Education Outreach

Free tools for distance learning

The Allen Institute is known for our commitment to open science – sharing our data and analysis tools freely with the scientific community. In addition to the research applications, our resources can help educators provide real-world and cutting-edge science experiences for their students.

Our free, ready-to-use lesson plans and other classroom resources are geared towards educators teaching at the high school and college level. Explore virtual events for educators and for students, turnkey virtual labs, and other resources that bring our open science resources to your classroom.

We’re here to help: post in our Allen Brain Map Community Forum or Allen Cell Discussion Forum, or email us at communications@alleninstitute.org.

Statement on Racial Equity and Social Justice for Education

The Allen Institute is committed to bringing principles of racial equity and social justice to all we do. We recognize that teaching how to administer and explore science often depends on access to labs, people and resources that are not equitably available, and that Black students and other students of color are disproportionately likely to lack. Our education programming provides access to research and administrative experiences while supporting the growth and development of a diverse next generation of future leaders in the world of science.

In our webinar series for educators and students, go behind the scenes of science to meet the professionals who make our research possible and get a glimpse of the many different careers in science. These free events are open to whole classes of students in the format of an interview with our staff and interactive discussion where students can ask questions and learn about what it takes to do cutting-edge research.

Learn more and register


Join our webinar series for educators, The Virtual Science Lab, to learn how to use the Allen Institute's open data in your classes. These free webinars introduce selected open data and tools from the Allen Institute and demonstrate lessons and virtual experiments using our data for high school and college-level educators.

Learn more and register


Lesson plans

Start incorporating the Allen Institute's open resources into your classroom with these free lesson plans that guide students through selected datasets and tools.

The Building Blocks of the Brain

This unit helps advance students’ understanding of neuroanatomy and genetics in the brain with real data, and drives students to evaluate types of data, data interpretation, and experimental design.

Grade level:
AP/IB/Honors Biology, any grade, or introductory level college

Lesson Materials

Mitosis and Microscopy

This unit helps advance students’ understanding of mitosis with real data, and drives students to evaluate types of data, data interpretation, and experimental design.

Grade level:

Lesson Materials

Exploring Pathways in the Brain

This unit helps advance students’ understanding of neuroanatomy, explores the relationship between gene expression and brain region function, and guides students through developing their own experimental questions about brain connectivity.

Grade level:
College neuroscience, sections progress from introductory to advanced levels

Lesson Materials

Videos and links to our data resources popular for teaching cell biology are also available at allencell.org.

Open Science: Featured Resources by Educators

Educators across the world are using open resources from the Allen Institute in their classrooms. We’ve selected some of our favorites to share.


Open course material and Python notebooks: Data science with the Allen Brain Atlas

These open course materials using resources from the Allen Institute for Brain Science range in scope from virtual experiments that last a single class period through a full-term data science course. Some Python experience is highly recommended.

Created by Ashley Juavinett of the University of California, San Diego.

Grade level:
College neuroscience and data science

All lessons

Data Science Course

A virtual laboratory on cell division using a publicly-available image database

This open lesson provides tools for faculty to teach mitosis using Allen institute for Cell Science cell images, and incorporates statistics and data analysis. Students quantify the amount of time it takes a cell to progress through the stages of mitosis using cell images.

Created by Eric Shelden of Washington State University.

Grade level:
College cell biology

Lesson Materials

View Webinar

ASCB article: Office Hours with EdComm

This article from the American Society for Cell Biology provides guidance and resources for faculty moving their instruction online in response to COVID-19. Among the featured resources is a pre-publication case study lesson using several Allen Cell Explorer resources.

Created by Carlos Goller of North Carolina State University.

Grade level:
College cell biology

Read article

View Case Study

Have you developed an open resource for educators using Allen Institute data? Email us at communications@alleninstitute.org to share your resource and tell us about your experience.


More resources

Posters for your classroom

Sign up to request a free poster for your classroom, and keep up to date with research and resources from the Allen Institute.

Allen Institute non-essential staff are currently working remotely due to COVID-19, but we're still open for science. Requested posters will be shipped when we return. Please explore this page for online resources that may assist with distance learning of science.

Please email us or contact us on Twitter or Facebook with questions about how to implement virtual experiments in your class.

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Educator favorites

Learn more about our research with these favorite resources for educators.



We want to hear from you. Email us with feedback on our lesson plans and photos of the posters in your classroom.