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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

The Big List of Educational Grants and Resources

Get a roundup of educational grants, contests, awards, free toolkits, and classroom guides aimed at helping students, classrooms, schools, and communities. Check this page weekly to get the latest updates!


NEW! Grants for Innovative Library Reading Programs

Deadline: February 1, 2015

Each year, the American Association of School Librarians provides funding for an innovative children's reading program. The annual award has gone most frequently to a program that encourages and inspires young readers, especially students who are struggling readers. Funding helps with the planning and implementation of the program, and librarians are required to measure their results.
Prize: An award of $2,500 is available to support an innovative program.

Teacher Development Grants

Deadline: January 15 - April 15

Teacher Development Grants from the McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation support the development of new K-12 learning programs. Small teams of teachers are encouraged to apply for funding to help "integrate fresh strategies that encourage critical inquiry and to observe their effects on students." Grantees then have an opportunity to share their results with fellow educators. Projects should be designed to enrich and improve classroom learning.
Prize: Grants are available up to $10,000 for a maximum of three years.

Teacher Grants from the NEA Foundation

Deadline: February 1, 2015; or June 1 and Oct. 15

Currently, the NEA offers grants in two categories, including “Student Achievement” and “Learning & Leadership." Both programs have a Feb. 1 deadline. Student Achievement grants are designed to help teachers engage students in critical thinking and problem solving in standards-based subject matter. Winning programs should also improve students' inquiry, self-paced learning, and critical reflection skills. The Learning & Leadership grants fund professional development experiences and collegiate study for educators.
Prize: Grants range from $2,000 to $5,000.

National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards

Deadline: February 2, 2015

The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities has announced guidelines for National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards. Each year, the awards provide support for "outstanding after-school and out-of-school programs in the arts and humanities that are transforming the lives of young people." The Committee looks for programs that nurture creativity, teach new skills, and build young peoples' self-confidence; schools and nonprofit education groups are eligible to apply.
Prize: Twelve programs will receive $10,000 awards

Get Creative With a Software Grant from Adobe

Deadline: Rolling

Educators at Title 1 schools are encouraged to apply for software and teacher development grants from Adobe. The program is designed to increase access to Adobe creative tools through the White House's ConnectED initiative. In addition to software, educators also receive access to on-demand professional development, including webinars, workshops and collaborative courses to learn more about utilizing Adobe creative programs in the classroom.
Prize: Schools receive access to a variety of Adobe tools, including Adobe Photoshop Elements and Adobe Premiere Elements. Educators also receive access to online PD courses.

Classroom Newspaper Subscription Grants from USA TODAY

Deadline: Rolling

On a rolling basis, the USA TODAY Charitable Foundation awards teachers digital and print subscriptions to USA TODAY. Currently, the foundation is awarding digital subscriptions to teachers on a first-come, first-served basis; print subscriptions are unavailable at the moment. Teachers must submit a short online application to be considered.
Prize: Classroom subscriptions to the e-edition of USA TODAY.

>> MORE: Get information on how to find grants.

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Contests and Awards

Teacher Innovation Awards from The Henry Ford Museum

Deadline: February 6, 2015

Do you know a teacher that inspires students to be creative, critical-thinking problem-solvers? Maybe that sounds like you. The Henry Ford museum is now accepting nominations for its Teacher Innovation Awards. The program is designed to reward educators who “approach teaching and learning creativity” and who “use the classroom to inspire.” Nominate an educator or nominate yourself until February 6.
Prize:Ten first-place winners receive an all-expense-paid trip to The Henry Ford museum for an Innovation Immersion Experience. Ten second-place winners receive Innovation Kits, which include curricula, posters and other classroom resources.

Princeton Prize on Race Relations for K-12 Students

Deadline: January 31, 2015

Each year, Princeton University sponsors the Prize on Race Relationships to “recognize, support, and encourage those who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing the cause of positive race relations.” The award is available to high school students in 25 regional areas, and individual students or groups are eligible to apply. The prizes reward students who are working on projects that have advanced positive race relations within their communities and at their schools.
Prize:Student honorees receive a $1,000 cash prize and support to attend the Princeton Prize Symposium on Race.

