Tag Archives: science

iron man

Attention Science Teachers: Here’s How Superheroes Work

Sometimes, the things that will lure students to be interested in a particular subject isn’t found in the material itself, but in related topics that they might not necessarily know are related. Science and math tend to be the subjects that crawl to the top of that list most often. Kids may be fascinated by cool chemical reactions and physics, but if you sat them in a chemistry or physics class and discussed textbook stuff that they didn’t easily see the relevance of, they’d might find themselves bored and disengaged. But if you talked about superheroes – or something similar that they were already interested in- and then applied the science to it, you might find yourself with students who were a bit more interested.

The handy infographic below takes a look at some of the science behind superheroes. While (obviously) many of these superpowers aren’t attainable for humans, teaching your students to critically examine and calculate the (potential) science offers a lot of benefit for them. Keep reading to learn more!

The Science Behind Superheroes

You probably already know that it isn’t possible for a human to fly unaided, and it is nearly impossible to lift a car (easily), but have you ever delved further in to the why attached to those ideas? Examining some superhero’s powers lets us take a closer look.

  • Superman can lift up to 800,000 tonnes – which is 8 million times more than the average bench presser
  • That means that lifting a 1kg bag of sugar would be the equivalent of 5, two tonne cars (factoring in Earth’s gravity)
  • Scientists are studying geckos feet to see how they cling to walls – and how this might work for humans
  • When an organism’s size is doubled, its mass is squared, so gravity is exerting proportionally more force upon it
  • Thus, given that humans have a much larger mass than geckos, this is unlikely
  • If Batman actually jumped from a 152 m high building, the 4.6 meters of electrically charged wingspan would allow him to glide for 349 meters at 109kph before plummeting to the ground at about 80kph
  • When Storm sets off a lightening bolt, the energy created is about 500 million joules, or 120,000 calories worth of energy
  • Thus, in order to produce a single bolt, Storm would need to eat 60 times the recommended daily calorie intake, or about 522 Big Macs per day
  • Running fast results in increased oxygen intake. It would take Flash 2 million years to use the entirety of the Earth’s oxygen supply
  • If he ran at just 1% of the speed of light, he would need to burn 75 million calories, or 146,484, 375 Mars bars. (burp!)



6 Videos Every Chemistry Student (And Teacher) Must See

You don’t need to be a science teacher to know that science is happening all around us, all the time. But getting your students to understand this – and be excited by it and interested in it – can be a different story altogether. Luckily, the American Chemical Society has a fabulous YouTube channel full of fun videos that explain the chemical reactions that happen as a part of our everyday lives. “Everyday Reactions” has a ton of great videos explaining everything from what we know about why Tylenol works to the chemical reactions that happen with money. And why dogs sniff each other’s butts. These are all really important things to know, after all!

We’ve picked out six of our favorite videos to show you below, but don’t forget to check out the YouTube channel to check out new videos as they’re uploaded! These concepts make for great discussion in class as well as information to share at your next cocktail party!

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 12.36.37 PM

Why do dogs sniff each other’s butts?

The science of caffeine

The chemistry of sriracha

Why does bacon smell so good?

Why do we get garlic breath?

How do breathalyzers work?


lab notebook

How To Bring Your Lab Notebook Into The 21st Century

As more and more states adopt the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), teachers are beginning to wonder what tools they will need to implement the new standards in their classrooms.

The NGSS focuses on three dimensions: core ideas in science and engineering necessary to prepare students to gain more knowledge independently; concepts that cut across content areas; and practices employed by scientists and engineers as they investigate, design and build (National Research Council 2011). The framers of the NGSS emphasize the need for students to do science and not just learn about science. What do you need to do science in the classroom? Well, that’s going to depend a lot on your grade level and your content area, but I would argue that all science students need a lab notebook – an electronic lab notebook (ELN) to be specific.

Keeping a lab notebook is an essential part of the science or engineering process. Researchers use lab notebooks to document their thoughts, methods, experimental results, and analyses. Lab notebooks serve as an organizational tool and can sometimes play a critical role in establishing and protecting intellectual property.

For students, a lab notebook can help them practice science by providing them with a tool to support thinking, guide teacher instruction, build literacy skills, and help to different instruction (Gilbert and Kotelman 2005 ). Turn that lab notebook into an ELN, and students can also develop 21st century learning skills and digital media literacy at the same time.

