Reach for these resources

Here’s help for educators seeking to boost efficiency

As teachers prepare for the first days of a new school year, they’ll need every tool in our community’s collective box to help prepare students for success not only for 2017-18, but also for their lives and careers.

The Umpqua Valley STEAM Hub would like to remind all educators of two resources available at no cost, at convenient dates and times.

One is Oregon Connections, a website that matches educators to industry professionals. Another is the Umpqua Valley Resource Library, operated by the Umpqua Valley STEAM Hub.

Let’s start with Oregon Connections. By creating a free profile on its website, educators can link with professionals ready to share expertise with students. Some professionals visit in person, and others through virtual real-time sessions. Either way, they inspire and expose students to real-world experiences.

Teachers can create valuable connections between schools, businesses and community groups – connections that can enhance lessons or even lead to potential career opportunities.

They can also describe projects for which they are seeking help. If a project you’re browsing sounds like fun, you’re free to adapt it to your own classroom needs. Samples of actual requests are as follows:

Food Science: Students are going to be completing a project where they are determining if double stuff Oreo is really double stuffed. Focus is on how math and science practices help us answer questions.  

Chemistry Behind the Car Wash. Students are learning about some basic chemicals that make soap will run a working car wash to raise money using the soap that they made.

Basics of Creating Structures: We are creating a 3D Pioneer Village to tie together our math units and our social studies unit on Oregon Trail.

To register for Oregon Connections, visit For information, contact Lacey Ferguson, Oregon Connections program coordinator, at

Another valuable tool for local educators, in and out of classrooms, is the Umpqua Valley Resource Library. This lending library is available to teachers as well as to adults connected to the Umpqua Valley Boys and Girls Clubs, the Boy and Girl Scouts, the YMCA of Douglas County and many other community groups.  And, like all the best libraries, materials can be checked out for free!

Curious about items ready and waiting for checkout? Go to for a list and descriptions. Meanwhile, just to get you interested, here are just a few examples:

  • Carbon dioxide gas sensor, with which you can monitor changes in CO2 levels in respiration of organisms ranging from peas to humans
  • K’nex solar car kit, a collection of solar car pieces that includes 15 sets of materials
  • Kidwind Basic Experiment Kit, which allows young scientists to test a variety of blade designs, generate electricity and lift weights
  • Differential Voltage Probe, designed for exploring the basic principles of electricity; measures amounts in low-voltage AC and DC circuits.

To gain access to the lending library, all you have to do is visit and create an account. There’s no fee, and your name will never be used for commercial purposes. You can also find contact information for a STEAM Hub coordinator who can give you ideas for how to match lending library materials with your curriculum.

The coordinator will also work with you to arrange transportation of items, which usually are due back in one week. The Douglas Education Service District courier can deliver most materials directly to schools. We can arrange for community groups to pick up items at Umpqua Community College. However, the STEAM Hub is willing to work with you to ensure that time and distance aren’t barriers to the library.

We know teachers have a lot on their minds as August turns to September. But please be mindful of Oregon Connections and the Umpqua Valley Resource Library, and how they may help you make 2017-18 the most dynamic academic year ever.




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