Selma Speech and Essay Contest

Deadline: January 30, 2015

Inspired by the release of the film Selma, which documents the civil rights movement, the National Liberty Museum and John Templeton Foundation are sponsoring an essay contest for high school students. Students aged 14-18 are asked to submit essays of 500-700 words that address civil rights issues today. In addition, students must record themselves reading their essays and share their speeches via social media. More information is available online.
Prize:One student will receive a grand prize of $5,000. Addition prizes include $2,500, $1,000 and seven $500 awards for the other Top 10 winners. Teachers who sponsor a Top 10 winner receive a $300 cash prize.

DuPont Challenge 6-12 Science Writing Competition

Deadline: January 31, 2015

Now in its 29th year, the DuPont Challenge is designed to let middle school and high school students develop their science writing skills. This year, students must write a research-backed essay in one of 4 categories -- food production, energy, conservation/preservation and digital innovation. Essays must be between 700 and 1000 words and must be submitted electronically. For students, there are many resources for getting started, tips for researching topics, and ideas for strong introductions and conclusions.
Prize: There are two divisions, including one for grades 6-8 and 9-12. The top three winners in each division win a prize pack, plus a savings bond of $5,000, $3,000, or $1,000. Honorable mentions in each division receive prize packs, plus a $200 savings bond.

Google Code-In 2014 Challenge

Deadline: January 31, 2015

Google is sponsoring its annual Code-In challenge, which asks students aged 13-17 worldwide to put their technology skills to work. Students claim tasks from Open Source organizations in several categories, including coding, documentation, and quality assurance. Their work on these tasks is then judged by each Open Source organization. The challenge runs for seven weeks beginning December 1, 2014, and students are judged on their bodies of work during the competition.
Prize: Students are eligible to receive a certificate, T-shirts, hooded sweatshirts for completing tasks. Grand prize winners receive a trip to Google’s headquarters in California.

>> MORE: Get information about the latest contests and promotions for teachers in our Edutopia discussion group.

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Classroom Resources

NEW! Recipe for Innovation

Discovery Education has produced a valuable food education resource for students and teachers. Recipe for Innovation features a variety of materials to teach students farm-to-table concepts. There are resources for elementary, high school and middle school teachers that feature lesson plans, a live interactive field trip and student-centered multimedia tools that help students explore the way food is produced.

MindShift Guide to Digital Games and Learning

Have you ever wanted to know how video games can aid learning? Well, this Mindshift guide can help answer some of your question. This originally began a series of blogs by Jordan Shapiro, and Mindshift has developed it into a more in-depth PDF-downloadable guide. This is a great starting point for any educator interested in game-based learning, as it "explains key ideas in game-based learning, pedagogy, implementation, and assessment." Plus, there are suggestions for classroom use, as well.

Cybersecurity Lab from NOVA Labs

PBS and a variety of partners have created a long list of engaging and innovative labs for students, featuring interactive quizzes, game-based learning modules and rich multimedia. The latest focuses on cybersecurity. Teachers can check out the educator’s guide for using the lab with students. Plus, there are modules for learning about the sun, RNA, energy, and clouds. Each lab features an educator’s guide, as well.

Possible Worlds Free Science Learning Games

Developed by EDC's Center for Children and Technology, Possible Worlds is a suite of free games designed to help students learn about science. Currently there are four games available that focus on scientific misconceptions, covering photosynthesis, electricity, heredity, and heat transfer. Each game includes classroom activities for teachers that have been developed to “leverage students’ experiences within the games.”

PBLU 2.0 from the Buck Institute

Looking for to incorporate PBL in your classroom? Well, you might start at PBLU. Here, there are a variety of projects for every grade that are waiting for teachers to implement them in their classrooms. Currently, projects focus on math, ELA and social studies. Plus, PBLU offers a portal for PD classes that explore the design, management and assessment of PBL in classroom practice. Teachers can enroll in a course, but there is a limited number of spots available in each.

The Ultimate Guide to Games in School

EdSurge has culled a list of articles, resources, and videos to help educators incorporate gaming into the classroom. The guide covers the latest research, as well as strategies and tips from practitioners, and there are plenty of useful reviews of ideal classroom games that support learning. This is a great primer for educators looking to incorporate gaming in the classroom, as well as for teachers who have already embraced the trend.

Classroom Resources from the National Parks

The National Park Service recently released new Back-to-School resources for educators across the U.S. There are curriculum resources, which allow students to explore parks from the comfort of the classroom, information about in-person field trips and online professional development resources for teachers. Currently, there are 53 free curriculum packets for almost every grade, and they explore topics like immigration at Ellis Island and the Civil War at Fort Scott.

