STEM Can Take You Places!

  • Aug 15, 2016

space week

“The General Assembly declares 4 to 10 October World Space Week to celebrate each year at the international level the contributions of space science and technology to the betterment of the human condition”

UN General Assembly resolution, 6 December 1999

And in the wake of that historic declaration have come nearly two decades of education and awareness of the importance of STEM-related study. After all, no one’s ever traveled to space without packing the four essential items: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

The folks behind this annual effort do a good job of delivering on the spirit of the original resolution, as evidenced by the growing number of live events being held each year, and the creation of free educational resources that allow teachers to bring World Space Week right into their classrooms.

Are you looking for a way to get students excited about the real-world application of STEM? It doesn’t get more exciting than space travel.

Learn more about this effort by visiting the official World Space Week website. And while you’re there, go to the Events banner and look for Educational Resources. You’ll be taken to a page that’s chock-full of K-12 lesson guides and links to other resources, as well as a list of live Space Week events happening across the country, and around the world.

There may be one happening near you!

To help us keep you informed about other great free educational programs and resources, bookmark this site and follow us on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

Improve Student Writing and Grammar with Quill

  • Aug 10, 2016

Quill

Developments in education technology are growing more exciting every year, and, for me, never more exciting than when the most cutting-edge technology is harnessed to help teachers hammer home the most fundamental aspects of education.

Like literacy, for example, and a digital platform called Quill that’s brilliantly using technology to strengthen core language skills.

Quill is a free, easy-to-use application designed to help students develop their writing, grammar, and proofreading proficiency. It’s currently being used by over 100,000 students and 4,000 teachers nationwide, and it’s making a real difference in classrooms. How do we know? We’ve heard it from teachers.

“I’ve seen tremendous improvement in the proficiency of my students and the quality of their writing,” says Daniel Scibienski of Princeton Public Schools. “At the beginning of the year, my students were able to write using the basic fundamentals of the English language. By the end, after using Quill, my students were able to correctly write essays with consistent tone throughout and even intentionally use parallel structure to their advantage.”

Teacher Randall L. Carswell of Charlotte, North Carolina has been equally impressed. “I appreciate the fact that students are required to slow down, check spelling, punctuation and the grammar lesson at hand in order to score “GREEN!” I am noticing a much better effort by my students in their other activities, whether it be writing or literature, they seem to pay closer attention leading to a stronger performance.”

So how does Quill work? After an easy set-up process teachers can assign any of over 150 language activities which are built to Common Core standards. Each of these activities takes about 10 minutes to complete, and upon completion the students receive instant feedback on their work. Moreover, teachers and administrators receive real-time data on student progress via an in-app dashboard, so everybody’s on the same page.

And did we mention that it’s free?

“All of our lessons are free and will continue to be free in the future,” says Tom Calabrese, Quill’s cofounder and creative director. “And we recently launched a premium service which allows educators the ability to gain even more in-depth student reporting. You can sign up for a 30-day trial.”

Check out the video below for more on Quill, and be sure to visit their official website.

And to help us keep you informed about other great free educational programs and resources, bookmark this site and follow us on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

Supporting Student Writing

  • Aug 04, 2016

aspire

Reading and writing are foundational to education, and today we’re both proud and happy to let you know about a student literacy project being undertaken by our colleagues at AT&T.

Through its signature philanthropic initiative, AT&T Aspire, AT&T is teaming-up with the non-profit tutoring and mentoring group 826 National to help students explore their potential as authors—seeing them through every aspect of the creation of their own books. And toward this end, in addition to a financial contribution, the company is making available the greatest resource there is: people. AT&T employees will volunteer as mentors to help students through the process.

Read all about it right here.

And to help us keep you informed about other great free educational opportunities and resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow us on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

 

Crafty Summer Ideas

  • Aug 02, 2016

crafts

Looking for ways to keep the kids busy and learning this season? Well, good news! PBS Parents’ Crafts for Kids website offers dozens of do-it-yourself creative projects.

From Cool Ice Towers (right) and cardboard Storybook Castles (below), to indoor gardens and outdoor toys, there’s something for every taste and skill level. And best of all, most of the projects call for items you probably have around the house.

Kids have a natural inclination to make things. For them, creativity is play—but purposeful play with an end goal in mind. And with all the attention lately on project-based learning, activities like crafting, especially with regard to younger kids, seem to take on new importance.

Visit Crafts for Kids today.

And to help us keep you informed about other great free educational opportunities and resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow us on Twitter.

 

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

castle-final

Images: PBS

Winners Announced in the 2015-2016 TeenDrive365 Video Challenge

  • Aug 01, 2016

TeenDrive365

Back in December we told you about the TeenDrive365 Video Challenge, a great opportunity for students to think about the importance of safe driving while showing-off their filmmaking chops and vying for cash prizes.

Well, the results are in, and this year’s contest produced another great crop of films. You can watch the Grand Prize-winning entry below, and check out all the other finalists on the Challenge website.

And while you’re there, be sure to explore all the free safe-driving resources that are available for teachers, parents and teens.

The annual TeenDrive365 Video Challenge is brought to you by Toyota and our friends at Discovery Education.

