By Debra Shapiro
Winter-Themed STEM Activities From PLT
At the Project Learning Tree (PLT) website, K–8 educators can find suggested activities to help students better understand their local winter season. Students can investigate how local plants will be impacted by the changing weather, make observations and experiment with rain and snowfall, and learn about the extreme conditions of the Arctic. Several ideas are presented under each category.
For example, if students live in an area with snow on the ground, have them collect some snow and measure its volume. Let the snow melt and calculate the volume of water. How does the volume of water compare with the volume of snow? The website also provides Recommended Readings for books that explore winter habitats, biodiversity, predator-prey relationships, and other topics.
Winter-Themed Video Lessons From TED-Ed
Looking for ideas to banish the winter doldrums in K–8 classrooms? Get inspired by ideas from “Cool! 6 TED-Ed lessons About the Cold,” an article published in eSchool News, a journal highlighting best practices in K–12 educational technology. The article provides links to six video-based lessons built around content from the TED-Ed educational platform. The lessons cover topics like snowflakes, the coldest place on Earth, myths about the cold, and hibernation, and the lessons can be used for brain breaks, to introduce new content, or to spark engaging science discussion in class. Each lesson includes a video to Watch, questions to Think about the video’s content, resources to Dig Deeper into the topic, and guided questions for a final Discussion.
“Managing Chemical Wastes in the High School Lab”
This online article—previously published in Chemistry Solutions, a journal from the American Association of Chemistry Teachers—presents straightforward information relevant for teachers today. Of particular interest is the article’s Quick Disposal Reference Guide infographic, which helps teachers identify which chemicals may be disposed of in the regular trash and which are acceptable for laboratory drain disposal. In addition, the article presents practical information about handling and storing hazardous materials in the lab.
Hosted by the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools in California, this free virtual live STEM experience and career exploration offers engaging activities for classroom and homeschool teachers and students nationwide starting on February 21, with recorded segments available through March 24. STEMapalooza will feature keynote speakers, STEM activities, career exploration, industry tours, and informative videos from local industry professionals, STEM-related high school pathways, and STEM-related postsecondary programs. This event can be used for extended learning opportunities or independent career exploration, for students to share projects in the “Just Flexin” student showcase, or for students to research high school CTE (career and technical education) pathways. Watch a video at https://d3id26kdqbehod.cloudfront.net/SANBCR/2023/02/03/KjiniFe6JYzNNgnJfQS2QkMvS4WKqBRZQR0UBr5suR8Eb8tGBFGleuFFXL2N/2023+STEMapalooza+Teaser+%283%29-480p.mp4.
Students and/or teachers must register to participate; those who live outside the Inland Empire, California, area must check the “other” box to complete the registration. Visit https://www.wsbcss.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=2353354&type=d&pREC_ID=2278007 to register.
NASA Ames Exploration Encounter
Are you interested in providing your students with interactive STEM lessons provided by NASA? The NASA Ames Exploration Encounter (AEE) is now open for the Spring 2023 semester. Facilitated by a NASA STEM Education Specialist, AEE is a free, one-hour interactive program for classes of grades 1–6 students to experience science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in action. Teachers and students are invited to join AEE virtually or in person at its Mountain View, California, location for a two-hour program. Register at https://stemgateway.nasa.gov/public/s/course-offering/a0Bt000000AmO2j.
Stanford Program for Inspiring the Next Generation of Women in Physics (SPINWIP)
Administered by Stanford University, SPINWIP is an outreach opportunity for high school girls interested in physics and coding. Students will learn how to code in python and study a variety of physics concepts. This three-week program (July 10–28) is free to participants and is held through video chat.
Female and gender-minority students in grades 9–11 at the time of application are eligible. Students from countries outside the United States also may apply. Preference will be given to first-generation students, students from underrepresented backgrounds in physics, and rising seniors. Apply by May 1 at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSegHp32zfcaIGO3f27plxu4Dvvye9apBP1cVklryAuyDhPNhQ/viewform.
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