Curious Minds
Follow
Find
1.5K views | +0 today
Curious Minds
Dedicated to the art and science of inquiry-based learning.
Curated by News Editor
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by News Editor
Scoop.it!

Food for Thought: Teaching Teachers About the Brain

Food for Thought: Teaching Teachers About the Brain | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

How's this for a useful application of science: An interesting post by Dr. Judy Willis in Edutopia makes the case for teachers having a foundation in neuroscience.  A neurologist herself, as well as a teacher, Dr. Willis says, "Teachers who are prepared with knowledge of the workings of the brain will have the optimism, incentive and motivation to follow the ongoing research, and to apply their findings to the classroom."  She goes on to say, "These teachers can help all children build their brain potential -- regardless of past performance -- bridge the achievement gap, and reach their highest 21st century potential starting now."  Dr. Willis's argument makes good sense.  As she points out, if teachers understood the impact of stress on a student's classroom performance, or knew more about how the brain processes and stores information, wouldn't such knowledge have great potential to result in a better classroom experience for all students?

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by News Editor
Scoop.it!

Rest in Peace, Sally Ride

Rest in Peace, Sally Ride | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

Science has lost one of its brightest stars, as trailblazing astronaut Sally Ride died peacefully yesterday at the age of 61.

Becoming a household name in 1983 as the first woman to fly in space, Sally later championed the cause of inspiring young children -- girls, in particular -- to pursue their interests in science. She founded Sally Ride Science, a science education company dedicated to supporting girls’ and boys’ STEM interests. The company's school programs, classroom materials, and teacher trainings aim to "bring science to life to show kids that science is creative, collaborative, fascinating, and fun." Programs include the Sally Ride Science Academy, Science Festivals, and Science Camps.

Sally Ride's brilliance, strength, and integrity make her an inspirational role model for new generations of scientists.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by News Editor
Scoop.it!

Balloon-Borne Solar Space Imager Gets NASA Training Award

Balloon-Borne Solar Space Imager Gets NASA Training Award | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

Researchers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center have earned a prestigious honor -- the Hands-On Project Experience (HOPE) Training Opportunity award -- that promotes achievement among America's newest ranks of space scientists and engineers. The project, "High Energy Replicated Optics to Explore the Sun" (HEROES), is a scientific balloon built with the capability of soaring to an altitude of about 25 miles. At that distance into the Earth's stratosphere, HEROES will study solar flares with its x-ray telescope when the sun is shining, and then look at the stars at night.  "HEROES will provide the most sensitive hard X-ray observations of the sun captured to date, and will pave the way for this technology to be used on a future satellite mission," said Steven Christe of the Goddard Center.  NASA's HOPE awards allow NASA scientists with limited flight-project experience to run with a mission from concept to launch and then through post-flight analysis.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by News Editor
Scoop.it!

How to Fix Computer Science Education

How to Fix Computer Science Education | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

The tech sector is booming and growing fast. With its promise of ample opportunity and high salaries, it seems like a logical direction for STEM-savvy students to pursue. However, according to a recent article in Time magazine, the U.S. education system is doing a sub-par job of training students for computer science careers.

While most STEM fields have seen an uptick in growth over the past two decades, computer science stands alone as having experienced a drop in student participation over the same period of time. This country's large, change-averse education system may be a big part of the problem. Despite its increasing relevance in the world into which today's students are graduating, computer science hasn't made its way into most -- or even many -- classrooms in a meaningful way. Having appeared on the scene relatively recently, computer science hasn't yet taken root as a core course in the vast majority of districts.

So what's it going to take to turn the tide and integrate computer science more completely into K-12 education? "If educators want to scale up their cause, they’re going to need to create a national framework," according to the TIME article. The Computer Science Education Act, introduced by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), could be a step in the right direction.
Read more about it here.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by News Editor
Scoop.it!

The Vital Role of Parents in Students' STEM Pursuits

An often overlooked force for good in the battle to increase students' pursuit of STEM subjects? Their parents.

 

A recent study from the Association for Psychological Science (APS) revealed that targeting parents with information about the importance of STEM education in high school boosted enrollment of students in related courses.  Encouragement from parents is particularly important in the last two years of high school, when many advanced math and science courses are optional. 

