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Here are some wonderful STEM–related curriculum resources and ideas you might find useful and interesting.
To start with, take a look at what “TED” has to offer:
Looking for a fabulous resource to make your classroom lessons come alive? Visit the TED-Ed site to discover the amazing world of TED-Ed. In case you aren’t familiar with “TED-Ed”, here’s an introduction.
“TED-Ed’s commitment to creating lessons worth sharing is an extension of TED’s mission of spreading great ideas. Within the growing TED-Ed video library, you will find carefully curated educational videos, many of which represent collaborations between talented educators and animators nominated through the TED-Ed platform. This platform also allows users to take any useful educational video, not just TED’s, and easily create a customized lesson around the video. Users can distribute the lessons, publicly or privately, and track their impact on the world, a class, or an individual student.” — From TED-Ed
In general, TED’s fascinating talks and videos address a wide range of topics within the research and practice of science and culture, often through storytelling. The speakers are given a maximum of 18 minutes to present their ideas in the most innovative and engaging ways they can. Many of these talks would be wonderful to show in the classroom to get students thinking as well as illustrate some STEM principles. You can search for TED talks by speaker or topic. Speakers are by invitation only, are carefully selected, and are usually on the cutting edge of their field of expertise: technology, education, philosophy, and the arts. The talks/videos are not only extremely entertaining, but thought provoking and educational, as well.
Past TED presenters include Bill Clinton, Jane Goodall, Malcolm Gladwell, Al Gore, Gordon Brown, Richard Dawkins, Rodney Mullen, Bill Gates, educator Salman Khan, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and many Nobel Prize winners.
Here are a few great TED videos to get you started:
1. Award Winning Teenage Science in Action
In 2011 three young women swept the top prizes of the first Google Science Fair. Lauren Hodge, Shree Bose and Naomi Shah describe their extraordinary projects — and their route to a passion for science.
2. Let’s Teach Kids to Code
Coding isn’t just for computer whizzes, says Mitch Resnick of MIT Media Lab — it’s for everyone. In a fun, demo-filled talk, Resnick outlines the benefits of teaching kids to code, so they can do more than just “read” new technologies — but also create them.
3. Animations of Unseeable Biology:
We have no ways to directly observe molecules and what they do — Drew Berry wants to change that. In this talk, he shows his scientifically accurate (and entertaining!) animations that help researchers see unseeable processes within our own cells.
4. Fashion Design Meets Biology: Grow Your Own Clothes:
5. Silk: the ancient material of the future:
6. The Hidden Beauty and Wonder of Pollination – and its vital role in life on earth:
7. A Swarm of Flying Robots: Agile Aerial Robots:
In his lab at the University of Pennsylvania, Vijay Kumar and his team build flying quadrotors, small, agile robots that swarm, sense each other, and form ad hoc teams for construction, surveying disasters and far more.
8. My Seven Species of Robots:
At TEDxNASA, Dennis Hong introduces seven award-winning, all- terrain robots — like the humanoid, soccer-playing DARwIn and the cliff-gripping CLIMBeR — all built by his team at RoMeLa, Virginia Tech. Watch to the end to hear the five creative secrets to his lab’s incredible technical success.
And some other excellent on-line resources:
A free online resource and website that offers a wide range of simple, easy-to-understand video lessons on math, science and other topics for any person, at any level. If you want to help your student with his/her math homework, this is the place to go!
Their library of videos covers K-12 math, science topics such as biology, chemistry, and physics, and even reaches into the humanities with playlists on finance and history. Each video is a digestible chunk, approximately 10 minutes long, and especially purposed for viewing on the computer.
“I teach the way that I wish I was taught. The lectures are coming from me, an actual human being who is fascinated by the world around him.”
Khan Academy hired Vi Hart, whose math doodling videos on YouTube have gone viral. Her quirky ‘stream of consciousness style’ is quite educational and popular, especially among middle and high school girls…a demographic that STEM educators are often left puzzled on how to reach. Here are two of her videos:
Snowflakes, Starflakes, and Swirlflakes
(Unusual Variations on the Paper Snowflake):
Vi Hart’s Hexaflexagons:
If you like these, be sure to check out Vi Hart’s YouTube Channel.