Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) Teaching Resources

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The Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program funds innovative STEM and informal science education projects for pre-kindergarten through grade 12. By encouraging interactive partnerships between biomedical and clinical researchers and educators, schools, and other interested organizations, SEPA provides opportunities to:

  • Motivate students from underserved communities to consider careers in basic or clinical research
  • Foster professional development skills and knowledge building for science teachers
  • Improve community health literacy

Here are free, easy-to-access, SEPA-funded resources that educators can use to engage their students in science.

Elementary and Middle School

High School

SEPA Feature from
The Great Diseases Curriculum

Four learning module units. Unit 1: Why should we care about infectious disease?
Four learning module units. Unit 2: What does it mean to be an infectious disease?
Four learning module units. Unit 3: When does a microbe become pathogenic?
Four learning module units. Unit 4: How do pathogens make us sick?

Teach students about all infectious diseases with this in-depth learning module. Credit: Tufts University, Center for Science Education.

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Advancing Secondary Science Education through Tetrahymena (ASSET) (elementary through high school)

ASSET, produced by Cornell University, provides education materials that stimulate hands-on, inquiry-based learning of biology. Each lab module features living Tetrahymena, a single-celled protozoan that’s safe and easy to grow and work with. Students cultivate samples of this organism in lab exercises to learn about topics such as chemotaxis, microevolution, organelle growth and regeneration, and effects of vaping. Downloadable teacher guides and student activity sheets are also available.

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Biology of Human (middle through high school, and the general public)

Biology of Human, from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, helps students and the public better understand advances in biomedical research relating to human biology. This program seeks to increase awareness of and interest in new biomedical research developments, and their importance to people's health and communities. Resources include comic books, activities, lessons, and other curricula with accompanying teaching guides, videos, and additional learning materials.

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FoodMASTER (elementary through high school)

FoodMASTER (Food, Math, and Science Teaching Enhancement Resource), created by Northern Illinois University, is a compilation of hands-on and virtual programs that use food to teach math and science skills. Subjects include biology, chemistry, microbiology, nutrition, and health, as well as math concepts such as numbers and operations, algebra, geometry, and problem-solving.

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The Great Diseases: Curriculum (high school)

Created by Tufts scientists and Boston Public School teachers, The Great Diseases engages students with the science behind their real-world experiences. The program also aims to increase students' analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as improve their health literacy. Curriculum materials for each module include a teacher primer and lesson plans, classroom materials for each lesson, and unit assessments. Teachers must request access to download materials.

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Learn.Genetics, produced by the Genetic Science Learning Center at the University of Utah, provides articles, videos, and interactives on cells, epigenetics, gene therapy, and precision medicine, among other topics. Resources include:

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Cell Size and Scale (middle and high school, and the general public)

This interactive helps put the size of many biological structures in context. Students can zoom in from the scale of a coffee bean all the way down to a carbon atom. Along the way, they also see bacteria, a range of human cells, a chromosome, a flu virus, and more.

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DNA Extraction (high school and the general public)

In this virtual laboratory, students learn about some uses of DNA extraction. They also perform a cheek swab and extract DNA from human cells.

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The Epigenome At a Glance (high school)

This brief video introduces students to the epigenome and explains how it influences DNA.

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Let's Get Healthy! (elementary through high school, with focus on middle school)

From Oregon Health & Science University, Let's Get Healthy! provides teachers and students with online access to community-specific research data generated from an education and research exhibit. These teaching resources explore different aspects of healthy choices, chronic diseases, advocacy, epigenetics, research ethics, and development, among other subjects.

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The Partnership in Education: Movies, Games, and Curricula

The Partnership in Education at Duquesne University specializes in using cutting-edge technologies and creative media platforms—including videos, apps, posters, and lesson plans—to bring science to life and inspire lifelong learning. Resources include:

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BiblioTech CityHacks: In Search of Sleep (grades 4-6)

How much sleep should you get? What happens when you're sleeping? What happens if you don't get enough sleep? In this interactive reading experience about sleep, circadian rhythms, and health, students help a young girl answer these questions so she can convince her mom to let her stay up late for CityHacks, a cool coding club that she wants to join.

