Show What You Know – Introducing the Arts to STEM Education

April 20, 2011

What is a “Super-Duper-Flower-Saving-Turkey-Baster-Power-Pumper” you might ask. The answer to this and many more intriguing questions can be found in The Curious Adventures of Sydney and Symon in: Water Wonders, an original chapter book for children ages 6-8 created by Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the nation’s largest children’s literacy nonprofit, the National Writing Project (NWP) and FableVision, Inc, an educational media developer and K12 software publisher. This exciting new children’s book encourages learning and exploration through reading and writing while adhering to key K-4 National Science Standards and encouraging critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity.

Water Wonders stars young sibling scientists Sydney and Symon, as they “show what they know” in their science and engineering explorations. Through the use of talking, listening, reading, writing and drawing, the siblings embody the STEAM approach, which aims to introduce the arts to STEM education. STEAM is a way to invite more learners to use creative ways to express their STEM learning and encourage original and creative thinking.

Along with its irresistible characters and engaging storyline, Water Wonders also encourages young scientists and engineers through its demonstration of wondering, questioning, predicting, planning and observing. A much enjoyed addition to the story itself is a section of the book that is filled with Science Activities, an Answers and Explanations page that divulges the secrets behind the activities it encompasses and an area that lists how to Find Out More that allows for excited readers to extend their STEM learning.

The Curious Adventures of Sydney and Symon in: Water Wonders was first printed and distributed by RIF and NWP to schools and programs nationwide in disadvantaged communities. It is now available for the general public as a free download in either English or Spanish at http://www.rif.org/documents/us/WaterWondersFinal-en.pdf. Check it out and find out what a “Super-Duper-Flower-Saving-Turkey-Baster-Power-Pumper” really is!


Encourage STEM Education Through Video Games

April 14, 2011

Students from across the nation have recently been recognized for their original video game designs at the first annual National STEM Video Game Challenge.  Inspired by the Educate to Innovate Campaign, President Obama’s Initiative to promote a renewed focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education, The National STEM Video Game Challenge aims to motivate interest in STEM learning among America’s youth by tapping students’ natural passions for playing and making video games. 

 

The first year of the challenge featured competitions for students and developers.  Twelve students from across the U.S in grades 5 – 8 were selected as winners of the Youth Prize for their original game designs.  The Youth Prize winners were selected from a group of over 500 entries for their ability to use STEM concepts to design engaging, innovative and well-balanced games.   The students will receive an EMD-based laptop computer and educational software.  A cash prize of $2000 will also be awarded to their school or a non-profit organization of their choice. 

The organizations outreach partners believe that the process of making video games isn’t just fun, it can help you develop valuable skills our country needs – skills like critical thinking, problem solving, and creative design. 

For more information on the STEM Video Game Challenge visit www.stemchallenge.org.