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3 Reasons Why Studying STEM is Cool

KRIS TV – Staff Writer

“Have you ever wondered how websites are created or how bridges are built? Or perhaps you’ve always wanted to become an astronaut and fly to Mars. Then you should consider attending a STEM-focused school. STEM curriculum concentrates on four main areas of study: science, technology, engineering and math. Coursework is integrated and interdisciplinary. So rather than address each subject separately, courses bring these disciplines together for a cohesive learning experience. Science and math often get characterized as dull, dry subjects, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.”(more)

Beware the Iconography Trap of Personalized Learning: Rigor Matters

Education Next – Betheny Gross

“My colleague and I recently visited a middle school science classroom. Students, outfitted with safety glasses, were organized into groups of three to four. The room was lively but not disorderly as each group worked on its own experiment. As we walked the perimeter of the room, we saw many of the hallmarks of a personalized learning (PL) classroom: small groups worked independently, each worked on an activity that they had chosen, the teacher engaged with small groups of students. But when I asked a group of students about their project, I learned that their task was to mimic the rising and setting of the sun using a light bulb and tray of sand. They were asked to compare the temperature of a tray of sand with the light bulb turned on or off and consider the implications for the surface temperature of the earth. These students knew exactly how this experiment would pan out before they even started.”(more)

Boeing gives $6 million to boost tech skills of Washington students

The Seattle Times – Katherine Long

“Boeing is giving $6 million to a wide-ranging group of nonprofits and education institutions throughout the state in an effort to boost tech training and skills. The company is aiming to reach a diverse group of high school and college students, many of whom historically haven’t pursued STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. In a phone interview Wednesday, Boeing CEO Ray Conner said the company wants to provide opportunities for tech jobs to a generation that’s growing more racially and ethnically diverse. “We’re trying to reach out to the population that has been a little bit underserved over the course of time,” he said.”(more)

STEM education: Not just for the next Neil Armstrong

The Hill – Rep. Randy Hultgren

“”I think I knew as a little girl that I was addicted to the stars and the universe and trying to understand it.”
“I’ve been lucky to have a number of mentors. … For me some of the most exciting [lectures] were on neutron stars, these spinning pulsars.”
“High school teachers were really important. Also my parents — my father always challenged me [with] all kinds of math quizzes.”
This is what some of the top astrophysicists in the world told the Committee on Science, Space and Technology when I asked how they began their journey and were inspired to become scientists. The common thread among all of them? Early, inspiring experiences followed up by relevant school subjects and caring mentors and educators that sparked their interest and gave them a vision of something bigger out there to explore. STEM education — those key subjects of science, technology, engineering and math — was central to their journeys. Yet science and math education isn’t just about building the foundation for a career in research medicine, architecture, space exploration or startup technologies. It’s about learning basic problem-solving.”(more)

What High Tech Urban Farms Can Teach Kids About Tinkering

KQED News Mind/Shift – Chris Berdik

“On the cramped urban campus of Boston Latin School, high-school students grow an acre’s worth of vegetables in an old shipping container that’s been transformed into a computer-controlled hydroponic farm. Using a wall-mounted keyboard or a mobile app, the student farmers can monitor their crops, tweak the climate, make it rain and schedule every ultraviolet sunrise. In a few decades, nine billion people will crowd our planet, and the challenge of sustainably feeding everybody has sparked a boom in high-tech farming that is now budding up in schools. These farms offer hands-on learning about everything from plant physiology to computer science, along with insights into the complexities and controversies of sustainability. The school farms are also incubators, joining a larger online community of farm hackers.”(more)

Feng: Success bubbles up when science moves from the lab to the community

The Calgary Herald – Patrick Feng

“The relationship between science and the public has sometimes been a rocky one. While surveys show the public generally views scientists in high regard, there remains concern in some quarters about the public’s understanding of science. Worries about getting more students into science and engineering, and public controversies over topics such as climate change and water fluoridation feed the nagging suspicion among some that the public is not interested in science. Last week’s highly successful Beakerhead shows this is not the case. Well over 50,000 people attended the five-day “smash up of art, science and engineering,” making it one of the city’s largest annual events. Not bad for an idea that started only four years ago. Moreover, Calgarians’ enthusiastic response to Beakerhead shows that public interest in science is high, especially if science is served up in something other than a boring lecture.”(more)