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Articles: STEM

A movement to spread scientific learning in a casual environment that started in Britain in the late 1990s has gotten a foothold in the United States. At science cafés, adults gather at a restaurant, bar or other nonacademic spot to listen to a presentation on a scientific topic while enjoying their favorite beverage.

 

Disney’s Planet Challenge began in California in 1994 and has since expanded to Florida, the Cayman Islands and Hong Kong. This year, the program will be launched nationwide. Here are examples of winning projects from past years.

Pitsco’s green projects and products, Lexmark’s paper program, and Lutron Electronics’ Greenovation program are just a few curricular ideas that K12 classrooms are using to help districts save energy and teach students to help save the environment.

The average score for eighth-graders on the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAE P) was the highest ever, but only 39 percent scored at or above the proficient level (Lee, Grigg, & Dion, 2007). Even fewer high school seniors (23 percent) were proficient (Grigg, Donahue, & Dion, 2007). “The sharp falloff in mathematics achievement in the U.S. begins as students reach late middle school, where, for more and more students, algebra course work begins,” the National Mathematics Advisory Panel said in 2008 in its final report.

U.S. Students Move Up in Math and Science

Critics who argue that the United States lags behind its international peers in the education rankings might find some evidence to the contrary in the recent results of a major international assessment, which shows fourth- and eighth-graders making strong gains in math and modest improvements in science.

 

Cookie Academy Project

Antwerp (Ohio) Local School District

 

Living and Learning Arcade

Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh Charter School

A Living Arcade

A video-game type of environment will draw more students to become proficient in reading and math.

 

Learning Cafe

Phoenix (Ariz.) Elementary School District #1

The subject of science lends itself naturally to lab experiments, field experiences and other “hands-on” activities. If well implemented, such activities can engage students and significantly increase learning. But if science education is to prepare students for life and for possible careers in science, providing hands-on activities is not enough.

 

Last year, when the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) put Rockland High School in Massachusetts on probation—largely because of its outdated science labs—it didn’t surprise Principal Stephen Sangster.

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