Creativity and Innovation

Science, at its heart, is a creative undertaking. However, sometimes a student’s inventiveness is limited by their ability to express their ideas. Electronic lab notebooks encourage students to push the boundaries of their ingenuity by freeing them to express themselves through multiple means. Using an app like Evernote, students can record audio as they brainstorm hypotheses. Need something more visual? Students can incorporate videos, photos, or drawings of their experimental results into a BookCreator ELN.

lab notebook

Book Creator ELN

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

The scientific process is rooted in critical thinking and problem solving. Students can build on their critical thinking and problem solving skills using an ELN. They can explore complex hypotheses through mapping, screencasting or modeling which can all be incorporated into an electronic lab notebook. Use MindMup or Lucidchart to have students create a graphic organizer, mind map, concept map to visually organize information as they plan out an experiment.

lab notebook

Mind map created with MindMup

Is a student’s engineering design hard to understand? Have them create a screencast to explain their design. Using apps like Screencastify or Explain Everything, students can capture video of onscreen images as well as audio narrations, and then save it to their ELN.

Communication and Collaboration

Electronic lab notebooks can promote effective communication through a variety of modes including oral, written, and graphical representations of ideas and observations. The use of ELNs also encourage collaboration between students as well as between students and the scientific community beyond the walls of the classroom. Have you ever tried to collaborate with a traditional lab notebook? It’s not that simple, is it? Invariably it involves collecting the student’s lab notebook and halting research in the process. Create an ELN using Google Drive, Evernote or BookCreator, and students can easily share their notebook with others to view, comment or edit while continuing to work on their own.

lab notebook

ELN Created with Evernote

In order for students to be successful under the new standards, it’s critical that we provide them with the substantive learning experiences and real world tools they will need to become the next generation of scientists and engineers. I believe electronic lab notebooks are one such tool.

To learn more about how to get started using electronic lab notebooks in your classroom, come join Maggie for Enhancing STEM Curriculum with Technology, July 28-30, in Cambridge MA.

twitter science

25 Interesting STEM Experts Worth Following On Twitter

twitter science 1 Whether you’re a science teacher or not, education and the STEM subjects is a hot topic these days. From discussions about comparing test scores in STEM subjects with students around the globe to tracking the number of STEM based jobs and future graduates, there’s certainly a lot to discuss. There’s a lot of information out there, especially on Twitter. I come across so many different things on a daily basis that I can’t possibly write about them all. So whether you’re just looking for classroom resources or if you’re looking for folks to connect with to broaden and strengthen your PLN, Twitter offers a wealth of opportunity and information to keep your brain busy.

To facilitate, we’ve put together a quick (read: not even close to being exhaustive) list of some great folks to follow on Twitter. You may be able to find resources even more relevant to you by searching Twitter for a keyword (ie, STEM) plus your location. But for now, start here! Do you have any favorite science teachers, scientists, engineers, or STEM resource folks who you think qualify under the “must follow” umbrella? Weigh in by leaving a comment below, mentioning @Edudemic on Twitter or leaving your thoughts on our Facebook page.

  1. STEM Education
  2. Ainissa Ramirez (a personal favorite of mine)
  3. STEM Connector
  4. Science After School
  5. Teaching STEM
  6. Aimee Kennedy
  7. National Girls Collaborative Project
  8. STEM Digital Library
  9. Project Lead The Way
  10. League STEM Tech
  11. Shahnaz Kamberi
  12. STEMfinity
  13. Fab Lab Hub
  14. Amy D’Amico
  15. National STEM Centre (UK)
  16. Lily Bui
  17. Geek Girl Con
  18. STEMx
  19. Macrina Cooper-White
  20. Ten80 Education
  21. Dharma Stevens
  22. The NEED Project
  23. MIND Research
  24. City X Project
  25. Young Engineers Nigeria
computer science

Does Your School Teach Computer Science? Should It?

More courses in STEM subjects, teaching more students how to code, and getting more girls and women into traditionally male professions (ie, the STEM subjects) are all big topics these days. The main issue that all of these things address is that as our world develops technologically and becomes more tech dependent, we will need more students trained in disciplines that can support that, and currently, there is a huge skills gap

The handy infographic below takes a look at how to unlock the code to student success, and addresses computer science specifically, and how few schools teach computer science courses at all.

Does your school teach computer science? Do you think they need to? Weigh in by leaving a comment below, mentioning @Edudemic on Twitter or leaving your thoughts on our Facebook page.

