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How To Grow STEM

How To Grow STEM | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

Tarina Quraishi, Harvard class of 2014, shares her thoughts on STEM education during the college years in The Harvard Crimson.  "Although early exposure to the sciences is certainly necessary, and positive experiences can be formative, getting kids interested in math and science is only half the battle," she writes. "To ensure that children’s passion for STEM leads into actual careers, we must sustain and support this interest through adulthood." A good perspective, and worth a read.

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Students Prefer Inquiry-Based Approach to Science

Students Prefer Inquiry-Based Approach to Science | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

Science education teeters on the brink of change, with the message that an inquiry-based teaching approach is what works with students taking root in classrooms across the country. By engaging students through innovative means, science teachers are experiencing new success at gaining -- and keeping -- their students' interest in subject matter that can be perceived as too difficult.  “[Making] things more relevant for the students” is what it's all about, according to Wilmington, Delaware chemistry teacher John Scali. “It’s what goes on in the real world. I place a lot more priority on the process of science itself—the process is a lot more important.”

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Summer Camps Gaining STEAM

Summer Camps Gaining STEAM | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

There may be a January chill in the air, but planning is well underway for summer camps across the country. With creativity and innovation currently being hailed as critical components of education for the new global economy, STEAM camps -- that's STEM plus Art -- are gaining traction as educators look for models that nurture both sides of the brain.   According to Ed Abeyta of the University of California San Diego, which runs STEAM camps in partnership with a San Diego charter school, "We need STEAM based education. Our global competitive edge requires educating our youth in a manner whose training combines the convergent thinking skills found in STEM education divergent thinking skills (and) creative problem solving real problems in the world."

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Science Education Experts Respond to Obama’s Speech

Science Education Experts Respond to Obama’s Speech | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

President Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday touched on a number of education issues, including No Child Left Behind, and Common Core State Standards. Scientific American appealed to science teachers among the readership of its blog, "Budding Scientist," to offer up their thoughts on the president's remarks.  Respondents include Jon D. Miller, Director, International Center for the Advancement of Scientific Literacy at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, and Sharon Lynch, George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development and President-Elect, National Association for Research in Science Teaching.  All in all, an interesting analysis of where the SOTU speech leaves science education

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MIT to Harness Students' Interest in Gaming to Teach STEM

MIT to Harness Students' Interest in Gaming to Teach STEM | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

Thanks to a new $3 million grant from the Gates Foundation, a massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) will soon be available from MIT to boost high school students' understanding of STEM subjects.  With the aim of engaging students on topics that run the risk of disinteresting them when taught via the traditional classroom model, the MIT Education Arcade's MMOG will deepen subject matter knowledge while honing modern-day skills. In a MMOG sencario, players' avatars interact in a virtual world.  According to Professor Eric Klopfer, director of the Education Arcade and the Scheller Teacher Education Program at MIT, "This genre of games is uniquely suited to teaching the nature of science inquiry because they provide collaborative, self-directed learning situations. Players take on the roles of scientists, engineers and mathematicians to explore and explain a robust virtual world."  Boston-area teachers and students will participate in a pilot phase of the project this spring.

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Scientist Mentoring and Diversity Program Targets Diversity in the Biotech Industry

Scientist Mentoring and Diversity Program Targets Diversity in the Biotech Industry | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

In partnership with the International Center for Professional Development (ICPS), leading biotech companies are working to increase diversity in the industry through the Scientist Mentoring and Diversity Program. This program gives scholarships to 30 graduate and post-doc students from underrepresented minorities to participate in the year-long program.  Student attendance at the BIO International Convention, scheduled for June 18-21 in Boston, is a component of the opportunity.  The program also provides participants with a mentor and access to contacts in the industry.  “Minorities are underrepresented in the biotechnology industry as in many other science, technology, engineering and math professions, and the biotechnology industry is doing something about it,” says Scott May, executive director at the International Center for Professional Development. “This effort is important for many reasons, but in particular, a diverse workforce is more productive as it brings a larger pool of ideas, skills, and experiences that collectively increase the knowledge base required for scientific innovation.”

