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hands-on activities

STEM across disciplines

Humankind is beset with problems of its own making: runoff of chemicals from industrial agriculture risks polluting the water table; human overpopulation taxes the environment to produce sufficient food, to supply enough potable water, and results in massive production of waste; and the energy industries (coal, oil and nuclear) have had a significant environmental impact on air, land and water. Th...
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The path to success

“Houston, we’ve had a problem here”. So rang out those chilling words on April 13th, 1970, when the world first learned that the Apollo 13 manned mission to the moon was in jeopardy. An oxygen tank had exploded, resulting in a loss of oxygen, battery power, and water, all this with the spacecraft and crew roughly 200,000 miles from the earth. One oxygen tank had completely emptied, and the second...
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Learning and experience

The path from Piaget to Papert to project-based learning is a direct one. It was the Swiss psychologist, Piaget, who argued that children don’t learn by being passive receptors of information from the environment, but by actively confronting it. His student, Papert, who went on to be a founding faculty member of the MIT Media lab, followed in Piaget’s footsteps, arguing too that children learn by ...
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Work and self-worth

Increasingly, we are what we do and say, what we make and communicate. We know Einstein by his physical theories, Walt Whitman by his poetry, Dali by his art just as Mark Zuckerberg is synonymous with FaceBook, Jeff Bezos with Amazon, and Steve Jobs with Apple. On average, we work a third of our lives, some very much more. Work provides us not only with our livelihood, but friendships too, sometim...
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Putting STEM to work

“When people think of an industrial factory, they think dark, dirty and heavy lifting and it’s not that way anymore…People don’t understand that…it’s meant for somebody with higher analytical skills and higher troubleshooting abilities [as well as for somebody] who can turn a wrench.” http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/01/12/apprenticeships-could-provide-a-pathway-to-the-middle-class?int=a4...
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STEM, Robotics, and 21st Century Skills

Why should you take a class in robotics in high school? After all, it’s not part of the typical curriculum; it doesn’t necessarily jibe with literature or art, or with biology or government. And yet the classes remain enormously popular. Why so? Robotics is the quintessential hands-on activity. It involves motors, motion, and electronics, aspects of electrical, mechanical and computer engineering ...
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