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David Houggy: The case for STEM education

The Aspen Times – David Houggy

“Imagine … the United States is a global economic and military superpower, leading the world in developing new industries, creating jobs, inventing new products and services, and breaking ground in all manner of scientific areas, including technology, biology, genetics, medicine, space travel and more. We have figured out how to put a man on the moon and bring him back. We have a higher concentration of scientists and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) professionals than any other country in the world — by a large margin. Our universities are unparalleled in the world, and our youth rank No. 1 in math and science among all developed countries. The economy is booming, growing at over 5 percent annually, we are exporting products and services all over the globe, and have a negative trade balance.”(more)

The Asian century is gaining momentum: universities must prepare

The Guardian – Matt Durnin

“Amidst the handwringing over the effect of Brexit on the UK’s universities, we need to contemplate our place in a future global economy driven by technology and innovation. From where will the most important discoveries of the coming decades emerge? Which countries and cities will give birth to the technologies, cures and ideas that will shape our future? China spends five times that of the UK on R&D each year. For universities hoping to build or maintain their position as global leaders in innovation and enterprise, China is hard to overlook as an option.”(more)

Why Math Is the Best Way to Make Sense of the World

Wired – Ariel Bleicher

“When Rebecca Goldin spoke to a recent class of incoming freshmen at George Mason University, she relayed a disheartening statistic: According to a recent study, 36 percent of college students don’t significantly improve in critical thinking during their four-year tenure. “These students had trouble distinguishing fact from opinion, and cause from correlation,” Goldin explained.”(more)

The next generation of science education means more doing

The Hechinger Report – Tara García Mathewson

“Five groups of high school students worked around tables in Vielca Anglin’s science classroom on a recent afternoon at City-As-School in New York City. They had half-liter water bottles in front of them and a range of materials including pebbles, soil, rice, marbles, scouring pads and gauze. Their task: create a gravity-driven water filtration system that gets dirty water as clean as possible. It was up to them to decide what materials to use and in what order.”(more)

Mouldy cheese and minibeasts: tips for teaching science in primary schools

The Guardian – Hilary Leevers

“Scientific investigation develops flexible thinking and problem-solving abilities, alongside more obvious science-specific skills and knowledge. Yet science is taught relatively little in UK primary schools (typically for one hour and 24 minutes a week compared with an international average of two hours a week for OECD countries). It also receives much less attention than English and maths. According to new research from the Wellcome Trust, part of the reason is that its perceived importance is comparatively low: more than eight in 10 teachers say that maths (84%) and English (83%) are “very important” to the senior leadership team of their school, compared to just three in ten (30%) when it comes to science. In addition, it may have something to do with the fact that schools are not held to account for science provision in the same way as they are for English and maths.”(more)

Bringing science and engineering stories to life for students

PRI – Julia Franz

“How about a little news? That’s the idea behind the Science Friday Educator Collaborative, now in its second year. Seven teachers around the country are designing curiosity-provoking science, technology, engineering and mathematics resources for anyone to use, based on stories from Science Friday. Stacy George, who teaches STEM to elementary schoolchildren in Hawaii, pulled together a guide for observing the shape of bee honeycombs that was inspired by an article on Science Friday’s website. “The lesson actually started from the students,” she says, who were afraid of the honeybees they encountered while watering the school’s garden, “and so they would throw buckets of water from 5 feet away.”(more)