On Friday, November 8th, teachers all over the United States will celebrate National STEM Day with their students to encourage exploration in science, technology, engineering, and math. STEM education is crucial for 21st-century students. STEM-related careers are growing 70 percent more than others, and that demand will only increase. As a result, the education world is continuously evolving to implement STEM into the classroom.
This is my 28th year teaching high school physics. The last 23 years I’ve been at Century High School, in Hillsboro, Oregon, and I’ve taught many levels of physics. An introductory course that I teach covers kinematics, dynamics, energy, momentum, wave fundamentals (including sound and light), and electricity. Through all of my classroom experience, I’ve found that introducing data-collection technology through hands-on experiments that tie into the real world is often the most effective way to help students understand key science concepts and keep them engaged in the classroom.
We encourage you to celebrate World Space Week and the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with these hands-on STEM activities. Each activity simulates a task, such as coding a lunar lander or designing a shock absorber system. These represent obstacles that NASA had to overcome to successfully land on the moon.
John Melville, Director of Biology at Vernier Software & Technology, appeared on the Education Excellence podcast to discuss why data-collection technology is a great tool for teaching human physiology.
We recently revised our Coding with mBot: Self-Driving Vehicles e-book to support mBlock™ 5 on Chromebooks™ and computers (Windows® and macOS®). In the nine coding activities, students are challenged to recreate many of the tasks performed by vehicles in the real world: avoiding obstacles, driving within the lines, autonomous parking, and more. Working programs for all of the challenges are provided.
We believe in strengthening students’ critical thinking skills by encouraging them to create solutions to real-world problems. That’s one reason we are a sponsor of the 2020 KidWind Challenge, hosted by the KidWind Project. In addition, a portion of all sales of KidWind products supports the KidWind Challenges held throughout the United States.
The challenges consist of dozens of local and regional competitions across the country during which teams of students test the energy output of wind turbines they design and build.
It is imperative that students are taught about lab safety at the beginning of each school year. When it comes to safety, I want to go beyond just guidance and provide something that really sticks with students.
In addition to going over the important guidelines and procedures they need to follow, I created an inquiry-based investigation to help my 10th and 11th grade chemistry students really understand the importance of accident prevention and safe experimentation. This lab also teaches about experimental design and the scientific method, which is a good beginning-of-the-year refresher.
Spectral Analysis, our free, spectroscopy app, works on Windows®, macOS, Chromebook™, iOS®, and Android™ devices. You can use this app while collecting data with our SpectroVis® Plus Spectrophotometer and Go Direct® SpectroVis Plus Spectrophotometer.