By Debra Shapiro
A Guide to Noticing STEM Learning
Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) thinking starts from infancy, and young children (from birth to age five) usually start by noticing and exploring the world around them. While noticing may often be interpreted as related to sight only, the term noticing is also used to describe listening, watching, or feeling. A Guide to Noticing STEM Learning, a short publication from the STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education (STEMI2E2) Center, defines what is meant by noticing and provides examples of different ways young children with and without disabilities show adults how they have noticed something or someone in their environment. The publication features easy-to-read charts and simple graphic icons representing each sense.
Project-Based Learning: Blue Apple Projects
Thinking of incorporating project-based learning (PBL) experiences into your science curriculum? Get started with a visit to the Blue Apple Projects website, a repository of PBL resources adaptable for grades K–8. The site presents project idea cards, videos, webinars, and activities to help teachers facilitate PBL activities in the classroom. See a PBL Project in Action in Food for Thought, a video showcasing fourth-grade students at Sibley Elementary learning how healthy eating habits influence their lives. In this PBL project, students create, test, and revise healthy recipes for a Top Chef Competition, then present their dishes to a live audience.
Other resources offer teacher guidance for ensuring meaningful instruction through PBL experiences. Check out the professional development videos addressing topics such as Applying Critical and Creative Thinking, Differentiating Instruction, Engagement Hooks, and Timely and Actionable Feedback, or view an archived webinar presentation on relevant topics like PBL Culture in the Classroom: Keys to Success, or Voice and Choice: Building Student Ownership While Controlling the Chaos. Blue Apple Projects is a resource from Van Andel Institute, an independent research facility devoted to improving human health through biomedical research and science education.
Inspire learners to study STEM by joining YouthAstroNet, an online community of students, educators, and scientists dedicated to engaging students in science and technology through hands-on, real-world astronomy experience. As part of YouthAstroNet, students complete telescope observing challenges to increase their skills, post and discuss their images with one another, and ask questions directly of astronomy experts and scientists from the Harvard and Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), who act as digital mentors for the program. Students learn to use professional astronomical image processing software that has been adapted for use by novice learners. The software enables students to examine details of astronomical objects, investigate color phenomena, or use the analysis tools to pursue projects of their own interest.
No prior astronomy knowledge is required for YouthAstroNet. Training is provided via webinars, video tutorials, a self-paced checklist of training activities, and ongoing support from the CfA mentors.
American Meteorological Society Summer Courses
Want to explore physical oceanography and weather? Need new ideas for using data and hands on experiments in your classroom? The American Meteorological Society 2023 summer courses, Project Ocean and Project Atmosphere, are accepting applications through March 24, 2023. These competitive professional development courses are open to K–12 teachers and include online and in-person components and field experiences. All travel expenses are covered, and participants receive stipends and earn graduate credit upon successful completion of the courses. These courses offer a chance to learn from the experts, connect with other outstanding teachers, and immerse yourself in an Earth science learning experience.
National Teachers Hall of Fame
The National Teachers Hall of Fame’s (NTHF) recognition program honors five of the nation’s most outstanding teachers. Nominees must have a minimum of 20 years of full-time preK–12 teaching experience; retired teachers and those no longer teaching are also eligible. Teachers chosen will receive $1,000 in materials for their school district, presented by Pearson Education; a permanent display in the NTHF; and other prizes. Induction ceremonies will be held in June, and all expenses to attend are paid by the NTHF. (Deadline January 10, 2023)
National Society of High School Scholars Conference Grants
The society is providing five $500 grants to help defray the costs of educational conference registration, travel, and accommodations. Any high school teacher or counselor currently employed at a public or private high school in the United States or internationally may apply. (Deadline March 31, 2023)
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