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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!


Library Grants for Supplies and Books

Deadline: December 15, 2014

Schools serving low-income students are eligible to apply for a grant from the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s libraries. Schools must serve at a student body that is 85 percent free- or reduced lunch. Grants can be used to purchase materials or support learning programs that foster a love of reading.
Prize: Grants are available up to $7,000.

School Garden Grants from the National Gardening Association

Deadline: December 5, 2014

Do you have plans to plant a garden at your school? If so, the National Gardening Association's annual Youth Garden Grants program can help with the funding. To be eligible, schools and nonprofits must plant a garden that includes students aged 3-18 years old in the planning and planting. Schools that can show a "demonstrated relationship between the garden program and education related to the environment, health and nutrition issues, character education, and entrepreneurship" are preferred.
Prize: The top 20 schools will receive a $500 gift certificate to the Gardening with Kids online store; 10 schools will receive raised beds, as well.

Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Program

Deadline for 2015-16 Fellowships: November 20, 2014

The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Program is a unique program for K-12 educators in STEM fields to spend a year working in Washington. Through the program, educators work in either a federal agency or Congressional office for 11 months and use their expertise to work on education policy and program efforts. For the 2015-2016 fellowships, there are four federal sponsoring agencies, including the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. In the past, fellows have worked on designing and implementing programs, drafting legislation, and developing educational tools.
Prize: Fellows receive a $6,000 monthly stipend, as well as a $1,000 housing expense during the program. Moving expenses and office space are other benefits of the program.

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

NEW! Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards

Deadline: December 14, 2014

Each year, the Kennedy Center asks former students to nominate an educator (K-12 and higher education) who had a lasting impact on their lives. Nominators must be 18 years or older and have been a student of the nominee in the past. Nominees can be current or former educators. Each nominator must submit a written, audio, or video essay describing a “single, specific interaction with your teacher that had a significant impact on you.”
Prize: Winning educators receive a $10,000 award; posthumous awards are given in the name of educators as well.

NEW! Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

Deadline: Varies by region; starting December 17, 2014 in several regions

Since 1923, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards have honored the nation’s best student artists in grades 7-12. Past winners have included Andy Warhol, Truman Capote and Robert Redford. Students are encouraged to submit original works of art in nearly 30 categories. They are judged on their skill, personal voice, and artistic vision, and they are free to express themselves -- there are no prompts or yearly themes.
Prize: A variety of scholarship awards, totaling nearly $10 million. Gold-medal-winning high school seniors receive $10,000 scholarships.

Fishman Prize for Educators of Underserved Students

Deadline: December 16, 2014

The Fishman Prize from TNTP is awarded each year to public school educators who teach in schools with 40 percent or more of students on free- or reduced-lunch. The prizes are given to educators who have worked in their schools for more than a year, and entrants are judged on three criteria: their ability to reach every student, the use of effective instructional practices, and a "passion for teaching and a deep commitment to advancing" the profession.
Prize: Up to five educators receive a $25,000 award and acceptance into a summer residency program.

National Science Teachers Association’s Shell Science Lab Challenge

Deadline: December 19, 2014

Does your school have an excellent science program, but could use some new equipment? The Shell Science Lab Challenge is the perfect opportunity for science educators around the country to compete for a lab makeover. One school from each of the 18 NSTA district will be awarded with funding for a lab makeover, as well as additional prizes for five national winners and one grand prize winner. Science programs are selected based on existing science instructional strategies, how the lab equipment will be used, and need for new equipment.
Prize: The 18 district winners receive a $3,000 makeover grant. Plus, five national winners receive an additional $5,500 and one grand prize winner receives $20,000 in total.

Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards

Deadline: November 30, 2014

Do you know a science teacher who uses data collection in classroom, e.g. using a computer, calculator, or other handheld device? If so, you should encourage them to apply for a technology innovation award from Vernier and NSTA. The program rewards schools and educators using data collection technology in K-12 and beyond classrooms.
Prize: Seven $5,500 awards are available, one for a K-5 program, two for 6-8 programs, three for high school programs, and one for a college program.

Map Your World Nexus 7 Tablet Giveaway

Deadline: December 1, 2014

Here’s an engaging way to incorporate technology at the high school or middle school level. Map Your World provides tablets to schools and youth organizations, and along with a 16-week curriculum and Map Your World platform, students use “data, interactive maps, and storytelling to develop campaigns addressing issues” important in their communities.
Prize: Five Nexus 7 tablets for each selected project.

Cleantech STEM Competition 2015

Registration begins in November

The Cleantech Competition 2015 asks students to use their design-thinking skills to address an important question: How can clean energy be used to increase global food supply? To participate, students then identify a problem in food production -- e.g. it might relate to how food is grown or distributed -- analyze that problem, and a design and develop a solution that is powered by clean energy technology. Teams of 1-3 students, who are between 15 and 18 years old when the competition ends on May 29, 2015, are eligible to register. 

LegacyQuest International Children’s Film Festival and Video Contest

Deadline for letters of intent: December 12, 2015; submissions due February 27, 2015

The LegacyQuest International Children's Film and Video Festival, sponsored by the Archaeological Legacy Institute and AntiquityNOW, is calling for submissions and letters of inquiry for their annual festival. This year, students in grades 6-8 (or who are 12-15 years old) are encouraged to submit videos that "represent antiquity's legacy in contemporary life." For instance, students could develop a video that explains how the wheel or the calendar have impacted modern society. More information about submissions and registration is available online.
Prize: Prizes are awarded to students who create the best three videos.


Deadline: Nov. 24, 2014

eCYBERMISSION is a STEM contest for students in grades 6-9. Teams of students pick a cybermission to complete. Each mission is designed so students can develop solutions to real-world problems in their communities and explore STEM topics outside of the classroom. Teams must register before Dec. 17, 2014, before picking a mission to complete. There are prizes for teams at the state, regional and national level.

Student Video Storytelling Contest from Take2

Deadline: Nov. 24, 2014

This contest sponsored by Take2 and WeVideo Education Channel encourages students to learn more about the refugee situation in Sudan. From Take2: “What if life wasn’t so easy? Life wasn’t so lucky? What if you lived in a Sudanese refugee camp? How would your life then be? Tell the story of how you lost everything, how life in the refugee camp is and your dreams for the future.” Students used provided footage, as well as footage of their own, to created narrated videos covering different aspects of life for Sudanese refugees. To get started, take a look at the rules, links to provided footage, and information about the Sudanese refugee situation.
Prize: Winners receive GoPro cameras.

Verizon Innovative App Challenge

Deadline: Nov. 24, 2014

Calling all aspiring middle school and high school app developers. Verizon's Innovative App Challenge encourages teams of 5-7 students, led by an adviser, to develop a concept for an app that addresses a need in their school or community. Submissions are judged by their need, usefulness, and the audience they will reach. To apply, student teams submit a concept overview and summary, along with a 3-5 minute video essay.
Prize: Regional and state winners receive funding and online technical support from MIT experts to help build their app.

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

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Classroom Resources

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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