STEM: Virtual Projects to Inspire Lessons in Your ClassroomJune 27, 2010 | Dr. Katie Klinger
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
- Biochemistry: Botany, Genetics DNA Sequencing of the Large Sub-unit of Chloroplast Enzyme Ribulose-Bisphosphate Carboxylase in Native Plants; eleventh grade; Charlotte Kirk, Cherokee; Westville High School
- Environmental Management: Bull's Eye (earthquakes and seismographs); sixth grade; Cordell Benedict, Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe; Ahkwesahsne Mohawk Science Fair Committee
- Environmental Sciences: Measuring Water Pollution Using Plants as Bioindicators; seventh grade; Ivan Rajen, Navajo; Eisenhower Middle School
- Medicine and Health Sciences: Test My Stress; fifth grade; Kilyn Parisien, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa; Turtle Mountain Elementary School
- Plant Sciences: Testing Traditional and Synthetic Dye Methods, eighth grade; Mariah Antell, Standing Rock Sioux; Standing Rock Middle School
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.)