Space-Based STEM Education for the Scientists of Tomorrow

  • Mar 09, 2016

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Of all students, elementary-schoolers are probably the best equipped to respond to STEM education that is presented in the context of space exploration and adventure. I say that because younger kids are still firmly in-touch with their innate sense of wonder, and more importantly, still open enough to believe that if they dream big and work hard, they can achieve amazing things.

It’s their universe as much as it is ours, after all, and the good folks at NASA Education have come up with a cool new way to help them take hold of it—via a thoroughly engaging collection of science, technology, engineering, and math resources.

NASA Space Place is a free educational website for elementary students, their teachers, and their parents. Loaded with educational classroom activities, videos, experiments, and games, it’s a great place to learn, play, and grow. Teachers can use the materials they find on Space Place to build lesson plans that align with the Next Generation Science Standards. In addition, many of the classroom activities featured can easily be adapted to the high school classroom.

Explore NASA Space Place for yourself.

And to learn about other great free educational resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow us on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

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Grammar School

  • Mar 03, 2016

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“Avoid commas, that are unnecessary.”
                                                 —William Safire

If you get the joke, chances are you’ll see the value of No Nonsense Grammar, a series of downloadable videos and lesson plans available free of charge from PBS LearningMedia for Students.

The materials, which are aimed at elementary and middle-school students, are divided into five categories: Punctuation; Capitalization & Spelling; Verb Tense, Mood & Voice; Usage; and Sentence Structure. The videos are humorous and engaging (see screen grabs, below), and the accompanying materials—which include standards-based lesson plans, activities, and handouts—are well organized and easily digestible. All in all, it’s yet another fine educational offering from the good folks at PBS.

Check out the collection for yourself. Visit No Nonsese Grammar today.

And to learn about other great free educational resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow us on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

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Introduce Your Students to a Top Young Scientist!

  • Feb 25, 2016

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Hannah Herbst was in the 7th grade, just beginning to realize her love for science and engineering, when a letter from her 9-year-old Ethiopian pen pal changed her life.

The younger girl described what it was like to live with no access to lights, a steady flow of fresh water, and other basic necessities, and Hannah was moved. As she said in a blog post, “I recognized that her situation was not unique and believed that I could use the skills I acquired to take action in an attempt to mitigate the global energy crisis.”

Inspired by a science teacher, Hannah set to work creating an energy probe prototype designed to offer a stable power source to developing countries via untapped energy from ocean currents—a brilliant accomplishment that won Hannah the title of America’s 2015 Top Young Scientist.

And seeing Hannah in action (video, below), you’ve got to believe she’s only getting started.

Do you think that meeting Hannah might change the lives of your students? Find out for yourself by signing-up for a free, live online event on Tuesday, March 8th at 1pm ET, wherein Hannah will share her unique invention, talk about her experiences in the challenge, and answer questions from students.

For more information, visit the Young Scientist Challenge website.

And to learn about other great free educational resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow us on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

Cartoon Network Announces a Major Commitment to Computer Science for All

  • Feb 18, 2016

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According to the White House, more than 600,000 high-paying tech jobs across the United States went unfilled, and by 2018, 51 percent of all STEM jobs are projected to be in computer science-related fields. Moreover, computer science and data science are not only important for the tech sector, but for many industries, including transportation, healthcare, education, and financial services.

In other words, there is much to be done in regard to preparing our young people to thrive in an increasingly STEM-based future.

Recently, the White House announced a new presidential initiative called Computer Science for All, an effort to empower all American students from kindergarten through high school to learn computer science and be equipped with the computational thinking skills they need to be creators in the digital economy, not just consumers. The call has gone out to anyone and everyone who can make a difference, and to date, some 50 entities, both public and private, have committed to doing what they can.

Among them, our good friends at Cartoon Network, who have announced a $30 million commitment to engaging our kids in creative coding!

The network will collaborate with the Scratch Team at MIT’s Media Lab to create free coding tutorials which will be available to children on the Scratch platforma block-based programming language and online community where young people create their own interactive media projects at no cost (check out the video below, and share it with your students).

In addition, Cartoon Network will use its multi-platform reach to raise awareness of computer literacy and coding among kids.

“This generation of kids is incredibly creative and inventive, and we’re inspired by them every day,” said Christina Miller, president and general manager of Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang. “Computer literacy and learning to code are vitally important skills that foster creativity and self-expression. With this long-term commitment, we will leverage our brands and platforms to drive awareness for coding and provide access to the necessary tools to kids everywhere. The result, we hope, is that we help inspire the next generation as much as they inspire us.”

Note: Cartoon Network East is channel 296 in your DIRECTV SCHOOL CHOICE channel lineup; Cartoon Network West is channel 297.

For more STEM news, and to find out about and other free educational resources, bookmark this site and follow us on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

Scratch Overview from ScratchEd on Vimeo.

K-12 STEM Resources from PBS

  • Feb 11, 2016

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If you follow education topics on social media you have no doubt come across the word “makers” quite often of  late.

It’s a handy distillation of what amounts to a growing movement toward applied sciences. That is to say, people, especially young people, making stuff—or improving stuff, or figuring out new and better ways to do stuff. And at the center of it all you find STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), an important 21st-Century emphasis in education that recognizes both where we are headed, and just how much untapped potential there is available in our classrooms to get us there.

And this is all good news, of course. So good, in fact, that more and more entities and organizations are doing what they can to help.