 

The APS study showed that parental understanding of the impact of their children's high school course selections on their college -- and later, career -- paths resulted in more informed oversight of their students' course choices.  The study consisted of nothing more than a modest information campaign, targeting the same group of parents with brochures at two points in their children's high school career, suggesting that tapping parental influence is surprisingly easy.  “Although some people question whether parents wield any influence, we think of parents as an untapped resource,” said lead study author Judith Harackiewicz. “This study shows that it is possible to help parents help their teens make academic choices that will prepare them for the future.”

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by News Editor
Scoop.it!

Misconceptions About Teaching Math & Science

Misconceptions About Teaching Math & Science | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

Consider this sobering statement, made by Bill Gates in 2005: "When I compare our high schools to what I see when I’m traveling abroad, I am terrified for our workforce of tomorrow."  Headline after headline proclaims that STEM education in the US is broken.  But what, in fact, is really wrong with it?

 

A recent article in Slate tackles that question by uncovering five common myths and misconceptions that present barriers to STEM education reform.  

 

Myth #1: "American schools have deteriorated in the past 30 or 40 years, as demonstrated by our poor performance on international assessments of math and science achievement. We need to restore American elementary and secondary education to their previous glory."  Slate takes the viewpoint that, far from having deteriorated, the American education system wasn't all that great in the first place.  "Incorrectly believing that American students used to excel hampers our reform efforts," the article points out. "It makes the challenge of improving STEM education seem easier than it is."

 

Read on to consider the four other myths that Slate puts forth in this interesting article.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by News Editor
Scoop.it!

A Dollhouse Wired to Teach Girls Science

A Dollhouse Wired to Teach Girls Science | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

Here's a novel idea: a dollhouse complete with assembly-required furniture and working circuit boards.  The goal, of course, is to reach girls where they live, so to speak, and encourage an early interest in math and science.  The project, called "Roominate," is the brain child of three women who met as master's students at Stanford University. Noting the significant gender imbalance in their classes, Alice Brooks, Bettina Chen, and Jennifer Kessler cast their minds back to their own childhoods -- and the gender-neutral toys that entertained them.  Alice Brooks' father gave her a saw, for example.  The trio launched a Kickstarter campaign, which has raised more than $85,000, far surpassing the $25,000 funding goal they had set.  Look for Roominate soon for your future scientist in museums and online!

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by News Editor
Scoop.it!

The Role of Community Colleges in STEM Success

Community colleges are emerging as an ever more important piece of the STEM education puzzle. Speaking at the 2012 U.S. News STEM Solutions Summit, Uri Treisman, math professor at University of Texas-Austin, said, "A 10, 15 percent increase in [STEM degree] completion would solve our national problem."  One challenge in getting to that level of increase lies in the disconnect between high school STEM programs and university-level expectations.  Positioned between these two entities, community colleges have the potential to provide skills that are lacking among recent high school graduates and prepare them for the rigors of college-level STEM programs. 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by News Editor
Scoop.it!

MA State Science Fair Winner Pursues Dreams as Intern at UMass Medical School

MA State Science Fair Winner Pursues Dreams as Intern at UMass Medical School | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

Fifteen-year-old Rahi Punjabi has had an exciting year. His research on the efficacy of garlic in reducing bacterial infection in patients with cystic fibrosis won him first-place honors at the Massachusetts State High School Science & Engineering Fair in May.  The same project nabbed a fourth place at the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair, and led to a coveted opportunity for Rahi to participate in the 2012 National BioGENEius Challenge earlier this week. 

Rahi had the chutzpah early in the course of his research to contact researchers at UMass Medical School to inquire about working in their labs during his school vacations. Dr. Beth McCormick, professor of microbiology and physiological systems, felt compelled by his email.  "One of the reasons I’m in academia is to encourage those who show an interest in science,” she said. “Because he obviously showed such talent, I thought I would be doing him and the Medical School a disservice if I didn’t try to help him achieve his goals and nurture his abilities.”  Rahi will work as an intern at UMass Medical School labs this summer.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by News Editor
Scoop.it!

MA State High School Science Fair Standouts Compete in BioGENEius Challenge

MA State High School Science Fair Standouts Compete in BioGENEius Challenge | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

Two high school students who entered outstanding projects into this year's Massachusetts State High School Science & Enginnering Fair (May 3-5 at MIT) will compete in this weekend's BioGENEius Challenge in Boston.  According to Suzanne Grillo of MassBioEd -- a local partner of the BioGENEius Challenge, "The BioGENEius Challenge is the premier competition for high school students inspired to excel in the field of biotechnology."

 

Rahi Punjabi, a sophomore at Marlborough's Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School, will showcase his project, "The Role of Garlic in Attenuating Pseudomonas Infection."  He discovered that a therapy combining garlic with tobramycin could benefit patients with cystic fibrosis.

