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Articles: STEM

K12 schools and universities are increasingly purchasing 3D printers such as the MakerBot and integrating them into the curriculum to prepare students for STEM careers.

Analysts expect 3D printer shipments to double worldwide to nearly 496,500 units in 2016—in large part due to demand from K12 schools and universities, according to a new report.

3D printers—devices that create physical objects from digital plans—are more common in STEM classes than in people’s homes, despite manufacturers’ initial expectations for the machines.

Students taking a statistics course at Ipswich High School present on topics such as “Should the USA take on Syrian refugees?”

Statistics instruction has become integral in K12 math curricula thanks to a push from the Common Core and a national demand for students with the skills to fill data-intensive jobs.

Districts provide more courses that teach students how to analyze data and integrate statistics across subjects, says Jessica Utts, incoming president of the American Statistical Association.

Mt. Airy City Schools in North Carolina revitalized arts classes to launch its STEAM programs.
The Tukwila School District is one of the most diverse in the nation. Administrators say STEAM instruction provides a more sure pathway to college and career success.
<div class="box"> <h2>STEAM leaders learn to innovate</h2> <ul> <p>Teachers and principals in Florida’s Santa Rosa County School District this fall began training to become STEAM leaders by writing jingles about the Wright Brothers.</p> <p>They also learned about the physics and history of flight as they worked in teams to develop products that improved upon Orville and Wilbur’s aeronautical inventions. Then they wrote the jingles for ads they devised to promote their products, says Karen Barber, director o

Injecting the arts into science, math, engineering and technology encourages students to think creatively and critically in traditional STEM subjects that, until the recent and widespread adoption of new standards, didn’t often encourage students to think outside the box.

Students from a pilot school, Cowan Fundamental Elementary in Sacramento, California, examine hungry pests. (Photo: Amy Karle)

A new curriculum released by the USDA teaches middle school students about the most dangerous invasive species threatening the nation’s trees, plants and crops.

Available this fall, “Hungry Pests Invade Middle School” is the first curriculum created by the USDA that focuses on all 18 species, including the khapra beetle, the Mediterranean fruit fly and the Asian longhorned beetle.

Ken Robinson proposes a transformation of the nation’s schools from an outmoded industrial system to a highly personalized, organic model.

Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education


Ken Robinson, an internationally recognized leader on creativity and human potential, proposes a transformation of the nation’s schools from an outmoded industrial system to a highly personalized, organic model.

Sandy Grove Middle School’s solar panels sit on the roof.
An interior hallway. More than 80 percent of the building’s light fixtures are LED, supplied by Cree.
Students can work in a new laboratory facility to analyze the school’s energy performance.
A media center leads to a hallway with natural light.

Sandy Grove Middle School, part of Hoke County Schools in North Carolina, is the first energy-positive school in the nation to be financed by its own expected energy savings.

The 74,000-square-foot school opened to students in fall 2013, and was designed as a net-zero facility that produces more energy than it consumes. It will also meet LEED Gold standards.

3D printing offers multiple ways for students to get hands-on experience and to gain marketable skills before leaving high school

3D printing offers multiple ways for students to get hands-on experience and to gain marketable skills before leaving high school. Administrators must find ways to integrate the technology into existing courses or to enhance new class offerings.

Congress Elementary School’s STEM drama club after a performance about animals.
Students in the after-school Lego robotics program use STEM skills in their building projects.
Students work in the school’s garden, getting hands-on experience in the science of plants.

STEM came alive in a rural Arizona district after a state grant led to a culture change.

Congress Elementary School District has just 115 students and is located 80 miles northwest of Phoenix. Superintendent and Principal Stephanie Miller received a three-year grant of $42,500 from Science Foundation Arizona and the Arizona STEM Network in 2012 to develop STEM programs and activities in the district.

The 1-to-1 district embarked on a STEM program that includes:

“NMC Horizon Report 2015 K-12 Edition” aims each year to identify the leading trends in technology and education for the next half-decade.

Students in coming years will create their own educational content, 3D printing will become mainstream, and wearable technology will put more demand on school Wi-Fi networks, according to a study released in June by the New Media Consortium (NMC) and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN).

Fourteen states require a student be allowed to fulfill a math, science or foreign language credit for high school graduation by completing a computer science course. (Click to enlarge)

In seven years, computer systems design jobs will be huge in the United States.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 38 percent growth in the design industry between 2012 and 2022—from 1.62 million jobs in 2012 to an estimated 2.23 million jobs in 2022. But recent reports of the lack of required computer science courses in districts and the absence of female and minority students in AP computer science courses has led some to wonder whether or not the nation will have enough skilled workers to fill these positions.

Last year, more than 900 middle school students gathered at the American Museum of Natural History in one of New York City’s largest science fairs (with more than 400 projects) on the 10th anniversary of the museum’s middle school science initiative, Urban Advantage.

The American Museum of Natural History in New York City is leveraging its scientific resources to address K12 STEM education needs and to help develop future scientists.

The museum’s mission is to “discover, interpret, and disseminate, through scientific research and education, knowledge about human cultures, the natural world and the universe.” It houses more than 33 million specimens and artifacts.

Janice M. Tkaczyk is the national director for counselor and academic relations at Universal Technical Institute. She spent 35 years in public education, including 30 as the guidance director at a regional, technical high school.

In today’s education landscape, it’s common for teachers, school counselors and administrators to encourage students to graduate high school and earn a four-year college degree.

For years, we have seen this as the “right” path and perhaps the only path to success. But this one-size-fits-all approach isn’t a viable one. While many graduating seniors are excited to head off to college, many students with great skills and big dreams are struggling to decide on their next step. So, what’s the right path for those students?

First and second graders from Roosevelt Elementary School examine where the mouth of the Elwha River empties into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which connects to the Pacific Ocean.
National Parks Service Ranger Dean Butterworth, also outreach and education specialist, on right in green, teaches Roosevelt Elementary School students how to properly collect soil samples.
To meet state and next-generation science standards on river geology, eighth graders from Stevens Middle School collect and measure sediment samples at the river.

Students in Port Angeles School District in Washington get a taste of the real world of science from their local river. For the past 10 years, they have been working like true scientists collecting and analyzing data gathered from the Elwha River in nearby Olympic National Park near the Pacific coast.

Teachers from Perry Township Schools in Indiana use their school library’s makerspace to create T-shirts for Dr. Seuss Read Across America Day.
Perry Township students use a 3D printer in the library’s makerspace.

Transforming school libraries into communal learning “playgrounds” offers students technology support, remote access to research resources and expanded opportunities for creative exploration. One of the biggest trends is “makerspaces” where students use their imaginations to create crafts, electronics, videos and other projects.

A middle school student from Springfield Township district takes a STEM and a tech course to learn about robotics, programming and animation.
A student from St. Vrain Valley School District works on a project, as the district builds a computer science framework.
High school students from The School District of Springfield Township in Pennsylvania must take Introduction to Computer Science as a half credit to graduate. Students learn parts of a computer and its functions, networking basics and computational thinking.

We interact with computing devices every day—so should we have a better understanding of the science behind them? An increasing number of districts are saying yes—this year, 25 states require computer science courses for high school graduation, compared to only 11 states in 2013.