Missing The Mark on Educating Our Students in Computer Science

  • By 2020 there will be 1.4 million computer science jobs, but only about 400,000 CS graduates
  • That gap will create an untapped market of about $500 billion!
  • Only 10% of K-12 schools teach computer science
  • Only 19 states count computer science as a credit for graduation
  • Since 2005, intro to computer science course offerings have decreased 17%



stem graphic

6 Things To Consider For Online STEM Learning

From millions in White House grants to private tech companies’ awareness programs, the push is on to engage students in the critically important fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career possibilities.

It’s a hot button issue. The demand for well-educated students, especially in the STEM fields is growing with no signs of slowing down. Still, according to the National Math & Science Initiative, 54 percent of high school graduates are not ready for college math, while an astounding 70 percent are unprepared for college-level science.

A main issue that prevents students from becoming engaged in STEM is a lack of access to the courses, the content and the right teachers they need to succeed. Many schools lack the resources to fully push STEM to all students. The good news is that students don’t need to be in a brick-and-mortar school to effectively learn STEM concepts.

Online learning is a critical tool because it gives more students access to STEM education courses and resources that might otherwise be unavailable to them. Students who don’t have access to STEM offerings at their schools can access high-quality courses online. It also serves as an outlet for schools and districts to augment their STEM offerings, which are often only offered as electives.

A 2013 report from STEMConnector said close to 60 percent of the nation’s students who begin high school interested in STEM change their minds by graduation. Schedule flexibility and the ability to work at your own pace can take away some of the intimidation factor that many students face in a STEM curriculum – a factor that often leads to a loss of interest.


STEM Should Be Hands-On

Studies show that STEM education is most successful when there’s a multi-prong approach, including coursework, applied activities and career connections. In addition to quality courses, a good online STEM program will offer hands-on opportunities for students to apply what they learn.

Online schools with year-round enrollment have a more flexible academic calendar, so online educators can better incorporate hands-on experiences, assignments and even internships into the curriculum.

Such activities are important learning tools, but are also critical in inspiring kids to think about STEM careers. Participation in internships, job-shadowing experiences and other hands-on experiences in research labs, zoos and museums are critical in helping students determine their interest and increasing their knowledge.

Personalized Instruction

Personalized instruction is recognized as a priority in STEM education. Teachers with online schools are often able to offer more personalized instruction based on the student’s needs. The online format allows teachers to work one-on-one with students in a way that typically is not possible in a traditional school.

Also, students are able to work at their own pace, taking the time needed to master the information, as opposed to moving on to a new topic before they are ready. For example, a student who is highly motivated and wants to master Algebra as fast as possible in order to tackle the next level of math does not have to wait for those students who might need to take extra time in mastering concepts.

Students also have more choices in how they demonstrate what they’ve learned in a medium that best fits their style of learning. Using technology, they may choose to create projects beyond writing a paper, such as creating videos, audio recordings, websites and more – whatever medium best fits their style of learning.

6 Things To Consider

  1. As with any education choice, do your homework! Here are some items to take under consideration when looking at online STEM offerings:
  2. Is the program a recognized educational institution? What credentials do teachers hold? How many teachers hold graduate or post-graduate degrees? Is the school accredited?
  3. What kind of approach to STEM does the program take? Are students exposed to STEM merely through school courses or are STEM-related extra-curricular clubs and assignment activities available.
  4. Does the program require students to apply STEM content knowledge beyond tests? Students should have an opportunity to apply their lesson concepts to develop projects.
  5. Is there a focus on interpersonal skills? The more successful and inclusive STEM programs encourage problem-solving and interpersonal skills, which help students be more adaptable and successful in the real world.
  6. Where does computer programming fit in? Computer science is often overlooked as a common denominator in STEM, but FLVS Global School is seeing mounting evidence that interest in computer science is a gateway to a wide variety of STEM careers. An understanding of computer science helps connect the dots among science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Results also indicate that CP1 students who transition to the AP Computer Science (APCS) course have a higher average score and are less likely to withdraw than students who begin APCS with no prior programming experience.

The most important thing for parents and students to keep in mind is that choosing online learning is not taking the easy way out. Despite the flexibility they offer, online courses often require more work than what may be necessary in a traditional classroom. However, when the work is engaging and connects with students’ individual learning styles, students are less likely to get discouraged, more inclined to enjoy what they learn and more likely to stick with STEM.