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Innovative Program Brings STEM Students into K-12 Classrooms

Innovative Program Brings STEM Students into K-12 Classrooms | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

Enthusiasm is contagious, as they say. That's one of the underlying theories behind CalTeach, a California program that aims to inspire K-12 students by harnessing older students' enthusiasm for STEM subjects.  At the same time, CalTeach enables those older students -- college STEM majors -- to become credentialed teachers during their undergrad experience. "We are producing mathematicians, scientists and engineers who have chosen to teach," says engineering professor and Berkeley CalTeach do-director George Johnson.  Among the benefits of the program is the fact that it offers an opportunity for STEM majors to give teaching a try and determine whether or not it's for them.  Furthermore, "Learning the subject and learning to teach it at the same time really means unpacking the subject," says Shelly Seethaler, staff director of CalTeach at UC San Diego. "You can't just plug in formulas for gas, temperature and pressure and come up with answers. You also need to be able to explain, gas, temperature and pressure, and what's going on and why."

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Report: Budget Cuts for Research Universities Imperil Competitiveness

Between the years 2002 and 2010, states cut funding for public research universities by 20 percent in constant dollars.  Meanwhile, in countries including China and India, spending on technology and education increased over the same time period.  So says the 2012 release of the biennial report, "Science and Engineering Indicators," which looks at scientific trends in the US and worldwide.  A compendium of fascinating data, the report will be available on the National Science Foundation's web site at noon (ET) today.

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Science Fair Victory Helps Launch a Career

Science Fair Victory Helps Launch a Career | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

For Stephan Turnipseed, winning a seventh grade science fair was transformative experience.  The current LEGO Education President keeps the framed certificate won at the time of his science fair victory close at hand to remind him of the power of discovery, which his company harnesses so well to the benefit of generations of students.  "Our dramatic ability to engage and motivate students, and unlock creativity was dramatic,” Turnipseed says, “Our strongest presence is in the STEM area."

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Is STEM the Answer to the Challenge of Student Loan Debt?

Is STEM the Answer to the Challenge of Student Loan Debt? | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

In US News & World Report, William Broman, a current biomedical engineering major at George Washington University, offers a reality check about the financial burdens facing many college graduates in the form of hefty college loan payments. The data, he says, supports the notion that one of the quickest ways for graduates to eliminate their college debt is to enter a STEM field. "One way to get students interested in these fields is to inform them of the money they can make with their degrees," Broman suggests. "Money entices people to work harder, and while money can't buy happiness, it can buy a lot of the cool gadgets that youth are fascinated with." Makes sense to me.

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Commander Encourages Exciting STEM Curricula

Commander Encourages Exciting STEM Curricula | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

Among the messages featured in a speech this week by Air Force Space Command commander General William Shelton: We must make STEM education exciting to keep students interested in pursuing science, engineering, and math subjects in college and beyond. Speaking up in support of high school internships in the sciences, General Shelton said, "Just think how many kids we could get off the fence and down the path of a STEM career once they got to participate in some real-world science and engineering."

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STEM Subjects Plagued by Lack of Student Interest, Aptitude

STEM Subjects Plagued by Lack of Student Interest, Aptitude | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

A new study released by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce paints a grim picture of the direction of America's students. While evidence abounds that a college degree in a STEM subject is one precursor to success in this economy, students don't seem to be heeding the call to major in engineering, math, or the sciences. Only 16 percent of recent college graduates, to be exact, chose a STEM major. What's the barrier to entry? The Georgetown study suggests that shaky math aptitude in high school causes students to look seriously at STEM in college. Unfortunately, this fact leads study authors to conclude, “Current interest in STEM fields and proficiency in math are not sufficient to meet U.S. workforce demand.”

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Out-of-School Experiences Influence Girls to Pursue STEM

Out-of-School Experiences Influence Girls to Pursue STEM | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

Classroom learning may not be the most effective means of drawing girls into STEM fields. The success of programs like Techbridge, an after-school opportunity specifically for girls to learn about science, technology, engineering, and math, suggests that organized learning that takes place beyond the boundaries of the formal school day could be influential in sparking girls' interest in these subjects.  Figuring out the most effective formula for gaining -- and retaining -- the interest of girls in STEM subjects is the trick.  According to Carol Tang, director of the Coalition for Science After School, "Because there is such a great diversity of after-school programs, we need to identify a diversity of successful examples so that the majority of after-school programs can find models to fit their own audiences and infrastructure."

