Science Teachers – Enter to Win a STEMIE!

McGraw-Hill Education today launched the Science, Technology, Engineering & Math Innovative Educator Awards, to recognize and reward teachers who are finding innovative ways to reach today’s students. The awards, known as the STEMIEs, will acknowledge teachers who are pioneering effective techniques to engage their students in science, technology, engineering or math – fields of study critical to our nation’s economic growth. McGraw-Hill will award $25,000 in cash and prizes to the winners of the contest.

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STEM News: Robots in the Classroom

How cool is this!?

Sixth-graders in Cheney will run tests on the community water supply and present their findings to city officials. Students at Rainier Beach High School in Seattlewill travel to the Olympic Peninsula to work on the Elwha Dam removal project. And middle school girls in the Spokane area will build a programmable robot to learn practical applications for math.

The projects are among 14 around the state chosen to receive the third wave of Entrepreneur Award grants from Washington STEM, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education across the state. With this round of investments, Washington STEM is now impacting more than 500 teachers and 16,000 students across the state.

“I had a D in science and didn’t do much studying, but working with my high school partner helped me work harder,” said Everett Greene-Maddelena, an eighth-grader at Markishtum Middle School in Neah Baywho was involved in a 2011 Washington-STEM project. “We also got to go on a research ship and learn about cool stuff, like the tribe’s work cleaning sand with mushrooms. I now have a B in science and think I am ready for high school.” Growing student success and enthusiasm for STEM has already helpedNeah Bay students win $70,000 in a national Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest . The students have a chance to win more in the contest’s final round.

While Washington ranks first in the nation in the concentration of STEM jobs, too few of its students are prepared to pursue STEM degrees and take the jobs our state generates. This disparity stretches back to our elementary schools, where Washington kids typically receive two hours or less of science instruction a week.

“STEM isn’t just for scientists and engineers, it’s the best ticket to a good job in today’s market and virtually the only ticket to a good job in the economy of the future,” said Carolyn Landel, Chief Program Officer at Washington STEM. “Entrepreneur Awards celebrate the commitment and innovative spirit ofWashington educators who strive to ensure that all kids are prepared to succeed.”

Washington STEM Entrepreneur Award grants support breakthrough ideas and promising approaches in STEM education. The one-year investments encourage teachers to take risks, pilot new ideas, and generate promising practices that can be used around the state. Applications for the next round of Entrepreneur Award investments are due May 3.

For those interested in pursuing multi-year STEM projects that develop or expand innovative interventions in STEM, Washington STEM is also opening applications for its second round of Portfolio Awards with letters of inquiry due March 23. To learn more about Entrepreneur and Portfolio Awards, go to www.washingtonstem.org/grantee-application.asp

“My female students use to think that building robots was just for boys,” said, Dave Neale, a seventh-grade science and automation and robotics teacher and lead of the Team GEAR Heads, an all-girl robotics club at Mountainside Middle School in Colbert that will be supported by an Entrepreneur Award. “Our club makes it cool for girls to be into math and science.”

A complete list of Washington STEM’s round three Entrepreneur Award investments can be found online at www.washingtonstem.org/investments.asp

About Washington STEM: Washington STEM is a statewide nonprofit dedicated to advancing innovation, equity, and excellence in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. Launched in March 2011, Washington STEM partners with education, business, and community leaders to bridge opportunities in education and economy that reimagine STEM education for all students, starting with those most underserved and underrepresented in STEM fields. Learn more atwww.washingtonstem.org , join the conversation at Facebook , or follow STEM on Twitter @washingtonstem.

Image Credit: The Journal
Source: Washington STEM

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Vernier Launches LabQuest 2 for STEM Education

STEM students in more than 130 countries have deepened their knowledge of scientific practices using sensors and Vernier’s data-collection interface, the LabQuest. Now, that technology is even more powerful. Vernier Software & Technology‘s new LabQuest 2 features faster computing, a large high-resolution screen, wireless data sharing, and five built-in sensors, including GPS. LabQuest 2 is compatible with all Vernier probes, which includes more than 70 different sensors used in experiments to study physics, chemistry, biology, and a variety of other STEM topics.

“LabQuest 2 is part of what we call the Connected Science System, which we designed to expand possibilities for science educators,” said David Vernier, co-founder of Vernier Software & Technology and a former physics teacher. “As educators look to the future for data-collection technology that can be used with a variety of tablet devices, smart phones, and other mobile technology, LabQuest 2 offers teachers the greatest versatility.”