 

Oliver Dodd, a senior at Needham High School will compete in the BioGENEius Challenge with his project called "Cancer Growth Regulators."  Oliver studied how the release of naturally occurring proteins in platelets may be manipulated to starve tumors.

 

Rahi and Oliver will be among 37 students from 11 states competing at the BIO Convention on Sunday (6/17).  If they advance from the first round of judging, the international competition awaits on Monday, June 18th.  Good luck to both of these amazing young scientists!

 

 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by News Editor
Scoop.it!

About SciArt

The projects from around the world that made it into this year's Intel International Science & Engineering Fair are outstanding examples of student innovation. Through its SciArt Series, Intel added a dimension to the students' scientific breakthroughs by inviting artists to represent them through original pieces of art. Take a look at the beauty that Intel discovered at the intersection of art and science.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by News Editor
Scoop.it!

STEM Sells in the Law School Admissions Game

Thinking about applying to law school? An undergrad degree in a STEM subject is a selling point these days. While the typical law school applicant of a decade or so had a humanities or poli sci background, today's recruit is more likely to have a grounding in the sciences.  Driven by the tremendous growth in technology, the trend in law school admissions is yet another sign of the rapidly increading importance of STEM in the job market of tomorrow.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by News Editor
Scoop.it!

BIO Buzz: Two Massachusetts Students to Compete in BioGENEius Challenge

BIO Buzz: Two Massachusetts Students to Compete in BioGENEius Challenge | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

Oliver Dodd of Needham High School and Rahi Punjabi of Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School are headed to the 2012 BIO International Convention BioGENEius Challenge! The talented science students won accolades for the projects they entered into the Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair in early May. 

 

Rahi, a tenth-grader, took first-place honors at the state fair for his biology project, "The Role of Garlic in Attenuating Pseudomonas Infection."  He concluded that garlic, in combination with tobramycin, could be a viable cystic fibrosis therapy.

 

Eleventh grader Oliver Dodd's project, "Cancer Growth Regulators," focused on an investigation of how naturally occurring proteins in platelets are released, and how the release may be altered to starve tumors. Like Rahi, Oliver won a first-place award at the Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair.

 

MSSEF worked with MassBioEd, a partner of the BioGENEius Challenge to recruit Massachusetts participants for the BioGENEius competition.   Oliver and Rahi will join winners of other state science fairs for the US National BioGENEius Challenge on June 17th.  Winners will go on to compete on the international level on the 18th.  Best of luck to Oliver and Rahi!

 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by News Editor
Scoop.it!

17-Year-Old Builds Artificial ‘Brain’ to Detect Breast Cancer

17-Year-Old Builds Artificial ‘Brain’ to Detect Breast Cancer | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

Brittany Wenger, a 17-year-old science whiz from Florida, has taken the Google Science Fair's top prize with her invention of an artificial brain with an uncanny ability to diagnose breast cancer. "I taught the computer how to diagnose breast cancer," Brittany said. "And this is really important because currently the least invasive form of biopsy is actually the least conclusive, so a lot of doctors can't use them."

Brittany's articicial neural network is a computer program coded to do turbo-charged brain-like thinking, in this case, with the power to detect complex patterns.  She built it with Java, deployed it in the cloud, and ran more than 7 million trials.  The accuracy of artificial neural networks improves with use.  Brittany brought her project to the point of having a greater than 99 percent sensitivity to malignancy.  “It will require a little bit of coding and tweaking, but it would be very easy to adapt it so it could diagnose other types of cancer and potentially other medical problems,” Brittany said.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by News Editor
Scoop.it!

How to: Inquiry | YouthLearn

How to: Inquiry | YouthLearn | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

Since you are reading this blog, you are probably already "sold" on the concept of inquiry-based learning -- or interested in it, at the very least.  Far from being a completely unstructured form of education, inquiry-based learning requires that a teacher do significant advance planning in order to achieve optimal results in the classroom.  Guiding student exploration and discovery is critical to the success of inquiry learning. 

 

A post on the YouthLearn site concisely identifies some important components to inquiry-based learning, stressing the necessity of planning, as well as delving into the inquiry process in detail. It's a great article for experienced teachers as well as those new to using inquiry in the classroom.  Read it here:

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by News Editor
Scoop.it!

