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America’s Math Gap

Math ConceptsWhy do U.S. students fare so poorly in mathematics compared with peers in other nations? A new study suggests a major factor may be the easier math curriculum American kids typically encounter. “The consequences are clear-less opportunity to learn challenging mathematics corresponds to lower achievement,” the researchers conclude.

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STEM Education Trends

STEM Education TrendsHow much does your state spend on STEM education? What are the job prospects for science and engineering majors? The National Science Board’s new Web-based tool helps teachers, students, parents, and guidance counselors answer these questions and more.

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Elite STEM Teacher Corps Proposed

STEM Teacher CorpsA Capitol Hill proposal would create a Master Teacher Corps of the nation’s top STEM teachers, who would guide younger and less effective instructors. They would get extra pay, with more money going to those teaching at high-need public schools.

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Lesson: Design a Tornado-Proof Building

HouseIn this lesson, teams of students in grades 3-5 will use their knowledge of tornadoes and damage to design a structure that will withstand wind and protect people from twisters. Each group will create a poster with the name of their engineering firm and a picture of their structure, then present their design to the class.

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States Eye Teacher Performance Pay

Chalkboard ABCFor nearly a decade, schools have been held accountable for student performance on federally mandated state tests. Now, with some 80 percent of U.S. schools in danger of failing next year, states and districts are revamping teacher evaluation plans and making growth the centerpiece for pay and tenure.

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Feature: Show Me the Money

stand outIf your students want to become engineers, encourage them to explore an array of scholarships offered by colleges and universities, non-profit organizations and foundations, honor societies, companies, and government. They can also compete for prizes. But, caution them that the search can get complicated.

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Ham It Up and Pack Them In

WinnSan Diego teacher Jonathan Winn has done what some would say is impossible: He’s inspired high school students to get excited about math. His AP calculus class is the most popular course in a school with a large number of low-income students for whom English is not their native language.

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Lesson: Measuring Velocity

StopwatchIn this lesson, students in grades 6-12 learn how to make a graph to measure average velocity and calculate the mid-times for personal intervals of student runs, walks, and jogs. Working in groups, one member walks, jogs, or runs in a straight-line path while attempting to maintain a constant velocity. The other group members time the runner along the path, and then record and graph the data of each run.

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Now for Some Good News…

Students Working in a GroupA new study shows an increase in students taking rigorous high school courses and, as a result, scoring higher on achievement tests. The 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress High School Transcript Study reveals that the percentage of high school graduates completing a “rigorous” curriculum jumped from 5 percent to 13 percent.

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