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February 1, 2012
Vol. 54
No. 2

Teaching and Learning Resources for STEM Education

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For the resourceful educator, there's no shortage of exciting projects and activities for teaching science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Here are just a few free (and low-cost) resources that you can use in your classroom.
Obviously, organizations such as the National Science Teachers Association, and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics are great go-tos for STEM resources. Here are some other websites that can help you infuse exciting and engaging lessons into the curriculum.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has revamped its educational website, Science NetLinks. You can find K–12 lesson plans, check out the science history calendar to learn about important historical dates, and stay abreast of the latest science news. Looking for ideas for the after-school science club you advise? Go to http://sciencenetlinks.com/afterschool-resources.
The website can also help you with planning new activities for Earth Day (April 22); National Chemistry Week (October 21–27, 2012); National Engineers Week (February 19–25, 2012); and even Earth Hour (March 31, 2012), the annual international event designed to raise awareness about global climate change.
Discovery Education's digital science and technology teaching resources offer a rich, engaging, educational experience. The content is aligned to state standards, and the lesson plans include objectives, materials, procedures, readings and resources, vocabulary terms, discussion questions, and rubrics. You can also access a wide range of high-quality multimedia content to accompany the lessons.
Also, don't miss the Puzzlemaker application.
Looking for projects related to oceanography, evolution, botany, or bioethics? Or what about information on designing and building solar and hydrogen fuel cell cars? Tap into lesson plans, games, tests, homework assignments, webcasts, and research in the areas of the life sciences, earth sciences, applied sciences, and physical sciences. And don't forget about math. You can get resources from more than 150 math websites at no cost through this site.
The free, open-source HippoCampus website provides multimedia resources for high school and college students.
Explore lessons on topics ranging from DNA to the chemical and physical properties of solutions to kinetic theory and thermodynamics. HippoCampus includes presentations and videos in several subject areas, including biology, statistics, calculus, environmental science, physics, and algebra. The website also offers algebra and calculus lessons in Spanish.
Intel's Design and Discovery Curriculum is a free, inquiry-based and interdisciplinary curriculum for students ages 11–15 that allows them to explore engineering by engaging in hands-on design activities. Students build their understanding in a sequential way and learn to identify real-world problems and develop ideas for solutions.
Intel also offers STEM unit plans.
The celebrated Khan Academy offers more than 2,700 instructional videos covering math, science, finance, and history. These short but informative videos have become a worldwide teaching and learning phenomenon.
This website provides simulations, modules, and interactive tools for learning about nanotechnology—the design and production of structures, devices, and systems one atom or one molecule at a time. nanoHUB.org is a central place for finding computational nanotechnology research, accessing teaching and learning resources, and engaging in teacher collaboration.
As a science teacher, do you ever wish you could get a quick review of a scientific concept? Check out these science refreshers from the National Science Digital Library.
From weather to electricity and simple machines to paleoclimates, gymnosperms, and symbiosis—there's a wide range of mini lessons here that include modules, quizzes, and links to additional resources.
With more than 4,000 STEM resources available in its database, this website has a vast array of lesson plans, videos, and interactive resources to help you infuse both fun and rigor into your STEM classroom.
Interested in space exploration? Learn from the experts! This website is sponsored by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the California Institute of Technology. The comprehensive, interactive Planet Quest website features spectacular images captured by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope; the Ask an Astronomer podcast; videos; classroom experiments; and the JPL blog, which takes you inside a space mission.
Students can learn cool things about Mars while learning about the Mars Rover Curiosity, play with simulators, take a virtual tour of a planned NASA observatory, brush up on planet factoids through the online games and activities, and even submit questions to the experts for a little homework help. There's plenty to see, do, and explore.

Some STEM Extras

This issue of ASCD Express features promising initiatives that seek to bridge the STEM content gap for both students and educators. The National Science Teachers Association offers advice and resources to help teachers engage their students in STEM subjects, and middle and high school educators talk about preparing students for college and future careers in the STEM fields.
This past summer, the U.S. Department of Education's Office for English Language Acquisition hosted a . Panelists discussed effective education practices, made suggestions regarding teacher professional development, and offered tips for creating partnerships to improve STEM education for English learners. Visit the website to read materials from the conference and access speaker presentations.
Do you want your students to participate in a competition that will really motivate them? What about entering the National STEM Video Game Challenge? Check out the website to learn more and access game design resources.


Willona M. Sloan is a freelance writer and former ASCD editor.

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