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Environmental Education Week 2012

water on leafThe environment, with its range of engaging, real-world challenges, gives teachers a chance to provide students with meaningful, hands-on experiences that reinforce STEM concepts across multiple subject areas. This year’s National Environmental Education Week, which falls on April 16 -21, 2012, reflects that concept in its theme–Greening STEM: The Environment as Inspiration for 21st Century Learning.

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Lesson: Working Together to Live Together

living togetherIn this lesson, students in grades 8 to 10 experience civil and environmental engineering by planning a housing development while also protecting the native species that live there. They conduct research, draw plans, make brochures, and give presentations, with each four-member team having a project manager, civil engineer, environmental engineer, and graphic designer.

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Feature: Bill Gates Wants to Reinvent Toilets

africaEngineering researchers who toil in the field of sanitation, especially sanitation for the world’s poorest citizens, used to find that their field carried about as much cachet as a fly-ridden latrine. Not anymore. In July, 2011, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced eight grants totaling $3 million for university engineering projects to “Reinvent the Toilet.”

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USA Science & Engineering Festival 2012

sciengfestAmerica’s stars of science and engineering will descend on Washington, D.C., this month for the 2nd annual USA Science & Engineering Festival, April 28-29. This year’s festival features more than 3,000 hands-on activities along with TV celebrities like Bill Nye, PBS’s “science guy.” New this year: a science and engineering book fair and career pavilion for high school students.

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Feature: Earth Day 2012

earth dayFor more than four decades, people around the world have celebrated Earth Day on April 22. This year’s organizers hope to mobilize 1 billion individuals to raise awareness about environmental issues and sustainability. Already, some 815 million have pledged to reuse water bottles, organize events, and perform other “Acts of Green.”

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