MIT Stem Pals
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July-August 2016
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STEM: Get the Students Immersed in Data!
Richard LarsonSTEM means so many things to so many people. There are stereotypes: robot design and building; using Legos to create simple structures; use of slime; computer coding. All of these are good, but a bit artificial. Things are brought to the students to bring out ideas of science, math and engineering.

Why not get young people to apply science to their everyday lives? How? Introduce them to Data Science! Have them collect data on aspects of their lives, plot the data, compute means and variances, and otherwise analyze the data both numerically and in words. Read more.

Foundation Gift Will Support Diversity in K-12 STEM at MIT
Elizabeth MurrayThree K-12 outreach programs at MIT - Saturday Engineering Enrichment and Discovery (SEED) Academy, Code It! and The Women’s Technology Program in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science - have received a one million dollar gift from the Hopper-Dean Foundation with the goal of bringing more underrepresented students into the fields of computer science and engineering. Read more.

Watch this Short Introductory Video to Learn More About MIT BLOSSOMS.


Connecting STEM with Current Events: Making An Impact (Crater)
McMasterIt’s an exciting time for space exploration. Juno is in orbit around Jupiter and the public is being asked which way to point its cameras. LIGO’s detectors have now measured the effects of gravitational waves “from two black holes in their final orbits and then their coalescence into a single black hole” several times. We even have news from JPL, “The recently passed federal budget for fiscal year 2016 includes $50 million for NEO [Near Earth Objects] observations and planetary defense, representing a more than ten-fold increase since the beginning of the current administration.”

With space in the headlines, what better time to connect STEM with current events than through a back-to-school activity like Impact Craters. I have adapted NASA’s version of this activity to use with upper elementary and middle school students in a 45 minute period. Read more.

Update: STEM Education and the Every Child Succeeds Act (ESSA)
About eight months ago, ESSA began. General information about the new version of ‘No Child Left Behind’ was revealed, comparing and contrasting how the language had changed in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Now that the State Education Agencies and all stakeholders, for that matter, have had a chance to digest the requirements of the Act, certain regulations have been clarified. These regulations are posted in the Federal Register and refer primarily to Title I and Title II of the Act. Read more.