Do you remember the first time you made a paper airplane? Who taught you to fold one? Did your plane fly? I think I was about 6 years old and my uncle visiting from the Philippines showed me how to fold one using one of my homework sheets. I was fascinated as I watched him make the folds, ensuring that each fold was precise, explaining each step. Then he took the newly built paper airplane, lifted his arm, and – whoooosh!-- it flew across my living room. It worked!! This was my first exposure to science and engineering, and it was one I often repeated throughout my elementary school years – design, construction, and test flights to identify the “perfect” paper plane. I was doing STEM before STEM was part of our educational vocabulary! Well, today is National Paper Airplane Day and this is the perfect time to explore the different areas of STEM with one activity.
You may have seen media stories of the air being clearer since stay-at-home directives have been implemented in different areas of the world (Los Angeles, India). NASA satellite data actually shows a 30-percent decrease in air pollution over the northeast United States (click on the link to view slider image: Drop in Air Pollution). What does this all mean for our climate? How are your children and/or students reacting to the changes? Do they realize there are changes at all? This may be an opportune time to include climate change into your instructional plan, especially with the focus of Earth Day 2020 being climate action. So how can you do it? Here are 7 ideas to try:
We’re a couple of weeks into spring and most of us are hunkered down at home, trying to create fun learning experiences for our children and/or students. With limited access to science kits, labs, and high tech tools, what can be used at home to boost STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) learning? Here’s a list of our favorite 10:
Space: The final frontier. A topic that is touched on in many science classrooms, but rarely finds a foothold in the major learning of our students. Learning about space provides opportunities to not only teach the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), but also allows students to think, dream, and wonder.
As a classroom teacher of science or any other discipline, the topic of space can be a great crosscutting concept. As teachers dive into the NGSS, they can use these cross-curricular ideas to engage and deepen student learning.
Teachers try to balance many different elements while planning lessons. Content standards, interest level of students, high levels of rigor, prior knowledge, and empowering and engaging student learning all play a role as teachers are determining how to structure a lesson. As teachers think about increasing relevance in the classroom and applying critical thinking strategies, they can look no further than the current debate about climate change in our world—a topic that meets most, if not all, of the criteria listed above.
In the first part of our micro-cloud learning series, we discussed how this technology is impacting educators and students worldwide. But what exactly does it take to get this technology up and running?
A micro-cloud implementation spans three distinct levels of a distributed architecture. These are the centralized cloud console, the micro-cloud instance(s), and the intelligent devices.
The potential to create a better world through global learning initiatives has never been greater. All of the wisdom and knowledge ever created has been captured, digitized, and catalogued to allow young people to learn and grow faster than ever before. World leaders from both the government and technology sectors have rallied over the last decade to increase learning absorption through e-learning initiatives that put this knowledge at the fingertips of students everywhere in the world.
Back in September, I was sitting in a district computer teacher meeting discussing activities we used in our classrooms. My colleagues mentioned how they participate in the Hour of Code and other coding activities. Meanwhile, I was sliding down in my seat, embarrassed that I wasn’t doing the same cool activities as the others.
I have only been teaching computer class for five years, and I’m still learning how to balance life as a teacher/librarian as well as a technology instructor. Still, I want to do well on the technology side of my job. Instead of sitting around and feeling incompetent, I got online and found out more information about Code.org—an organization that sponsors the Hour of Code and a website that provides resources for teachers. Code.org also offers many professional development opportunities; I found a workshop close to home and signed up.
Exciting news: November 8, 2018 will mark the third Boxlight STEM Day (#BLSTEM)! Just like last time, 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—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.”
The event is open to every school that has the Labdisc data logger. No matter where you are, as long as you have a Labdisc, your class can join in the learning fun. This year, students will use the Labdisc to perform simultaneous experiments to observe and measure the light intensity of different light sources. Think about how incredible it will be to conduct this experiment and share data along with other science classes across the US and Latin America!
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.