Posts Tagged ‘science’
Engineering is the science by which the properties of matter and the sources of power in nature are made useful to humans in structures, devices, machines, and products. An engineer is an individual who specializes in one of the many branches of engineering.
There has been a lot of talk about in recent years about emphasizing STEM/STEAM in schools to help the U.S. fill jobs in many technical fields. One front in this effort is National Engineers Week, which in 2017 is February 19-25. Quoting from the website of DiscoverE, the organization behind it, National Engineers Week is intended to “Celebrate how engineers make a difference in our world; Increase public dialogue about the need for engineers; Bring engineering to life for kids, educators, and parents.” The site has activities, videos and other resources to help educators expose students to engineering concepts and career paths.
Teachers, eLibrary also has you covered. Of course, students and educators can search the database for lots of interesting articles, websites, transcripts and more relating to the various branches of engineering. But we also offer lots of Research Topics on specific topics in the sciences. They can be discovered while searching (look for drop-down lists while typing in search terms–many of the items here will return a Research Topic at the top of the results) and by browsing the list of all RTs. Here is a small sampling of relevant RTs to get your students started in exploring the impact of engineers and considering educational and career paths in the sciences:
Computer Software Engineer
Golden Gate Bridge
I-35W Bridge Collapse
One World Trade Center
Three Gorges Dam
As professionals in the field of education, we all know the term STEM. This is a movement that exposes students to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. It promotes the teaching of these disciplines’ theories and content with a hands-on learning approach. The goal is not only to provide students with a deep, multidisciplinary understanding but to foster understanding of STEM concepts in the real world.
If a letter were added to the STEM acronym, what would the best choice be? In this video, Harvard University education professor Howard Gardner has a definitive answer: “I have no hesitation in saying we need to add the letter A….An education devoid of arts…is an empty, half-brain kind of education.”
To the point.
In that same video, Yale Child Study Center lecturer Erika Christakis isolates perhaps the core reason that adding the Arts to STEM education is so important: “The arts hav[e] something really essential to say about the human condition, just as science does.”
Let’s First Look at STEM.
We are humans living in a rapidly developing society. In no point in recorded human history has there been as many innovative technologies bringing people together. The disciplines represented in STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math—are integral to the technologies we use every day—and the tools we will use tomorrow. As stated in the State Idaho Department of Education’s What Is STEM Education?, “Math is the language; Science and Engineering are the processes for thinking; all this leads to Innovation.”
Young people—students—have known no other world. It is in all of our best interest to teach, encourage, and support them in a STEM environment.
So Why STEAM?: Arts and the Human Condition
Knowing and understanding the significance of STEM in our schools may not, at first glance, lead us to recognize the significance of adding an A to this multidisciplinary approach to education.
So we must ask: Exactly what do the arts add to our lives?
Consider what the arts encompass. Music, painting, sculpting, theater, literature, architecture, fashion, and so much more. Just as new technologies bring us together and help create our shared experiences, the arts span time to connect us with each other and ourselves. Consider briefly Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. How many people have viewed this painting across the centuries and have been moved by its beauty and brilliance? Across time and cultures, Mona Lisa created a shared, communal experience that impacted 16th-century viewers in much the same way is it does today. An encounter that becomes both a personal and shared experience.
In fact, at the foundation of all artistic endeavors are creativity, personal experience, and shared experience. It is the same with newfound technologies. Why is this important? Consider what Mae Jemison—an astronaut, doctor, art collector, and dancer—had to say on the topic in this transcript of her 2009 TED Talk on teaching arts and science:
“The difference between science and the arts is not that they are different sides of the same coin, even, or even different parts of the same continuum, but rather they’re manifestations of the same thing….The arts and sciences are avatars of human creativity. It’s our attempt as humans to build an understanding of the universe, the world around us….[S]cience provides an understanding of a universal experience, and arts provides a universal understanding of a personal experience.”
STEAM in Action
Creativity, personal experience, and shared experience are evident in stories and videos of STEAM in action. When creative writing is incorporated as the A in this Science of Superheroes Lesson, students are able to make connections between the science of flight—which was the STEM component of the lesson—and creating a superhero character and story, which was the A component of the lesson. The video highlights the many layers of involvement and collaboration STEAM can engender.
Math concepts, such as number lines, counting, and fractions, are merged seamlessly with interactive theater play in Staging STEM, a video that also conveys the joy students attain when engaging in STEAM activities. The personal and shared experiences, generated by both personal and communal creativity, become essential to and integrated with the learning experience.