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What Will the Judge Ask Me?

What Will the Judge Ask Me? | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

It's one thing to do the research and assemble the project... it can be quite another to anticipate and adequately answer all of the judge's questions!

 

For new and veteran science fair contestants alike, preparing for judging by using the 20 questions featured in this article as a guide might help quell some nerves and boost confidence on the big day!

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Virtual Conference on The Future of Science Education, February 2

Don't miss what's sure to be a fascinating discussion on where STEM education is heading.  An interactive virtual conference on the topic is scheduled for Thursday, February 2 at 7:00pm ET. The event will examine the broad set of issues facing STEM education, as well as solutions such as project-based learning models that are fostering engagement and interest in STEM subjects.

 

Speakers include business leaders, teachers and administrators from U.S. public high schools, prominent education journalists, researchers and advocates for education reform. Featured participants include: Andrew Liveris, Chairman and CEO of Dow, Mary Ann Rankin, CEO of the National Math and Science Initiative, Linda Rosen, CEO of Change the Equation, Subra Suresh, director of the National Science Foundation and Francis Eberle, executive director of the National Science Teachers Association.

 

During the 30-minute online conference, which is open to all at http://futurewecreate.com, participants will have the opportunity to engage in an online discussion and live question and answer session with many of the speakers via digital and social media channels. Leading up to the event, visitors can preview a trailer describing the conference as well as see a full listing of conference speakers.

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The Amazing Career of "Storm Seer" Mish Michaels

The Amazing Career of "Storm Seer" Mish Michaels | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

“I always was fascinated by weather,” says New England meteorologist Mish Michaels.  A member of the Massachusetts Science & Engineering Fair board of directors, the TV veteran has early memories of a tornado blasting through her family's Baltimore, MD apartment complex -- an experience that helped form her fascination with the weather. Currently taking a break from her TV meteorologist job to raise her young daughter, Mish has a new children's clothing line called Natural Cloud Cover, consisting of weather-themed organic t-shirts and onesies.  A percentage of sales goes to the Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory in Massachusetts.  Mish is living proof that there's no limit to where an interest in science can lead!

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Young Adults Perceive Obstacles to STEM Careers

Young Adults Perceive Obstacles to STEM Careers | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

While a string of recent reports have emphasized the critical need for more and better trained STEM professionals, too many of those in a position to answer the call over the short term -- students ages 16 to 25 -- do not see themselves in science and engineering careers. Why such reluctance?  Respondants to the Lemelson-MIT Invention Index cited factors ranging from lack of knowledge about the relevant fields, to perceptions that they are ill-prepared for the demands of STEM professions.  On a positive note, innovation fared well in the survey: 80% of respondants said they would be interested in courses that helped them "become more inventinve and creative."

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Congressman Proposes STEM Education Office

Congressman Proposes STEM Education Office | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

California Congressman Michael Honda has introduced the STEM Education Innovation Act of 2011 in the U.S. House of Representatives.  In the Politics section of US News & World Report, he writes:

 

"Science, technology, engineering, and math are what have made America a land of world-changing innovation and boundless imagination. The STEM Education Innovation Act will unleash the creativity of our companies and teachers; it will forge a cutting-edge workforce capable of bringing back the America of the 1960s, where we put men on the moon and founded the Internet.

 

That's why Congress must pass the STEM Act now. The current challenges to American education and to the American economy demand it. Passage of the bill will equip schools across the country to enthrall and educate the students of today so they can become the Sally Ride or Steve Jobs of tomorrow."

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Corporate-Nonprofit Partnership Looks to Strengthen STEM Education

Corporate-Nonprofit Partnership Looks to Strengthen STEM Education | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

ECO Classroom, the product of a $2 million investment by global security company Northrop Gruman in partnership with leading green group Conservation International, aims to strengthen STEM education in the US by providing science teachers with rich field experience.  Through an application process, 16 middle and high school teachers will be selected to travel to La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica in July for an intensive two-week field experience.  ECO Classroom aims to immerse teachers in data collection processes, train them in advanced field technology, and ultimately guide them in the creation of a reserch project that they can replicate in their own schools.  Northrop Grumman president and CEO Wes Bush said that the program was conceived in anticipation of talent shortages down the line.  "This is a longer-term effort to develop the talent for the future," he said. "We have to be thoughtful about where we see the industry going."

