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STEM News Roundup: Maker Movement Trickles Down to Early Learners

STEM News Round-Up: Maker Movement Trickles Down to Early Learners

In San Francisco, considered to be the current capital of innovative businesses, preschoolers are doing a little bit more than learning the basics. In fact, some of the city’s early learners are already joining the maker movement by learning how to use 3D printers and even laser cutters.

According to, young learners at the Bay Area Discovery Museum (BADM) can participate in the country’s first early learning “fab lab,” or an area that offers early learners access to STEM tools previously thought to be reserved for more mature learners.

Though 3D printers are used less frequently than other tools more accessible to younger children, the fab lab participants are engaging in hands-on learning that aligns to STEM-related standards.

 The museum is soon going to implement training for teachers as well.

"In the hope of spawning more hands-on tech in early education, the museum will soon offer Fab Lab-focused professional development to encourage teachers to get more comfortable with the software and tools. They’ll also share their lesson plans online,” says Quartz.

BADM is just one of the many museums across the country doing big things to encourage student interest in STEM, but it’s one of the first to do so with the nation’s earliest learners.

Read more about it here.


Father Asks Government Officials to Be on Lookout for Daughter’s STEM Project

Three middle school girls spent a year learning STEM skills through the development of a high altitude helium balloon equipped with a camera that gave the girls access to breath-taking views of Earth, says The Baltimore Sun.

Unfortunately, during the balloon’s descent the girls lost contact with it and now one of their fathers is asking government officials for help.

"[Steve]  DiNardo, a professor of cell and developmental biology at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine ... sent emails to both the York and Harford County governments [in Pennsylvania] asking that they pass information on to residents not to be alarmed if they come across the package,” the article says.

"We do very much want to retrieve the payload and get the pictures and data. It's a little sad we don't have it, but we are hopeful it's still out there,” he said, according to the article.

Read more here.


Building a Child’s Math Confidence

Research has come to support the notion that teaching a child math skills as a "have-it-or-you-don’t" type of skill is detrimental to student learning. Grit, they say, is most important when it comes to persevering the subject.

These tips from Jill L. Ferguson for the Huffington Post aim to help children overcome a lack of confidence in math to master the skills.

The tips focus on reinforcing foundations, teaching the flexibility and fluidity of math despite rigid formulas, and making math an “everyday adventure.”

Read the full list of tips here.


What Is the Future of Computer Science?

Computer science has rapidly become a national focus; just last week Hillary Clinton included the support of computer science into her tech & innovation agenda.

Some advocates have even argued that computer science should be a core science subject right alongside biology and physics.

So with much of the nation’s support, what does the future hold for the subject?

Quora contributor and professor Bill Poucher, has several predictions for what to expect.

”…the core of the CS core will remain and will be introduced at earlier levels of education. The outer core will evolve with the needs of industry and society,” he predicts.

"What will stay in the core? Computation theory, programming, data structures, and algorithms, and, hopefully, primitive machine architecture. What will evolve most rapidly? Design, in all its glory, and effective ways to manage the design of services.”

Barring financial and trust issues, Poucher believes computer science will become a solution for many of the world’s ailments.

Read on here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor


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