Education should be exciting, engaging, uplifting, and inspiring…and it should provide an outlet for creativity and both personal and shared experiences. The multidisciplinary STEAM educational model certainly is an approach worth exploring.
Explore more about STEM and STEAM in this infographic from the University of Florida:
Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics
Libraries across the country are celebrating Halloween with spooky stories, devilish decorations, and clever costumes. Some are even adding an educational twist to the festivities through the use of enriching Halloween STEAM activities.
What is STEAM?
STEAM is an acronym that stands for the integration of an A for the arts into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning. STEAM activities help equip kids with essential 21st-century skills that will help prepare them for the job market. The creative arts component — the “A” — in STEAM activities can engage students and spark interest in science and technology. STEAM is especially useful for helping students develop skills that are necessary to prepare for creative industries, including digital games, software, design, and marketing. However, research reveals the importance for all employees, not just those in creative industries, to demonstrate creativity in the workforce.
Libraries to Inspire You
Are you working on a STEAM Halloween project and need a little inspiration? The libraries below caught our attention for adding STEAM to their Halloween.
Today (October 26), middle school and high school kids will be creating 3D pumpkins from 3:00 to 5:00 at the main library. Sarah Butt, the library associate we contacted at the Champaign Public Library in Champaign, Illinois, explained that she created a pumpkin template in a program called Sculptris. The kids are then able to use the tools and create faces for their pumpkins. Once they are finished, the files can be printed on the 3D printer and ready for the kids from the middle school next door to pick up.Santa Monica Public Library (SMPL):
SMPL (Yes, the very same library we blogged about that has a summer beach library!) is also holding STEAM events at their Ocean Park and Fairview branches.
Also today, in connection with Star Wars Reads, SMPL’s Ocean Park branch is holding a Star Wars STEAM program from 3:30 to 4:30 for kids and teens. Participants are encouraged to wear costumes at the event.
Youth librarian Julia Casas, who is coordinating the event, has planned several activity stations that will give kids the chance to explore science concepts at their own pace. Among the activities are an “Ewok Launcher” (marshmallow launcher), which helps kids to learn about force, motion and gravity, and a “Rescue a Jedi from Carbonite” (lego minifigs trapped inside a baking soda mixture), which explores chemical reactions.
Children’s librarian Jennifer Boyce let us know that on October 31, from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m., the Fairview Branch will be featuring a program, “STEAM Craft: Glow-in-the-Dark Slime,” for children ages four and up. According to Ms. Boyce, the program will explore science concepts (in this case, chemistry) in a “fun, unstructured way.” Fairview’s Halloween STEAM event is part of their monthly STEAM programs, which in the past have included events such as a DIY Girls Club that focused on creative electronics and a “Build with Minecraft” program.
Children’s librarian Michelle Zimmermann of North Mankato Taylor Library in North Mankato, Minnesota, hosted a spooky science lab for their Halloween STEAM event, which was held on October 20th. The event, for ages eight to 12, was part of a monthly program, STEAM Rollers.
The mad scientists — some of whom had an evil laugh down perfectly — learned how sound is made with vibrations by making eerie sound devices with plastic cups, yarn, paper clips and water. They also made slime to learn about chemical and physical properties and examined how using different ratios changed the composition of the material they were making. The third activity involved making pumpkin lava lamps and dealt with the concepts of polar and non polar molecules. Kids also learned about how oil and water don’t mix. According to Ms. Zimmermann, the lava lamps seemed to make the biggest impression on the young scientists.
More Halloween STEAM Activities
Still looking for inspiration? Below are five spooktacular links you can use to incorporate STEAM into your Halloween event:
- Pumpkin Geoboard
- Pumpkin Optical Illusion
- Batwing Challenge
- Witch-Inspired Salt Crystal Science
- Spider Web Science
Special Guest Post
And be sure to check back tomorrow for another wicked STEAM/STEM post with featured blogger Dawn Treude. The Library Assistant in Youth Services will explore the Halloween activities at the Scottsdale Public Library. She will be discussing how to create science-based projects by using everyday items with a spooky theme.
If you’ve implemented a Halloween STEAM activity in your classroom or library, let us know what you’re doing in the comments section below or tweet us at #ProQuest.
Having Fun with Music
Summer is a great time to have fun and learn something at the same time. For those days when the heat is just too much, staying inside can be good for practicing a hobby or starting something new. Have you always dreamed of songwriting? What about playing guitar? Learning a new instrument or writing a song may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. There are tons of resources online that can not only teach you how to do these things but also help with understanding the science behind music.
