Discovery’s latest free lesson plans are sponsored by the Navy, focus on STEM education and are aimed at high school science classrooms. In addition to nuclear power and robotics, the topics include sonar and GPS. Each has an outline, key academic subjects covered as well as a PowerPoint slide show.
The latest MimioScience lessons are not only interactive but there are 26 physical science units as well as 18 for scientific processes with more than 130 actual lessons available starting in June. They’re aimed at grades 3 through 8, will be available this summer and many more lessons are coming this winter. Access to them costs $1,299 per school for two years if you order now.
With access to more than 70 sensors – for everything from pH and temperature to carbon dioxide concentration – Pasco’s iPad-based SPARKvue HD application can be the basis for building a STEM curriculum. The software can not only show the current level of the sensor but analyze the data and display it as a graph. The $10 app is available at the app store and comes with 60 built-in labs and a place for students to record their measurements, ideas and lab details.
Already a good thing for the classroom, Compass Learning’s Odyssey Middle School Science just got a lot better with a slew of updated content. The science curriculum program now has many new lessons – including 45 new flash exercises, assessments – including 45 new quizzes – and many new activities. Teachers also now have more power to customized Odyssey curriculum and efficiently manage class data.
If there’s a better way to get kids interested in programming than by getting them to create video games, I haven’t found it. The AMD Foundation has teamed up with Brain Pop, the Boys and Girls clubs and others to sponsor the 2012 National STEM Video Game Challenge, a contest for the best student-written video games. The kids can win $200,000 in cash and prizes. For those who don’t know where to start, there’s a ton of resources for teachers interested in doing it as a class project.
A great way to augment a biology lesson on human anatomy, BioDigital Human has a virtual 3-D animated person that students can explore inside and out, without spilling a drop of blood or the smell of formaldehyde. You can choose between exploring a man or woman, see the entire body or isolate any organ. To simplify things, you can turn on and off various details, like digestion, circulation and lymph. There are explanations as well as a handy interface that lets you zoom in and out or see the body with an X-ray view. The downside is that it’s still a beta Web service and requires OpenGL graphics, so it might need an update of your video drivers.
With projectors, smart-boards and computers in place in the digital classroom, what’s missing? There’s still a distinct shortage of compelling and engaging curriculum to teach a generation of students. Cerebellum’s Standard Deviants Accelerate is trying to fill the gap with courses on biology and algebra. More will follow and they will feature the free-wheeling and often quirky Standard Deviant’s method of using comedy, graphics, video and young actors to breathe life into the subject matter.
Vernier’s Video Physics app for the iPad is a great way to not only show students how a physical phenomenon occurs, but help them graph it as well. All you do is use the iPad 2’s video camera to record the motion you want to analyze and the program marks the object’s position frame by frame and graphs its motion. It’s great for a rolling ball, a football field goal, a car’s acceleration and riding a roller coaster.
I have one suggestion for you for the last science or health class of the year. Spend 45 minutes talking about the risks of skin cancer with the class. The Skin Cancer Foundation is a one-stop site that explains the different skin problems, why avoiding sunburns and using sun screen are so important and how to perform a self-examination to catch problems early. There’s even a summer-long bus tour of the Road to Healthy Skin Tour, which performs cancer screenings throughout the U.S. The content is sponsored by Rite Aid drugs.
If updating your school’s Advanced Placement physics labs is taking up too much time, think about basing it on Advanced Physics with Vernier – Mechanics. The 48-page volume has 19 experiments, from center of mass and Newton’s laws of motion to pendulums and error analysis that help kids master the latest ideas in physics. Each lab comes with a variety of word processing files so you can adapt them to your school’s needs as well as follow-up questions and special teacher sections. You can try out an experiment to see if it fits your school’s curriculum and style.