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A Scientist’s Curiosity Cabinent

scientists curiosity cabinetLooking for a fun way to engage students in STEM and help them understand core concepts? Check out the Scientist’s Curiosity Cabinet, a video-laden website showcasing Boston College chemistry professor Ross Kelly’s collection of gadgets that offer “neat examples” of such scientific principles as buoyancy or “things that seem impossible but are staring one in the face.”

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Blue LED Beams Nobel Fame

Blue LED sculpture Makoto TajikiLight-emitting diodes illuminate everything from traffic signals to shimmering sculptures like this one by Makoto Tojiki. But the researchers whose early 1990s breakthrough – a blue-light LED – made today’s energy-saving white lamps possible toiled mostly in the shadows… until they won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2014.

No longer. In September, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Nobel Prize in physics to Isamu Akasaki of Meijo University in Nagoya, Japan, Hiroshi Amano of Nagoya University, and Shuji Nakamura, a professor of materials and co-director of the Solid State Lighting and Energy Electronics Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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MIT Videos Convey Key STEM Concepts

video screens with bookAre your students vexed by vectors or mystified by electricity? MIT’s Open Courseware offers a series of videos designed to help students learn these and other pivotal concepts in science, technology, engineering, mathematics that are the building blocks of many engineering curricula.

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What Are Gears?

education appIn this activity, students in grades 4 to 8 use LEGO spur gears to learn about different types of gears and how they are used in many engineering devices, including bicycles, to change the speed, torque, and direction of a power source.

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Pedal Power

Kid riding bike

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Build a Big Wheel

nysc1In this activity, teams of students in grades K-12 learn about the history and engineering behind Ferris wheels by constructing a working model using pasta, glue, and teabags.

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Activity: Robot Basketball

basketball robotIn this activity, students in grades 5 to 12 learn about accuracy, precision, and simple machines by working in teams to design and build a robotic basketball “player” that can nail a free-throw shot three times in a row.

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Lesson: Target Practice – Pumpkin Launcher

target practiceStudents in grades 1 to 6 follow the engineering design process to build and test a catapult that launches projectiles, such as marshmallow “pumpkins.” They then make changes to improve their launcher’s aim and distance it can hurl the projectile.

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MIT+ Offers K-12 STEM Videos

airplane forcesWhy do airplanes fly? What is genetic engineering? To help K-12 students and teachers understand such topics, MIT has tapped its 10,000 brilliant young scholars to create engaging, short videos to supplement classroom instruction.

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