Oxford Math Professor Backs Web Games to Teach Kids

November 30, 2009

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Do you know that internet games can boost children’s interest in mathematics? Says a professor from Oxford University who uses dance to prove theorems. Marcus du Sautoy says that there is a real crisis in maths education in English secondary schools. He says that children tend to lose interest and become bored easily when learning Mathematics.

A number of schools in London and Tennessee in the United States are trying out the website, which include a game called “save or dumb missile” where children can enter coordinates on a graph to ami a missile at an asteroid for the Earth. The depth of the mathematics can be embedded in the games, which students have to do the maths in order to get high scores.

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White House Begins Campaign to Promote Science and Math Education

November 30, 2009

The white house is starting a campaign to promote Science and Math education by recruiting Elmo and Big Bird, video game programmers, and thousands of scientists. President Obama announced on Monday to encourage companies and nonprofit organizations to spend money, time and effort to help students in middle and high school pursue science, technology, engineering, and math.

The campaign is called Educate to Innovate, will focuses on activities outside the classroom. Science and engineering societies promise to provide volunteers to work with students in the classroom in order to culminate in a National Lan Day in May. Another part of the campaign also includes a two-year focus on the television show “Sesame Street”, and a website http://connectamillionminds.com/ which was set up by Time Warner Cable. This website provides a searchable directory of local science activities.

It is essential to get children involved in exploring the cool side of science and math. I believe that this campaign will have a positive impact on children. Children learn the best when they are having fun. By incorporating all the fun activities into learning, children will become innovative from participating in different science activities.

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A Great Resource for Rochester Parents

November 19, 2009

Kids Out and About

The Website KidsOutandAbout.com is a great resource for any parent looking for some fun and educational ideas for their child. The website has an extensive events calendar that is sure to have something for every family. It also has a list of places to take your children which includes a list of the top twenty places to take your kids as well as a master list for the Rochester area, seasonal activities, and kid friendly shops and restaurants. Another resource is the Classes and Camps section which lists extracurricular and summer programs including science programs. You can also sign up for their weekly newsletter which lists and reviews local events and activities. This is without a doubt an valuable resource for parents who want to explore new activities with their children that are both educational and entertaining. Be sure to take a look at their website for some great ideas! http://rochester.kidsoutandabout.com/


Continuing the Collaboration

November 17, 2009

At the 2009 STEM Collaboration Event we received feedback from attendees who want to continue to collaborate with their fellow educators in the region throughout the year. Here are some of the responses we got to the questions as to how to continue the conversations around Lesson Study, PLCs and creating a culture of collaboration:

  • Continue to do lesson study-open it to other schools-doing public lesson- and invite others in order to educate and learn from each other
  • Link people with similar interests
  • Set up monthly meeting times at universities
  • I would like to follow up & see how others have moved forward with their PLCs, share successes & barriers, and continue to discuss how to make progress.
  • Presenters on the site to answer /input/support
  • Identify & celebrate successes
  • Opportunity to share more activities & class management ideas
  • Create panels of experts from various disciplines in STEM to present or answer question
  • Encourage our peers to come in and watch the students and try to find out where their struggles occurred

We at RAC-CEMS would like to honor these requests as best we can.  A short-term goal would be to creat an online community for participants to connect with each other. There are three simple ways we can do this.

Since RAC-CEMS is hosted by Nazareth College we have the privilege of using a program called Blackboard, which is a distance-learning tool that enables electronic communication and sharing.  RAC-CEMS would register those interested on Blackboard so that they could use this program. Three features that are part of Blackboard are a Discussion Board, a Chat Room and Listserv.

A Discussion Board allows users to create “posts” at any time and have other users answer them. It is similar to a chat room but the users do not need to be present at the same time. A disadvantage is that posts can go unanswered or not receive a reply for quite a while.

A Chat Room allows users to chat in real time with each other.  A disadvantage is that in order to carry on a conversation the users must be online at the same time. an advantage is that is is a real-time live conversation and outside guests, such as conference presenters, may join in the chat.

the third option is a ListServ which sends email to all those subscribed. an advantage of this is that you need not log into Blackboard or any other site to participate; just open your email inbox. A disadvantage is that it is difficult to carry on a discussion and if you are not interested in the discussion you will still get the emails.

We would like to know what your preferences for communication would be and if you would be interested in participating in such discussions. Please vote in our poll for the option that you prefer and if you would like, leave a comment.


ExploraVision

November 16, 2009

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First Place 2009: University Laboratory High School, Urbana, IL

ExploraVision is a science competition program which encourages K–12 students of all interest. Students who enter the competition will have the opportunity to explore a vision of future technology by combining their imaginations with the tools of science. All inventions and innovations result from creative thinking and problem solving. That’s what ExploraVision is all about.

This is a great program because it can help students who are not high achievers become interested in science and technology. It is a great way for students to learn how to work collaboratively as a group for a project. ExploraVision can be the beginning of a lifelong adventure in science, students should be learning while having fun!

More Details on Eligibility and Prizes


7 Biggest Challenges Teachers Face

November 10, 2009

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The Teacher Chronicles author Natalie Schwartz interviewed more than 50 teachers, and The Teacher Chronicles dismantles the misconception that teachers have benefits of working til 3 p.m.,  low-pressure jobs, and they get to enjoy summers off.

In fact, teachers have to deal with an array of behavioral issues in their classrooms. This article is about the 7 biggest challengs teachers face, and 7 different experiences from teachers throught the country.

The 7 biggest challenges are:

First challenge: Students with bad behavior

Secondchallenge: Unhealty environment

Third challenge: Out of touch policy makers

Forth challenge: Difficult parents

Fifth challenge: Office politics

Sixth challenge: Lack of time

Seventh challenge: Emotional stree

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Staying in the Field

November 2, 2009

A recent article by Sean Cavangh from Education Week talks about how more students who are in the STEM field end up leaving the field. They “don’t last in graduate studies and the workforce” and this is not due to a lack of talent either. The assumption made by officials and policymakers is the schools in the States are not grooming enough students with sufficient talent to make it in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math); however, the new study shows that top-tier high school students choosing STEM dropped from 29% to 14% between the 1990s and 2000-2005.

Are STEM jobs no longer attractive to students for some reason? Or is it because non-STEM jobs such as business and law and health care are more stable, higher paying, and more prestigious? What are your thoughts?