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Free Webinar: STEM Is Now, STEM Is How

The Siemens STEM Academy would like to invite you to join us for an exciting webinar perfect for STEM professional development.  You  can join us on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 1:00 PM EDT. Don't miss out... make sure you give us a  follow on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad and share with others! As always,  thanks for joining us at the Siemens STEM Academy!  Now... read on and learn more about this amazing webinar and how it can make your last few days of April... STEMcredible! Have a wonderful week – Mike Gorman (21centuryedtech)

We often hear of amazing things happening in STEM classrooms across the country. And, we're often asked to share these exemplars to provide guidance in achieving a shared STEM education vision. Join our live webcast to see one vision of a STEM program. Your students will witness the creative environment inside "The Firm," also known as Scott Didra's classroom.

They will meet students that are using technology to apply mathematical and scientific concepts through engineering design, modeling and building of useful structures. Additionally, you'll hear strategies for providing job-embedded skills and career awareness through collaborations and connections with colleagues and community members. Our goal for this webcast is to ignite your students' passion for STEM and provide integration ideas for your STEM program.

STEM Is Now, STEM Is How

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 1 PM ET

Register Today

We are certain you will enjoy the this STEM based PD Webinar. Now is a great time to sign up for an RSS feed and alsofollow us on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad. You may even wish to share this post with others via a quick email or even a tweet!   Have a great week  and take some time to start making your own STEMtastic learning connections... today. - Mike Gorman (21centuryedtech)

Posted on April 19, 2014 by Michael Gorman
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STEM and Motorsports

Welcome to series of Blog Posts brought to you by some amazing past Siemens STEM Institute and STARs Fellows. Today's guest blogger is Ed Hernandez, of Irvine, California, who teaches mathematics and engineering at Tustin High School in Tustin, CA. Take a moment to discover more about Ed  following his post. Please be sure to read and share…  make sure you give us a  follow on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad . As always, thanks for joining us at the Siemens STEM Academy!  Now… read on… and  have a STEMtastic week! – Mike Gorman

As STEM educators, we know that connecting the classroom to the real world is key to engaging our students.  Without relevance, classroom education remains a standalone, distant partner to our personal life – hence the proverbial question: “When am I ever going to use this?”

We all know there are many ways to bring relevance to the classroom.  In my high school, one of them is through vehicle design and motorsports.  After all, cars are an integral part of our lives!  In an old shop space at Tustin High School in Orange County California, my students are putting engineering principles to use by making electric cars.  Students in my T-Tech Engineering Academy work throughout the year building an energy efficient vehicle to compete against other high schools and universities.

In our area, just a few years ago many teachers were “tired of honors students who didn't know what they needed.”  Although book smart, students did not seem to have any hands-on experience and were not always equipped to transfer the skills learned in the classroom to the real world. 

A solution was soon to become a reality, as the UC Irvine Energy Invitational was born. At the UCI Energy Invitational, each team of high school and college students build and drive a vehicle designed to travel the longest possible distance on one dollar’s worth of energy in one hour.  Teams are free to use the energy source of their choice for the vehicle – gasoline, diesel, natural gas, or electricity.   Earlier this year at the US Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, Tustin High School’s electric racing kart finished in second place, just behind UC Irvine’s propane-powered racer.    A video of PBS coverage of the event can be found here.

So what are my students learning?  A car is an amazingly complex piece of machinery and provides a wealth of teaching opportunities.  Some of the concepts learned include principles of electricity, battery technology, gear ratios, friction, energy efficiency, 3D CAD design, aerodynamics, vehicle safety and much, much more.  They also learn to use tools of all types - from the proverbial screw driver to welding and other fabrication techniques including wood working and composites.

You may be thinking “I don’t have the money or space to do such a thing”.  In our case, we started with a donated go-kart and some old tools.  My students disassembled the whole thing, modeled it CAD using SolidWorks 3D modeling software and even made parts for it in a 3D printer.   Over the course of six months, they leaned more by working on that go-kart than they could have ever learned in the classroom!    Don’t have the space for a full-size vehicle?  There are also programs such as the Ten80 Student Racing Challenge where students learn all about racing using high-end RC cars!  All of the excitement and all of the engineering in a small package.

But it is not all shop time.  In addition to the build, each team will also have to put together a design portfolio complete with budgets, timelines, parts lists, CAD drawings, build pictures etc., and present in front of a panel of professional judges.  It is after all a design –then-build process.   Presenting in front of others and their peers also gives students valuable experience and increased communication skills, something every employer is looking for!

So what are you waiting for?  Get out there and build something with your students.  Will it be hard work?  Yes, will it pay off ?  Absolutely!

