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STEM News Roundup: New STEM-focused School; NASA Launches Online Game

This week in STEM news, we see incredibly innovative projects launching to engage students in STEM fields. In the digital realm, Kickstarter campaigns ‘My STEM Kit’ and “techJOYnT” have launched. A new online game from NASA called “DUST” uses story and situation gaming to test the problem-solving skills of teen students. Meanwhile, the excitement of learning about arena racing on Sports Education Day in Richmond, Virginia encourages students to learn about speed and aerodynamics, and the Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls in Missouri is debuting with a STEM-focused curriculum.


NASA Launches “DUST,” A STEM-Oriented, Online Game

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration recently unveiled a new online, multi-player game called “DUST,” aimed to spark the interest of teen students in the areas of STEM education. The story-centric game “allows players to use media and skills from the real world to interact with a fictional world,” reports Hanna Sanchez for iSchool Guide.

The premise revolves around a meteor shower that resulted in “mysterious clouds of dusts” in Earth’s atmosphere, and made all adults unconscious. Players must save their parents over a period of seven weeks. The players decisions, actions and problem solving skills directly affect the gameplay and outcome, and players receive weekly science clues and new additions to the story via email, social media and game applications.

“Researchers on the project are studying how alternate reality games can serve as novel learning programs that promote STEM learning and encourage teenagers to pursue STEM careers,” Professor Derek Hansen at Brigham Young University is reported to say.


200 Students Attend STEM in Sport Education Day in Richmond, VA

On Friday, February 13, middle and high school students from Richmond Public Schools visited the Richmond Coliseum to participate in a sports-centric STEM learning event.

“Through the collaboration of the RPS, the MathScience Innovation Center (MSiC), Arena Racing-USA, and the Center for Sport Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), 200 students attended the STEM hands-on learning event that focused on translating classroom content into real-world application as it specifically related to STEM and the sport of Arena Racing,” reported Dr. Tim Lampe, the Senior Associate Athletic Director and Adjunct Professor at the Center for Sports Leadership at VCU, for

The two and a half hour event engaged groups of students and their teachers in different hands-on activities encouraging STEM concepts like “speed, aerodynamics, banking, tires/temperature, weight, [and] timing.” As a result of the project, the MSiC devised a curriculum specifically for teaching math and science.


3D Printable ‘My STEM Kits’ Making Waves on Kickstarter

‘My STEM Kits’ is a 3D printed product providing “instructional manipulatives” (similar to building blocks or K’NEX toys) for K-12 education, and creators are raising funds via Kickstarter. The campaign was launched February 2, and is set to conclude on February 28. The kits come in a variety of studies, such as “Rocket Launch”, “Density Cube”, and “DNA,” and each are aimed to expose students to experimental design, math and physics problems, and spatial thinking.

As of writing, ‘My STEM Kits’ has raised $3,588 of their $25,000 goal with 10 days to go. Visit the official Kickstarter page to learn more or pledge.


STEM Start-Up techJOYnT Launches Crowd Funding Campaign

As recently featured on Education World, the start-up “techJOYnT” is aiming to raise $50,000 to bring new education programs to schools in Oklahoma and neighboring states.

According to the official Kickstarter page, they offer “after-school programs to schools in Oklahoma, with classes in Game Design, Electronics, App Development, and Robotics.” “If the campaign goal is reached, techJOYnt will be able to provide 192 hours of STEM classes to 300 students,” reports. The Kickstarter launched on February 17, 2015.


Hawthorn Leadership School For Girls Opens Doors With STEM-Focused Curriculum

A new all-girls school in St. Louis, Missouri, The Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls, intends on opening Fall 2015 with a curriculum focused on STEM fields. The school will start small, opening initially for sixth and seventh grades with 80 students per grade, though will eventually open up to grades six through 12. “Our girls will get a full curriculum in the humanities, arts, etcetera, but with a real focus on science, technology, engineering and math,” said Hawthorn founder Mary Stillman, as reported by Nicole Berlie for KSDK-TV. “It’s really, really a unique opportunity and we wanted to mke that available to all families in the City of St. Louis.” Applications for enrollment can be found on the school’s website, and the deadline is February 27.


Compiled by Samantha DiMauro, Education World Contributor


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