The Smithsonian Institution and Lenovo have teamed up to develop and provide freeSTEAM activities for students, along with teachers’ guides. The materials are available in the Smithsonian Learning Lab for educators who would like to replicate or adapt them in the classroom or in after-school programs. As part of the joint initiative, the Smithsonian is providing training for Lenovo employee volunteers to facilitate the STEAM activities with students in schools and in after-school programs during their community outreach. The Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access is designing the activities and step-by-step facilitator’s guides. The center will also create two virtual-reality education experiences for teachers to embed into their curriculum. The Smithsonian Learning Lab projects include Sculptris (creating a 3D model of an insect based on specimens from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History), E-textiles (combining circuitry and fabric to create wearable tech), Wright Flight (learning the basic engineering skills used by the Wright brothers, followed by a digital test flight of a 3D model of the original Wright Flyer from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum), ArtBots (constructing an art-making robot using motors, batteries, and whimsy), Botany Field Book (learning techniques inspired by a National Museum of Natural History botanical illustrator), and CURIO (trading-card game challenging students to discover patterns and connections that inspire their own Smithsonian collection).
Aspire to Inspire(a2i) is a NASA program that encourages young students, particularly girls, to learn about early career scientists and engineers at NASA by watching short films and using social media to connect with other females in the STEM field.
In a webinar supported by the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) and the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), Michael Yell (National Board Certified Teacher – Middle School, and NCSS Past President) will lead participants in examining 10 thought-provoking strategies for creating a different kind of middle-level social studies classroom.