Free Webinar on “Field Investigations and STEM” This Week!

March 26th, 2012 by Sarah
http://www.eeweek.org/webinars/field_investigations

Engage your students in outdoor learning about STEM subjects!

In 2012, National Environmental Education Week (EE Week) will be celebrated from April 15-21. The events are kicking off early this year, and this Wednesday, March 28th at 7:00 PM you can join in by participating in a free webinar about “Field Investigations and STEM.”

For this webinar, EE Week will be partnering with the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) and the Pacific Education Institute (PEI) to explore how the schoolyard or local public land can provide students with the opportunity to be scientists using the skills and knowledge of inquiry to collect real-world data.  During the webinar Margaret Tudor and Pat Otto from PEI will provide teachers with information and tools to engage students in STEM learning outside, utilizing nature as a laboratory, by planning, conducting, and evaluating a field investigation.

Webinar participation information will be sent to EE Week 2012 registrants via email. Registration is free and easy and connects you to a national network of educators dedicated to increasing the environmental knowledge of K-12 students.

For additional information on this event, please visit: http://www.eeweek.org/webinars/field_investigations

Sarah Brzezinski a Chesapeake Conservancy Intern and serves as the manager of Bay Backpack. She is a former Chesapeake Research Consortium/Chesapeake Bay Program Fostering Stewardship Staffer.

The STEM of Super Bowls: Teach About It!

February 6th, 2012 by Sarah

The Science of NFL Footbal was created by the NFL, NSF, and NBC Learn.

Are your students talking about the Super Bowl today? Did you know that you can use their enthusiasm about football to get them interested in Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering (STEM) fields? It’s true! There are plenty of resources available to help you use football as a tool for teaching STEM subjects.

In particular, The Science of NFL Football video series stands out as a great resource to help you teach about STEM content using one of America’s favorite pastimes. This informative series features 10 videos, each of which lasts about four to five minutes. Each video addresses a different topic, so you can decide if you want your students to learn about geometric shapes, Newton’s Laws of Motion, Kinematics, the Pythagorean Theorem, and more. Who would have thought that you can have former NFL quarterback Joey Harrington (and scientists and professors) talk to your students about vectors?

Lesson plans to accompany each of the videos are provided at http://www.lessonopoly.org/nfl. All of these resources are available for free online. These videos and lesson plans are a great way to get students who have not been traditionally interested in STEM subjects engaged, and can reinvigorate the interest of your top students.

There is also a wide variety of articles that can help you connect football to STEM subjects. Learning about these topics can help your students understand some of the cool STEM careers associated with the Super Bowl! This was the topic of our previous blog, The STEM of Super Bowls: Career Paths. You can also use these resources to talk to your students about some of the innovative technologies that have been used at Super Bowls:

Who knows? Maybe one of the students you inspire with football-related STEM lessons will grow-up to work on issues related to the health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed!

Are your students talking about the Super Bowl today? Did you know that you can use their enthusiasm about football to get them interested in Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering (STEM) fields? It’s true! There are plenty of resources available to help you use football as a tool for teaching STEM subjects.

In particular, The Science of NFL Football video series stands out as a great resource to help you teach about STEM content using one of America’s favorite pastimes. This informative series features 10 videos, each of which lasts about four to five minutes. Each video addresses a different topic, so you can decide if you want your students to learn about geometric shapes, Newton’s Laws of Motion, Kinematics, the Pythagorean Theorem, and more. Who would have thought that you can have former NFL quarterback Joey Harrington (and scientists and professors) talk to your students about vectors?

Lesson plans to accompany each of the videos are provided at http://www.lessonopoly.org/nfl. All of these resources are available for free online. These videos and lesson plans are a great way to get students who have not been traditionally interested in STEM subjects engaged, and can reinvigorate the interest of your top students.

There is also a wide variety of articles that can help you connect football to STEM subjects. Learning about these topics can help your students understand some of the cool STEM careers associated with the Super Bowl! This was the topic of our previous blog, The STEM of Super Bowls: Career Paths. You can also use these resources to talk to your students about some of the innovative technologies that have been used at Super Bowls:

· Engineers in the End Zone – This article about college football stars who are also studying engineering.

