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Marshmallow Design Challenge

marshmallow3In this lesson, K-12 student teams have a limited period of time (18 minutes) to build the tallest free-standing spaghetti structure that can support a marshmallow. They learn how engineers collaborate to design, test, and improve on their ideas, as well as examine hidden assumptions that can derail the creative process and final product.

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Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge

biomimicry contestThe Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge is a contest for K-12 students to learn about biomimicry — design inspired by nature — and use it to create something new. Sponsored by the nonprofit Biomimicry Institute, the contest is open to students at three different levels: K-4 (submissions made by the whole class); 5-8; and 9-12. Prizes will be awarded in all three categories.

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Program: Naval Research Internships

ONR logoThe Naval Research Enterprise Intern Program (NREIP), provides an opportunity for university students to participate in research at a Department of Navy laboratory during the summer. This ten-week intern program is designed to provide opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to participate in research, under the guidance of an appropriate research mentor. The last day to submit an application will be January 6, 2012.

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States to Create New Science Standards

test tube scienceJust as they led the development of Common Core literacy and math standards, 20 states now are heading up a nationwide effort to improve K-12 STEM education by creating robust new “next generation” science and engineering standards.

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Do Waivers Signal End of “No Child” Era?

white house press conference on waiversFlanked by students, teachers, state education leaders, aPresident Barack Obama announced a plan to let states and districts waive some of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law’s most onerous requirements. In exchange, however, states would have to adopt certain reforms — including teacher evaluations that take student test scores into account.

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Industry, Orgs. Champion Informal Education

laguardaIn a Sept. 12 Capitol Hill bid for increased federal funding, a panel of representatives from industry and non-profits mapped out their goals for the future of afterschool, informal education in the U.S. Among them, an enthusiastic Fernando Laguarda of Time Warner Cable explained the company’s programs and efforts, while also outlining the daunting tasks that lie ahead in a time of increasing budget constraints.

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Lesson: Design From Nature

sunflowerIn this lesson, students in grades 6-8 discover how engineers can use biomimicry to enhance their designs. They learn how careful observation of nature — in this case, reverse engineering a flower — can lead to new innovations and products.

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Lesson: Zero-Energy Home Design

building in classIn this activity, student teams in grades 9 to 12 design and build a one-bedroom model house within design constraints that uses passive solar heating techniques to heat the house and sustain that temperature as long as possible.

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Program: Science Club for Girls

Science Clup for GirlsScience Club for Girls (SCFG) is a series of afterschool STEM programs offering K-12 girls the chance to explore science and technology through experiments and activities. Through the Junior Mentor leadership program, teenage girls become role models, teaching young children science, learning life skills, conducting outreach, and exploring careers in STEM fields.

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