Link Between Music and Science
There’s a whole lot of science happening in the process of making music! From the vibrations of guitar strings to creating melodies and harmonies, you can pick up a lot about physics just from plucking or strumming notes. Once you start experimenting with your chosen instrument, it becomes easier to see why music is a helpful tool in education. Maybe that’s why it’s easier to remember facts when they are incorporated into a clever song.
This short TED-Ed animated lesson by Oscar Fernando Perez and Chris Boyle illustrates just how much you can learn about physics through playing the guitar.
So, the next time you see a guitar imagine how its parts work together to create the sounds you hear, the vibrations you feel and the melodies and rhythms you play. Science is all around us! And it doesn’t have to stop just because it’s summer.
Here’s a short list of some interesting videos to watch on the connection between music, science, the brain, and even spiders.
Are you learning something musical this summer? Write us in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest. We’d love to know!
Educational interpretations and implementations of STEM–an acronym for the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics–are as varied as the fields of study themselves. Only one thing is clear: the general consensus of educators and educational professionals is that STEM education can provide enormous benefits for students.
How could it not? In 2009, the Program of International Student Assessment (PISA) report showed that U.S. high-school students were ranked 18th in math scores and 13th in science scores. Thirty-four nations participated, so these results were troubling. So troubling, in fact, that–in seeming response to the PISA rankings–the White House issued numerous reports on the significance of STEM education and allocated funding toward STEM initiatives and programs. In 2010, President Obama set a goal of increasing teachers’ and students’ proficiency in STEM fields of study.
So the question became…how? There are, of course, no easy answers. Possible solutions continue to be pondered, discussed, argued, and carried out in classrooms. Some things have worked, others haven’t. Thus is the evolution of education.
We at ProQuest applaud the efforts toward comprehensive STEM education and celebrate the national attention it has engendered. One goal of STEM education is to instill a sense of curiosity and exploration in students. This goal is one shared by ProQuest and its K-12 products.
Join us this summer in celebration of STEM education and its practice and growth in the United States. STEM disciplines are prominently featured on SIRS Discoverer–our product for young researchers–in its Science topic tree and in Science Fair Explorer. SIRS Issues Researcher offers a number of STEM-related topics in its Leading Issues database, such as Alternative Energy Sources, Biomedical Technology, Genetic Engineering, Nuclear Energy, Ozone Depletion, Space Exploration and Travel, and Technology. Click on any of these topics for up-to-date articles and information. And in the SIRS Discoverer Spotlight of the Month for June, Summer Science Projects, we encourage students to see the science, technology, engineering, and math that surrounds them through hands-on activities. Everyone can be a scientist! STEM is all around us…the night sky, a frog’s call, a blooming flower, a car’s engine, an Internet transmission, a deep breath…STEM at work.
If we can impress upon one student the joy of seeing science, technology, engineering, and math all around, we have done our jobs.
We all know by now that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) is important for students, who need to build 21st-century skills to compete in today’s workforce. But STEM feels a bit like a prescription to eat more vegetables instead of birthday cake. Yes, STEM is nutritious, but the arts and humanities are so much more alluring, succulent, and enriching. At least that’s what I thought until a group of middle and high school students—and their robots—proved me wrong.
Botfest and Botball
At the 2016 New England Botfest Exhibition and Botball Tournament at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, students showed off their robotic creations. Lego pieces transformed into a walking pig, a butler, and a police station. LED lights adorned clothes and accessories. Several robots zoomed around to greet curious guests. And autonomous robots competed at Botball.
This annual event is the culmination of a STEM outreach partnership between the UMASS-Lowell Computer Science department and K-12 schools throughout Massachusetts and New England. According to the UMASS website, “Botball and Botfest provide fun, challenging, team-based, hands-on learning experiences for middle and high school students in computer science, robotics and technology. These efforts instill curiosity, knowledge and confidence to prepare students for college, career choices and the high tech workplace.” With the help of donations, this program provides teacher training and robotic classroom supplies.
While students explained how they built their creations (common materials: Lego pieces, motion sensors, motors, and computer software), I learned that my preconceptions about STEM were wildly inaccurate. STEM education encompasses so much more than science, technology, engineering, and math; it also includes teamwork, creativity, problem-solving, and—most shockingly—art.
Students from Brookside Elementary in Dracut, Massachusetts, worked together to design a walking pig, which they built with Lego pieces. They solved challenges such as programing their pig and using the appropriate motor to control its speed. Their labor resulted in a work of art. In fact, all of the creations I saw were indeed works of art.