· Top 5 Ways Super Bowl 2012 Supports the Environment – Did you know that nearly 60 tons of aluminum cans, plastic bottles, cardboard and glass were recycled at the Indiana Convention Center & Lucas Oil Stadium in 2010? Learn more about Super Bowl XLVI’s green initiatives and share the information with your students!

· Engineers Help Detect Football Injuries – Learn about how engineers are working to design football helmets that not only protect an athlete’s head from injury, but also measure the force of any impacts to determine a player’s risk having of a concussion so medical attention can be promptly provided.

· Super Bowl Replay Technology Draws on Carnegie Mellon and Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center Expertise – Did you ever wonder about the technology that allows viewers to see a Super Bowl play as if time is frozen while a camera circles around the action? Learn more in this article.

· Going Deep: Future Technology in the NFL – This MSNBC article discusses some of the technology we could see in future NFL games. Maybe one of your students will be the person to invent it!

· Top 5 Technologies in NFL Stadiums – From enormous HDTVs to retractable grass, this article will inform your students about some of the cool technology that was used at Super Bowl XLIV.

Who knows? Maybe one of the students you inspire with football-related STEM lessons will grow-up to work on issues related to the health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed!

Sarah Brzezinski a Chesapeake Conservancy Intern and serves as the manager of Bay Backpack. She is a former Chesapeake Research Consortium/Chesapeake Bay Program Fostering Stewardship Staffer.

The STEM of Super Bowls: Career Paths

February 2nd, 2012 by Sarah

Get the students in your classroom interested in Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering (STEM) fields by talking about football! Image courtesy of http://sandersonsports.com/

Football is probably not what you think of when someone mentions the Chesapeake Bay.  Personally, my mind jumps to great blue heron, osprey, blue crabs, oysters, terrapin, and bay grasses. I got a degree in environmental science because my parents and teachers inspired me to be passionate about these things, but oysters and osprey may not be interesting to all of your students.  Finding a topic that inspires your students can be a challenge, and using that topic to develop an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math  (STEM) fields, such as environmental science, can be even harder.

The importance of STEM fields is frequently called out, but the United States educational achievements in these content areas are consistently ranked behind that of other countries.  In the 2006 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) comparison, American students ranked 25th out of 30 in math literacy and 21st out of 30 in science literacy among students from developed countries.  STEM fields are essential to the growth of our economy, and all of our students should be graduating literate in these subjects. We also need more students graduating with advanced degrees in these fields to continue our country’s tradition of innovation (and to continue working on issues related to the health of the Chesapeake Bay).

A great way to get your students interested in STEM fields is to frame the conversation and the lesson plans you use around something they are already genuinely interested in.  Do you think your students will be talking about the Super Bowl on Monday?  Inviting them to talk about it during class may be a bit of a taboo, but it is one you can break if you direct the conversation towards the types of professions it takes to pull-off a Super Bowl.  Someone had to invent the technology that is used to design helmets, half-time show pyrotechnics, high-definition video cameras, and the headsets coaches use to communicate.  Have your students brainstorm a list of STEM-related professions that are needed to pull such a big sporting event off.

If your students have doubts about STEM involvement in the Super Bowl, share this bit of information with them: to broadcast and produce the 2009 Super Bowl in Tampa, FL, NBC used 52 high-definition cameras, 45 vehicles (including control trucks, mobile units, office trailers and a horse trailer), 24 digital video replay sources, eight digital post-production facilities (five Avid suites and three Final Cut Pro suites), 20 hand-held cameras, five robotic cameras, two RF hand-held cameras, one “cable-cam” camera that was suspended above the field and more.  A crew of 200 people and more than 450 total production and engineering staff were working at the game (The Tech that Makes the Super Bowl Super).

STEM professionals are necessary for football to be played by athletes and enjoyed by viewers!

Be sure to check Bay Backpack’s blog on Monday; we will be featuring some lesson plans and resources that can help you Teach About the STEM of the Super Bowl!

Sarah Brzezinski a Chesapeake Conservancy Intern and serves as the manager of Bay Backpack. She is a former Chesapeake Research Consortium/Chesapeake Bay Program Fostering Stewardship Staffer.