Which brings us to PBS Learning Media and the Makers initiative, a web-based, one-stop shop of STEM and digital making resources that focus on the problem, technology, or process behind object creation. On the Makers website you’ll find something for every student K through 12, and it’s all available free of charge!

The material is multi-media, accompanied by standards-based lesson plans, and presented in 5 categories: Arts and Crafts, Design, Engineering, How To (DIY), and Robotics.

And in keeping with the idea that Makers is really all about students doing things themselves, the collection was designed and curated by a high school student working toward a career in technology. Nice touch.

Check it out for yourself. Visit Makers today.

And to learn about other great free educational resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow us on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

He Named Me Malala DVD Giveaway Program!

  • Feb 02, 2016

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“One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.” — Malala Yousafzai

Like people all over the world, we’ve followed with admiration and excitement the ongoing story of Malala Yousafzai, who was just 15 years-old when she was targeted by for assassination by the Taliban for speaking out on girls’ education. Having survived that attempt on her life, Malala has since taken her campaign global, becoming the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate and winning millions of supporters along the way.

Her story was beautifully captured in the award-winning documentary He Named Me Malala, and now, the Students Stand #withMalala campaign—a collaboration between Participant Media and the Malala Fund—is providing free DVD copies of the film (and licensing fees) to teachers and educators who would like to bring Malala’s story into their schools and communities.

And in addition to the film there are supplementary learning resources available for download, including a curriculum guide and discussion guide created by Journeys Into Film, as well as a toolkit to help turn your students into activists.

So, would you like to stand #withMalala? Sign-up for your free DVD right here.

Note: To qualify for a free DVD and education license, screenings must be for educational purposes and admission may not be charged. If you have questions, please contact: Malalafieldtrip@participantmedia.com.

And to find out about other great free educational resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow us on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

Apply Today for the C-SPAN 2016 Teacher Fellowship Program

  • Jan 25, 2016

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If you are a state certified middle or high school teacher (U.S. History, Civics, Government, or related curriculum) who uses C-SPAN resources in your classroom, you could find yourself in the nation’s capital this summer helping to shape education nationwide!

C-SPAN is seeking innovative educators for its 2016 Teacher Fellowship Program, which will take place over the course of four consecutive weeks this June-July at the network’s offices in Washing, DC.

Chosen Fellows will collaborate with the C-SPAN Education department to develop new teaching materials using the network’s vast library of resources, and participants will also be invited to brainstorm ideas with fellow teachers at a series of educator conferences.

And to seal the deal, each Fellow receives a stipend of $7,000 to cover housing, travel, and living expenses.

So, what are you doing this summer?

Registration is open until Friday, February 26, 2016. For more information visit C-SPAN Classroom.

And to find out about other great opportunities and free educational resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow us on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

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Calling All Student Explorers!

  • Jan 12, 2016

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DIRECTV and NatGeo Mundo are sending four lucky high school students on the adventure of a lifetime this summer. Encourage eligible students to apply today for their chance to go on a National Geographic Student Expedition of their choice!

It’s a dream for adventure enthusiasts, but a dream that’s now well within reach thanks to National Geographic Student Expeditions, a unique travel program offering students the opportunity to get out into the field with NatGeo photographers, scientists, and writers.

Through the NatGeo Mundo Explorer program, four deserving high school students (two from the U.S. and two from Latin America) will experience one of these fabulous Expeditions this summer—with exciting destinations around the world to choose from!

Share the video below with your students and encourage them to apply today. They just might find themselves on the all-expense-paid adventure of a lifetime, courtesy of DIRECTV and NatGeo Mundo Explorer.

Applications will be accepted until March 1, 2016. For more information, and to apply, visit our program web site.

To find out about other great opportunities and free educational resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow DIRECTV Goes to School on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

War Stories

  • Jan 08, 2016

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It’s nearly impossible for the uninitiated to fully appreciate what it’s like to be a soldier at war, and yet it’s really the duty of every American to at least try. After all, the personal sacrifices made by the members of our military, the harrowing experiences and losses endured by even those who return to us fully intact, are made on our behalf.

So with an eye toward understanding, we’re proud to help get the word out about History Channel’s Live to Tell, a new series that offers warriors who’ve served on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq the opportunity to share their personal experiences of war.

Relevant to current events, history and politics courses, the program is recommended for students in 10th grade and above.

Live to Tell premieres Sunday, January 10th at 10/9c on HISTORY (channel 269 in your DIRECTV SCHOOL CHOICE channel lineup). All episodes will also be available for streaming subsequent to airing.

You can watch the series trailer, below.

And for news about other great educational programs, bookmark this site and be sure to follow DIRECTV GOES TO SCHOOL on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

Registration is now open for the 2016 Young Scientist Challenge!

  • Dec 22, 2015

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Parents and teachers, please help us inspire the next generation of scientists by encouraging your students to consider the 2016 3M/Discovery Education Young Scientist Challenge.

The annual competition, which was founded in 1999, has introduced the world to a slew of promising young minds—kids who, because of participation in this contest, have learned that working hard to apply what they’ve learned really can set a boundless course for their lives.

The contest is open to all students in grades 5-8, and what they’d be vying for is the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist” and a grand prize of $25,000!

Who knows? It may be your encouragement that changes a kid’s life forever.

Registration is open until 8:00 PM ET on April 20, 2016. For more information visit the official Challenge web site.

And to find out about other great opportunities and free educational resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow DIRECTV Goes to School on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

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