Obama Proposes STEM Master Teacher Corps

Obama Proposes STEM Master Teacher Corps | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

A $1 billion plan announced by President Obama yesterday would provide for the creation of a corps of exemplary "master teachers" in STEM subjects who would lend their expertise to mentoring other teachers in all 50 states. In exchange, each teacher would receive a salary boost of $20,000 annually. The program would begin with 50 master teachers, building up to 10,000 in four years. Master teachers, who would be identified and selected through a competitive process, would need to demonstrate superior content knowledge and proven effectiveness in teaching STEM subjects, among other criteria.  "We need to be sure that we’re identifying the master teachers on the basis of demonstrable results rather than experience or credentials," said Thomas Kane, professor of education and economics at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by News Editor
Scoop.it!

The Creative Side of Science

When the subject turns to engineering, too many students' eyes glaze over. But far from being a boring subject, many engineering fields require vast amounts of creativity. 

An article in yesterday's Albuquerque Journal makes the point that students need to get the full picture of engineering, and realize that it's about creating new things.  “In a survey of teens, we find that they have high regard for engineering as a profession, but don’t know what engineers do or how much they make,” said Intel Education Manager Carlos Contreras, citing lack of well-qualified applicants for STEM jobs as a significant problem for tech companies like Intel. 

Read Albuquerque Journal's full article on creativity in STEM fields here: http://www.abqjournal.com/main/2012/07/16/news/the-creative-side-of-science.html

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by News Editor
Scoop.it!

Learning through Inquiry

Learning through Inquiry | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

Science fairs foster a spirit of inquiry in education, helping students to realize and experience practical applications of what they have learned in the classroom.  For teachers who see the benefits of bringing inquiry learning into the classroom, the question of how to do so while covering the curriculum can weigh heavy.

 

In a thoughtful blog post on the Canadian Education Association's web site, English teacher Brooke Moore explores that question -- among others -- concluding that, "there is a distinct difference between giving students the liberty to go in many directions and scaffolding them to move in a purposeful direction with confidence." Read more about Brooke's experience with inquiry learning in the classroom here: http://www.cea-ace.ca/blog/brooke-moore/2012/05/2/learning-through-inquiry

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by News Editor
Scoop.it!

Sub-category 1: social Media questions - Teacher Event 1 - European Schoolnet

Sub-category 1: social Media questions - Teacher Event 1 - European Schoolnet | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

Carlos Cunha, a teacher of physics and chemistry at an upper secondary school in Setúbal, Portugal, is leading an online discussion event this week about science education.  Specifically, participants are engaging in discussion about communicating innovative science teaching practices through social media.  Today is day two of the event, focusing on improving dissemination of science project results to teachers.  The third and final day of the online event is tomorrow, when the conversation will focus on what kind of information is most important to communicate to teachers in the information dissemination process. 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by News Editor
Scoop.it!

Pushing Students Toward STEM

Pushing Students Toward STEM | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

With an estimated 14 million people currently out of work in the US, how can there still be a shortage of qualified workers to fill STEM positions? The disconnect was one topic discussed at last week's STEM Solutions 2012 leadership summit in Dallas. Leaders seemed to agree that inspiring students to follow an educational path in STEM subjects is key to solving the crisis. But the question of the role that companies might play in enticing and helping to cultivate talent is still unanswered.

 

In terms of where, specifically, the talent gaps are, experts are divided. Many cite math as an area in which American students are lacking, pointing to the emphasis on standardized testing -- rather than real-world applications -- as the measure of our students' math ability.

 

Several possible solutions to the problem of the shortage of trained STEM workers were voiced at the summit. Among them: creating university/industry partnerships, promoting STEM careers among students, and enhancing STEM education in grades K-12. Some participants felt that companies should bear some of the responsibility for communicating their needs clearly and coming up with innovative hiring practices and training programs. “Industry really needs to engage in a much closer relationship with educational institutions," said Melinda Hamilton, director of Idaho National Laboratory's education programs. "They have to share their strategic plans. They have to share their growth projections and why they're predicting this area will grow. They have to be involved in saying not just 'Here's what we need,' but also how we get it.”

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by News Editor
Scoop.it!

Investigation of Probiotics Leads to Science Fair Honors

Investigation of Probiotics Leads to Science Fair Honors | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

The research of Quincy High School seniors Peter Giunta and Eoin Moriarty snagged them a Team Honorable Mention at the 63rd Massachusetts High School Science & Engineering Fair at MIT in May. More importantly, the pair's project shed light on an interesting question: Is the consumption of probiotics through yogurt or pills really beneficial to digestive health? Read all about their project and the hands-on work that they did in order to reach their conclusion.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by News Editor
Scoop.it!