Used as a standalone device, or as a data-collection interface for computers with Vernier’s Logger Prosoftware, LabQuest 2 offers a 12.8 cm, high-resolution touch screen, real-time data collection, powerful analysis tools, and on-board curriculum. Its built-in GPS, 3-axis accelerometer, ambient temperature, light, and microphone sensors broaden data-collection opportunities while offering schools increased value. LabQuest 2’s software features quick response to touch, curve fits, and modeling, and the interface can collect data at a rate of up to 100,000 samples per second.

New to LabQuest 2 is the Connected Science System, a networked collection of technology that supports hands-on, collaborative learning with individualized accountability. Using the built-in Wi-Fi capability, students can share data from LabQuest 2 to any device with a web browser, including iPads®, iPhones®, and Android™ devices. Students can also send data from LabQuest 2 to any email address, and they can connect LabQuest 2 to a computer with a projector to view and control the device in a presentation format.

LabQuest 2 comes with a rechargeable battery, USB cable, power adapter, CD containing Logger Lite software, stylus, and stylus tether.

Pricing and Availability
LabQuest 2 replaces Vernier’s award-winning original LabQuest. It will be available for purchase in April 2012 for $329. To learn more about LabQuest 2, visit www.vernier.com/labquest2.

Image Credit: 1) The Hacktory

Source: Vernier Software & Technology

Using Pinterest to Teach Science

First, let me say I’m not some “Pinterest Guru” or anything like that. I only recently joined this growing network and have stumbled through trying to figure out what the hell it’s all about. In the short time I’ve been on the site however, I’ve learned that it’s a phenomenal way to share astronomy concepts (within limits – more on this below) while spreading the greatness of science (or any subject really) to others! And this can be applied to virtually any branch of science or subject for that matter. Best of all, it’s fast, free (except for your time), and is an exceptional way to reach students and engage with them in a new way. Read More →

Science Foundation Arizona Launches Arizona STEM Network

Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz), a nonprofit public-private partnership that serves as a catalyst for revitalizing Arizona and strengthening its economic future, joined with partners today to announce the launch of the Arizona STEM Network. The STEM Network is a first-of-its-kind strategic effort to help transform Arizona’s educational system for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

A five-year plan being led by SFAz will leverage effective education practices and teaching advances including the state-adopted, internationally benchmarked Common Core Standards. The Arizona STEM Network is a unified approach that will provide educators, the business community and donors with a centralized infrastructure, tools, resources and the framework needed to measure performance and achieve collective impact in Arizona classrooms. The plan’s driving force is to help Arizona children be successful in school, careers and life.

Since 2008, the Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Foundation has been the leading financial supporter, providing a total of $2.2 million for the establishment of SFAz’s STEM initiative, as well as the collaboration of work leading up to the launch of the new Arizona STEM Network and plan for implementation. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Foundation today announced a new three-year commitment beginning in 2012, totaling $2.1 million for operational funding that will allow SFAz to roll out its plan for the Arizona STEM Network. The plan focuses on four strategic areas:

  • Integrate STEM learning into Arizona schools and districts
  • Develop and deploy a predictive analytics system to measure impacts
  • Strengthen teacher effectiveness in STEM teaching
  • Create opportunities for the private business sector to meaningfully engage with schools

The development of the Arizona STEM Network began after Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, along with philanthropic and private sector leaders, tapped SFAz to spearhead the initiative in September 2010. Over a 14 month period, SFAz leaders logged more than 10,000 miles throughout Arizona and met with more than 1,500 individuals from the education, business and government sectors in all 15 counties and the Navajo Nation, as well as the Arizona Department of Education and the State Board of Education to determine statewide needs. Using the feedback gathered, SFAz created the Arizona STEM Network plan.

“Arizona must develop a globally competitive educational system and STEM disciplines will lead the way,” said Darcy Renfro, vice president of education and coordinator of the Arizona STEM Network at SFAz. “The Network will link existing STEM assets in Arizona, build on best practices and foster innovative teaching approaches for school districts to help students improve in these areas.”

Gov. Brewer, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Foundation and Helios Education Foundation provided major funding for the development of the Arizona STEM Network plan and were joined by Intel, JPMorgan Chase Foundation and Research Corporation for Science Advancement.

“We believe that the private sector must play an active role in developing the next generation to keep our businesses competitive and our economy vibrant,” said Tracy Bame, president of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Foundation. “A first-rate education that encompasses the STEM disciplines is a foundational step to provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.

