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Articles: STEM

Model students: Students at Cupertino High School in California learn the basics of math modeling during an AoCMM workshop.

High school math classes focus traditionally on solving equations. The world of mathematical modeling emphasizes creating equations.

The nonprofit Association of Computational and Mathematical Modeling is developing a free mathematical modeling curriculum that it plans to share with teachers by early 2017. It will show students how to construct equations that solve complex real-world engineering, science and computing problems.

Using tablets, apps and YouTube videos, students at a Minnesota elementary school have added new virtual elements to paintings and other artwork, so their masterpieces include videos that not only get them engaged, but also help them better understand ideas behind the art itself.

District Administration surveyed readers on the race for president. (Click to enlarge)

When the next president takes office in January, he or she will preside over major shifts in the K12 education landscape—from implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act and Common Core, to the rollout of nationwide STEM initiatives, to the simmering battles over charters, school choice and teachers unions.

Bill Siegel is an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy winning documentary filmmaker and vice president of School Programs for the Great Books Foundation, a Chicago-based nonprofit educational organization.

Inquiry-based learning means asking questions that demand students use evidence from the text to support their thinking. It means challenging students to respond to the differing ideas of their classmates. And it means pushing students to further their own thinking.

STEM, ahoy! First-grade students at Spotswood Elementary School in Harrisonburg, Virginia, prepare to test the results of a STEM design challenge using a plastic pool of water.

Harrisonburg City Public Schools in Virginia incorporates a technical- and engineering-based STEM curriculum starting with kindergarten and continuing right through high school.

The nation needs more STEM-focused youths, as only 16 percent of American high school seniors are proficient in math and interested in a STEM career, according to the U.S. Department of Education (DOE).

Students can step inside an astronaut’s’ boots to experience life and research onboard the international space station with online science courses offered by the Virtual High School, which supplements public school instruction.

Egg cartons and Chinese food containers: Comprised of Washington public school teachers, MESA and Washington STEM Engineering Fellows take part in PD activities to bring innovative STEM lessons to students.

The technology sector is one of the least diverse industries in the U.S. Only 25 percent of women participate. Less than 1 percent of computer scientists are people of color.

Ritch Ramey is the RAMTEC coordinator at the Tri-Rivers Career Center.

Local companies told the Tri-Rivers Career Center, a voc-tech high school in Ohio, there weren’t enough skilled workers entering the trades, especially manufacturing. So the career center launched the Robotics & Advanced Manufacturing Technology Education Collaborative to help meet skilled labor needs.

"Meaningful Making" offers project ideas and assessment strategies for educators interested in the maker movement.

Recommended books offer ideas for makerspace activities, insight into online teaching, a behind-the-scenes look at reform and philanthropy, and methods for teaching steam in elementary school.

Districts across the country are finding ways to turn after-school programs into learning experiences that motivate students and close equity gaps. YMCAs, churches and other community groups, and private companies have emerged as go-to providers of after-school programs.

More relevant library: Students from Vista USD in southern California work on a project in their school makerspace.

Future Ready Librarians expands concepts of literacy—from books to tech to STEM. The initiative also drives the nationwide transformation of libraries, as librarians take the lead in creating makerspaces in their districts.

One of the newest technologies being applied in K12 STEM coursework today is 3D printing, which helps to fuel creativity, problem solving and project-based learning while exposing students to tools they may use later in their careers. 3D printing can also be used at the middle school level to prepare students for more advanced work in high school.

Meeting students’ psychological needs, improving STEM programs and fueling college and career access exemplify innovative solutions increasing student achievement nationwide. The 24 school systems honored in this round of District Administration’s Districts of Distinction national recognition program found creative ways to raise graduation rates and to build up administrative effectiveness.

Macroinvertebrates in cities: Howard County high school students, above, study area streams to check for potential pollution that might harm nearby Chesapeake Bay.

Using a survey tool, biology students in 13 Maryland high schools  help environmental scientists keep an eye on pollution and other factors that might harm Chesapeake Bay or its creatures, including Maryland’s renowned blue crabs.

Miami-Dade County’s BioTECH @ Richmond Heights—a conservation-biology-focused STEM high school that opened in 2014-15 with help from an $11 million federal grant—focuses on zoology, botany, genetics, ecology, chemistry and environmental sciences.

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