Inquiry-based Learning Experiences Focusing on Sustainability
Smithsonian Science for Global Goalsis a new, freely available curriculum that uses the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development as a framework to focus on sustainable actions to local problems, defined and implemented by students. The curriculum was developed to be region and grade-level agnostic so that any student between the ages of 8 and 17 will be able to engage in the material. Among the tentative topics are “Energy” (How do we balance energy and environmental concerns?), “Weather and People” (How do we balance economics and preparedness?), “Biotechnology and Humans” (How do we balance technology, actions, and ethics?), and “Access” (How do we balance support for individuals with special needs?). Students have the opportunity to learn firsthand from researchers who are working on these problems around the world. Students then engage in inquiry-based challenges in their local communities, considering the problems through multiple perspectives (social, ethical, economic, environmental). The modules are built on a rich storyline that begins with students creating an Identity Map and Defining the Problem, and ends with the development of an Action Plan. The program was developed by the Smithsonian Science Education Center, along with the InterAcademy Partnership. The modules have been field-tested and reviewed by subject-matter experts, teachers, and students from around the world and are available in multiple languages.
For nearly two decades, students from around the world have participated in Microsoft’s global technology competition, the Imagine Cup, to bring their unique tech solutions to life. However, the Imagine Cup is more than just a competition; it’s a chance for students to work with friends, network with professionals, gain new skills, and meet other youth who want to make a difference in the world.
Crazy Gears from Edoki Academy gets children to think critically and explore physics and other STEM topics. This puzzle-like app for iOS asks students to construct gears to find a way to “pull themselves to the next level.”
The Noetic Learning Math Contest is a semiannual problem-solving competition for elementary and middle school students. The goal of the competition is to encourage students’ interest in math, to develop their problem-solving skills, and to inspire students to excel in math.