominated but you want to challenge them to use critical thinking and the scientific method, you can take the questions from this PDF and tailor them to your goals.
Science Fair Paperwork Guide
Help your students understand what kind of safety measures, pre-approvals and paperwork, if any, they need depending on the type of research they conduct. This is especially important for nominees who are applying to Thermo Fisher JIC but may be helpful for all students participating in science fair.
Affiliating your fair
You can find a Society-affiliated fair in your area by visiting this website
If there is no affiliated fair in your area, or it does not host middle schoolers, find out how you can affiliate your school’s fair here
Outreach and Equity Programs
Middle School Research Teachers Conference
The Society hosts a Middle School Research Teachers Conference each year. If you’re interested in professional development and want to learn more about helping your students develop research projects and enter competitions, click here to enter the conference lottery and learn more!
STEM Action Grants
The STEM Action Grant Program provides small grants of up to $5,000 to innovative nonprofit organizations led by social entrepreneurs