MIT Stem Pals
October 2012
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In Teaching, No Man Is an Island; No Woman Is An Island
Dick LarsonNo man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main.” John Donne, Meditation XVII, English clergyman & poet (1572 - 1631).

As a teacher myself, I reflect on this and realize that I can bring into the classroom great ideas first assembled and articulated by others. And I’ve tried to do this in teaching applied probability at MIT, especially in doing ‘live probability experiments’ in front of classrooms full of students. Usually these experiments were first posited and analyzed by others, and I have happily applied their methods and given them credit. And the students have seemed to appreciate the efforts. Read more.

Creative Use of Technology Knocking Down the Walls of the Classroom
TeachersTeaching demands a huge amount of time. Teachers must make sure they are aligned with the curriculum, use their evenings to grade previous assignments, and still manage to plan lessons every day that are interesting and engaging. How can a science teacher find the time to keep on top of new developments in the fields and answer every inquisitive question from high school students that might motivate students to pursue a STEM career, such as green technology, space exploration, and medicine? Read more.


STEM+ Learning at the Computer History Museum
Lauren SilverIn 2011, the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA launched an innovative new program designed to bring STEM+ learning to underserved high school students. Called Get Invested: Case Studies in Innovation, the project received initial funding from the HP Catalyst Initiative. The Catalyst network consists of six consortia of researchers and educators from 35 countries, all focused on different aspects of STEM education. Get Invested belongs to the “New Learner” consortium, which engages formal and informal education organizations in creating new models of student-driven STEM learning that are engaging, lead to higher school completion rates, and promote “learning how to learn.” Read more.

Science Can Be Fun - Especially at Halloween!
Rick McMasterKitchen tested recipes are best — I have done the activities and demos that I describe here many times. What better place to start but with some slime for Halloween? Who can forget Slimer from Ghostbusters? The easiest to make it is oobleck or cornstarch slime. Oobleck is made up of tiny, solid particles of cornstarch suspended in water, a colloidal suspension. The slime does not obey Newton’s law for fluids; it's a non-Newtonian fluid. In this case, it’s a dilatant material, the higher the shearing force, the higher the viscosity. Read more.