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Inquiry First.

Marlborough High School will welcome a VIP tomorrow, when Massachusetts Secretary of Education Paul Reville will pay a visit. The focus of his visit will be the high school's STEM Early College High School, which integrates project-based learning experiences and personalized portfolio assessment with community involvement and internships in STEM-related careers. Funded in part with Race to the Top money, the program supports closing achievement gaps, and has received praise from Gov. Deval Patrick.
See on www.metrowestdailynews.com


Scientific American and ScienceDebate.org (which refers to itself as "an independent citizens' initiative asking candidates for office to discuss the top science questions facing America) posed 14 questions about science and education to President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.  Their responses will be analyzed and graded in the November issue of Scientific American, available next month.

In the meantime, you can read what the candidates had to say on such subjects as education, climate change, biosecurity, and innovation on Scientific American online.

Are the candidates qualified to respond to such questions? "Obama and Romney spend a lot of time talking... Read More

Broadcom Foundation Executive Director Paula Golden received a "high-five" voicemail from astronaut and STEM champion Sally Ride just weeks before Ride's untimely death from pancreatic cancer: "Paula, this is Sally Ride. I clipped an article you wrote about the importance of motivating kids to study math and science in middle school and called to let you know that the Broadcom Foundation is on target with support for training teachers in STEM project-based learning."

As Golden points out in a blog post on Huff Post Impact, Ride's most significant legacy may well be the results of her effort to empower middle school teachers to inspire kid to pursue STEM studies -- and eventually, careers -- through Ride's "Train the Trainer" program.  "Sharing... Read More

On a recent post in her blog, Shaping Youth founder Amy Jussel shares her impressions of a couple of STEM-centric toys showcased at the Maker Faire.  Specifically, littleBits grabbed -- and held -- the interest of young kids.

LittleBits (dubbed "LEGOs for the iPad generation") enable children to create working circuits without soldering, programming, or wiring.  Using the components and buildables, including dimmer, buzzer, light sensor, etc), kids can create almost anything they can imagine.

"We now live in a world that is full of lights and sounds and things reacting to each other, and screens, and we don’t understand the guts of it," said Little Bits founder Ayah Bdeir. "It’s very important for us to go back to basics, to see, and to say that the magic of electricity is something that is everywhere that’s around us—it’s beautiful and we have to... Read More

Two of the 30 U.S. students in the final round of the Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars) competition finals hail from Massachusetts.

Daniel Lu of Carlisle, MA will compete in the finals with his project, "Psychoacoustics: The Perception of Volume."  Assonet's Ethan Messier will present "Wave To The Future (The Utilization of Marine Waves Using Wave Buoys to Generate Electricity)."  A program of Society for Science & the Public (SSP), Broadcom MASTERS is a leading science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competition for middle school students.

"The Broadcom MASTERS finalists represent the nation’s finest young... Read More

Randolph-Macon College English Professor Thomas Peyser makes an interesting case for the importance of STEM students having a strong foundation in grammar in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.  "...we can be confident that the abandonment of instruction in grammar is robbing us not just of future writers but of future scientists, physicians and engineers as well," he writes.

With more and more emphasis on STEM education and less and less on grammar, the gap seems to be widening dangerously.  Scientists use words, sentences, and paragraphs to communicate, just as writers do.  Furthermore, STEM studies require students to distill complex sentences for comprehension.  Without an ample grasp on the fundamentals of grammar, students find themselves at a disadvantage on both the expressive and receptive sides of the communication equation.

One of the key benefits of science fairs is the opportunity they provide for multi-disciplinary learning. A student's skills as writer,... Read More

There's plenty of room in the fast-moving world of extreme sports for science.  Ben Gulak proved it.  As a teenager, the now-23-year-old had a big ambition: Winning the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.  His senior project, the Uno, was a part Segway, part motorcycle vehicle that he developed as an environmentally friendly transportation option for consumers in Asia.  Although regulatory issues thwarted that vision, the chairman of Intel at the time, Craig Barrett noticed Ben's project, which won the "most marketable" award.

From there, Ben launched his won engineering design company, called BPG Werks, to develop a similar, even cheaper-to-produce concept -- the DTV Shredder.  Geared toward extreme-sports fans, he tough-looking all-terrain vehicle borrows elements from the Segway, motorcycle, and skateboard.   “I really like the idea of bringing something new into the world, to an industry that’s been stagnant for a... Read More

All signs point to the fact that the abilities to innovate and create are skills that today's students need for future success. Teachers who make their classrooms "idea factories" for their students, rather than focusing solely on textbook-based instruction, have the right idea. By coming up with their own ideas and executing them in the classroom, students get grounded in the kind of thinking and experimentation that is the foundation for innovation.

A new book, Bringing Innovation to School: Empowering Students to Thrive in a Changing World, makes useful suggestions for turning classrooms into spaces where innovation can thrive.  Among them, the book advises teachers to welcome authentic questions, build empathy, and amplify worthy ideas.
See on... Read More

What will education look like a decade or so from now?  The demands of a changing society are predicted to alter the job landscape drastically for today's grade school students: a projected 65% of them will work in jobs that don't yet exist.  It only makes sense, then, that education will have to evolve to prepare students for that future.  Check out this infographic on this very subject, that illustrates the move from a classroom-centered learning environment to a new set of virtual environments tailored to a changing employment landscape.


See on www.fastcoexist.com

On Wired's "Geekmom" blog, Rebecca Angel recapped her interview with Carlos Contreras, Intel's Education Director, about the state of STEM education in the US.

Pointing out that American students have a long way to go when it comes to matching their international peers' performance on tests that require creative, complex thinking, Contreras feels that parents have a role to play in engaging young children in the kinds of activities that foster a spirit of inquiry. "Whatever the passion of the parent is, there is science behind it, whether it’s cooking or whatever hobby they are into," he said. "There is science there, and get your kids to experiment."

Encouraging students to explore science and work to find the solutions to the questions they have can be invaluable.  Mentoring programs, like... Read More

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