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Boosting STEM Education Tops "Road Map to Renewal" Agenda

Boosting STEM Education Tops "Road Map to Renewal" Agenda | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

A new report, "Road Map to Renewal," from the President's Council on Jobs & Competitiveness, calls for better STEM education in grades K-12 as a foundation for future job creation.  The Jobs Council advises the administration on how to ensure long-term American competitiveness in the work force, as well as ways in which to spark short-term job creation.  In addition to emphasizing the importance of STEM education,

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Boston-Based American Meteorological Society a 'Hidden Gem'

Boston-Based American Meteorological Society a 'Hidden Gem' | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

It may not be the short-term forecasting epicenter of the country, but the American Meteorological Society (AMS) -- long-established at 45 Beacon Street -- boasts an unparalleled history of meteorological research.

The organization was founded in 1919 with the goal of helping farmers by improving the science of weather forecasting. Today, it is the hub of meteorological research in the country, producing conferences and journals that bring together the best of the best in meterological science.

"Our goal is make sure lawmakers are able to use the science that is available properly on topics like global warming," says Keith Seitter, the society's executive director. "We sit down and present the cold hard facts to these politicians based on the best science available."

NECN meteorologist Matt Noyes is a fan. "The AMS is really just a collection of the best meteorologists in the country," he said. "It truly is a fantastic professional organization."

Find out more about AMS on its website, http://www.ametsoc.org/

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British Study Reveals Low Science-Career Aspirations Among 10-Year-Olds

New research from King's College London suggests that there's a disconnect between young students' enjoyment of science in school and their attitude about pursuing a professional career in the sciences. The ASPIRES research team surveyed more than 9,000 primary school age children, and found that at around the age of 10 or 11, attitudes about science begin to drop off. "Children and their parents hold quite complex views of science and scientists and at age 10 or 11 these views are largely positive," notes research team leader Louise Archer. "Nevertheless, less than 17 per cent aspire to a career in science."

What do you think is happening in school to drive this trend, and do you believe that a similar phenomenon exists in the USA?

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New Trend in Education: The STEM Diploma

New Trend in Education: The STEM Diploma | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

From Maine to Arizona, high schools across the country seem to be embracing the reality of the importance of a strong educational foundation in the sciences.  Increasingly, this new understanding is taking the form of STEM-specific high school diplomas.  In pursuit of a STEM diploma, students focus more heavily than usual on science-related subjects, often  with the opportunity to take STEM classes at their local community colleges.  The trend is a response to a host of recent reports sounding the warning bell about the state of STEM education in America, including a recent report from the Commerce Department highlighting the need for federal investment in STEM education.  As Commerce Secretary John Bryson said, "Our ability to innovate as a nation will determine what kind of economy — what kind of country — our children and grandchildren will inherit, and whether it’s a country that holds the same promise for them as it did for our parents and grandparents."

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The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge is the premier National Science Competition for students in the 5th-8th grade.

The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge is the premier National Science Competition for students in the 5th-8th grade. | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

Middle School teachers: Do you have a student whose science aptitude and interest might make her or him a contender for the title of America's Top Young Scientist?  Open to students in grades 5 through 8, a national middle school science competition sponsored by Discovery Education and 3M could net the winning scientist $25,000! Click here for details:

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Will Education Change in Step with Changing Times?

Will Education Change in Step with Changing Times? | Curious Minds | Scoop.it

Facebook, Petaflop, and nanotubes illustrate the increasing importance of STEM education in keeping today's students equipped to face their future.  Veteran educator Tim Gott, director of the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky, suggests in US News & World Report that aligning an antiquated public education system with today's demands -- and those of the future -- is critical.  Further, Gott points to the STEM fields as among the best learning environments for developing critical, creative, collaborative, and compassionate thinking.  "Who will be prepared to step into [STEM] careers and opportunities?" Gott asks. "If we want U.S. students to be among those who do, we must continue to support STEM initiatives and establish more educational avenues for our young people to become equipped and prepared to meet the ever-growing challenges and possibilities."

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