About The Author: Matt Vangalis is principal of FLVS Global School. FLVS Global School is the premier online school for students in grades 6-12. It is the national and international arm of Florida Virtual School®, an award-winning, public school district and international leader in online learning that serves Kindergarten through grade 12.


3 Places To Get Free Full-Text Scientific Studies

These days, when you’re asking your students to do research (on just about any topic), it is likely going to be online research, at least at the start. Most materials are easily available online these days, saving students the time and hassle of heading to the library to schlep home with 100 heavy books in tow for a lit review or project. However you slice it, student research has changed quite drastically even in recent years, as more and more resources are online.

That said, many things are not available to students for free – unless their school has an account on the site in question or a subscription to the journal you need. This is especially true in STEM disciplines, where most ‘big’ research studies are not available in full text for free until around 12 months after the date of publishing. So if you want the latest and greatest research, you’ll have to pay for it – which isn’t feasible or reasonable in many cases.

There are a number of journals making a move to offer full text of scientific journal articles for free, and we’ve put together a short list of them below.



PLOS stands for the Public Library of Science. They’re a non-profit aimed at creating a library of open-access journals and other scientific literature. Lots of awesome research can be found with a quick search at PLOS.


PNAS (spell it, don’t say it!) is the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (of the US). Not all of the content on the site is available for free, but there sure is a substantial portion that you don’t need to pay for. See what parts of the site are available to non-subscribers here.

eLife Sciences

eLife is trying to approach science publishing with a fresh look. While still peer-reviewed, their process is a little bit different than for other scientific journals. They’ve chosen to make their journal open-access as a part of their initiative to make science publishing more effectively benefit science and scientists.


HighWire is an ePublishing platform for scientific research from Stanford University. They offer a huge list of free online full text articles on their site. Of note, their list is limited to journals published online with the assistance of HighWire Press, but they still have a TON of content available for your perusal. As of this writing, they were assisting with the online publication of 2,353,407 free full-text articles and 7,133,903 total articles. There are 40 sites with free trial periods, and 104 completely free sites. 276 sites have free back issues, and 1359 sites have pay per view.



How STEM Can Save The World (Or At Least Help A Bit)

STEM is still a big deal these days. There’s still a push to get more students interested in STEM, and there’s still a lot of discussion happening around the ever-present ‘gender dividein STEM subjects. The handy infographic below takes a look at the current STEM landscape in high school and higher education. Keep reading to learn more!

The Current STEM Landscape

  • Only 44% of 2013 high school graduates were prepared for college level math
  • 36% of 2013 high school graduates were prepared for college level science
  • Only 32% of 8th graders (in 2011) were proficient in science at the 8th grade level
  • 35% of 8th graders (in 2011) were proficient in math at the 8th grade level
  • Students who go through at least algebra II in high school are twice as likely to finish a four year degree
  • As of 2009, about 35% of people aged 25 and up had degrees in science or engineering
  • As of 2009, 87% of bachelors degrees in science or engineering belonged to men over the age of 25
  • Only 4% of US bachelors degrees are in engineering
  • 31% of bachelors degrees in China are in engineering
  • By 2018, 92% of STEM jobs will require postsecondary education
  • The number of research papers written by US scientists has dropped 11% in recent decades
  • The number of women with Bachelor’s degrees in computer science rose by 11% since the 90s


earth day globe

The World’s 30 Greenest Cities

So, Earth Day is tomorrow. Are you prepared to talk with your students about it?

Every year on April 22, people around the globe try to make a bit more effort than usual to focus on the issues facing our planet. In the past, we’ve looked at some of the details on exactly what Earth Day is, resources for teaching about sustainability, and different ways to teach about Earth Day.

This year’s Earth Day comes with the theme of “Green Cities“. With more than half the world’s population living in cities and a growing climate change crisis, huge results can come from changing how our cities function. The handy infographic below takes a look at the 30 greenest cities in the world. We can all learn from what they’re already doing! Keep reading to learn more.

The World’s Greenest Cities

The 30 greenest cities are:

  • Oslo
  • Malmo
  • Reykjavik
  • Barcelona
  • Copenhagen
  • Birmingham
  • Stockholm
  • Zermatt
  • Vancouver
  • Toronto
  • Chicago
  • Eugene
  • Costa Rica
  • San Francisco
  • Austin
  • Portland
  • Minneapolis
  • New Delhi
  • Singapore
  • Tokyo
  • Accra
  • Cape Town
  • Nairobi
  • Melbourne
  • Sydney
  • Adelaide
  • Curitiba
  • Bogota
  • Bahia de Caraquez
  • Belo Horizonte

What’s So Green About These Cities?

