By Debra Shapiro
The Genius of Play’s STEAM Playbook
To celebrate the benefits of learning through play, the National Girls Collaborative Project and the Toy Association’s The Genius of Play initiative developed a collection of hands-on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) activities for preK–5 audiences. The activities use common materials found around the home and include tips to modify the experiences to make them simpler or more complex depending on the students’ age. Science-themed activities include exploring astronomy and math concepts with Impact Craters, while technology-themed activities include Coders and Robots (an unplugged activity exploring foundational coding concepts) and a Technology Scavenger Hunt. Activities exploring engineering themes include Marshmallow Structure and Tower Building, while students can explore math and estimation skills in activities such as Let’s Go Shopping and What’s the Scoop?
All About Elephants Video
Visit the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) YouTube channel, WWF Wild Classroom, to watch the latest in the All About Species video series, All About Elephants. Targeted for grades 3–8, the approximately five-minute video features information and fun facts about elephants, their habitats, and what can be done to protect them. Other species highlighted in the video series include polar bears, sea turtles, Monarch butterflies, and tigers.
Understanding Authentic Science
WestEd’s 40-page publication Authentic Science Experiences: Designing High School Science Learning to Reach All Students highlights five features of authentic science experiences and presents underlying research to support the design and implementation of meaningful science learning for high school students. The key features of authentic science include ideas such as students integrate skills with core knowledge of science and engineering professions; students’ interests, culture, identities, and experiences are positioned as fundamental assets in the learning process; students use science to explain the world around them and solve problems that matter to society; students learn by working with peers and adults; and students engage in various assessments that showcase ongoing learning and promote confidence. Authentic Science Experiences also features a series of vignettes describing what authentic science looks like in various high school science settings to help educators better understand the key features.
Hyperjumps! Math Game
This game allows players to explore exoplanets in an eight-planet solar system. Each planet in the target solar system has been assigned a hyperjump number. Players must input the numbers in a valid order—based on addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division—before they can take off. Their mission is to establish hyperjump routes to as many exoplanets as they can in a different solar system each day. Learn more about the game at https://www.quantamagazine.org/introducing-quantas-new-math-game-hyperjumps-20230303.
Discovering Hidden Figures Lesson Plan Competition
Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) is celebrating the lesser-known discoverers and trailblazers of the STEM fields and wants to see how you incorporate largely unknown experts in the STEM fields and their discoveries into your lesson plans. Teachers of any grade level or subject can submit a STEM lesson plan that includes obscure contributors to a STEM field. (Deadline March 31) Three teachers who submit lesson plans will be selected to receive these prizes:
Webinar: Climate and the Classroom
On April 13, the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative will host a free webinar on Climate and the Classroom: Unlocking the Potential of K–12 Education for Climate Action. Three climate education specialists will discuss the opportunities and barriers to incorporating climate change lessons into the K–12 curriculum. They will introduce resources for teaching climate, best practices from schools and educational institutions around the United States, and new ideas to support teachers at every level—and take audience questions. Advance registration is required.
Voya Unsung Heroes Grants
The program awards $2,000 each to 50 educators to fund innovative classroom projects, and presents three top awards of $25,000; $10,000; and $5,000. All K–12 educators, teachers, principals, paraprofessionals, or classified staff who have effective, innovative projects that improve student learning at accredited public or private schools in the United States are eligible. Apply by April 28.
Polar STEAM Collaboration Program
Led by Oregon State University and funded by the National Science Foundation, Polar STEAM facilitates virtual and in-person collaborations among educators, artists and writers, and polar research teams in the Arctic and Antarctic. The program works with middle and high school educators, faculty from community colleges and Minority Serving Institutions, and informal science educators. Polar STEAM welcomes applications from educators across all subject areas who want to work collaboratively to create educational resources that engage learners in understanding the critical global importance of polar environments.
Polar STEAM is now recruiting educators and researchers for 2023 virtual collaborations. Virtual collaboration will allow educators to work with research teams who conduct remote monitoring, have nontraditional field seasons, or do research that doesn’t lend itself to having an educator join them in the field. Educators can view a webinar about the program at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZLxWToSIP8. Applications are open until March 19 and will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis with priority given to applications received by March 19.
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