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Stanford K-12 Educational Resources

Features materials targeted at K-12 audiences, both curricula for educators and content for students, developed by Stanford researchers.


Hapkit is an open-hardware haptic device designed to be very low-cost and easy to assemble. Hapkit allows users to input motions and feel programmed forces in one degree of freedom. This enables interactive simulation of virtual environments that represent realistic physics (such as springs and dampers) and creative new touch sensations (like textures and buttons). The Hapkit can be assembled using household tools, costs less than $50 for all components, including the microcontroller board, and is easily set up and programmed by novices.

To accompany the Hapkit, Professor Allison Okamura offers an online self-paced course in which participants learn how to build, program, and control haptic devices.

Investigating Ant Colony Searching: A Citizen Science Project

Stanford's Center to Support Excellence in Teaching (CSET) has developed a lesson for teachers to use in science classes that builds on the work of Dr. Deborah M. Gordon at Stanford University. The lesson is designed to engage students by providing opportunities for them to explore ants and their behavior, ask scientific questions, collect and analyze data and develop explanations about ant colonies and how ants work together. The lesson engages students in scientific inquiry and promotes curiosity about the natural world.

More info at Deborah Gordon's website.

Week of Inspirational Math

Give your students the best possible start to the year with powerful mathematics tasks and positive mindset messages designed by Stanford professor Jo Boaler and the youcubed team. Your students will love this week and be inspired to learn. The week combines open tasks that can be used with a wide range of grade levels (at least grades 5-9) with inspirational videos on mindset and mathematics.

Inspiring Future Scientists in Chemistry

Inspiring Future Scientists in Chemistry provides high school teachers with over a dozen novel hands-on guided inquiry lab activities to use with their students. Each unit features a student and teacher version and is aligned to California state teaching standards. These labs will instill an appreciation for how chemistry is critical to decisions that we make in the ‘real world’ and ignite an interest in young students to pursue futures in the sciences.

Microdocs: The Short Attention Span Science Video on Ecological Sustainability

Stanford Marine Biologist Steve Palumbi created a series of 2-4 minute micro-documentaries about sustainability, featuring coral reefs from around the world. His lab then developed this website that provides additional resources for teachers and students, built around the videos.

Virtual Labs Interactive Media for Human Anatomy and Biology

The Virtual Labs Project, begun in 1998 with funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, provides creative online interactive media and on-line tutorials to help students learn difficult concepts in human biology. Modules on the brain, nervous system, immunology, organ systems, and more are available for download, along with game and quiz frameworks for teachers to add their own content.

Stanford Solar Center Resources for K-12 Teachers and Students

The Stanford Solar Center web site provides a collection of multi-disciplinary, interactive exercises and activities based on the Sun and solar science, most geared to grades 4-12. Each lesson or activity comes with study guides, worksheets and quizzes and all are aligned with the national science teaching standards.

The Center also offers solar spectroscopes for students to cut out and put together. These come complete with gratings, as well as instructions for construction and use.

Bringing Nanoscience and Nanotechnology into the Classroom

Nanotechnology, which makes use of structures 100 nm or smaller (1 nm is a billionth of a meter), is now part of our daily experience. Products ranging from electronics and cosmetics to sports equipment and clothing are increasingly dependent on nanotechnology, harnessing the benefits of novel properties that materials exhibit at the nanoscale. The past years have seen a steady increase in nanoscience research and resulting applications, which has started a rapid growth that will continue over the next decades and change the way we live. This site contains hands-on activities to engage K-12 students in exploration and scientific investigation. These activities, originally developed for teachers participating in CPN's Summer Institute for Middle School Teachers, are designed to help students learn about nanotechnology while supporting the California Science Content Standards. For teachers in the San Francisco Bay Area, CPN has also partnered with the non-profit Resource Area for Teachers (RAFT) to make available low-cost materials for some of these activities.

The Virtual Urchin Project

Gametes of sea urchins yield exceptional experiences in the classroom; teachers and students alike are riveted by being able to observe fertilization, cell division and embryonic development. The gametes are easy to use, the developmental stages are readily seen with the microscope and the rapidity of fertilization and early cell divisions allows the student to ask questions and obtain answers within the bounds of a normal classroom schedule. The utility of urchins for inquiry-based science is unrivaled.

The goal of this project is to make these remarkable embryos readily accessible through development of inquiry based lessons, available on an open access website. Students can then move beyond the early embryo, and explore how scientists study sea urchins to understand larval development and metamorphosis, community ecology, pollution in the marine environment and biological evolution.

What is Your Environmental Impact?

These activities were developed by middle school teacher Stephanie Ruzicka in partnership with Professor Michael Lepechs's Civil & Environmental Lab. Through a series of lessons, students will:

  1. Evaluate their individual impact on the environment (Ecological Footprint).
  2. Develop a basic understanding of sustainability research and life cycle assessment tools to improve the environment (PowerPoint lecture).
  3. Participate in scenarios that show how product choices can affect the environment (Matching Game).
  4. Propose an action plan for their school or community focusing on environmental awareness (Group Project).

Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC)

The Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, or KIPAC, is an independent laboratory of Stanford University based at SLAC in Menlo Park. It serves as a bridge between the disciplines of astrophysics, cosmology and particle physics. One of KIPAC's missions is to reach out to local communities and provide resources and tools for K-12 teachers, students and the general public. You can visit the site to:

  • Schedule a tour for your students
  • Ask KIPAC staff members questions about astrophysics and cosmology
  • Request a guest speaker
  • Schedule a showing of one of their presentations, including a 3-D movie that traces the development of the universe, from the birth of the first star to the formation of the galaxies.