CELA Common Core Sample Tasks from PARCC

The 19-state Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, one of two groups developing Common Core-aligned assessments, recently released sample tasks that will give educators a snapshot of how the ELA assessment will look in 2014-15. In addition, PARCC has also released math sample items to provide insights into next-generation math exams and assessments. Both provide great insights for educators transitioning to the Common Core.

Common Core Math Tools for High School Educators

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics produced “Core Math Tools,” a customizable suite of software tools and apps for high school educators aligned with the Common Core. The suite is available for free download, and the apps and tools can be used to engage students in a variety of areas, from general algebra resources to interactive graphing tools. There are also specialized how-tos to help educators use the tools in the classroom.

Smithsonian Online Education Conference Series

Students and teachers: Interact with experts from the Smithsonian once a month during their hour-long online conferences, held on topics ranging from civil rights to astrophotography. The conference series includes special “virtual teachers’ lounge” sessions for teachers to engage with each other and discuss other Smithsonian learning resources.


STEM–Works is a resource for teachers, parents, mentors, and anyone else wanting to get kids excited about science, technology, engineering, and math. The site offers links to virtual field trips, interactive lesson plans, and fun activities for all grade levels.

Rating System for Digital Learning Tools

With so many apps, websites, and digital tools available, how do you know which ones to use? Graphite, a free service from Common Sense Media, provides reviews and ratings to help teachers find the best digital learning products.

How Youth Learn

What Kids Can Do, a nonprofit that focuses on marginalized youth ages 12 to 22, has built this portfolio of research, exemplary practices, student voices, and educator resources to illustrate effective student learning and motivation. Also, check out the organization's recent article, "Learning by Heart: The Power of Social-Emotion Learning in Secondary Schools (PDF)," which highlights elements of successful social-learning programs.


Blendspace, formally Edcanvas, enables teachers to create lessons that incorporate online educational resources in one place. The lessons can then be shared quickly with students, and they can be accessed via any digital device. Additionally, teachers can use the platform's built-in quizzes and monitoring features to measure student progress.

Educating English Language Learners: Grantmaking Strategies for Closing America's Other Achievement Gap

Read this report from Grantmakers for Education and learn more about the needs of English learners in the US today and current ELL grant making, discover lessons for philanthropy, and examine four case studies that unpack strategic ELL investments.

PBS LearningMedia

Find thousands of digital resources including videos, games, audio clips, photos lesson plans, and more. All of these free resources are great for classrooms or summer learning, and they provide colorful multimedia packages to help students learn, including the award-winning Shakespeare Uncovered and Constitution USA.


EarthCam has compiled live webcam footage from around the world, giving students the opportunity to travel the globe from their desks. The live streams include Times Square in New York City and San Juan, Puerto Rico, and they offer instant video from hundreds of interesting locations. Also, peer into the lives of exotic animals with live video feeds from zoos all over the world!

The More You Know

NBCUniversal’s public service campaign, The More You Know, gives celebrities the opportunity to inspire change and voice their opinions on social issues such as education, diversity and internet safety. The site features videos with important NBC personalities as well as links to additional resources, such as free ebooks, to educate students and teachers.


This website is a place for scientists, teachers, parents, and kids of all ages to contribute to science through recreational activities and research projects. The site helps scientists share their research projects, and citizens to tinker, build, and explore science.

Better Money Habits

Bank of America has partnered with Sal Khan and the Khan Academy to provide a free online financial learning experience that's self-paced, fact-based, and conversational. Resources include videos and customizable features.

MindShift: Teachers' Guide to Videos

For educators who want to know how to use videos to enhance student learning, MindShift has created a resource with valuable tips, including video links for all kinds of subjects -- history, math, science, language arts, and more -- and ideas on how to inspire students to use videos as a conduit to ask questions and learn.

SOLE: How to Bring Self-Organized Learning Environments to Your Community

The 2013 TED Prize winner, educational researcher Sugata Mitra, set up "Hole in the Wall" self-learning experiments around the world. His research is proving that children are naturally self-motivated to learn and have an ability to problem-solve in peer groups. He has created a toolkit for educators, parents, and communities who want to try out a Self-Organized Learning Environment (SOLE).

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