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Math SAT Scores Down Slightly

Math TestBLUESAT math scores for the Class of 2011 dropped a point nationally this year and have barely budged for a decade. Reading scores, meanwhile, fell three points this year and have dropped 33 points from 1972 levels. The College Board says the growing number of test takers includes many who are less prepared for college or learning English as a second language.

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Feature: Solar Decathlon Powers Up

New Zealand TeamWhat does it take to build a solar village, where homes not only are designed to create more energy than they use but are comfortable and cool to look at, too? For some 19 collegiate teams from the U.S. and aborad installing their entries to the 2011 Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C., this past weekend, the answer is: lots of hands-on work involving hammers, wrenches, plumbing, and construction cranes.

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$3.5 Billion Spent on Federal STEM Programs

Carl Wieman2The federal government spends $3.5 billion a year, all told, on 252 science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs spread across 13 agencies. But “perhaps somewhat surprisingly,” there’s no wasteful overlap, a White House official says.

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Commerce Secretary, NAE Head Talk STEM

Brookings Rebecca BlankIn a keynote speech held Monday at The Brookings Institution in D.C., acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca M. Blank unveiled new research on employment and education of racial and ethnic minorities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields released by her department that morning. The speech was followed by a panel discussion with representatives from academia and industry that touched upon K-12 STEM education.

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Students Set STEM Path Early

DNAWhat prompts today’s undergraduates to pursue STEM majors rather than business, law, the arts, or other fields of study? Job prospects? Passion? How about you, and what they’re learning in your classroom? According to a new study, college students decide to concentrate in science, technology, engineering, and math in high school or before – and more than half cite “a teacher or class” as their top reason.

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Lesson: Balloon Aeronautics

balloon1In this lesson, teams of students in grades 4 – 8 learn about basic aerodynamics by constructing a rocket from a balloon propelled along a guide-string. They use this model to learn about Newton’s three laws of motion, examining the effect of different forces on the motion of the rocket.

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Resource: Classroom on the Moon

GRAILNASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission will launch twin spacecraft in tandem orbits around the Moon to measure its gravity in unprecedented detail and create a gravitational map. GRAIL MoonKAM will allow classrooms to request pictures of the lunar surface from cameras on the twin satellites.

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Lesson: Concrete for Kids

concrete1Concrete for Kids is a fun, hands-on activity to introduce students to engineering and concrete as an engineered material that engineers use to make the structures we use every day, including bridges, buildings, and roads. In this two-period lesson, teams of students in grades K-12 mix and pour concrete to form beams which, once hardened, are tested to see how much weight they can hold before breaking.

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Feature: Engineering Post-9/11

Ground Zero ConstructionIn the decade since the September 11 attacks, engineers have been involved in helping the nation recover, from improving security to designing memorials and soaring new structures to rise over the rubble at Ground Zero. Here’s a sampler for learning more about engineering’s role, including past features from ASEE’s PRISM magazine.

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