The urgency for STEM education has been fueled by a workforce imperative and the need to supply an increasing demand for STEM jobs in the United States. This coupled with the new NGSS brings into focus the need for educators to understand the benefits to this unique pairing. Think of integrated STEM instruction as a road map and the NGSS as the GPS or compass. Both direct you to the same destination, however while one gives a general route, the other provides a more guided approach to finding your way with the option of many alternate routes—whatever suits you as a teacher and, more importantly, the individual needs of your students. The overlap provides teachers with more room for experimentation with lesson plans and curriculum activities, not additional work.
STEM learning is at the forefront of education today—and it shows no signs of slowing down. The focus on STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math) is a necessity in order for Americans to be competitive in the job market in future years. Careers in these fields will continue to grow, so it's imperative that we make STEM a priority for today's students in order to prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow.
We’re back from the National Science Teachers Association’s 2018 National Conference on Science Education in Atlanta, Georgia! PowerUpED graciously gave us and Globisens, makers of the Labdisc portable STEM lab, the chance to collaborate with them on a workshop called “Make Science Relevant and Engaging,” which centered around the Labdisc mobile data logger.
February 16 will mark the second annual Boxlight STEM Day (#BLSTEM)—and there are a few new details, so read on to learn more!
First of all, some things won’t change. Just like last year, students will work with their classmates in a hands-on, inquiry-based learning event designed to help them learn critical STEM skills and understand how STEM disciplines apply to the world around them. And as before, Boxlight will provide the lab experiment and the event will involve using our wireless Labdisc portable STEM lab, so it’s less “same old classroom activity” and more “exciting new real-world work.”
On August 21, Boxlight hosted a solar eclipse viewing party for students from Fulton County Schools in Johns Creek, Georgia—and added an inquiry-based learning element to the event through use of the Labdisc portable STEM lab. Nearly two-dozen people attended the viewing party, with children ranging from elementary students to seventh graders along with executives from Boxlight.
We all know that children belong outdoors, but when they become our students, the tendency is to keep them behind four walls tied to electronic devices, PowerPoint lectures, and computers. Well, I am here to tell you that you can go outside with students and see productive results. Moving your class outside engages a world of fresh stimuli for the senses that have the amazing ability to open up students to new insights and real-life application of the concepts they are learning.
Image by Scott Robinson
If you’ve looked into the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), you may have found that there are several standard points indicating that students should learn about models as well as work with them. You have probably already recognized the importance of models since they are an effective way to explain complex phenomena, yet there are a lot of misconceptions as to what a model truly is.
Caring for the environment is one of our most essential duties as humans, and the current state of the earth makes its protection a vital lesson that needs to be taught as early as possible in life. While there are plenty of resources available for educators wanting to incorporate environmentalism into their curricula, what happens outside of learning units is also important for students to observe. Since modeling positive, eco-friendly behaviors in our daily lives is one of the best ways to learn about green living, we’ve come up with a few ideas to help you introduce green practices into your daily routine at school—and into your STEM curriculum.
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” - Aristotle
As teachers, we know our students learn in many different ways: visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic, and social. But most of us teach the way we're most comfortable—and that's not necessarily the way our students learn. It's a missed opportunity if we don't use the way that a student learns best to hook them and get them excited about learning.
Differentiation is both a complex concept and a critical tool to meet the needs of today’s learners. At times, I have seen the complexity overwhelm a teacher to the point of frustration. Teachers will tell me it is just too much, and they are returning to the whole group instruction model that they used before.
While front-of-the-room learning isn’t a bad concept, it is difficult knowing that all of your students are not at the same place and you can’t do anything to help all the differing levels. Technology has helped change this—especially in classrooms with a 1:1 model. With a device in the hands of each student, teachers can more easily differentiate to meet the needs of the individuals.
So when it comes to math, where is a teacher to start? Here is a list that touches on a few of the major players in the market—each one has its advantages and disadvantages. Some of these are connected to large textbook companies, while some are more independently operated. If you are seriously considering the time and money needed to invest in one of these, here is a starting point for your research: