8 virtual field trips for STEM education

Each year, we share our 10 most-read stories. Not surprisingly, many of this year’s Top 10 focused on student engagement and online or hybrid learning strategies related to pandemic teaching. This year’s 6th most-read story focuses on how virtual field trips can engage even the most reluctant STEM learners.

It’s January. Winter break is over, and the rest of the school year–whether in person, hybrid, or virtual–seems never-ending. And while traditional field trips are on pause while COVID still spreads, virtual field trips are still very much possible.

Hands-on STEM subjects are challenging to teach when students aren’t in the classroom all the time, and student engagement is also a challenge during COVID. Virtual field trips address both of these persistent roadblocks.…Read More

West Sound STEM Network Expands Partnership with Slooh to Engage More Students in Space Exploration

Washington Depot, Connecticut, October 29, 2021 – Slooh, the only organization offering live online telescope feeds of amazing astronomical events to students, and the West Sound STEM Network recently expanded their partnership to help more teachers and students throughout northwest Washington State engage in space exploration that is aligned with state and national standards. After successfully providing a number of Network member schools with access to Slooh’s robotic telescopes and patented Mission Interface last year, West Sound STEM Network is now expanding the program to reach 250 teachers and 10,000 students. This comes as Slooh works toward its goal of helping one million students nationwide experience the wonder of space from their classroom and home computers.

“Our partnership with Slooh is – and has been – highly inspirational for our teachers and students,” said Dr. Kareen Borders, executive director of the West Sound STEM Network. “Our schools are actively exploring the moon, Mars, and beyond in real time!”

Serving the Olympic and Kitsap peninsulas, the West Sound STEM Network is a public-private regional network committed to building PreK-career pathways to postsecondary credentials and a stronger STEM workforce. The cross-sector network of businesses, school districts, education agencies, higher education institutions, Career and Technical Education (CTE) practitioners and providers, government, military, community, Tribes, library systems, nonprofits, out-of-school providers, and workforce development agencies introduce and link students, teachers, and the community to high-quality STEM resources, such as Slooh.  …Read More

Flinn Scientific Launches New Contest for STEM Educators in Celebration of Mole Day

In celebration of the upcoming Mole Day on October 23rd, Flinn Scientific is asking STEM educators to share their favorite way of teaching students about the size of a mole – a scientific unit that is often hard for students to conceptualize – for a chance to win up to $500 in Visa gift cards. All K-12 educators ages 21 and above are encouraged to apply by the October 23, 2021 deadline. 

 “One mole is officially defined as containing exactly 6.02214076 x 1023 elementary entities, which is an extremely large quantity of units,” said Alan Downward, Ph.D., senior staff scientist at Flinn Scientific. “With National Chemistry Week and Mole Day later this month, our new contest provides a fun way for teachers to share their best practices and tips for teaching students about this concept and how it relates to important chemistry concepts such as amount, mass, and concentration.”

To enter, educators create a short video of their favorite explanation, analogy, or demonstration showing how they teach students about the size of a mole. After uploading to YouTube, Vimeo, or TikTok with the hashtag #FlinnMoleDay, educators then share the video link on Flinn Scientific’s contest page. All videos must reference the SI unit known as a mole, as well as highlight educators’ original concept, method, or reasoning behind how they teach students the size of a mole.

Next, teachers will vote on their favorite submissions by October 31, 2021, and the three educators whose videos receive the most ‘likes’ will be named the winners. The first place winner will receive (2) $250 Visa gift cards, the second place winner will receive (1) $250 Visa gift card, and the third place winner will receive (1) $100 Visa gift card.

To learn more about the #FlinnMoleDay contest and to submit your entry, visit https://www.flinnsci.com/chemistry-week/mole-day-contest/.…Read More

Why STEM literacy is critical for our students

Providing an engaging and equitable STEM education is an important step in helping to develop more scientists and engineers while increasing race and gender diversity in the field–both of which are much needed in today’s world. Education in STEM can also help develop a STEM-literate citizenry. 

While there are many nuanced definitions for STEM literacy, the basis is that STEM-literate individuals are able to apply STEM concepts to identify, understand, and solve problems in the world around them, whether or not these problems are scientific in nature. STEM-literate individuals are able to think in a scientific-minded way about issues that impact their life and the community as a whole.

As educators, helping students understand the importance and benefits of STEM literacy – and how science impacts so many facets of their everyday lives – is an important responsibility.…Read More

6 female tech leaders offer advice for women in STEM

It’s common knowledge that engaging–and retaining–girls and women in STEM classes, STEM degrees, and STEM careers is an ongoing challenge.

Some key elements in this equation are representation, along with ensuring girls and women have role models to support them in their STEM learning and career paths.

