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Explainer: what’s the difference between STEM and STEAM?

The Conversation – Bronwen Wade-Leeuwen, Jessica Vovers, Melissa Silk

“STEM represents science, technology, engineering and maths. “STEAM” represents STEM plus the arts – humanities, language arts, dance, drama, music, visual arts, design and new media. The main difference between STEM and STEAM is STEM explicitly focuses on scientific concepts. STEAM investigates the same concepts, but does this through inquiry and problem-based learning methods used in the creative process. ” (more)

Benefits Of 529 Education Accounts Expanded Under 2017 Tax Reform

Forbes – Bob Carlson

“In a 529 savings plan, you contribute money to an account and name a beneficiary, usually one of your children or grandchildren. The money in the account is invested, and the income and gains compound tax free. Some plans let you choose how the account is invested from among mutual funds selected by the plan sponsor. In other plans, the sponsor decides how the money is invested or allows you to choose from several diversified portfolios it manages.” (more)

Startup program connects dots between what students are learning in school, entrepreneurial verve

Education Dive – Lauren Barack

“As more people enter the so-called gig economy, working freelance for corporations and essentially running their own small businesses, learning entrepreneurial tools are growing into crucial skills. Not everyone is going to start a $547-billion internet-based social tool out of their dorm room like Mark Zuckerberg. But entrepreneurial skills are more than learning how to launch a startup success. It’s really about teaching people how to get up each time their idea fails with enough energy and verve to start again, as Steve Jobs did in 1985 after getting fired from Apple, the company he founded.” (more)

How instruction changes brain circuitry with struggling readers

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“The early years are when the brain develops the most, forming neural connections that pave the way for how a child — and the eventual adult — will express feelings, embark on a task, and learn new skills and concepts. Scientists have even theorized that the anatomical structure of neural connections forms the basis for how children identify letters and recognize words. In other words, the brain’s architecture may predetermine who will have trouble with reading, including children with dyslexia.” (more)

Why parents struggle with Common Core math: “The diagrams are absolutely insane.”

The Mercury News – Karen D’Souza

“The good old days of memorizing math formulas or multiplication tables are gone. Instead, Common Core math requires students to show how they reason their way to the right answer. As a result, many parents say homework is far more complicated than it used to be. For example, the right answer to 3×5 isn’t just 15 anymore, as one popular social media post noted. It’s 3+3+3+3+3. And it’s 5+5+5. The new methods leave many parents baffled.” (more)

Early Language Key to School Success

Language Magazine – Kim Echart

“Language, in other words, supports academic and social success, says Amy Pace, an assistant professor in the University of Washington Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, which led the study, published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly. The study was the first to look at a comprehensive set of school readiness skills and to try to determine which, of all of them, is the most solid predictor of a child’s later success. Language—the ability to fluidly learn words and to string them together into sentences—was the hands-down winner, said co-author Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, director of the Infant Language Laboratory at Temple University.” (more)