DRI Science AliveK-12 Teacher Professional Development and Curriculum
About Science Alive
Science Alive conducts education and engagement for the Desert Research Institute, a global scientific research and development institute under the Nevada System of Higher Education. The mission of Science Alive is to support PreK-12 educators in science-based, environmental education by providing the tools, resources, and knowledge they need, so all students acquire the knowledge and skills needed to work, live and contribute in our community. Science Alive achieves our mission by providing inquiry-based STEM curriculum through our Green Boxes, offering Educator Trainings and Workshops throughout the school year, and through School Support in the form of speakers, field trips, and special opportunities.
We serve schools in every county across the state of Nevada by providing educators with free professional development or access to our Green Box program. At the start of 2015, we have served over 400 schools in Nevada (public, private, charter, or homeschool). Currently, 75% of the schools we serve are Title One schools, which are schools that receive federal assistance to close the achievement gap between low-income students and other students. Over 50% of the students we reach are on a federal assisted free and reduced lunch program (FRL) because of the their low-income status, and almost 20% are second language English learners (ELL).
DRI’s outreach and education activities started in 2000 and was named GreenPower before changing the name in 2017 to Science Alive. Back in 2000, GreenPower focused mainly on renewable energy and conservation education. The partnership was primarily funded by the NV Energy Foundation as well as the generosity of customers who voluntarily donate a few dollars each month to their NV Energy electric bill for the program. These 100-percent tax-deductible donations support renewable energy education for Nevada’s students.
In 2012, GreenPower expanded their scope to focus on supporting Nevada’s pre-K-12 educators in science-based, environmental education by providing the tools, resources, and knowledge they need, so all students could acquire the knowledge and skills needed to work, live and contribute in our community.
With the name change, in 2017, ScienceAlive expanded their scope to include neighboring states, California and Arizona, as well as promoting more STEAM based activities, field experience for teachers, and leading the only K-12 energy education program for the state, EnergySmart Education.
DRI’s ScienceAlive aims to increase scientific knowledge and understanding of the earth’s environment, promoting preservation of diverse ecosystems, advancing responsible resource management, and improving human health and welfare.
The NVEnergy Foundation continues to be the primary sponsor of ScienceAlive, but is also funded by many more sponsors and supporters, which you can find listed here.
- All students can learn and deserve an effective teacher.
- Every teacher deserves to have access to free curriculum and materials that are aligned to the current educational standards.
- Educators training fellow educators builds capacity, professionalism, and perspective.
- Sharing resources and engaging partners builds opportunity, ownership, and expertise.
STEM Education Program Lead
Community Relations and Professional Development Administrator
STEM Education Coordinator
Robotics and STEM Education Administrator
STEM Coordinator for the Nevada Robotics Program
Resources for the Classroom
We offer a variety of PreK-12 STEM education resources targeted at classroom use. All of our offerings are FREE and can be used by any Nevada educator, both formal and informal.
- Green Boxes: Self-contained curriculum kits that provide all the materials needed for an educator to administer a unit of hands-on STEM lessons. Click here to read more!
- EnergySmart Education: Generously supported by NV Energy and SW Gas, our EnergySmart Education program offers a variety of energy and water conservation themed programs. Click here to read more!
- Educator Trainings: We host a variety of educator workshops offering professional development credit hours. Our trainings include hands-on activities, exciting keynote speakers and take home resources. Click here to read more!
- Online Resources: We have a library of educational videos, handouts, readings and STEM career-ties that can be used to support classroom learning. All are free to download.
- Nevada Robotics: We offer robotics focused educator trainings, robotics team and club support and robotics education resources to Nevada educators. Click here to read more!
- STEM 2 Go: STEM 2 Go packs are standards-aligned, hands-on STEM activity packs designed for teachers to send home with their students to enhance STEM learning at home. Coming soon to a classroom near you! Interested? Email AJ.Long@dri.edu
Resources Beyond the Classroom
STEM learning doesn’t have to stop after a student leaves the classroom! We offer STEM education resources and programs with our partners in education that can be used by formal and informal educators, community organizations and families.
- STEM Kits: Designed to be used in a variety of settings, STEM Kits engage students in fun, fast, hands-on activities that can be administered in less than 1 hour! All materials are included and very little prep or setup is required! Check one out today via our Green Box reservation site! Click here to read more!
- Family STEM Nights: In partnership with Sierra Nevada Journeys, virtual Family STEM Nights are a great way for schools to bring families together to explore simple, at-home science activities. Click here to read more!
- Online Resources: Find printable STEM activity sheets and readings, as well as fun science videos from our YouTube channel.
- PBS x DRI Reno STEM Works: PBS Reno STEM Works are short videos on careers in STEM. The videos are geared towards students aged 9-15, but can be enjoyed by learners of all ages! Watch them today!
We, of the Desert Research Institute, acknowledge that the places where we conduct science have deep ancestral ties to the Indigenous peoples who have inhabited these lands since time immemorial, and we recognize that these communities continue to thrive today. We respect traditional knowledge systems and Indigenous wisdom that originated before the Western scientific approach, and that evolved with and cannot be separated from these sacred lands. We value these knowledge systems that continue today as a way of understanding our intrinsic relationships with land, water, air, people, and ecosystems.
We express our gratitude for the opportunity to live and work on and in proximity to these traditional homelands. We acknowledge the original and continued sovereignty of Native nations in our region – Numu, Nuwu/Nuwuvi, Newe, and Wašiw/Wašišiw – and everywhere.
This is our commitment to conducting science with a conscience, which includes decolonizing science and rejecting the beliefs that have led to physical and cultural removal of Indigenous peoples from their traditional homelands, so that our work is respectful, collaborative, and beneficial for all. We will listen to, include, and elevate diverse ways of cultivating knowledge, and ally with Indigenous scientists.