New Study Reveals Gap in U.S. Students' Grasp of Hands-On Science

Despite the heavily-reported need for U.S. students to graduate from high school with sharp STEM skills to meet work force demand, a report released today suggests that we have a long way to go.

 

For the first time ever, the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress, administered to 4th, 8th, and 12th graders featured hands-on and interactive computer-based science activities.  The results are sobering, especially those linked to students' ability to apply the data they collected to explain or apply their findings.  “While I’m happy to see the vast majority of students [tested] were able to make straightforward observations, I’m not particularly happy to see a smaller number know what data to collect in an experiment,” said NCES Commissioner Jack Buckley. “This points to something we need to work on in the future.”

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by News Editor
Scoop.it!

Intel Talent Search Winners Succeeded by Pursuing their Passions

Intel Talent Search Winners Succeeded by Pursuing their Passions | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

The top three finalists in this spring's Intel Science Talent Search credit things like parental support, perseverence, a spirit of inquiry, and science fair participation for their successes.

 

For his project, first-place winner Nithin Tumma analyzed the molecular mechanisms in cancer cells and found that by inhibiting certain proteins, it may be possible to slow the growth of cancer cells and decrease their malignancy.

 

A high school senior from Michigan, Nithin suggests that his participation in science fairs earlier in his academic career laid a foundation for his recent success. ""I wasn't great at winning, but I had a good time doing it," he said. "My parents always supported me. So I kept on doing it. And it worked out." It worked out in a big way: Nithin received a cash prize of $100,000 as first-place winner of the Intel Science Talent Search.

 

According to second-place winner Andrey Sushko from Washington state, the habit of observing the world and asking questions laid a foundation for the kind of experimentation that led to his project: a tiny motor, only 7 mm in diameter, that uses the surface tension of water to turn its shaft. "This project started more or less with playing with model boats in the bathtub,"Sushko said.

 

For her project, third-place winner Mimi Yen focused on microscopic worms, specifically looking at their sex habits and hermaphrodite tendencies. The senior from Brooklyn, NY says that her parents had a significant role in her success. "When I pursued this research project, the most important thing was for them to support me," she said. "And that's what they did very well." Mimi's research could lead to a better understanding of the genese that contribute to behavioral variations in human beings.

 

The most distinguished pre-college science competition in the country, the Intel Science Talent Search is a program of Society for Science & the Public. The competition recognizes 40 high school seniors who are poised to be the next leaders in innovation and help solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. Intel funded $1.25 million in prizes for the competition's winners. "We invest in America's future when we recognize the innovative achievements of our nation's brightest young minds," said Intel CEO Paul Otellini.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by News Editor
Scoop.it!

UMass Medical School & UMass Memorial Medical Center Lend a Hand (or 52!) at State Middle School Science & Engineering Fair

UMass Medical School & UMass Memorial Medical Center Lend a Hand (or 52!) at State Middle School Science & Engineering Fair | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

Last weekend's Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair owes its success in no small part to UMass Medical School. Twenty-six faculty and staff from UMMS and UMass Memorial Medical Center spent a rainy Saturday at Worcester Technical High School serving in the crucial role as science fair judges.  With every competitor receiving judging from three professionals, the demand for judges is tremendous, and UMass Medical School's contribution to this year's State Middle School Science & Engineering Fair made a big difference.  "No other organization had more volunteers than ours,” said Sandra Mayrand, director of UMMS's Regional Science Resource Center. A big "thank you" from MSSEF to UMMS for this extraordinary and valuable effort!

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by News Editor
Scoop.it!

Best High Schools for STEM Methodology

Best High Schools for STEM Methodology | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

Acton-Boxborough High School ranked #7 in US News & World Report's list of best high schools for STEM -- the highest of any school in Massachusetts.

 

The school sent two projects to this year's Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair (held May 4 & 5 at MIT), both of which took first place awards: Jacob Johnson's "Novel Mechanisms of Carcinogenesis in Malignant Breast Cancer" and Ruifan Pei's "Electrochemical Determination of Alkaline Phosphatase Activity."

 

Wayland High School followed close behind in the rankings, achieving a #10 spot in the report, with Lexington High and Brookline High also winning high rankings, at #15 and #30, respectively.

 

Nearly 500 schools were evaluated for the report. This article explains the methodology that U.S. News & World Report used to determine rankings:

more...
No comment yet.