Climate Change Education Project

This collaborative project began in the fall of 2009 to support the teaching of scientifically accurate climate change curriculum in middle and high schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. Climate scientists and education specialists collaborated to develop a curriculum for middle and high school science classrooms.


Squids-4-Kids provides an exciting hands-on way to engage students of any age. Squids-4-Kids supplies frozen specimens of Humboldt squid for use in educational activities at any level. These hands-on activities bring students to the excitement of marine biology and the importance of good ocean stewardship. Humboldt squid provide an outstanding teaching platform for discussing climate change, ecology, anatomy, physiology, oceanography and fisheries science. This outreach program is a collaboration between researchers at Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University and NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service in Santa Cruz, CA.

Laboratory Science for Broadened Scientific Inquiry (LABSci)

The aim of Laboratory Science for Broadened Scientific Inquiry, LABSci, is to develop a science laboratory curriculum for middle-school and high-school students that are experiencing a non-traditional education environment. These labs were created with the restrictions of a hospital school classroom in mind, but are also suitable for bedside, homeschool, and other environments.

The LABScI outreach project is a partnership between Dr. Andrew Spakowitz’s research group in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Stanford University, and the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital School.

K-12 Lab at Stanford Design School

Design Thinking is a methodology that teaches children to creatively solve problems in their lives. We believe that creative confidence comes from repeated practice using a human-centered creative process to solve problem scenarios called design challenges. After using the process on these challenges, children will have another tool, the design thinking process, to apply towards solving real life problems.

We hope you use this space to find and share resources to teach design thinking. This is still a working prototype, so feel free to explore and change.

Sea Urchin Embryology

The drama of fertilization and development is explored by laboratory modules using sea urchin eggs and a website developed by teachers and Stanford researchers.

Alliance for Innovative Manufacturing

Stanford’s Alliance for Innovative Manufacturing (an affiliate program involving the School of Engineering and the Graduate School of Business) has developed an introductory website for kids and adults showing how various items are made, from jelly beans to cars, from denim to airplanes. It covers over 40 different products and manufacturing processes, and includes almost four hours of manufacturing video targeted towards non-engineers and engineers alike. Think of it as your own private online factory tour, or a virtual factory tour, if you wish.

Mathematical Optimization - A High School Curriculum

Mathematical Optimization is a high school course in 5 units, comprised of a total of 56 lessons. The first three units are non-Calculus, requiring only a knowledge of Algebra; the last two units require completion of Calculus AB. All of the units make use of the Julia programming language to teach students how to apply basic coding techniques to solve complex and relevant mathematical problems.

These lessons in Mathematical Optimization were written in 2014 by Julia Roberts, a math teacher at Cupertino High School in the Fremont Union High School District, in conjunction with Dr. Mykel Kochenderfer, professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University, through a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Public Health Advocacy Curriculum

The curriculum is comprised of ten modular lessons that combine classroom- and community-based experiential activities that teach students about the broader context of health and provide opportunities to advocate for improved health conditions in their communities. Through inquiry-based activities and real-world projects, students practice academic skills (e.g., critical thinking, problem solving) and apply their learning to their personal circumstances.

Adapted from the Stanford Medical Youth Science Program’s (SMYSP) teacher-led Public Health Advocacy Curriculum, the Public Health Advocacy Workshop is a three-part series that helps high school students teach each other about public health. As part of an after school club or elective period, students participate in activities to understand how social, political, and economic factors influence health in addition to individual behavior choices, and conduct a health-related volunteer activity at their school or in their local community.

SPICE Multidisciplinary Curriculum Materials on International Themes

The Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) develops K-14 multidisciplinary curriculum materials on international themes that are available to teachers around the world. SPICE has produced over 100 supplementary curriculum units on Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the global environment, and international political economy. SPICE also offers a series of seminars for middle school and high school social studies, world literature, and language arts teachers.

Free e-Book Series on Climate Change

Clue into Climate, an interactive e-book series on climate change, is now available free of charge on iPad. The four-part iBooks Textbook series was produced by KQED, public media for Northern California, in partnership with Stanford's Precourt Institute for Energy and the University of California Museum of Paleontology.

Primarily developed for middle- and high-school students, but also relevant for lifelong learners, the series explores the causes of climate change, its impacts on freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems, and innovative strategies for curbing and adapting to change.  

Design Thinking in the K-12 Classroom

Need inspiration and ideas for how to incorporate design thinking into your classroom? Browse these curriculum units and lesson plans created by educators who have participated in workshops. Most are for elementary school classrooms.

Classes at Stanford for the General Public

Stanford Continuing Studies

Stanford Continuing Studies offers a broad range of courses in Liberal Arts & Sciences, Creative Writing, and Professional & Personal Development. Courses are designed to cultivate learning and enrich the lives of adults in the Bay Area. Courses are primarily taught by Stanford instructors and are open to everyone.

Stanford Online

Stanford Online is a university-wide initiative coordinated by the Office of the Vice Provost for Online Learning (VPOL). As we develop new capabilities to enhance teaching and learning on our physical campus, we’re sharing our work worldwide through publicly available courses

Stanford Engineering Everywhere (SEE)

Stanford Engineering Everywhere is an online portal offering ten courses from Stanford’s School of Engineering— including the three-course introductory sequence in Computer Science— free of charge.

Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes

The Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes are residential programs for academically talented and motivated middle and high school students.

Stanford Research Projects

Stanford Research Projects for the General Public


Folding@Home is a distributed computing project -- people from throughout the world download and run software to band together to make one of the largest supercomputers in the world to help calculate how proteins fold (or misfold). Folding@Home uses novel computational methods coupled to distributed computing, to simulate problems thousands to millions of times more challenging than previously achieved. Every computer that participates brings the project closer to its goals.