  • 70% of Oslo is covered in agricultural land
  • 30% of Malmo’s population commutes by bike
  • All but 1% of Reykjavik’s energy is from renewable sources
  • Barcelona has a 113,000 sq ft solar panel in the city
  • 50+% of people in Copenhagen travel by bike
  • Birmingham has over 3500 hectares of open space
  • 99% of household waste in Stockholm is recycled or used to make energy
  • Zermatt uses horse carts or manual carts to transport goods through the city
  • Vancouver wants to be the greenest city by 2020
  • Toronto has reduced its greenhouse emissions by 40%
  • Chicago has planted over 2 million sq feet of rooftop gardens
  • Eugene is known as the “Emerald City” for being so green – literally
  • Costa Rica is working on reforestation
  • San Francisco recycles 77% of their waste
  • Austin aims to have 20% renewable energy by 2020
  • Over 60% of workers in Minneapolis commute with public transport
  • Accra is constructing a huge monorail system
  • Singapore has 480 green certified buildings
  • New Delhi produces the least waste of any city in Asia
  • Tokyo has the lowest CO2 emissions in Asia
  • 10% of Cape Town’s homes have solar panels
  • Nairobi is at the head of a fashion upcycling trend
  • Melbourne has many car free zones in the city
  • Sydney is aiming to reduce CO2 emissions by 70% in 2030
  • In Curitiba, poorer residents are rewarded with food and supplies in exchange for recyling
  • Bogota relies heavily on public transport and has many green spaces
  • Bahia de Caraquez has the world’s first certified organic shrimp farm
  • Belo Horizonte aims to reduce their greenhouse gases 20% by 2030


green cities


Why (And How) To Improve STEM Education In The U.S.

Pete Conrad was a pretty awesome guy. That’s why the handy infographic below uses him as an example of why more students should be studying STEM subjects. Among other things, he was the third man to walk on the moon, and he commanded the first manned Skylab mission and received a Congressional Space Medal of Honor. 

Encouraging students to study STEM subjects may be helped by pointing out some of the awesome folks who have done cool stuff because of their STEM backgrounds. Would more pioneers emerge? Would more innovations be made? Weigh in by leaving a comment below, mentioning @Edudemic on Twitter or leaving your thoughts on our Facebook page.

We Need More STEM

  • The US ranks 31st  in Science and 23rd in Math for PISA scores
  • Many math and science teachers in US secondary schools teach subjects that they didn’t even major or minor in
  • 67% of physics students are taught by a non- major/minor teacher
  • 61% of chemistry students are taught by a non- major/minor teacher
  • 45% of biology students are taught by a non- major/minor teacher
  • 31% of math students are taught by a non- major/minor teacher
  • There are currently about 100 STEM focused secondary schools in the US
  • These serve about 47,000 students
  • President Obama calls for recruiting 100,000 new STEM teachers

What To Do?

  • Experiment with high quality rich media products in the classroom
  • Replace lectures with hands -on exercises
  • Rethink the science fair



How Inquiry-Based Learning Works With STEM

Learning through inquiry is not a new concept – at all. Much of the more general life- learning that we do as humans is based on inquiry. Here’s a basic example: As a baby, you saw a ‘thing’ across the room. Your little brain wondered what it was, so you crawled over to it and inspected it. You looked at it, touched it, and determined you wanted to play with it.

While babies may not be able to construct thorough explanations and communicate their questions and findings, the inquiry based learning concept is definitely there. As babies grow and turn into students, this style of learning can serve them well, especially in science. The handy infographic below takes a look at the steps of learning through inquiry, as well as some statistics on the importance of science education in the future. Keep reading to learn more.

Inquiry-Based Learning

Children can learn problem solving skills using methods similar to the ones scientists employ that will lead them through parallel stages of discovery. Young children learn to:

  • Develop questions
  • Collect evidence
  • Form a decision
  • Construct explanations
  • Communicate logically and clearly

The National Science Resources Center (NSRC) has developed a similar learning cycle for science education, which they’ve called the FERA cycle.

