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How to use engineering practices for more effective STEM learning

E-School News – PJ Boardman

“‘What if schools could offer a different approach to STEM education that provided students with truly immersive learning opportunities?” That question came to Ethan Berman, founder of i2 Learning, after the experience of his nine-year old daughter, who liked school but loved solving problems and making things with her own hands, especially, as she put it, “if it was something useful.” That was what inspired Berman to found Boston STEM Week, which just concluded its second successful year by replacing the usual curriculum for the more than 6,000 students and 300 teachers across 37 Boston middle schools. During this week, schools replace their usual curriculum with projects aimed at building lunar colonies, creating interactive monsters, designing digital games, and practicing surgical techniques.”(more)

New project hopes to learn which pre-K experiences lead to later school success

Education Dive – Linda Jacobson

Four-year-olds in Massachusetts are more likely to attend formal early-childhood education programs, such as Head Start or a pre-K class, than 3-year-olds, according to the early results of a new longitudinal early education study from researchers at Harvard University. The findings, from a household survey, could suggest that more options are open to 4-year-olds or that parents are more motivated to enroll their children in preschool the year prior to kindergarten, the researchers say. Three-year-olds are just as likely to spend time in center-based programs as they are informal settings, such as friend, relative and neighbor care; a family child-care home; or at home with a parent.”(more)

OPINION: Seven traits of Massachusetts’ most effective classrooms

The Hechinger Report – Edward Moscovitch

“As the new school year approaches, I have been thinking about some of the high-performance, high-expectations schools in which I’ve been privileged to work. What is particularly striking is that these schools, public elementary and middle schools across Massachusetts, are truly joyful places; you can see it in the enthusiasm of the students and the smiles of their teachers!.”(more)

Eye On Education: Harvard Study Aims To Strengthen Preschool Learning

CBS Boston – Paula Ebben

“When it comes to preschool, by now we know early learning can make a big difference but not all preschools are the same. Harvard researchers are conducting a first-of-its kind study that could change and strengthen the quality of early childhood education across the country. It is all thanks to the generosity of an Oscar Award-winning Hollywood film producer, the late Saul Zaentz.”(more)

Hate math? Maybe you didn’t learn it ‘joyfully’

The Lowell Sun – Alana Melanson

“Math might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “joyful,” but Matthew Beyranevand is trying to change that. The Chelmsford Public Schools math curriculum coordinator, known for his “Math with Matthew” show and fun math music videos, is taking on a new medium: books. On July 1, publisher Rowman & Littlefield released Beyranevand’s first of three books that seek to change attitudes around how math is taught and learned.”(more)

Students See A New World With More Accurate Maps

KQED News Mind/Shift – Colin Dwyer

“Students throughout Boston are getting a radically different view of the world, one laminated 24-by-36-inch sheet of paper at a time. Beginning last Thursday, Boston Public Schools administrators have been sending social studies teachers in the second, seventh and 11th grades new maps for their classrooms — depictions that more accurately portray the sizes of Earth’s continents. When many people picture a map of the world, what they’re probably thinking of is a Mercator projection, a representation that despite its apparent distortions has been around more than 400 years. It’s that map that hangs in most classrooms throughout the U.S., including those in Boston.”(more)