Wednesday, February 13, 2013

STEM Resources Smackdown

Our blogger today is Sara Hunter, elementary STEM coach and teacher at Zionsville Community Schools.

STEM is a major buzzword these days and finding quality resources can be a bit challenging.  I know this from experience as my role changed this year from classroom teacher to STEM Teacher and Coach.  My experience of building a brand new elementary STEM program has yielded tremendous resources which I am thrilled to share today on the IDOE Web 2.0 Challenge blog.  Check out my STEM Diigo list,  STEM Pinterest board or follow me on Twitter for even more resources!

S is for Science
This Is What a Scientist Looks Like is a fantastic website which works to dispel the crazy-haired scientist stereotype.  
NASA Online Education Network (NEON) Webinars cover a wide range of topics, subjects and grade levels.  The webinars incorporate NASA education materials (free downloads!) as well as featuring education connections with current NASA missions.
Purdue Agriculture Teacher Resources has a lot to offer whether you're looking for a resource, field trip, speaker, or specific program.

T is for Technology... and Twitter
My STEM class has a Twitter account, follow us @UnionSTEM, and Tweeting is a great way to connect with other classes, Mars rovers, or even scientists!  100 Scientists on Twitter by Category is just that, a good starting list of scientists to follow and perhaps connect with.

E is for Engineering
The Works is one of my absolute favorite resources for engineering project ideas, just check out this list!
Discover Engineering is an interactive website in which students can explore specific concepts, projects and engineering careers.
Howtoons are "DIY Comics," also known as "Weapons of Mass Construction."  Visually entertaining, these directions for projects include science strands as well as engineering concepts.
The Marshmallow Challenge is an engineering and teamwork challenge that kids of all ages can enjoy.  This challenge is a great project to introduce the design process because there will be a lot of "try it out" and "make it better" going on!

M is for Math
My students love using Create a Graph because of it's simple interface and user-friendly graphing fields.  Once the graph is created, students love to print a copy for their science notebooks and embed the graph into a blog post (we use to share their reflections on their class blog.  Blogging in math?  Yes!  Check out this post on How to Integrate Blogging into Math Classes for more ideas.

Putting it all together: STEM
PRISM STEM resources from Rose-Hulman is searchable by grade, standard or keyword for quality STEM resources.  They also produce a very useful newsletter.
Siemens STEM Academy features a robust webinar library, resources and project lesson plans, as well as a collaborative space.  You do need to register for access, but registration is free.
STEM Mom blog is another one of my favorite resources, particularly with young learners.  Blog author, Darci Harland, is also the author of the STEM Student Research Handbook published by NSTA.

Graphics and visuals are an important piece in creating meaning and I've found a few that I really enjoy sharing with my students.  We compare the Scientific Method to the Engineering Design Process to the Invention Design Process and notice the connections and similarities.  For me and my students, STEM is about noticing, questioning and exploring the connections intertwined in science, technology, engineering and math.

The Challenge:
Share your favorite STEM related resource to continue the smackdown.

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