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Nearly Half of Schools ‘Failing’

woodworking classroomNearly half the nation’s public schools failed to meet federal benchmarks this year, up from 39 percent in 2010 and marking the largest washout rate since the No Child Left Behind Law took effect a decade ago, a new national report calculates. That’s still well below the 82 percent failure rate that U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan predicted earlier this year, but the nonpartisan Center for Education Policy’s findings still indicate an alarming trend.

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Lesson: Sound Booth Construction

sound booth1In this activity, students in grades 7-9 explore the sound-dampening capability of materials by designing and prototyping model sound booths. They learn about how sound is reflected and absorbed, and how it travels through various materials, providing an overview of sound dampening propagation in the context of engineering.

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Science Proficiency All Over the Map

racingHow do top-scoring science students in New England stack up against their counterparts in the mid-Atlantic or South? Not very well, according to a new analysis of state science assessments by Change the Equation. That’s because states set the bar for proficiency at widely varying levels.

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Lesson: Harmless Holder

harmless holder1In this activity, teams of kids in grades 4-7 follow the engineering design process to invent a holder for six cans that’s animal-safe, sturdy, convenient, and easy to carry. They learn why discarded plastic rings can be a problem for wildlife and brainstorm animal-friendly ways to package six cans. They then build, test, and redesign their system and discuss what happened.

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Teens Don’t Know from Engineering

student in classroomWant to boost the nation’s supply of engineers? A new survey of 1,000 U.S. teenagers conducted by the Intel Corporation found that two-thirds wouldn’t consider a career in engineering but may point to a relatively simple solution: expose more middle and high school students to the profession.

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National Park Service Ups STEM

park serviceThe National Park Service, steward of mountain ranges and monuments, plans to ramp up its STEM education programs with the aim of reaching a quarter of America’s students through real and virtual field trips.

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Program: Einstein Fellowships

einsteinApplications are now open for the 2012-13 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator program. Interested educators should use the online application. This fellowship, in its 23rd year, aims to provide teachers voice in Washington D.C. regarding Federal STEM education programs and policies.

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Feature: Barkitecture

doghouseThe Austin Barkitecture competition calls on local builders to design trendy doghouses, which are then bid on in an auction. Proceeds go to local charitable groups and community members for veterinary care, spay/neuter surgeries, and community outreach.

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Program: One Laptop Per Child

OLPC MongoliaThe One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program aims to provide each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop. To this end, hardware, content, and software has been designed for collaborative, fun, and self-empowered learning.

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