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Join a Citizen STEM Project!

NASA GLOBE Observer appEvery day, millions of ordinary people young and old help advance knowledge in fields as diverse as astronomy and zoology. These “citizen” scientists and engineers record bird sightings and rainfall amounts, classify stars, monitor lead in local tap water, count frogs, and even discover comets! Here’s a sampling of projects. Where will you or your students volunteer?

Some projects spur new legislation. Others inspire community involvement and a lifelong interest in STEM.

Here’s a sampling of projects. Where will you or your students dive in?

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STEM Takes Wing!

kids watching birdsWant to engage your students while helping scientists get the “big picture” on what’s happening to bird populations worldwide? Grab some binoculars and join the annual Great Backyard Bird Count, which takes place February 17-20, 2017.

One of the oldest and biggest citizen-science projects is the annual Great Backyard Bird Count, held this year from February 17 to 20

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Visualize STEM

Thermagram handIn this lesson, high school students learn the value of writing and art in science and engineering by designing visual diagrams to communicate the results of thermal conductivity (heat flow) experiments they have conducted to anyone with little background on the subject. The principles of visual design include contrast, alignment, repetition, and proximity, and involve such elements as the use of lines, color, texture, shape, size, value, and space.

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No Phishing! Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2016

Cybersecurity password theftThe Department of Homeland Security designates October as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Its “Stop, Think, Connect” toolkit includes materials for various audiences, including students and educators, as well as guides to social media, phishing, and other topics.

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A Shot Under Pressure

super soaker water gunTeams of high school students use their understanding of projectile physics and fluid dynamics to calculate the water pressure in squirt guns by measuring the range of the water jets. They create graphs to analyze how the predicted pressure relates to the number of times they pump the water gun before shooting.

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Greeting Card Assembly Line

making greeting cardsIn this collaborative math and art lesson, students in grades 4 through high school explore central ideas in industrial engineering – including productivity, efficiency, and quality – by designing their own assembly line and working together to mass produce greeting cards.

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Build a Better Candy Bag

bag of candy cornIn this activity, students in grades 3 to 12 learn how design differences can affect the success of a final product by working in pairs to evaluate, design, and build a better candy bag. They must predict the volume and strength of their designs, test and redesign the bag based on its ability to hold weight, discuss findings, and share results.

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NAE Connects Educators with Experts

LinkEngineeringAs a teacher, you’re supposed to have all the answers–but you know that sometimes, you just don’t. What if you always had an engineering expert to provide inspiration and advice? The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) recently announced the launch of LinkEngineering, a new website that connects preK-12 teachers with engineering experts, fellow educators, lesson plans, tips, and tools.

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Berry Organic Solar Energy

Raspberries on vineHigh school students working in teams of four learn how a device made with dye from berries can be used to convert light energy into electrical energy by building their own organic solar cells and measuring performance based on power output.

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