 

Ed Hernandez, Tustin, CA... Tustin High School, Tustin California

Ed Hernandez, of Irvine, California, teaches mathematics and engineering at Tustin High School in Tustin, CA.  After receiving a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from UC Irvine, he worked in the electronics industry for 13 years before turning to education.  After receiving his Masters in Education, Ed obtained teaching credentials in mathematics and engineering and joined the staff at Tustin High School where he is the director of STEM programs and head of its T-Tech Academy of Engineering & Technology. In addition to being selected as a Siemens Institute Fellow, he has also been selected as the Orange County High School Engineering Teacher of the Year

We hope you enjoyed reading about making that STEM Tech Integration plan with Ed.  Please take the time to retweet and pass this information out to other STEM educators you think might be interested!  Now is also a great time to sign up for an RSS feed and also follow us on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad.  We have more great STEM information coming your way including more STEM ideas from our past Fellows. Have a great week  and take some time to start making your own STEMtastic learning connections… today. – Mike Gorman (21centuryedtech)

Posted on April 13, 2014 by Michael Gorman
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Allow Your Students Explore The Virtual Landscape Of The STEM Collaborative

Welcome to another post aimed at introducing you to an awesome STEM resource. Did you know there was a STEM Collaborative filled with amazing standards based STEM adventures?  Please be sure to read and share…  make sure you give us a  follow on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad .  As always, thanks for joining us at the Siemens STEM Academy!  Now… read on… and  have a STEMtastic week! – Mike Gorman

Are you looking for some engaging simulations that will also emphasize some of those important STEM standards. It is time for you to turn on that computer and point at browser at the STEM Collaborative. This wonderful site designed for middle school students employs technology-rich interactives that will bring  excitement to the classroom and offer a fresh, new way to engage students in active learning.  The four learning adventure are aligned to national standards and includes educator support materials, interactive activities and lesson plans. Let's take a look!

Math By Design - This wonderful site is an effort by Maryland Public Television. Student have the chance to get creative, build, play and learn! By becoming virtual junior architects of two interactive environments, students build a skateboard ramp, cover a picnic area, dig out a pond and more.  Students work their way through mind-boosting challenges as they use critical thinking and problem solving skills to increase their knowledge of geometry and measurement concepts. Students will discover Real-life Math in Action videos embedded in the interactive that demonstrate how math is used in everyday life from decorating cakes to designing landscapes or creating   sculptures.  (For students taking Algebra I and II)

Proportionland - Students will enjoy their opportunity to explore  Alabama Public Television’s ProportionLand. Along with some great amusement, middle school students  “reason” their way through eight brain-boosting interactive attractions at this virtual amusement park.  Students will enjoy  jumping in and enjoying the rides.  Standards will include proportional reasoning skills to solve a variety of science-based, real world problems. Students will enjoy their exploration and problem solving with roller coasters, an electric car, a parachute drop and more as they gain deeper understanding of distance, weight, balance, energy, and force. (Grade 8)

Rock-n-Roll World Tour - What students doesn't want to go on a tour as a member of their own rock band?  Students will travel to  five amazing cities courtesy of the Arkansas Education Television Network. On their musical adventure they will  solve real-life problems using measurement, ratio, fractions and proportion. Best of all they will tune up their math skills as they learn the relationship between music and math .  (Grades 6-8)

Scale City - Students have the opportunity to bring their understanding to an understandable scale in this interactive designed by Kentucky Public Television. Students will virtually explore the Bluegrass State as they learn about the mathematics of scale. Some highlights include  the Louisville Slugger Museum, a chicken festival, and a horse park.  Students can view a short video field trip and an engaging, interactive simulation at each stop along the road as they gain a better  understanding of proportional reasoning in real-world applications. (Grades 6-8)

The STEM Collaborative offers some one of a kind opportunities allowing students to experience real world STEM! Allow your student to virtual travel the land from their own classroom. You will watch them gain a whole new understanding as they journey the virtual landscape of the STEM Collaborative!

We hope you enjoyed reading about this wonderful resource that could be a part of your STEM digital curriculum.  Please take the time to retweet and pass this information out to other STEM educators you think might be interested!  Now is also a great time to sign up for an RSS feed and also follow us on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad.  We have more great STEM information coming your way. Have a great week  and take some time to start making your own STEMtastic learning connections… today. – Mike Gorman 

Posted on April 7, 2014 by Michael Gorman
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Stepping Outside Of Your STEM Comfort Zone

 

Welcome to series of Blog Posts brought to you by some amazing past Siemens STEM Institute and STARs Fellows. Today's guest blogger is Ann LaBrode who teaches 8th grade science and high school forensics at Hopedale  Junior-Senior High School, in Hopedale,  MA.   Take a moment to discover more about Ann  following her  post. Please be sure to read and share…  make sure you give us a  follow on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad . As always, thanks for joining us at the Siemens STEM Academy!  Now… read on… and  have a STEMtastic week! – Mike Gorman

I must admit I was definitely outside of my comfort zone when the Siemens Fellows created a dance to Dr. Lodge McCammon’s song “Back Up” about Transverse and Longitudinal Waves (http://lodgemccammon.com/).  Although I had taken years of piano, violin and ballet lessons- science and math were so much easier for me, so I focused on them.  As I was getting ready for the school year and reflecting on my summer experience I realized that I needed to challenge not only my students, but myself, to take risks and try new things in the classroom. I decided to step out of my comfort zone and incorporate more music and art into my STEM curriculum. There is an abundance of research to show that music facilitates learning across all disciplines. You may want to discover this resource as it shows how the arts are an important aspect of the design process.