  • Focus – on a topic, generating interest and conceptualizing what learners already know about a topic
  • Explore – objects, organisms, and scientific phenomena that build on the prior knowledge
  • Reflect – on observations and data, revisit prior ideas, and develop and refine explanations
  • Apply – understanding of science concepts to new situations and prepare to repeat the learning cycle

A Few STEM Numbers

  • Retention rates in STEM subjects are low – less than 40% of students who enter college intending to major in a STEM field actually end up doing so
  • 1/2 of all STEM jobs don’t require a degree, and pay on average 10% higher than non-STEM based jobs
  • By 2018, there will be a demand for more than a million more professionals with STEM degrees
  • Women in STEM careers make about 33% more money than women in other fields



5 Cool STEM Activities Students Should Try This Year

LEGO-Robotics-Blog-Post-Alderwood-2Not too long ago, we looked at a number of great STEM programs just for girls- all aimed at getting this traditionally underrepresented group more interested in careers in STEM fields.

Obviously, we don’t need to only get more girls more interested in STEM disciplines – we need to get all of our students more engaged.  So we’ve put together a list of some fun programs to get students more interested in STEM. From ongoing afterschool programs that focus on math and science to international robotics competitions, there’s a bit of something for a variety of students at every level!

Afterschool Alliance

The Afterschool Alliance offers project-based learning style activities in STEM subjects, along with a number of resources on how to get these types of programs started.

The Curiosity Machine

The Curiosity Machine is a web based STEM learning portal that introduces young students to scientists and their work. There are videos of scientists talking about their research, along with instructions for associated experiments for kids to partake in. Even better: there’s an interactive portion, where the students can upload videos of their experiment for the scientists to give feedback on.

US First

US First offers a number of lego and robotics programs for kids aged 6-18. There are groups with mentors, coaches, and volunteers in 70+ countries, and the annual programs culminate in competitions that vary based on age and skill level. For some of the more advanced competitions for older students, there are even college scholarships available!

Zero Robotics

Zero Robotics touts itself as the very first robotics competition in space, which is pretty darned cool. They have a high school tournament, a middle school summer program, and and open challenges, which are open to everyone (including professionals!). Participants program robots, which in this case are  SPHERES satellites inside the International Space Station. Participants complete the first levels of programming remotely, with the finalists competing live aboard the ISS with an astronaut and a live broadcast!

US Naval Academy Summer STEM Program

US Naval Academy Summer STEM program is a summer program for students already interested in STEM fields to gain real life, practical experience in Science and math, spend time using real laboratories, and meet other students who are interested in technology and engineering. For a full week program, the cost is only $200, which we think is a very nominal fee for the experience!

The Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program is a worldwide hands-on, primary and secondary school-based science and education program.

How To Get Students Excited To ‘Do’ Science

The Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program is a worldwide hands-on, primary and secondary school-based science and education program.

The Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program is a worldwide hands-on, primary and secondary school-based science and education program.

It never ceases to impress me how great teachers consistently find new and innovative educational tools to put in their class toolkit. They do it in a multitude of ways – through sound preparation and in-depth knowledge of the subjects they teach; fresh activities and exercises; engaging resources; and creativity – all to inspire a love of learning and encourage students to think and dream big.

Over the last 18 years, one teaching and learning resource that educators around the world have integrated into their toolkit is GLOBE. The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment Program (GLOBE) is an international science and education program that connects to a worldwide network of teachers, students and scientists to better understand the Earth as a system. Since beginning operations in 1995, more than 58,000 trained teachers and 1.5 million students in 112 countries have participated in GLOBE.

The Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program is a worldwide hands-on, primary and secondary school-based science and education program.

Integrating hands-on projects into the curriculum is a great way to engage students in Earth system science. Instead of just reading about science, they get to do science. GLOBE provides teachers of all grades, from elementary to high school, and all subjects, from STEM to the humanities, with a robust library of high quality, interactive lesson plans and learning activities across a variety of Earth system science study areas to use in the classroom.

Citizen science programs allow students to participate in real science. To date, students in the GLOBE Program have contributed more than 100 million measurements to the program’s database, creating meaningful, standardized, multi-national professional-grade data sets that can be used in support of university-level scientific research. Scientists at NASA, NOAA and NSF develop the program’s protocols, ensuring students are participating in rigorous, relevant education. Not only do programs like GLOBE foster the next generation of scientists and STEM leaders, but also help students develop critical thinking skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

Classrooms are also given the unique opportunity to connect with other students, teachers and scientists internationally and think about the environment on a global scale. The GLOBE visualization tools offer the ability to display data in maps, graphs and tables, while students collaborate with scientists and other GLOBE students and communities worldwide using the GLOBE database for education and research.

The Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program is a worldwide hands-on, primary and secondary school-based science and education program.

To participate in this cross-cultural exchange of information and understanding of how the Earth works, teachers must register and complete GLOBE program training, a free service that can be accessed at www.globe.gov.  In addition to professional development opportunities, GLOBE teachers can explore a wealth of materials and lesson plans. To join GLOBE, educators should visit the GLOBE website, or to get a  preview of what the program offers, they can go to GLOBE’s Pinterest profile, which features a curation of innovative ideas for the classroom.

Dr. Anthony Murphy is director of The GLOBE Program, an international science and education program that connects a network of teachers, students and scientists worldwide to better understand the Earth as a system.


How To Get Students Interested In STEM Education

There’s still a huge push in the US to get more students (especially girls) interested in STEM fields. STEM jobs are expected to be some of the highest paying and most advanced in the near future, and with technology developing at an amazing rate, many other jobs will be made obsolete because of it. This handy infographic below takes a look at STEM in the USA. From the classroom to the workplace, what is the current status of STEM education? Keep reading to learn more.

STEM Education and Jobs

  • The US ranks 47th in Math and Science Education quality (vs. 28th in overall educational system quality).
  • The percentage of US students performing at or above the ‘basic’ level of science decreases as students got older.
  • Only 26% of US high school seniors are considered ‘proficient’ in math.
  • More than 70% of future stem jobs will be in computing.
  • Only 9 states require computer science classes as a graduation requirement.
  • Only 19% of college graduates have degrees in STEM fields.
  • 78% of high school graduates don’t meet the standard levels for at least one entry level STEM class.
  • Yet there are more than 37.M unfilled STEM jobs, slated to rise to 8.6M by 2018.

stimulating stem infographic


How To Use Comics In Science Class

Injecting a bit of fun into lessons is a tried and true tactic to get students interested in whatever it is you’re blathering on about from the front of the classroom. Sometimes, putting the material you’re teaching into a different format or showing a commonplace/real life application can really make a difference in a student’s understanding of the material.

I was pretty excited when I found these awesome science related comics whilst browsing the interwebs the other day. They’re penned by an artistic duo (Maki and Nadir) with the intent of communicating cool science topics in a way that almost anyone can understand. Bonus: making you laugh.

I’m posting a couple of favorites below, but browse through their site – we’ll bet you’ll find something interesting worth discussing in one of your classes (like lab-grown hamburgers, for example!).

How Does Air Pressure Work?

Like this, silly!



What Is The Pitch Drop?

You can learn a bit more about it here, along with links to the experiment’s website and a webcam, and a DIY pitch drop experiment.




50 Awesome Facts About Earth To Share With Your Class

The earth is pretty cool. And teaching kids about our planet can be a pretty fun task, especially since most kids will be fascinated by many of the things that earth has to offer. Even as an adult, I often find that the vastness of the planet is pretty mind boggling, and accordingly, I thought that a lot of the tidbits of information offered in the handy infographic below that details some incredible facts about Earth that I think are pretty cool. Check them out below to boggle your own mind, and then share with your students!

Did You Know?

  • The international space station was the most expensive object ever constructed? ($150 billion!)
  • A photo of the earth has been taken from a distance of 3.7 billion miles.
  • The hardiest animal in existence is a tardigrade, and one can exist in a vacuum for ten days. (Fun fact: tardigrades are also referred to as waterbears or moss piglets!)
  • A human being can survive unprotected in space for about two minutes.
  • China’s air pollution is visible from space, but the Great Wall is not.
  • There are really only 23 hours, 56 minutes, and four seconds in a day, not 24 hours.
  • The earth is smoother than a bowling ball.
  • 100 tons of small meteorites enter the atmosphere every day.
  • There are 8.6 million lightning strikes per day.
  • 97% of water on earth is salted.
  • Antarctica has as much ice as the Atlantic Ocean has water.
  • 90% of the rubbish in the ocean is plastic.
  • Only 8-12 humans are killed per year by sharks, but 100 million sharks are killed per year by humans to harvest their fins.
  • 90% of all volcanic activity occurs in the ocean.
  • 99% of the earth’s gold lies in the core.
  • A solid iron ball 1,500 miles wide sits at the center of the earth. The temperature there is about 9900 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The continents move about 2 cm every year.
  • 200,000 people are born every day.
  • 2 people die every second.