Arizona is one of 12 states in the U.S., with developing or existing STEM Networks, that are leading the charge to implement a proactive approach to STEM teaching which provides interactive coursework in classrooms to prepare students for successful careers in the 21st century. STEM education is an interdisciplinary approach to learning that provides project-based and relevant experiences for students.

“Helios Education Foundation’s investment in the Arizona STEM Network’s plan to transform K-12 education is really an investment in the future of our state,” said the Foundation’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Barbara Ryan. “STEM education is the linchpin that will better prepare our students academically and ultimately increase the number of high school graduates ready to succeed in postsecondary education.”

The Arizona STEM Network will be led and coordinated by SFAz staff with a structured system of information management tools, processes and technical assistance. The Network is in place and will be rolled out in phases, with initial pilot sites to be announced by late 2012. SFAz is currently securing additional long-term operational and program funding from other corporate partners to further support the Arizona STEM Network.

“The vision for a statewide, strategic commitment to STEM education is coming to fruition,” said Gov. Brewer. “The Arizona STEM Network will help build a common agenda for STEM education that will lead our teachers and students forward.”

About Science Foundation Arizona
Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization initiated in 2006 by the Greater Phoenix Leadership Inc., Southern Arizona Leadership Council and the Flagstaff Forty in conjunction with the executive and legislative branches of state government. SFAz serves as a catalyst for high-wage, knowledge-based jobs and economic diversity through administration and strict oversight of research, development and education grants to public education and other non-profit research performing institutions. For more information, visit www.sfaz.org.

Source: Science Foundation Arizona

AFCEA Increases Scholarships for Future STEM Teachers

AFCEA International and the AFCEA Educational Foundation are expanding the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Teacher Scholarship Program for the second year in a row to help address the growing shortage of young Americans educated in STEM subjects.  AFCEA’s investment is a long-term solution to develop more skilled and motivated teachers of STEM subjects who will inspire and prepare students to desire and be successful in STEM fields.

For the current school year, AFCEA is offering 60 scholarships of $5,000 each, up from 50 scholarships awarded last year.  AFCEA also will provide grants of $1,000 each year for three years to these scholarship winners when they begin teaching.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 15 of the 20 fastest-growing professions will require high proficiency in science or mathematics. However, the outlook for meeting those requirements seems bleak. The National Center for Educational Statistics projects that only 6 in 100 of today’s ninth graders in the U.S. are currently expected to pursue a STEM degree in college.

“The latest studies show that America is continuing to fall behind – even while other nations multiply their investments in science, math and technical education,” said Fred Rainbow, Vice President for Education, AFCEA International. “Nothing less than the future of our country is at stake.  Our capabilities in math, science, engineering and other technical fields drive innovation, exports, jobs, quality of life, and ultimately our economic and national security.”

Kent Schneider, AFCEA’s President and CEO, amplifies: “As a long-time supporter of STEM education through teaching tool grants and other programs, AFCEA started its STEM Teacher Scholarship program in 2010. In just three years, the program has grown from 35 to 60 scholarships thanks to financial support from Booz Allen Hamilton, Terremark Worldwide, Inc., AFCEA International, along with funding from AFCEA’s chapters.”

Support for the AFCEA Educational Foundation also has enabled it to award $1,000 Teaching Tools grants to those graduates who benefited from the first year of STEM scholarships in 2010 and now are actively engaged in teaching.  These grants can be used for information technology hardware and software, other classroom tools, field trips, STEM-focused clubs and other activities.

Interested candidates, teachers and mentors can find more information and apply online for a scholarship at http://stem.afcea.org. The application deadline is April 1, 2012.  Regular updates on the program are available through Twitter (@afcea_ed) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/#!/AFCEA.Scholarships).

About AFCEA International and the AFCEA Educational Foundation
AFCEA International, established in 1946, is a non-profit membership association serving the military, government, industry, and academia as an ethical forum for advancing professional knowledge and relationships in the fields of communications, IT, intelligence, and global security. For more information, visit www.afcea.org.

The AFCEA Educational Foundation works closely with the chapters, raises funds, and provides leadership, guidance, and rewards to help motivate more students to become scientists and engineers. The Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing educational incentives, opportunities, and assistance for students and teachers in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines (broadly known as STEM). In 2011 the AFCEA Educational Foundation and AFCEA chapters awarded more than $1.5M in scholarships and grants. The AFCEA Educational Foundation has been granting scholarships and grants to college students in STEM disciplines for 30 years.

Source: AFCEA International

Image Credit: STEM Conference