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Mass. Starts Early College STEM Program

paper planeCan project-based STEM programs boost student achievement and engagement in all subjects? Massachusetts is betting on it. This fall, the Marlborough school district became the first of six systems to launch an engineering-focused STEM early-college initiative.

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Native American STEM Heritage

weavingFrom wild rice cultivation to shelter design to tool-making, Native American traditions are steeped in STEM. Native American engineers and scientists have built on that legacy to benefit modern society. Celebrate Native American Heritage Month by learning more about the country’s notable tribal STEM trailblazers and their contributions.

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DiscoverE Educator Awards

national engineers week foundationThe DiscoverE Educator Awards from the National Engineers Week Foundation shine a spotlight on the educators who are inspiring tomorrow’s innovation generation. Unique to this program, engineers and engineering students are part of the nomination process. The deadline for nominations is Dec. 1, 2011.

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Lesson: Cookie Mining

cookiesIn this game, teams of students in grades 3 – 8 are introduced to the economics and environmental constraints of mining by extracting “ore” (chocolate chips) from purchased “property” (cookies). They will learn that mining requires investment before resources can be extracted, and that there are costs associated with permits, environmental monitoring, and reclamation.

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Contest: Spirit of Innovation Challenge

spirit of innovation winnersThis annual Spirit of Innovation Challenge from the Conrad Foundation invites high school student teams to use STEM skills to develop the products of tomorrow. Along the way, coaches, world-renowned scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs act as mentors to help turn their ideas into a reality.

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Study: Sexual Harassment Prevalent

hallNearly half of 7th to 12th graders experienced sexual harassment in the last school year, according to a sweeping new study by the American Association of University Women. The prevalence of such harassment in middle and high school may seem astonishing in part because it rarely is reported. Only about 9 percent of harassed students told a teacher, guidance counselor, or other adult at school.

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Tenn. Evals Bury Schools in Paperwork

young classroomWhen Tennessee snagged one of the first two federal Race to The Top grants, worth $501 million, the state unveiled a new motto: “First to the Top.” However, he rules for evaluating teachers that went into effect this year have translated into mountains of paperwork that keep educators like Will Shelton, principal of Blackman Middle School in Murfreesboro, stuck at his desk for long stretches of the day instead of observing in classrooms.

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Many Quit Engineering & Science Majors

empty college classroomFor years, politicians, business leaders, and educators have made graduating more engineers and teachers with science and math degrees a national priority. Now, the number of college freshmen interested in majoring in a STEM field is on the rise. However, roughly 40 percent of students planning to major in engineering and science end up switching to other subjects or failing to get any degree.

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