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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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STEM: Virtual Projects to Inspire Lessons in Your Classroom

Dr. Katie Klinger

STEM & Digital Equity Grantwriter & Education Technology Integration Expert

STEM at MIT is an exciting Web site experience that promotes their summer institute, mentoring program, and parents' programming. The site also offers a resource page with links to NASA Kids, Discovery Channel, and the MIT museum.

There you will also find these useful sites:

  • American Indian Science and Engineering Society
  • Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
  • Minority Scientists Network
  • Girls Go Tech
  • In my exploration of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), discovering their Virtual Science Community (VCS) became the highlight of my search and the focus of this blog post today. The VCS was created with the support of a grant by the Motorola Foundation to motivate American Indians and Alaska Natives to pursue STEM careers.

    The 2009 student-generated Virtual Science Projects (fifth-twelfth grade) on this site showcase multiple levels of student creativity and innovation in STEM fields inspired by each student's curiosity about the world around them. In addition, the projects are Webcasted from the National American Indian Science and Engineering Fair (NAISEF) held in March 2010.

    You can also use these projects to teach students about the six steps in a scientific inquiry model: introduction, purpose, hypothesis, procedures, materials, and conclusion -- the basic structure of thousands of science fair projects each year in our nation.

    The Student Projects

    At this point in time, five high-quality science projects are available online for review:

    As AISES describes it so succinctly, these virtual science projects provide the foundation "to foster greater interaction, dialogue, and innovation in STEM research." You can start by investigating the creative projects within this site with your students; each project contains an abstract that details the purpose and methodology of the experiment to facilitate your choice.

    You can tell by the project titles, these students have developed an awareness of the relevance of scientific inquiry to their own lives. It is my hope that these students will become leaders in our communities where "Going Green" will not be a separate topic in our curricula -- instead it will be a transparent way of life if we are to save our planet for future generations.

    (Consider joining the Edutopia group STEM Education for further online resources, lesson ideas, and discussion.)

Dr. Katie Klinger

STEM & Digital Equity Grantwriter & Education Technology Integration Expert
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Comments (9)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Kim's picture

The AISES Virtual Science Community seems like a wonderful way to motivate minority students to pursue STEM careers. I really like that this program truly fosters and rewards open inquiry and critical thinking, rather than encouraging students to perform the structured inquiry experiments which oftentimes dominant traditional science fairs. I agree that this website is a great way to teach students about the scientific method and open inquiry.

Grace Rosario's picture

I think this is a great way to promote STEM careers within our country's student population. A majority of the graduates from STEM programs are international students that many time return to their own country.

Bobby Vassallo's picture

Recent Earthquakes congratulates Cordell Benedict on a job well done. Bull's Eye (Earthquakes and Seismographs) is a great science project. We will feature Cordell on our site for his excellent work.
Bobby Vassallo
http://recentearthquakes.net

Linda Martin's picture
Linda Martin
Advanced Academics Resource Teacher from Reston, VA

We have a club for girls at our school that promote STEM education. I'm familiar with Girls Go Tech and I'm definitely going to look into these other resources.

Haley McDonald's picture

I work directly with students who struggle specifically with attention deficits and other mild learning disabilities; therefore I think virtual projects/lessons would be effective for my students. I am always looking for was to incorporate activities into my lessons because of my diverse learners. I love having access to this information and will refer to it as the semester continues. As of now, I'm excited to research virtual projects related to the Health Curriculum and find an innovative way to reach my students rather than them being bored in a desk.

Science Mom's picture
Science Mom
<a href="http://www.24hourscienceprojects.com">24 Hour Science Projects</a>

I can only hope my children decide to pursue these careers, these organizations are great! Keep the list going!

Carolyn Chambers's picture
Carolyn Chambers
Technology Teacher / Coordinator

My school is being considered as a STEM site. To be honest this was the first time I had heard the term used. Of course I asked the question "What is STEM?" Since that time when I hear or see the acronyms written somewhere I gravitate towards it. Thanks for all the great information that surely will be very helpful when my school attemps to bring STEM education inhouse.

Carrie Gabrielse's picture

I am very excited to see a website like this! Inquiry and literacy is a very important thing in science education and teaching students to find projects and follow through on them is important. Letting our students know what other students are doing and what they are able to produce lets them know that they can do it too! Students should learn and be able to write lab reports that are scientifically accurate as well, this website will help show them what is truly available resources as well.

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