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independent thinkers

Social behavior and success

An article recently published details the results of a study showing that pro-social behavior among kindergartners is a strong indicator of which children will be successful later in life--E. Jones, Mark Greenberg, and Max Crowley. (2015). Early Social-Emotional Functioning and Public Health: The Relationship Between Kindergarten Social Competence and Future Wellness. American Journal of Public He...
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Living in a Digital Age

We live in an age of driverless cars, thought-controlled biomechanical limbs, and robots shifting heavy pallets of goods across warehouse floors. These were all dreams of yesterday, and each was supposed to take decades to be realized, if it could be realized at all. But here they are. Google’s driverless cars routinely glide along the 101, nimbly slowing to evade the sometimes erratic driving of ...
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Giftedness and learning

At this weekend’s California Association for the Gifted Conference there was intense focus on the elements of depth and complexity. Students are guided towards a series of visual prompts to help them penetrate beneath the surface understanding of a concept and develop a richer understanding by thinking critically about it. Is there, for example, special vocabulary to learn? Are there terms that th...
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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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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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Coding and Curriculum

It has become commonplace to acknowledge the shortage of qualified computer science professionals, the scarcity of programmers, both in the general population, but particularly among those traditionally underrepresented: girls, ethnic minorities, and those on the autism spectrum or with other special needs. One school in Brookline, Massachusetts is aiming to reduce that shortage by integrating cod...
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STEM, Village Glen, and the deep future

On Tuesday, the explosion of an unmanned rocket loaded with supplies for the International Space Station was a blow not only to the company that launched it, but also to the 18 students whose experiments had been chosen to be part of the payload. The experiments were designed to answer important, and in some cases far-reaching, questions about the possibilities of life in a reduced gravity environ...
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