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Video Games Might Be Good for the Brain

In his speech to America’s schoolchildren last month, President Obama had a clear directive about video games: Put them away. But the latest science shows that there’s a lot more to video games than their dark reputations suggest, according to the Boston Globe.

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Students Teach Themselves AP Chemistry

Mater Academy Charter High School in Miami didn’t offer Advanced Placement Chemistry, so a handful of students decided they would teach it to themselves, the Miami Herald reports.

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Teachers Seem to Gain Most from Stimulus

Federal economic recovery aid has created or saved 250,000 education jobs, according to a new report from the White House and U.S. Education department. While states and school systems continue to face enormous fiscal pressures, public school teachers are expected to be the big winners when states reveal how many jobs were created or saved during the first months of President Barack Obama’s $787 billion stimulus plan, the Associated Press reports.

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Education Technology Strategy in Works

The U.S. Department of Education is developing a new plan intended to provide a vision for how information and communication technologies can help transform American education.

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‘Race to the Top’ Rules Raise Concern

While the U.S. Department of Education completes rules for doling out $4 billion to states in the Race to the Top competition, a group of prominent testing experts is cautioning officials not to use just one measure of student achievement and teacher improvement.

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German Team Wins Solar Decathlon

A university student team from Darmstadt, Germany, won top honors in the Department of Energy-sponsored Solar Decathlon by designing, building, and operating the most attractive and efficient solar-powered home, DOE announced Oct. 16. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign took second place followed by Team California in third place.

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Lesson: The Great Wave

In this lesson, students in grades 6-8 learn what causes a tsunami, the physics behind its movement, and how scientists know when one is forming. They study its impact on a model town and learn about a 10-year-old girl credited with saving dozens of lives when a tsunami struck Samoa.

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Feature: Space-Age Gardening

Move over, NASA. Remy Dou’s high school students are developing plants that can survive in space. They are learning to master aeroponics, an engineering process in which a nutrient-rich mist is sprayed on the roots. Requiring no soil and very little water, the plants can grow even inside the International Space Station, though Planet Earth is also an option.

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Smithsonian Climate Change Website

A Smithsonian Institution website featuring learning activities, lesson plans, and webcasts from teachers on the topic of climate change. Elsewhere on the site, find webcast lectures and related resources and links.

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