The pandemic has prompted many workers to change their career paths, and many STEM sectors like cybersecurity struggle with talent shortages. Women only account for 28 percent of the STEM workforce today.…Read More

3 ways STEM learning supports the future of work

To succeed in college and the workplace, students require a solid foundation in STEM learning. Experience in these subjects does not only benefit aspiring scientists and engineers–it’s essential for all students.

In fact, between 2017 and 2027, the number of STEM jobs will grow 13 percent. Even positions in traditionally non-STEM fields (estimated to grow by 9 percent) will require some sort of technological knowledge.

STEM learning is all about designing creative solutions for real-world problems. Problem-based STEM curriculum allows students to see the impact of their learning. That kind of authenticity builds engagement. Students progress from asking “When will I ever use this?” to connecting skills and applications.…Read More

A ‘Brilliant’ way to learn STEM

Every now and then, a new resource comes along that’s worth a second–or third, or fourth–look.

You might feel that way about Brilliant–a site that helps users learn not through lecture videos, but through hands-on, interactive learning.

Brilliant works by helping learners of all ages master content instead of simply memorizing. It also provides instant feedback so that learners can improve their knowledge through problem solving. Struggle is part of Brilliant’s instructional strategy, because the path to learning STEM isn’t necessarily 100 percent easy.…Read More

3M Young Scientist Challenge Announces 2021 National Finalists and Honorable Mentions

SILVER SPRING, Md. & ST. PAUL, Minn. (Thursday, June 24, 2021) – 3M and Discovery Education today announced the top 10 finalists and four honorable mention recipients in the 2021 3M Young Scientist Challenge. As the nation’s premier middle school science competition, the 3M Young Scientist Challenge features outstanding innovations from young scientists that utilize the power of STEM to improve the world.

This year’s finalists and honorable mention recipients – fourteen students ranging in age from 12-14 – identified an everyday problem in their community or the world and submitted a one- to two-minute video communicating the science behind their solution. An esteemed and diverse group of judges, including 3M scientists and leaders in education from across the country, evaluated entries based on creativity, scientific knowledge, and communication effectiveness. The competition event will take place from October 18-19, 2021, at the 3M Innovation Center in Minneapolis.

“The 3M Young Scientist Challenge demonstrates the transformative power of young minds to address global challenges by combining their unique and diverse perspectives on innovation, creativity, and a passion for a better world,” said Denise Rutherford, senior vice president and chief corporate affairs officer, 3M. “The 2021 finalists, honorable mention recipients prove the efficacy of STEM thinking. We are proud of this year’s competitors and remain committed to building greater STEM-equity that unlocks the power of people, ideas, and science and imagines what’s possible.”…Read More

The Council of State Science Supervisors and Flinn Scientific Collaborate to Support Safe Practices in Science Classrooms

Batavia, Illinois, June 23, 2021 — The Council of State Science Supervisors (CSSS) and Flinn Scientific, a flagship provider of science lab materials and safety and STEM solutions for the K-16 education market, collaborated to support science safety by updating three safety manuals – Elementary Science Safety K-8; Elementary STEM & Tool Safety K-8; and High School Science Safety. These resourcesare available online and as free digital downloads.

“Lab safety is of paramount importance. Whether students are making sense of phenomena or designing solutions in a classroom, laboratory, or in the community, educators need to be proactive in ensuring everyone’s safety,” said Michael Heinz, President of CSSS. “With the input and expertise of Flinn Scientific and its safety professionals, updated safety manuals offer insights that instructional leaders and educators can use to be proactive in thinking about, and planning for, safe investigations and solving design challenges.”

The manuals provide easily accessible, concise safety guidance on topics such as safe operating procedures, accident prevention, chemical waste management, and personal protective equipment.…Read More

MindSpark Learning® Acquires Couragion to Disrupt the Landscape of Workforce Development, Career Literacy, and Professional Learning

June 15, 2021 — Denver, Colo. — MindSpark Learning® (MindSpark™), a nonprofit that delivers extraordinary and sustainable learning experiences for educators and professionals, announced today the acquisition of Couragion, a leading provider of STEM career literacy and workforce development solutions. 

Couragion works with educators to provide inclusive, work-based learning experiences that prepare students to be future ready. With intentional impact-first methods to encourage the participation of underrepresented students, Couragion advances student intention, motivation and confidence rates to pursue rewarding career pathways. 

Together, MindSpark and Couragion have a long history of driving STEM education and educator preparation programs. Their collaboration led to the development of STEMpath – a 24-credit graduate program proven to boost the capability and diversity of STEM and Computer Science (CS) teachers – ultimately driving a systems-level change that increases the number of students entering the STEM workforce.…Read More