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Articles: STEM

Using community engagement, professional development, custom curricula and digital resources, the leaders of Oak Ridge Schools in Tennessee hope to transform the district into a recognized leader in STEM education.

Students in all grade levels have been using robotics in the classroom at Fayette County Schools in Kentucky.

Many districts are charging up their K12 STEM courses with the use of robotics. The clear benefits of robotics are increased student engagement and collaboration—but there’s more.

Students following a project-based, inquiry curriculum aligned with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) outperformed their peers who received traditional instruction, according to a National Science Foundation study released last spring.

High school students work to defend their computer network at this spring’s CyberPatriot cybersecurity competition in Washington, D.C.

CyberPatriot is all about protecting U.S. interests, and the heroes are teams of high school students. The bad guys (imaginary, in this case) are hackers who would try to disrupt power grids, banking, health care, transportation systems and other vital services.

Schools that can’t afford to compete with the private sector in hiring technology specialists are looking to other options, such as hiring part-time experts, bringing in volunteers or finding funds to retrain teachers.

Technology is revolutionizing the study of science in K12. New products for chemistry, biology and physics labs allow more engaging and, in some cases, safer experiments.

Following the BYOD and 1-to-1 trend, many of these products come with mobile apps so students can take their inquiries outside the classroom and analyze data instantly in the field.

By 2018, Florida will have 411,000 STEM-related jobs, fourth highest among the 50 states, and nine out of 10 jobs created in the state before the end of the decade will be in STEM-related fields.

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were finalized in April 2013 after a lengthy research and development process by the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Achieve and a group of 26 states. Not a set of curricula, the NGSS serves to provide teachers with guidelines for teaching practical, more in-depth science.

The new breed of robots rolling, dancing and flying into classrooms is giving educators at all grade levels an engaging new tool to fire students’ enthusiasm for math, computer programming and other STEM-related subjects.

Nationally, there are very few hands-on cadaver labs at the high school level.

An austere doctor’s office with three cadavers laid out on stainless-steel examination tables awaited students from seven Illinois high schools. Reminiscent of a scene from CSI, it was a lab where advanced biology students got a hands-on experience of medical science by dissecting human bodies.

The largest school infrastructure project in Connecticut history is nearing its one-year anniversary. The Fairchild Wheeler Interdistrict Magnet Campus in Bridgeport, Conn., was completed last August for $126 million and is the state’s most environmentally friendly school.

Sixth grade students at Quest to Learn in New York City play a game called Galactic Mappers in class.

Sixth grade students at Quest to Learn, a New York City public school, recently got a two-week break from regular class work to build a giant Rube Goldberg machine. The project, for example, required students to use physics and geometry skills to build a complex scheme of pulleys and tubes to accomplish the simple act of popping a balloon.

An AT&T employee volunteer, above left, helps a student in the Boys & Girls Clubs navigate a creative obstacle course to help motivate youth to be ready for successful transition into the upcoming school year.

Some of the world’s most powerful companies are increasing their influence in K12 education by funding programs that blend workforce development with public service. Corporate initiatives range from retail giant Target’s $1 billion plan to fund literacy programs to IBM’s high school STEM programs that aim to prepare the workers the company needs to fill its ranks.

A carnival with a twist is coming to the West coast this spring. Instead of eating cotton candy and riding Ferris wheels, students will navigate a laser maze and measure their strength in volts—all while learning engineering skills.

The STEAM Carnival was created by Two Bit Circus, a Los Angeles-based engineering and entertainment company that creates high-tech games for clients like Intel and the arcade restaurant Dave & Buster’s.

It took less than three years for Tipton School District’s server-based technology program, once considered state-of-the-art, to become obsolete in 2007. At about the same time, the state legislature added a 21st-century skills requirement, including technology literacy, to the Iowa Core curriculum. And so, the search began for a new provider of technology literacy curriculum for the district.

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