See other sleep curriculum.

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Bibliotech REBOUND: Beating Concussions Icon.  

BiblioTech REBOUND: Beating Concussions (grades 4-6)

In this interactive reading experience about concussions, sports, and brain health, students travel along as a BMX-rider uncovers the truth about concussions to help his twin sister get back on the basketball court.

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Charles Darwin Synthetic Review icon.  

Charles Darwin Synthetic Review (middle school through grade 9, and the general public)

In this free interactive experience, students learn about Charles Darwin, the naturalist, geologist, and leading contributor to the fundamental principles of evolution. Students select from a list of questions to ask a virtual Darwin and receive insight into various topics.

See other evolution curriculum.

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Dermis Defense Game (middle and high school)

Players of this interactive follow a typical teen named Benji to help him beat his acne breakouts and learn about the immune system. Features include colorful, comic-style storytelling; scientific content about the immune system and its functions; challenging and fun gameplay; and links to supplementary reading materials about the immune system.

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Heartbeat: A Mindfulness Exercise to Calm Your Emotions (middle and high school, and the general public)

This mindfulness exercise video can help to calm overwhelming emotions and the racing heartbeat associated with them. The activity doesn't require any materials and takes just a few minutes for students to complete.

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How We Grow (grades 5-8)

Students learn about how different living things grow and develop through the story of a student who has to write an essay for his science class. The essay is on growth and development, but he just doesn’t understand what’s interesting about how we grow. That is, until his room starts to come to life.

See other cell and growth curriculum.

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Our Cells, Our Selves (grades 5-8)

Travel along on a richly animated, dreamy bedtime story and explore the wonders of the immune system through the eyes of a 7-year-old who has just been diagnosed with Type 1 juvenile diabetes.

See other immune system curriculum.

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You Make Me Sick Board Game (middle and high school, and the general public)

This downloadable board game is designed for two to four players who use their brains and the white blood cell “money” in their “blood bank” to fight 11 common diseases. As players move around the game board, they encounter viruses and bacteria while learning more about the immune system, vaccines, antibiotics, and steps to prevent the spread of disease such as COVID-19.

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The PlayPads project is produced by the University of California, Berkeley, Lawrence Hall of Science, in partnership with the University of California, San Francisco, Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland. This suite of mobile apps fosters healthy habits among families visiting children’s hospitals, and others who are interested. Free apps for iOS and Android devices include:

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DIY Human Body (elementary and middle school, and the general public)

Families and educators investigate and learn about the human body at home, at school, or anywhere with 13 easy-to-use, hands-on activities, plus videos and more. Available in English and Spanish.

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I Got This (elementary and middle school, and the general public)

This interactive, first-person, educational story follows a young teenage girl who discovers that she has type 2 diabetes. Told in a real-world setting, this app focuses on the symptoms, remediation, and social aspects of the disease.

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Monster Heart Medic (elementary and middle school, and the general public)

Students explore the cardiovascular system and how healthy living affects it. In this educational adventure, students must help diagnose a friendly, three-eyed monster and assist him on his path to a healthier life. Available in English and Spanish.

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Space Chef (elementary and middle school, and the general public)

This fast-paced activity provides the starting point needed to build healthy meals using simple, readily available, and nutritious ingredients. Students require quick thinking and even quicker fingers as they race against the clock to sort through an array of ingredients and construct healthy recipes.

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Personal Genetics Education Project (pgEd): Lesson Plans (high school)

From the department of genetics at Harvard Medical School, pgEd provides interactive lessons for educators to engage students in discussions of ethics and personal genetics. Subjects including biology, health, social studies, physical education, and psychology. All lesson plans contain background reading for teachers and students; classroom activities; discussion points; in some cases, a slide presentation or video clip; and an evaluation. Lessons can stand alone or be taught as a unit.

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This Is How We “Role” (kindergarten through grade 5)

From the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, this program lets veterinarians and veterinary students help kids learn about all the careers in this field and how they can prevent and treat health conditions that impact both people and their animals. Resources include the interactive Healthy Animals! Healthy People! (this resource is free but requires users to set up an account) and online picture books in both English and Spanish.

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