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.
Now that spring has sprung, it’s the perfect time to get outside and try some fun educational activities. Science, technology, engineering, art, and math—collectively known as STEAM—are at the forefront in education today, and can sometimes be overwhelming when trying to figure out ways to implement these concepts.
But it doesn’t have to be! Here are six fun ideas for STEAM activities this spring:
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.”
It’s no secret that STEM learning (science, technology, engineering, and math) is crucial for today’s students to succeed in the future job market. STEM occupations are growing at a rate of 17%, compared to 9.8% in other professions, so our students need to enter the workforce equipped with these skills. However, money in public education is tight, and a lack of financial resources can mean limited opportunities for STEM learning.
In the cult classic Office Space, the famous one-liner heard multiple times is, “So what would you say you do here?” It gets a lot of laughs because the high-level executives have no real clue what anyone in the office actually does. The truth of the matter is that in the world of education, teachers don't always know what other professionals actually do at their jobs, either. We know we can encourage students to become doctors, lawyers, welders, or accountants—some of these jobs we feel like we know well because we probably have experience with them. But when it comes to the field of engineering, I would guess that most teachers don’t really have a firm grasp on what the job actually entails.
Career growth in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) shows no sign of slowing down, so how do we ensure that today’s students are ready for the jobs of tomorrow? By incorporating STEM learning into the classroom, we can give our students the tools they need to succeed in the future—and spark interest in these fields.
At the forefront of education today is STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning, which is necessary in order for American students to be competitive in the job market after graduation. Careers in these fields will continue to grow, so it’s imperative that we make STEM a priority to ensure that our students don’t miss out on future opportunities. Here are a few facts about STEM that showcase why these topics are so important:
Response to Intervention (RTI) helps to support all students within a school. It is a systematic approach to meeting the needs of all children. Instead of individual teachers in individual classrooms working to help students, the entire school system works as a whole to help all of the students. Here is an overview of how to think about Response to Intervention.
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.
I guess you would call me a creativity junkie. I like to take science concepts and give them a little twist and tweak to fully engage my high school students. To start the process, I set the stage: Upon entering my classroom, students may walk into a simulated rainforest with vines and leaf canopies draped from the ceiling, or go into a human cell with 3D organelles hanging within the classroom’s cytoplasm. I also use a lot of props when teaching. For example, “DO NOT OPEN” envelopes are hung from the ceiling that are only opened when I request a student to do so. The envelope may contain a bell work question, quote that is relative to the topic at hand to stimulate classroom discussion, or a clue to use their cell phones to locate a QR code within the hallway or classroom that provides further instructions.