To help us keep you informed about other great free educational opportunities and resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow us on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

Image and video: Discovery Education

A Great Opportunity for Student Filmmakers

  • Jun 23, 2016

CineSpace

Hey, students and teachers, are you looking for a cool way to kick-off your summer break? Why not make a film?

Following on the success of last year’s CineSpace short film competition, NASA and the Houston Cinema Arts Society are once again inviting filmmakers of all ages to vie for cash prizes by creating a movie of any genre that incorporates content from NASA’s library of historic images and video!

If you enter, you’ll be competing for $26,000 in prizes with cash awards going to the top three submissions as well as the two films that best demonstrate the themes “Benefits of Space to Humanity” and “Future Space Exploration.”

But you’ll have to act fast. Deadline for submission is July 31st.

This year’s contest, which is open to all professional and aspiring filmmakers, will be judged by acclaimed director Richard Linklater (School of Rock). Participants under the age of 18 will need the permission of a parent or guardian to enter.

Check out last year’s 1st Place winner below, then head over to CineSpace for more info.

Good luck, and here’s hoping it’s your film being featured here next time!

To help us keep you informed about other great free educational opportunities and resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow us on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

 

Image and video: NASA/Houston Cinema Arts Festival

Generation STEM

  • May 26, 2016

Obama Science

Earlier this month, President Obama invited students across the country to share their thoughts on science, technology, and innovation. What’s noteworthy about this is that the idea itself was born in April at the 6th White House Science Fair, when 9-year-old inventor Jacob Leggette told the President that he should have a kid science advisor.

Kudos to Jacob for knowing how to make the most of an opportunity, and congratulations to students everywhere who, as a result of Jacob’s initiative, will now have an opportunity to make their voices heard at the highest levels of the STEM frontier.

Watch the video below for more on this great story, and please encourage your students to take part. The deadline for submissions is Friday, June 17, 2016 at 11:59 pm ET.

Learn more at whitehouse.gov.

And to help us keep you informed about great free educational programs and resources, bookmark this site and follow us on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

 

Image and video: The White House

History, Legacy, and Family.

  • May 20, 2016

Roots Hero

Television history was made in 1977 when the epic ABC miniseries Roots drew unprecedented ratings and completely captured the nation’s attention for 8 consecutive nights. Based on the best-selling book Roots: The Saga of an American Family, by author Alex Haley, it told the story of generations descended from an African teenager named Kunta Kinte after he is brought to America as a slave.

Now, the HISTORY channel goes back to the source material for a 4-night, 8-hour “re-imagining” of Roots premiering this Memorial Day. And true to form, they have compiled a standards-based Education Guide and extensive resources to help teachers make the most of this unique opportunity for learning.

“Nearly 40 years ago I had the privilege to be a part of an epic television event that started an important conversation in America,” says LeVar Burton, a Co-Executive Producer of the new series, who portrayed young Kunta Kinte in the original. “I am incredibly proud to be a part of this new retelling and start the dialogue again, at a time when it is needed more than ever.”

Roots premieres Monday, May 30 at 9/8c on HISTORY channel. For a preview visit the HISTORY website.

The Education Guide and other great resources are available at History Classroom.

And to help us keep you informed about other great free educational programs and resources, bookmark this site and follow us on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

Roots images: HISTORY

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A Great Way to Bring Current Events Into Your Classroom

  • May 11, 2016

eLECTION cONNECTION

This year’s presidential election has been unusual, to say the least, and no doubt it’s been a topic of conversation in your classrooms. And whether you and your students are studying current events or simply discussing them, there are available to you a host of channels and free resources that can help make any such engagement educational.

Today we bring you news of yet another terrific election resources from educational publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and our friends at HISTORY. HMH Election Connection is a free online resource billed as a “comprehensive, one-stop information hub for current and historical election coverage.” Geared toward students in grades 6 through 12, the site includes a wide range of materials, including daily news broadcasts, lesson plans, HISTORY videos, and readers.

There are also activities available, including guidelines for conducting a mock election, and one particularly interesting project designed to help students recognize propaganda.

Overall, HMH Election Connection is a solid resource with lots to offer the creative educator. Check out the website today. For additional election resources, visit HISTORY.

And to help us keep you informed about other great free educational programs and resources, bookmark this site and follow us on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

Image: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/HISTORY

NAVY STEM CLASSROOM RESOURCES

  • May 04, 2016

Navy STEM

With all the emphasis lately on STEM-related fields as viable career paths it’s worth noting that, with regard to preparing young people for the future, the United States military is among the most effective training grounds, turning out large numbers of disciplined, well-trained professionals each and every year.

With that in mind, we’re happy to report that Discovery Education has teamed-up with the United States Navy to offer Navy Stem, a collection of free, online-based interactive lesson plans specifically designed for grades 9 through 12. From the physics of flight to the engineering of future ships, it’s an engaging and valuable resource with an emphasis on careers.

Lesson plans are geared to Common Core Math, Next Generations Science, and ISTE Standards.

Check it out for yourself on the official Navy STEM website.

And to help us keep you informed about other great free educational programs and resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow us on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

 

Image: Discovery Education