Graduate Student Fellows

Become a GRASSHOPR fellow

Applications for graduate students are now closed for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Need help designing your course? Check out our course design Cheat-sheet!

*If accepted as a GRASSHOPR Fellow, you must attend the mandatory Info Meeting.

Applicants must develop a mini-course topic related to their areas of interest and expertise. Mini-courses must contain 3 to 5 unique lessons and can be taught individually or as a team.

To increase the odds of a match with a teacher host:

  • Create a catchy title
  • Design the course proposal to be flexible - Each teacher will need to make adjustments to fit each mini-course into his or her curriculum, which encompasses the core requirements of New York State (view the requirements here)
  • Make your course age-appropriate - Remember you will be teaching K-12, not college level
  • Make the sessions unique - each lesson should teach something new. Courses can build on each other, but should not be overly repetitive

Lesson Plans

Wondering how to make a successful lesson plan? Check out our library of successful lesson plans below! (Alternatively, click HERE to open the library in a new tab).

We are in the process of collecting lesson plans to increase the diversity of our lesson plan library. Please consider sending us your lesson plans so that we may share them with the GRASSHOPR community. Successful plans are an invaluable resource for our new fellows. You can find the GRASSHOPR email address on the About Us page.


Example Program Timeline

  • Mid September - Online applications open
    • You will submit a rough lesson plan
  • Late September - Applications close
  • October/November - Accepted applications will be matched with a suitable teacher host and classroom
    • Matches are announced
    • Contact your teacher immediately to begin planning and scheduling your teaching sessions
  • January/February - Attend GRASSHOPR workshops to further develop your mini-course and to prepare you for teaching in the classroom
    • Meet with your teacher to develop your mini-course
    • Check-in with the Coordinating Committee with any questions or concerns
    • Prepare and and purchase your supplies
  • Spring Semester - Go out and teach your mini-courses! Have fun!
    • Submit any necessary forms for reimbursement
    • Complete an Evaluation Survey

Our support to you

  • Fellows get t-shirts to wear while you teach!
  • Fellows selected to participate will receive reimbursements of up to $150 per course
  • The Coordinating Committee does it's best to match you with an appropriate teacher and classroom
  • We act as the liaison between student and teacher
  • Training workshops are designed for all levels of teaching experience
  • The Cornell Institute for Biology Teachers (CIBT) has generously agreed that GRASSHOPR fellows can access materials from the CIBT lending library. Many types of kits are available, and some are designed specifically for elementary, middle, or high school levels!
  • We'll host networking and social events, so you can get to know other fellows who share similar interests


Fellows selected to participate will receive reimbursements of up to $150 per course (plus an additional $50 for each additional cohort of students to whom any unique lesson is presented) to cover the costs of teaching supplies and travel to/from the school.

Please remember to keep itemized original receipts for all expenditures that you make as part of the GRASSHOPR program. For transportation expenses, keep any relevant public transportation receipts. If you are using your personal vehicle, you do not need gas receipts; instead, you will use google maps to record the total distance, and will be reimbursed based on total mileage.

GRASSHOPR is a program of the Public Service Center. Funding comes from the Center to support Graduate students that have been selected and are working in collaboration with teachers to provide enrichment programs to local K-12 students. As a program of the Public Service Center, GRASSHOPR is eligible for tax-exempt status. When purchasing supplies for your class, use the tax-exempt form (sent via email). This applies to all future purchases. If you are purchasing supplies online, please ask vendors for tax-exemption, and email them the tax-exempt form or fill out the appropriate online form. If an online vendor refuses to acknowledge our tax-exempt status, please keep the request documentation (i.e. email) to hand in with your receipts at the end of the year.

Submit the reimbursement form with receipts through campus mail to 300 Kennedy Hall .


Participants are only required to teach their mini-course to one class, although some participants may have the option to teach their course to multiple groups of students, which can be a great way to hone teaching skills. If you only want to teach one class, teachers who have more than one cohort of students will need to select one of their classes to participate. If you are willing to teach multiple classes, which may require spending the entire day at your placement school on lesson days, an increased reimbursement can be provided. If you choose to teach to multiple class cohorts, then you will repeat each of your lessons over multiple class periods; however, you must still have 3 to 5 unique lessons.