Second Rochester Area Excellence in STEM Award Winner

June 27, 2008

The Rochester Area Colleges’ Center for Excellence in Math and Science is pleased to announce the second Rochester Area Excellence in STEM Teaching Award winner. The award is designed to recognize excellence and innovation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teaching, and to create a forum for collaboration and sharing of activities, instructional strategies, and best practices.

Who was the second winner?  Click here to find out!


Buzz Lightyear in Orbit

June 24, 2008

NASA and Disney are teaming up to make learning science fun!  Check out the 5 different missions that you can go on at the Buzz Lightyear in Orbit website!  Help Buzz load his shuttle, match up exciting things that have happened in space, find lost items on Buzz’s spaceship, program a robitic arm to fix Buzz’s ship, and learn how different toys behave in space!  You can also join the NASA Kids’ Club!

Teachers and parents, you can even find educational woksheets for each activity.

Comment below to let us know what you think, and check out other Fun Stuff on the RAC-CEMS website!


New Exhibits at RMSC!

June 17, 2008

Looking to get out of the heat this summer?  Check out the new exhibits at the Rochester Museum & Science Center

At Robots + Us, museum visitors can experiment with robots and see how they learn.  Build walking machines, try to trick a face-recognition machine, help your robot make its way through a maze using light sensors, investigate locomotion, meet David from the movie AI, and much more!

Next, Discover “R” Weather!  Experiment at interactive stations throughout the exhibit, use a computer program to create a forecast, record your performance, and email it to a friend!

Also, at Spin: The Science of Rotation, you can create a laser show, race spinning balls, and experiment with lots of rotating objects!


Games Games Games!

June 13, 2008

Hey students!  Looking for some fun computer games to play online?  Check out the Fun Stuff page on the RAC-CEMS website!  Here you will find great science activities to try over the summer, different math and science topics to investigate, ways to keep your math skills strong over the school break, brain teasers, and lots of other games!

Have any other favorite web sites to add to our list?  Comment below!


Experimenting with Science

June 10, 2008

In the EdWeek article Labs at Elementary Level Help Bring Science Alive, the magazine highlights an elementary school in Kansas where the teacher captivates “her elementary pupils through a core science-class activity—an easy experiment—that educators and advocates say is vital to building enthusiasm and understanding for the subject in the early grades.”  In the particular activity observed, students worked in teams to build bridges out of just straws, tape, and scissors, and then tested the strength of their designs.

Unfortunately, according to the article, fewer and fewer elementary students are having lab-time in schools today.  Is this because new teachers’ lack of confidence and training, a lack of funding for science activities, a lack of time since teachers are pressured more and more to focus on preparing for standardized tests, or something else?


Teacher Grant Opportunities

June 9, 2008

Would you like to use a new assistive-technology strategy with one of your students with special needs, but just don’t have the funding?  The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services is offering $1,800,000 in grant opportunities for educators through their new Technical Assistance and Dissemination To Improve Services and Results for Children With Disabilities Grant.

The purpose of this grant is to promote academic achievement and to improve results for children with disabilities by providing technical assistance (TA), supporting model demonstration projects, disseminating useful information, and implementing activities that are supported by scientifically based research.  The application deadline is July 7th!

Share below any successes (or problems!) you may have had applying for grants in the past!  And, as always, check out a list of available grants on the RAC-CEMS website!


Dissection or Simulation?

June 5, 2008

In the article Virtual Dissection Offers Alternative, Teacher Magazine discusses simulation alternatives to dissection as seen in one West Virginia high school.  At this school, animal rights activists donated interactive software to various science classes.  Rather than allowing “squeamish” students to miss classes where dissection occurs, this software allows students to experience the activity and learn about animal anatomy without having to use an actual animal. 

While some educators praise the software as being a less controversial and often times less-expensive option for students, others say that virtual dissection does not have the same educational value as using the real thing, 

Does simulation software compare?  Check out a free demo at froguts and let us know what you think!