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The Christa McAuliffe Center at Framingham State University has now opened registration for a summer STEM certificate program. Pairing up with PTC, this program is available to educators across subject areas, including those not primarily teaching STEM curricula. PTC specializes in software solutions for product/project management, and has particular emphasis on engineering processes.
 
The STEM certificate program is designed to assist educators in increasing their own technical literacy as well as offering tools for development of STEM curricula and projects. Upon completion of the program, those educators will also receive an extensive package of PTC software as well as other software donations and consulting support. This is open to educators both in and outside of Massachusetts.
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It's becoming a growing concern that there are not enough students pursuing studies and careers in engineering. Manufacturers, especially, are increasingly feeling the pinch that comes from not enough skilled engineers emerging into the work force to replace baby boomers who are starting to retire.

Massachusetts, especially Boston, is a center for developing engineers. The state overall enjoys a fairly high 40% of students from public schools who pursue college as having interest in STEM fields. Other areas of New England, especially more rural areas, show a dramatic drop off in STEM interest. Overall, it could be that a misperception of what sorts of jobs are available in the manufacturing sector might be impacting what students foresee as opportunities for after they graduate. As many good paying engineering jobs exist in those industries, more can be done to raise awareness of this fact with students.

Efforts are ongoing to grow the perceptions of opportunities out there so that students can better envision futures... Read More

This two-day (July 29 & 30) workshop at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston will focus on making science writing an reality in your classroom. From formal essays to oral presentations, debates, and science conversations, STEM controversies provide exciting springboards for objective writing and evidence-based discussion. In addition to Common Core writing styles and academic language, we will investigate ways to document lab investigations, including abstracts, narrative methodologies, logbooks, and symposia, We will craft writing prompts so that they are ready to implement in your classroom, including reading packets for the upcoming PARCC assessments.  Participants will also develop original MCAS-style open response questions ready to use as journal prompts, class starters, or formative assessments.  Join us for this intensive, two-day workshop on science writing for middle and high school teachers.

For more information, please download the flyer (PDF). For registration info, email Dr. Judith... Read More

While New Hampshire does not have an official statewide science fair, organizers in the state are still finding ways to encourage and showcase students with interests in STEM.
 
Taking place at Concord's New Hampshire Technical Institute in late March, the 11th annual New Hampshire Science and Engineering Exposition drew students from 16 schools. Sixty seven projects were presented alongside 11 challenge events, evaluated by 59 judges, who represented a mix of teachers and STEM industry professionals. As this event grows each year, there is hope that it will gain enough traction to be recognized by the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Diversity of topical representation for judges remains a concern, as most of the STEM professionals were engineers, leaving gaps in judging knowledge for biological sciences for example.

Read more about the... Read More

The National Science Foundation has made available a nifty new app to help bring science imagery into the classroom. Called Science360, this free iPad (only it seems, at least at present) app collates images, videos, and news from a variety of sources. A fantastic new tool for educators, it could be a real time-saver in the search for material to bring into the classroom. New content is added weekly -- sources from the NSF, as well as scientists, secondary institutions, and NSF centers of science and engineering. It also features an ongoing news feed for new and breaking stories. The app is designed to allow for easy sharing of content on social media outlets, further expanding its reach.
 
Perhaps best of all is that the app is completely free!
 
Given that technology in the classroom is a... Read More

We are delighted by the news that 17-year-old William Henry Kuszmaul of Lexington has placed third at the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search competition for 2014. William was one of 40 finalists selected from more than 1800 entrants to the event. In the simplest terms, his project was a mathematical study of modular enumeration. This area of applied math has many potential practical uses for daily life, found in the convergence of computer science, bioinformatics, and computational biology. In addition to his third-place finish, William made a deep impression on peers and judges, who also chose to award him the Glenn T. Seaborg Award, named for and given in honor of the Nobel Prize-winning... Read More

Marking a tremendous increase in interest and participation in STEM education, early March saw a very successful regional science air at the Bartlett Community Partnership School in Lowell. With assistance and support from Middlesex Community College Service Learning students, the 100 middle school students taking part in the first Lowell’s first Middle School District Science & Engineering Fair presented more than 60 projects.

A new partnership between Lowell and Middlesex Community College provides both support and encouragement for school age students, and opportunities for Service Learning track college students to gain experience in helping to develop the next generation of STEM students and professionals. The collaboration has led to the creation of a STEM club, and short term curricula for encouraging 5th and 6th  grade students to examine the impact of science on global and local health as well as other topics.

Read more on... Read More

Presenting 142 projects conceived and executed by 400 scientists, Brockton High School recently marked its annual science fair. Running the gamut from baked ice cream to measuring air quality and composition around the school itself, the projects were diverse and impressive. Under the dedicated support of science fair coordinators Suzanne Heenan and Kaylee DeGrace who helped students and science faculty with support and resources, the fair was considered a great success. Some of the winning projects presented moved on to the regional science fair at Bridgewater State University.

We are very impressed with the caliber of work being done by these students, and we wish them every success in all of their ventures!

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Trilogy Publications is adding to its series of "Those Amazing..." books which are designed to present real-world projects and examples to upper elementary through high school age kids. The most recent, and third, title is "Those Amazing Builders." All written by Charlotte Forbes, this book follows "Those Amazing Scientists" and "Those Amazing Engineers."

The intention of the books is to demonstrate how STEM disciplines are applied in real life to help illuminate potential career paths and objectives. According to Rose Reichman, a partner with Trilogy, “Teachers need tools that help students connect what they study with their daily lives. Our books use examples of projects that young people can relate to, projects that affect their lives or their communities and excite their imaginations.”

There are programs in place to match up educators and school districts with corporate sponsors to help to bring these texts to classrooms.... Read More

The issue of lack of qualified STEM workers is, by now, well known. What are some of the innovations being employed to help correct this?

A physics professor at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, Bob Beichner, has completely changed up his classroom by "flipping" it. He felt that the plethora of videos and information on the internet made lecturing a moot exercise, so in his classroom, students are focused on practical, hands-on work and problems. He has gone so far as to test different sizes of tables, to determine the optimal size for work space and communication (the answer: 7' round). Students, working in teams, are further motivated by contracts within those teams by which they can remove less productive classmates (who then have to do all of their work by phone; apparently this has only happened a handful of times).

What has been the result? Beichner's students take the same exams as other physics classes and generally score a grade better than their peers. Failure rates among... Read More

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