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Amazing Grace

Grace HopperRear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale, pioneered computer programming languages, discovered the first computer “bug,” and retired as the Navy’s highest ranking, longest-serving female officer in history. They even named a naval destroyer after her.

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American Roots

National Museum of African American History and CultureThe National Park Service just turned 100 and what better way to celebrate than with the grand opening of a stunning new addition to the National Mall. The $540 million National Museum of African American History and Culture is adorned with a corona, or scrim, of 3,600 bronze-colored cast-aluminum panels that glow at night from the light within, and was built around a 77-ton, 80-foot-long railway car and other huge artifacts housed in its vast below-ground exhibit space.

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Shapes of Strength

house of cards with coins on topStudents in grades 3 to 5 use engineering problem solving to create structures from paper, straws, tape, and paper clips that can support the weight of at least one textbook. For the second trial, they examine examples of successful buildings in history and try again.

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Scopes Trial Scientists on Flickr

Scopes2Look what turned up in the “nation’s attic.” The Smithsonian Institution has released 25 photos of scientists from the 1925 “monkey trial,” more formally known as the State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes. The scientists and science reporters were supporters of the defense of Scopers, who was convicted of violating a state law against teaching evolution to school children.

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Garrett Morgan, Traffic Signal Inventor

Garrett MorganEver wonder what driving would be like without traffic signals? Garrett Augustus Morgan, Sr., did. Driving through Cleveland, Ohio, where he owned a prosperous sewing machine repair and tailoring business, the Kentucky-born son of slaves was keenly aware of the danger of collisions…

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Learning from the Challenger Tragedy

Challenger CrewTwenty five years ago, on January 28, Americans watched in horror as the space shuttle Challenger exploded, barely a minute after takeoff, killing all seven crew members. Schools nationwide still honor the memory of Christa McAuliffe, a New Hampshire high school social studies teacher who was aboard the ill-fated flight that morning as NASA’s first Teacher in Space Project participant.

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The History of Science Fairs

Science Fair Set-upScience Fair history began when journalist E.W. Scripps created Science Services as a nonprofit organization in 1921. Through Science Service’s efforts, junior academies of science, museums, and local science clubs throughout the United States were enrolled in Science Clubs of America. As a result over 600,000 young scientists were organized into 25,000 science clubs.

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An Ancient Computer, Now Recreated in Legos

Ancient ComputerIn 1901, a group of deep-sea divers discovered a Roman shipwreck near Antikythera, a small island off the southern coast of Greece. Among the treasures was a small rusted machine that once contained a sophisticated array of cogs and wheels. Now researchers believe they know the purpose of this mysterious device.

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Lesson: Mayan Calendar

800px-Chichen-Itza-Castillo-Seen-From-EastIn this lesson combining math, engineering, and history, students in grades 6-12 learn about the ancient calendar system used by the Maya of Central America. Students construct a simple model of a calendar round, learning about prime numbers and the mechanics of these ancient devices.

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