Since the shift to remote learning due to pandemic-related school closures, the focus on science has suffered in comparison to the focus on core subjects such as math and language arts. While some students benefited from the increased flexibility of remote learning, others needed more hands-on investigations. As more schools are opening to in-person learning, the need to incorporate STEM is essential. Why? Research has shown that the call for STEM-related jobs has grown much faster, as much as three times more, than the call for other jobs. The investment of time and resources in STEM instruction now is an investment in the STEM workforce.
March 18th is Global Recycling Day and this year’s theme is ‘Recycling Heroes’ to recognize those who demonstrate the critical role that recycling plays. This includes what these recycling heroes do to help keep the environment clean and balanced. By recycling, we help decrease the need for collecting and processing non-renewable resources like coal and oil, and raw materials like trees. All these activities contribute to the pollution of our air and water, as well as increase greenhouse gas emissions thus affecting the climate. Recycling saves energy and reduces the hazardous effects of greenhouse gases such as the continued rise of global temperatures, melting ice caps, and the increased danger of wildfires. Really, we all could be recycling heroes by the actions we take. Here are activities to try with your class, even in a hybrid learning environment:
Bob Wallace, a now retired high school biology teacher in Crawfordville, Florida, was resolute in his goal that his students graduate with a full range of academic skill sets and technical knowledge that would prepare them for a successful future. In his over 30 years of teaching, he found that textbooks alone could rarely explain important concepts that kept his students engaged and employed a variety of strategies to explain difficult science concepts to his students. He was consistently on the lookout for options that would keep his students engaged. He stated, “Over the years, I’ve used a lot of different things. I have done drawings on boards, still magnets, and I’ve used beads – the beads go bouncing all over the place and you end up losing all of them.”
I don’t know about you, but my activity levels have definitely decreased this past year. I find that I’m spending more time in front of my PC for work and recreation (video chatting with family and friends, going on virtual tours, streaming channels for shows and movies, etc.). With many children in remote or hybrid learning situations, their activity levels are also decreasing as it has become easier to move from one place to sit to another place to sit (i.e. chair to sofa). Besides allowing for more physical activity during breaks (run outside for 15 minutes, 5-minute stretches every hour, 60-minute lunch and recreation break sans devices), learning should also incorporate more movement. In addition, with the push for more hands-on STEM integration, students having to school at home need a viable option for STEM learning besides online games and interactive worksheets.
Happy Computer Science Education Week! Thanks to technology, there are so many wonderful and engaging ways to teach computer science concepts. From sensors and online coding to robots and 3D printers, educators have more tools than ever to help. Sometimes, though, all these tools can be a bit overwhelming. While many educators utilize technology tools independently, they are best used when integrated together. Just like STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is not four completely independent subjects without overlap, the use of robotics, 3D printers, and sensors shouldn’t be used in isolation either. So, here are a few tips and tricks to make sure you’re making the most of your technology tools.
Many teachers are struggling with how to address STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) topics in this time of social-distancing and remote-learning. Even for schools that are meeting in person, many of the hands-on lesson plans that teachers might have previously utilized are incredibly challenging under distancing and cleanliness guidelines. After all, who really has time to sanitize every block in a base-ten-blocks set between students? No one.
Distance and hybrid learning environments are particularly tricky for engineering, design, and art teachers. Unless you can send packets of activity-specific supplies home with your students, you have to be flexible and work around the resources available in each student’s home, which can vary greatly. You can’t always rely on students having paints, construction paper, or popsicle sticks readily available. Even what were once household staples like paper-towel rolls may not be available in some eco-friendly households that only use reusable cloths. So how can educators provide a complete STEM course with these variables in mind?
If you want to learn modeling, MyStemKits STEAM Design Challenges are definitely the way to go about it. The activities guide you step-by-step through the process of creating a variety of objects, while equipping you with the skills necessary to build your own unique constructions. To supplement that collection of resources, MyStemKits has assembled a general “tips toolbox” of things to consider and strategies to employ for successful 3D modeling.
Neil Armstrong and landing on the moon. The space shuttle Challenger. The International Space Station. Pictures of ice from the Mars rovers. These are the different things that come to my mind when thinking of space exploration and education. These are topics that have probably been discussed, researched, and studied in classrooms everywhere. But how often is space exploration a part of student learning?