We All Use Math Everyday!

April 16, 2008

Are you a fan of the television show Numb3rs?  Texas Instruments, in partnership with the CBS television show Numb3rs and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, created a series of mathematics activities for teachers and students based on the television show.  According to the We Use Math Everyday website, “this program was specifically designed to help students (and their parents) realize how relevant math is to everyday activity and understand the importance the subject plays in their future success.”

Check out the website to see how the Numb3rs episodes from seasons 1-3 align with your math curriculum, and share your favorite activities below!

The Power of Spaghetti

April 15, 2008

Check out this lesson from the American Chemical Society called Spaghetti Strength!  Teach your students about the amazing strength of polymers and chemical bonds – all you will need are pennies, dry spaghetti (of different thicknesses), a small paper cup, string, a pencil, a ruler, and tape!

 Try out the activity and share your results below!


A New Way…

April 14, 2008

Click on the video below to watch one of the newest “internet crazes” – a new way to multiply! 

Watch the video and then try it out for yourself…will it work with any numbers?  What are some other tricks that you might have up your sleeve for getting students interested in multiplication, and math in general?

NYC World Science Festival

April 12, 2008

A Science Event for the Masses will be held in New York City from May 28 to June 1.  Starting on May 28 there will be a science street fair on the NYU campus, followed by events all over the city, including at Columbia, the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art.  The schedule includes a closed World Science Summit and then numerous events, such as discussions of parallel universes, memory (based on The Bourne Identity), and more family-centered activites such as magicians and a discussion from Disney Imagineers.

Visit the World Science Festival website for a complete schedule and ticket information!

Teaching with Technology

April 12, 2008

Education Week recently published a special edition of Technology Counts entitled STEM: The Push to Improve Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.  The article Learning to Teach with Technology focuses on a new trend of integrating technology directly into teacher preparatory classes rather than having pre-service teachers take separate technology courses.

In classes such as these, college students learn not only how to conduct lessons and experiments, but really delve into the “hows” and “whys” by using various forms of technology.  By utilizing technology, author Vaishali Honawar states that both K-12 students and their future teachers will “absorb and retain” much more information.  By learning about various software programs such as Geometers Sketchpad and Starry Night in college, teachers are much more likely to integrate them into their own teaching.

How did your college courses prepare you for utilizing technology in your classroom?  For those teachers who have finished your college work, how do you stay current on new technologies?

Rochester Area Excellence in STEM Teaching Award

April 10, 2008

The Center for Excellence in Math and Science is pleased to announce the Rochester Area Excellence in STEM Teaching Award.  The purpose of this award is to recognize effective, engaging, and innovative Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) teaching, K-12. 

If you have a STEM activity that engages students, increases student learning in a STEM subject, aligns with one of the New York State Math, Science, or Technology standards, and can be shared with the rest of the Rochester teaching community, then you could be awarded a travel scholarship (up to $2000) to a national STEM learning conference or a $10,000 classroom upgrade through Wards Natural Science!

Click here for more information about award criteria as well as a nomination form.  We can’t wait to read about your innovative and exciting STEM activities – all winners will be highlighted on the STEM Blog!

The STEM Push

April 6, 2008

Education Week recently published a special edition of Technology Counts entitled STEM: The Push to Improve Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.  While we mentioned the online resource last week, several articles from that merit special attention; we will be focusing on them throughout the next few posts.

In the article The Push to Improve STEM Education, the Education Week editors focus on how American schools need to stay current in new technologies if our country wants to be able to compete with other nations.

Now, this is not to say that there have not been great improvements in STEM standards over the past few decades.  For example, in 1983 only 15 states required that students take more than one year of high school, and 14 states only required one year of science.  Today, 30 states require at least three years of math and 35 states require 3 years of science – but is that enough?  According to this article, American students are still mediocre compared to students in similarly industrialized countries, and any improvements that our high schoolers were making are plateauing.

What can the United States do to improve its competitiveness in the STEM areas?  Education Week lists several possible solutions, such as setting higher standards for our teacher preparatory programs, encouraging high school students to take additional and/or more advanced STEM courses, financially supporting those individuals interested in STEM fields, and developing programs to encourage minority groups to get involved in STEM subjects.

Unfortunately these state and national change take time, especially when many of the highlighted programs must be passed by federal or state legislatures.  What are some ways that we can enhance our own students’ science, mathematics, and technology education NOW?