One of the first topics that we study in Grade 8 is heat transfer.  In the past I had played the “Radiation, Conduction and Convection Rap” and given the students the words (http://www.teachertube.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=159713).  This year things were going to be different; students were going to create their own videos and act out the song, just like I had done during the summer institute.  After students listened to the song I showed them the “Back Up Video”.  It was good for them to see their teacher, trying her best to keep up, but definitely looking like a deer in headlights.  Students had one 45 minute class period to plan and execute their video.  They worked cooperatively in groups and created moves that went along with the words.

The Grade 8 Team at my school embraced the idea of incorporating music into their classes.  This December, Jason Goss... a Hopedale graduate and accomplished musician, spent the day with the grade 8 students (http://www.jasonmylesgoss.com/index.html) Goss explained to the students that “…songs don’t just happen overnight, just as a good essay or creative writing assignment isn't always easy to come by.  The editing process and reworking your ideas are important to get your project to where you want it to go”.  In English classes, Goss spoke to students about the writing process and following their dreams, in Spanish students listened to Spanish songs, and in math students wrote raps about current topics.  In science, students made straw pipe flutes, exploring the physics involved in music (http://www.scienceoffcenter.org/science/430-straw-pan-pipes) and at the end of class student conductors led the class as they played jingle bells.  As part of this activity students learned about the landfill harmonic orchestra, a group from Paraguay that created musical instruments out of trash (http://www.landfillharmonicmovie.com/ ).  Later this year the physics teacher is going to have students make instruments from recycled materials during the sound unit.

As far as incorporating more art into the curriculum, my Grade 8 science students completed a Superhero Element Project.  This project was adapted from a resource found on teacherpages.nhcs.net/schools.  Each student was assigned an element and created a superhero whose appearance, characteristics and powers related to the element.  Each student also wrote a story or created a comic strip about the superhero.  Students used the free program Heromachine to design their superhero (http://www.heromachine.com/heromachine-3-lab/ ). We now have a binder featuring over 100 element superheroes, and throughout the year the stories will be read in class.

Finally I wanted to share something that we did last year, in my high school forensics class. As part of an anthropology unit students reconstructed a face from a skull. This interdisciplinary project involved math, chemistry, art and anatomy/physiology.  First a rubber mold was made by painting liquid latex onto a skull.  After the mold was peeled from the skull, it was placed into a tub of sand (the sand acts as a support to keep the mold in place) and plaster of Paris was poured into the mold.  Students used clay to build the face on the plaster cast. This involved using reference charts to determine the tissue depth at various points along the skull (http://www.askaforensicartist.com/2011-tissue-depth-data-from-drs-stephan-and-simpson/).  Finally, students painted the skulls and created a missing person poster and story to go along with it. One helpful resource was from Smithsonian, National Museum of History web site (http://anthropology.si.edu/writteninbone/).

Ann LaBrode, Hopedale, MA

Hopedale Junior Senior High School

TWITTER@AnnLaBrode

Ann LaBrode of Hopedale, Massachusetts teaches 8th grade science and high school forensics at Hopedale Junior-Senior High School, in Hopedale, MA.  Ann received a  BS in Biology/Psychology from Bowdoin College, a MS in Nutrition from Tufts University, and was licensed as a registered dietitian. She spent 15 years as a research nutritionist at Tufts University School of Medicine where she studied the effects of fat and fiber in-take on lipid and hormone levels, and investigated the effects of soy on menopausal symptoms in women at increased breast cancer risk. Ann enjoyed her  time as a researcher, but knew that one day she would return to the classroom as a teacher to share her passion for science. “I am thrilled to have been selected as a Siemens STEM Institute Fellow. Participation in this program will help me to learn more about real world STEM applications and careers so that our school can continue to improve our STEM curriculum. It will also give me the opportunity to work collaboratively and share ideas with STEM professionals and other educators."  

We hope you enjoyed reading about making that STEM Tech Integration plan with Ann.  Please take the time to retweet and pass this information out to other STEM educators you think might be interested!  Now is also a great time to sign up for an RSS feed and also follow us on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad.  We have more great STEM information coming your way including more STEM ideas from our past Fellows. Have a great week  and take some time to start making your own STEMtastic learning connections… today. – Mike Gorman (21centuryedtech)

Posted on March 30, 2014 by Michael Gorman
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