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Articles: STEM

A Duval High School CTE student uses music and dance to teach the principles of flight.

With the manufacturing industry increasingly seeking workers with more advanced tech skills, high school career and technical education programs now focus heavily on robotics, unmanned aviation technology and mechatronics to help students jump-start potentially lucrative careers.

SPACE FACE—Students at the STEM Academy in Peoria Heights School District in Illinois chat live with former NASA astronaut and area resident Scott Altman.

Illinois students built and programmed computers to stream live video feed from the International Space Station, giving them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to speak to an astronaut on board.

New York’s first bee team has provided students with multiple learning opportunities—from the basics of beekeeping and the physics of the waggle dance to the math behind hive construction.

At first, the class was like any other at Georgia’s Quitman County School District. Kids sat at desks while an adult lectured. Despite appearances, this was no ordinary lecture. Schneider Electric organized STEM activities for the kids in this Quitman County high school class. These activities are part of Quitman County’s energy performance contract with Schneider Electric and are designed to engage students in a STEM-inspired engineering shadowing program focused on energy conservation.

A look at some of the STEM projects rural students participate in:

To overcome the geographic, fiscal and cultural obstacles to educating their students in STEM, rural superintendents are tapping new funding sources, forming partnerships and exploiting technology.

Externship programs offer hands-on experience and the opportunity for creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication that better inform instruction and boost teacher confidence.

Empathize: Gather information from users In action: Fourth-graders in Colorado solicited ideas from local residents to help their city redesign a local park.

Define: Frame the problem In action: Administrators in Glenbrook High Schools District 225 considered student experience when redesigning classrooms. They chose furniture that let learners move around. 

Some call design thinking a revolution in learning, while others see it as just the latest fad, better left to Silicon Valley charter schools.

These district solutions serve as models for other districts, and cover the K12 spectrum, from English language learners to dropout prevention to data-driven decision-making to water conservation.

The 45 schools and systems recognized by this year’s District of Distinction program have created homegrown initiatives to support students’ social-emotional development, to provide powerful new opportunities for career-focused STEM learning and to improve the skills of educators.

NMSI’s mantra is that education empowers opportunity. How have you experienced that?

VARSITY VIDEO GAMES—E-sports teams—such as the squad pictured above at Nobesville High School in Indiana—often appeal to smart and creative students who have not participated previously in school activities, teacher Donald Wettrick says.

Dozens of high schools across the nation are adding competitive video-gaming as it becomes one of the fastest-growing activities in both K12 and higher ed.

3D printers have become necessary devices in classrooms in all subjects. Students who have mastered this technology are in high demand in a wide range of professions.(Gettyimages.com: monkeybusinessimages).

From kindergarten to senior year, from basic problem-solving to career prep, 3D printers have become instructional backbones coast to coast.

Computational thinking covers more than learning how to code or even how to use computers. Rather, it teaches problem-solving techniques that draw heavily on logic, sequencing, and trial and error.

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