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Can Hot Wheels Change the Way We Teach STEM?

Education Next – Morgan S. Polikoff

“Curriculum and standards are key research topics for Morgan Polikoff, a University of Southern California professor and FutureEd senior fellow. So when Mattel’s philanthropic arm approached him and his research partners about developing curriculum to teach science standards using Mattel’s Hot Wheels cars and tracks, they were in. The researchers developed a hands-on curriculum and professional development lessons teaching basic physics using the popular toys, then conducted a randomized controlled trial in about 60 fourth-grade classrooms in a California school district comparing student learning under the project-based and traditional textbook based instruction over three weeks. FutureEd recently talked with Polikoff about the project, known as Speedometry.”(more)

In elementary education, ‘doing science’ rather than just memorizing it

PBS NewsHour – John Tulenko

“The battle over Common Core education standards is playing out across the country, but a new set of requirements for teaching science is creeping into curricula without the same fanfare. Some states are voluntarily adopting the practices, which emphasize more consistent science instruction as well as hands-on experimentation…”(more)

Don’t Just Talk About Science With Your Kids, DO Science With Your Kids

Forbes – Chad Orzel

“…science doesn’t have to be complicated…The most important thing kids, and adults for that matter, can get from science is not a set of facts, but a mindset: the idea that questions about the world have answers, and that you can find those answers through careful thinking and empirical testing. The best way to develop that is not just talking about science, but through actually going through the process when the opportunity presents itself…You’re not likely to make any earth-shattering discoveries this way, but you’ll help kids build a mindset that will set them up for future success, in STEM careers or basically any other path they want to pursue. The scientific reasoning process is the most powerful tool we have for figuring out how the world works and using that knowledge to our advantage. And it’s a tool all of us can (and do) use, regardless of age or available resources. So when you have the chance, don’t just talk about science facts with your kids, get out and do some science.”(more)

3 Reasons to Enroll Your Student in a STEM Program

KOAA – Staff Writer

“Does your student love learning how things work? Is he all about dinosaurs, space or computers? Or perhaps she’s a math wizard with a passion for numbers? If so, you should consider enrolling your child in a STEM program. STEM programs are focused on four educational areas: science, technology, engineering and math. They’re sometimes also referred to as STEAM to include the arts. “STEM or STEAM programs integrate of a lot of different content areas with the overarching philosophy of kids as explorers,” explains Linda Sanders, science coordinator for Colorado Springs School District 11. “They typically involve a lot of hands-on activities, where questions and answers aren’t given and students create their own authentic questions and do investigations.””(more)

Students have fun with math, science at robotics fair

The Sante Fe New Mexican – Robert Nott

“Robotic vehicles overran the gym at El Camino Real Academy on Thursday morning as eighth-graders at the south-side school used their math and science skills to program them to start, stop and turn…About 100 students at El Camino Real, divided into 26 teams, took part in the six-hour robotics fair…The idea, as robotics adviser Russ Fisher-Ives explained, is to see the robots as tools, not toys, and to develop creative-thinking skills among students while allowing them to have fun with math and science concepts…The robots let kids connect the math equation to real-world experiences…“This is all about getting the kids excited about STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] and STEM-based initiatives,” said El Camino Real Academy Assistant Principal Kristy Dillingham.”(more)

New tech program would push hands-on learning to give teens real-world skills

The Washington Post – Moriah Balingit

“At a busy, sprawling campus in Arlington, students are learning how to be car mechanics, physical therapists, emergency medical technicians, chefs, cybersecurity specialists and engineers — all while they are still in high school. The Arlington Career Center hosts a variety of programs aimed at getting students ready for the workforce immediately after high school and giving them a head start for careers they might train for in college…“It’s project-based learning, and the academics are anchored in career-technical education,” said Margaret Chung, principal of the career center. The program is designed to give students a taste of various career and technical education programs during their first year in high school…Students also would take all their core academic courses at the school, including English and history, but Chung is urging teachers to collaborate and formulate lessons that reach across all disciplines.”(more)