Dedham High School has been taking part in the Mass Math and Science Initiative (MMSI), and the students are enjoying great success, creating a model for around the state of Massachusetts.
In kicking off the school’s 5th year of participation in this program, Mass Insight Education director Joe Mahoney laid out the reality of how much better students are doing in STEM curricula once they reach college as a result of having taken part in this program. Read more in the Daily News Transcript.
Since 1949, the Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair (MSSEF) has been promoting science literacy and advancing inquiry learning. MSSEF programs engage sustained student interest, increasing science learning while also developing students’ 21st century workplace skills, such as communication, teamwork and a strong work ethic.
It can be difficult to put into words the excitement that builds when a student’s idea becomes fully realized through a science project. We thought we’d let some of our students, teachers, and friends do the talking for us through a series of videos. Visit MSSEF’s YouTube channel, or start with The Anatomy of a Science Fair Project, below.
A little light summer reading: Longitudinal data on students from two states — Florida and North Carolina — reveals “STEM-relevant variables” linked to success in STEM education.
Download the full text of the report (PDF)
Read more on American Institutes for Research
Making science come alive for kids through interactive, hands-on, inquiry-based learning is key to getting them “hooked” enough to pursue STEM subjects as their academic careers advance. Darryl Lee Baynes, president of the Minority Aviation Education Association’s Interactive Science Programs, has an action-packed formula for encouraging minority students to think about pursuing careers in STEM fields.
A compelling part of Baynes’ message? Careers in STEM pay. “There is a shortage of scientists and engineers in this country,” he says. “If you get a job as a petroleum engineer, you’ll make $100,000 to start. The more math and science you take, the more money you make.”
Read more on Take Part
Massachusetts isn’t churning out enough college graduates in the field of computing to meet the demands of the current job market. So said representatives of Google, Microsoft, and Intel during a meeting with Massachusetts lawmakers on Wednesday at a Tech Hub Caucus meeting held at the State House.
According to Steve Vinter, engineering and site director at Google’s Cambridge office, “Computing… is not a tech sector problem, it is a Massachusetts economy problem.” Vinter pointed out that while more than 70% of new STEM jobs require advance computing skills, inadequate computer science offerings in Massachusetts schools have created a shortage of workers to fill the available openings. One solution: Spark interest in computer science by introducing the subject earlier in students’ school careers.
Read on CommonWealth Magazine
For the past year a group of 10 East Boston High School (EBHS) students with the guidance of two EBHS teachers have been learning science and helping their community. The students have been reading and creating science non-fiction stories for elementary students at Umana Academy in East Boston. They have also been mentoring 6th graders leading and environmental initiative at Umana.
During all of this, the students were also fundraising for their biggest service learning project – a trip to Arizona to volunteer at the Navajo Nation reservation. The students completed their trip last week and chronicled their activities on a group blog. During the trip, they were able to visit a charter school that is entirely off the grid, learn about sheep farming, work on the sheep farm, help clean up trash, cook traditional Navajo food, and explore the Grand Canyon. Experiential learning at its best!
Many feel that when people refer to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) they are really just talking about science and math. Technology and engineering often get put aside in K-12 classrooms to focus on the fundamentals of science and mathematics. However, things are starting to change. As the need for students with engineering and technology skills increases the need to teach students these skills before they reach college has become apparent.
EdWeek mentions a number of initiatives to bring the T and E in STEM that are gaining momentum in classrooms across the country. Tens of thousands of classrooms are now using the Engineering is Elementary curriculum materials developed by Boston’s own Museum of Science. The new common standards also have a greater focus on engineering skills and an engineering based Advanced Placement (AP) course may be in the works.
The Boston-based non-profit Citizen Schools has long been working with corporate partners to bring exciting STEM experiences into the classroom and give students access to STEM professionals. Now, Citizen Schools will working with corporations on the US2020 project with the goal of having 1 million STEM professionals mentoring K12, college, and graduate students throughout their careers by the year 2020. In addition to changing the landscape of STEM education by giving students these opportunities, they also hope to change the workplace for those in STEM careers by making volunteering a common occurrence. Citizen Schools will be incubating this project until June 2014. Cisco, Cognizant, and SanDisk are the founding corporate partners.
Samidha Sane, 8th grade science teacher and science fair coordinator at the Locke Middle School in Billerica, received the Aerospace Teacher of the Year award from the Massachusetts Wing Civil Air Patrol (the auxiliary wing of the US Air Force). Samidha is now Massachusetts’ aerospace teacher of the year nominee for the entire Northeast region. Depending on the results of the Northeast competition, she could move to the national level.
Samidha’s school, the Locke Middle School, is one of 30 “GEMS” schools that received multi-year grants to expand or start science fair programs and to enable more students to engage in hands-on experience with real-world science practices. As a result, for the last three years, top student researchers at the Locke Middle School have earned a place in the MA State Middle School Science & Engineering Fair, scheduled this year for June 1 at Worcester Technical High School.
GEMS (Gelfand Endeavor in Massachusetts Schools) is a partnership with the Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair (MSSEF) that provides schools and science educators with training, resources and tools. Learn more about GEMS and MSSEF’s Curious Minds Initiative.
Congratulations and good luck to Samidha!
Last year, Tyler Dewitt, a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology gave an inspiring talk at Tedx Beacon Street, recently made available online.
In short, Tyler believes scientists should present science as a “story.” He suggests that there would be benefits to be had by moving away from the dry textbook-style learning and toward making science more fun and interactive for all students.
Tyler supports STEM education through his involvement with MIT’s K12 video initiative and his own YouTube channel.