STEM education, I realized, is not just about a bunch of abstract concepts. It is about creating things that have value in the real world, whether artistically, functionally, or both. Robots like NASA’s Valkyries, one of which recently arrived at UMASS-Lowell, are the future after all. Most importantly, though, when I asked the students if they had fun, each answered with an enthusiastic “yes!” So I guess STEM isn’t so bad.
How has your school integrated STEM into the curriculum?
Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @ProQuest or in the comments below.
Learn about the many exciting and incredible things we’ve learned from our outreach into space, both manned and unmanned. We’ve overcome and dealt with major challenges, obstacles, and tragedies like the loss of Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia, the Apollo 13 mission, and the required space repairs of the Hubble Telescope and our very first space station, Skylab. We’ve also seen great success walking on the moon, and with our space probes deep into our own solar system and beyond, as well as our Mars rovers. We’ve done a lot and come through a lot, and yet we haven’t even scratched the surface. Is there a career waiting for you in space? Maybe in one of the other areas of science? If you think so, or if you just like to learn interesting facts and theories about our world and worlds beyond, you can find all kinds of information in ProQuest eLibrary Science. ProQuest eLibrary Science will introduce you to topics in health, biology, earth science, mathematics, physical sciences, technology, science projects, and much, much more!
Learn all about ProQuest eLibrary Science, or any of our other extensive ProQuest resource collections by joining the ProQuest Training and Consulting team in a free public webinar. If we haven’t listed the class you’re interested in, just contact us and we’ll be happy to make arrangements to meet with you directly.
Now’s a great time to catch up on the important elements of your ProQuest K-12 resources. We’ve posted our April webinars and would like to invite you to join us. Share this information also with some of your key faculty who you know would benefit from greater familiarity with your excellent ProQuest library research and learning tools. Our new public webinar page also expands your view of ProQuest possibilities. Not only may you access training for your K-12 focused resources, but you may also learn more about ProQuest’s full array of research and learning tools. Many of these have potential application in advanced secondary learning environments.
Today marks the 144th birthday of the creation of the first national park in the world, Yellowstone National Park. Most people who have been to Yellowstone, and even some who haven’t, can tell you a lot of fast facts about the park, such as it having the largest concentration of geysers in the world, or that it has one of the largest supervolcanoes on earth lying just underneath its surface. I have been visiting the Yellowstone area on and off for the past 25 years and there’s always something new that I didn’t know or that I haven’t seen. So, in this blog, instead of going over the same commonly known facts about Yellowstone, I thought I’d share with you some commonly known facts sprinkled with some lesser known facts.
The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is big. The ecosystem is made up of Yellowstone National Park, five surrounding national forests in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, the National Elk Refuge, and another national park (Grand Teton National Park) 50 miles to the south of Yellowstone, all totaling over 19 million acres. Yellowstone National Park itself is over 2,200,000 acres and over 3,400 square miles.
With an area this size, it would be easy to get lost, especially in the year 1870 when there were no roads. That year, two years before Yellowstone became a national park, Truman C. Everts joined the Washburn-Langford-Doane expedition, the second official government expedition into the Yellowstone area. One day he became separated and lost from the party in a snowstorm inside a dense forest. The members of the expedition searched and waited for him for a week to show up, but he never did. When the expedition returned from their trip they put out a $600 reward for his return, but feared the worst. Miraculously, he was eventually found and near death, weighing a mere 55 pounds. He had wandered aimlessly, backtracking in circles for 37 days in the region near the head of Yellowstone Lake, surviving mostly on berries and grasses. After Yellowstone became a park in 1876, a mountain in the Thorofare area of the park was named after Everts. He lived to be 75 and fathered one child.
Today, the Thorofare area of Yellowstone is the most remote place in all of the continental United States. In the heart of the Thorofare area it is 32 miles to the nearest road in any direction. Inside the park on the Yellowstone River, about 15 miles downstream from the park’s southern border with the Bridger-Teton National Forest, a small stream enters the river on its western shore called Atlantic Creek. Atlantic Creek itself begins high on the continental divide at Two Ocean Pass in an area called The Parting of the Waters, so named because Atlantic Creek splits off as one of two forks of North Two Ocean Creek. It flows down the east side of the continental divide from the pass for about 10 miles into the Yellowstone River where its waters flow into Yellowstone Lake, out of the park, into the Missouri River in northeast Montana, and eventually into the Atlantic Ocean via the Gulf of Mexico. Another stream at The Parting of Waters, the Pacific Creek, is the other fork of North Two Ocean Creek. Its waters makes its way down the western side of the continental divide, into the Snake River, and eventually to the Pacific Ocean.
