Thursday, June 9, 2011

Easy Science Experiments

As I prepare to become a STEM teacher within my building I have been searching for resources and materials to set up my lab.  One of the first items I dusted off was a collection of books that I had nearly forgotten about.  They are written by Janice VanCleave and they are full of easy experiments and demonstrations to support practically any science lesson.  As I searched for titles that I did not have, I found  her website, which is filled with lessons from her books.  As you reflect on the past year, think of ways you could use simple experiments and demonstrations to introduce science topics.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Going Out on a Limb

I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest something.  It has a lot to do with broadening our skills, branching out so to speak.  I am not suggesting we leaf behind all we know about what works, but it does get to the root of what motivates students.  I am referring to STEM.
STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.  These four areas are considered the key to being a competitive nation in a global economy.  President Obama announced in 2009 an initiative to promote STEM learning.  NYS, as well as many other states, have STEM education collaboratives which work to partner schools with businesses that have a stake in producing well-educated students.  By 2016, the 10 fastest growing careers in NYS will require competencies in STEM.
Within the last few weeks I was informed that I would be no longer teaching as a generalist and would instead be specialized in math and science.  At first I was disappointed with this move but as the saying goes, I am making lemonade.  I grew up with, and still have a love for science and engineering.  Now it's time for me to share that love with others.  My plan is to set up my classroom as a STEM lab and show the students how to explore the world around them with a scientific eye.  In the coming weeks and over the summer you will be seeing the resources on STEM that I am digging up.  Hopefully you will give some of the ideas a try as well.