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Articles: STEM

Leaders in Johnston County Schools in central North Carolina knew they needed to find more effective ways to help struggling students, close the achievement gap and meet their core instructional priorities. So they carefully planned a pilot program to choose the best adaptive learning system for the district’s 25,000 K8 students and their educators.

Educators constantly face new challenges that often require resources that may be in short supply. But this round’s Districts of Distinction honorees show a surplus of exemplary creativity, innovation and problem-solving skills that are increasing student achievement and graduation rates and, most importantly, facilitating education.

"The Superintendent and the CFO" offers guidance on offers advice on identifying and setting values, directing the business of learning, and creating a climate for continued success.

Other recommended books focus on rewiring the brain for critical thinking, how principals can hone leadership skills and how to teach energy concepts across all science disciplines.

Speakers at upcoming conferences (clockwise from top left): Rochelle Gutierrez will speak at NCTM about the next generation mathematics for all; Lisa Nyberg will speak at NSTA about giving students more ownership of their education; Deborah Gaston and  Andrea Kantrowitz will speak at NAEA about adding arts to the sciences.

At three annual conferences this spring—the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), the National Art Education Association (NAEA) and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)—experts and educators will offer guidance in developing STEAM instruction across a range a subjects and projects.

With the ever-increasing reach of technology and the corresponding growth of STEAM-related curricula, it is challenging to find the right tools to help bring such concepts into the classroom in engaging, student-friendly ways. STEAM-focused classroom products also must easily integrate into existing lesson plans.

Adopting new standards and testing strategies will be a priority in many classrooms in 2016.

As we head into 2016, teachers need to captivate and inspire collaboration with tools that excite students and let them express themselves. Students expect innovations that ignite learning passions that will steer them toward their future career.

Teaching students to dream high is one thing. Teaching them how to help others fly safely is something left to ambitious districts.

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.

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

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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, 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.

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:

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