The Yellowstone River winds its way north through the Thorofare area and eventually empties its water into the southeast arm of Yellowstone Lake. Yellowstone Lake is the largest high-altitude lake (around 7,730 feet) in the United States. Along a small patch of shore on the Yellowstone Lake lives the Yellowstone sand verbena, a small perennial herbaceous plant. The Yellowstone sand verbena exists nowhere else in the world and occupies less than 1.5 acres of land along the lakeshore. Most typical sand verbena exists in desert locations like the southwest United States and on the Pacific Coast. The Yellowstone sand verbena’s unusual presence along Yellowstone Lake at 7,700 feet suggests that geothermal features in the area provide just enough warmth during Yellowstone’s harsh winter, along with its typically warm summer, to survive and reproduce.
Yellowstone Lake is also home to the largest population of cutthroat trout in North America. As the waters of Yellowstone River and the hundreds of other tributaries that feed into Yellowstone Lake make their way north out of the lake, it forms an even larger river, passing under Fishing Bridge. During the Spring, hundreds of tourists each day will stop on the bridge and watch school after school of Yellowstone cutthroat trout feed and swim against the current under the bridge and into the lake making their way toward the lake’s tributaries to spawn.
For the past 25 years, this fish has been threatened by lake trout, a non-native species that was surreptitiously introduced into Yellowstone Lake some time in 1970s or 80s. Lake trout grow twice as large as cutthroat and they feed on the smaller trout. Cutthroat populations have been decimated because of this. Many animal species in Yellowstone have historically depended on Yellowstone cutthroat as a food source, including grizzly bear and birds of prey, like eagles and osprey. For the past 22 years the park service has been battling the lake trout to eradicate them from the lake. It is only recently that they have gotten a leg up on this devastating species.
One of the most remarkable attractions in Yellowstone is the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River at the head of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. At 308 feet, it is formidable sight. What you might not know is that, until the year 2000, there were over 350 undocumented and unmapped waterfalls in Yellowstone. Several exceed 150 feet, with one over 300 feet, about the height of the Lower Falls. Of course, these waterfalls are inaccessible to the average hiker. To see most of these waterfalls you must be willing to hike off trail with a good map and compass, and with no shortage of stamina.
I’d be remiss not to mention the hydrothermal features of Yellowstone. Yellowstone has the largest concentration of geysers and hydrothermal features in the world. Most people are familiar with Old Faithful, and may think that it is the tallest erupting geyser. In fact, Steamboat geyser in Norris Geyser Basin is the tallest, erupting to 300 feet, two to three times that of Old Faithful. Good luck on seeing a major eruption of this geyser, though. Major eruptions of Steamboat are irregular: its history shows that it may erupt every four days, or every 50 years. The last major eruption was on September 3rd, 2014. Another amazing fact about Yellowstone’s hydrothermal features is that they are also habitats for thermophiles. Thermophiles, or extremophiles, are microorganisms that live in Yellowstone’s hot springs and other hydrothermal features in temperatures of 185 degrees. The vivid colors of hot springs like the Grand Prismatic Spring, pictured above, are the result of these microbial communities. Scientists began studying these heat-loving microbes in the 1960s and results from these studies has since yielded numerous scientific and economic benefits.
In the north end of the park is Lamar Valley. It’s an immense grassland valley surrounded by mountains on all sides. It is full of wildlife and is often called the Serengeti of North America because of its large wild ungulate herds of bison, elk, pronghorn, and mule deer, which draw many predators and scavengers such as wolves, grizzly and black bear, mountain lions, coyotes, ravens, eagles, and other birds of prey. It’s not unusual for crowds of people pulled off the road watching an elk or bison kill in progress by wolves or a grizzly bear in the valley, especially during the Spring. And much like the migrating ungulate herds of the Serengeti, the herds of Yellowstone and Lamar Valley migrate in and out of the valley as late Fall and Winter descend on the park, usually moving to lower elevations where there is less snow. Some remain, though, and those that do risk their fate in the deep snows of Lamar with the wolves that stay through the winter.
Yellowstone National Park is one of the most remarkable places on the planet and it is preserved “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people,” as the inscription states on the Roosevelt Arch at the North Entrance to the park. But Yellowstone also exists for the preservation of one of largest, nearly intact ecosystems on Earth with a diverse species of plants and animals, magnificent geologic wonders, and its many strange and wonderful hydrothermal features. You can find out more about Yellowstone National Park and related themes in eLibrary by following the links below and throughout this blog.
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