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Holiday Gift Guide — For Your Favorite STEM Student: 9 Fun Toys That Also Teach Science, Engineering, and Computing

The 74 Million – Tim Newcomb

“What sort of gifts do teachers wish for for their students? This holiday season, STEM is the big draw — and not just computer-science-related toys, but also simple games involving blocks that can lay the groundwork for coding skills. Here are some of the top educational gifts for the budding scientists, engineers, and mathematicians in your life, courtesy of Project Lead the Way, a nonprofit that promotes K-12 STEM education:.”(more)

3 ways of leveraging STEM expertise for ed tech success

Education Dive – Shalina Chatlani

“When it comes to successful integration of technology — whether it’s a new learning management system across multiple campuses or video capture tools in the classroom — poor implementation or haphazard rollout can end up costing the institution more than the initial investment. Recently, for example, the state of Washington paid $2.6 million to settle a dispute after it canceled a contract with an ed tech company following its inability to effectively install a computer software program.”(more)

Report: STEM Degrees Rise, but Disparities Remain

The U.S. News and World Report – Claire Hansen

“Despite modest gains in degree attainment in science, technology, engineering and math, women and minorities remain grossly underrepresented in the fields, according to a new report out Wednesday. Women are also less likely to enter STEM occupations after earning a STEM degree as are blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans, according to the report, which was prepared by the RAND corporation and commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute, a trade association with over 625 members in the oil and natural gas field. The report analyzes broad STEM degree attainment and employment trends, and pays specific attention those in the the oil and natural gas sector.”(more)

4 ways to improve STEM professional development

E-School News – Mary Leonard and Dominic Piscitelli

“In Charlotte County Public Schools (CCPS), all 10 of our elementary schools have a STEM lab. As early as kindergarten, students begin engaging in hands-on learning and exploring STEM careers. Yet, even with regular visits to the STEM lab throughout elementary school, our fifth graders struggled on the Florida Statewide Science Assessment. Another challenge was that our teachers didn’t have a defined STEM curriculum that was uniformly applied to all elementary STEM labs.”(more)

The Great Gingerbread House Project

Edutopia – Jeannie Curtis

“The weeks leading up to winter break can be a challenging time to keep kids motivated at school. It can feel like you lose precious teaching time because they’re distracted and anxious for the holidays to begin. A weeklong hands-on, cumulative math project may be just what you need to keep them engaged and thinking right up to the break. One project I love to do with fourth graders is the Great Gingerbread House Project, a mix of review and new content. It keeps kids’ minds active until the last day of the school term. The balance of old and new math works because the project is so hands on that students can see connections between previous understanding and new challenges.”(more)

STEM education develops children’s skill sets to make them ‘future-proof’ in employment market

The South China Morning Post – Staff Writer

“Parents often wonder and rightly so, if STEM education is just the traditional education in science and mathematics with a new name. Traditionally maths skills are needed in science: engineering is applied maths and science: technology is a generic term that covers a wide range of science and engineering skills. Universities and colleges have traditionally been the domain of teaching engineering. Given all of this, then curriculum design in schools has to lead to something more than the sum of the individual parts. Integration of teaching and learning allows students to use combinations of skills and is a useful direction.”(more)