The US Global Hub of Future Earth
The Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) has announced the release of Smithsonian Science for Makerspaces, a series of free online engineering design challenges for students to engage with emerging technologies through hands-on learning. Inspired by Smithsonian Science for the Classroom, these activities bridge formal science education and the exciting makerspace movement by helping educators and teachers engage with digital and physical technologies within the context of science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) by asking them to make something new.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Visit
Smithsonian Science Education Center Director, Carol O'Donnell, traveled to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University on September 7th to meet with Engineering Professor Lisa McNair, who is the Director for the Center for Researching Science, Engineering, Art and Design (CRSE). CRSE is part of the University’s Institute for Creativity, Arts and Technology (ICAT) and houses ICAT's education work related to outreach and engagement, research and evaluation, and partnership and advocacy. O’Donnell had the opportunity to meet the CSRE team, as well as ICAT founding Director, Ben Knapp, and ICAT Associate Director, Tom Martin. O’Donnell also shared with the teams SSEC’s work in K-12 STEM Education, specifically recent work in educating youth in engineering practices. O’Donnell and McNair discussed mutual points of interest between the two centers and possible collaborations.
Smithsonian Science for Global Goals – Panama City, Panama
To support the release of this curriculum, Smithsonian Science for Global Goals, the Smithsonian Science Education Center hosted a Building Awareness for Sustainable Education (BASE) program in Panama City, Panama on June 6th. The program was attended by 30+ local stakeholders including Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) scientists and staff, the Ministry of Education (MEDUCA), the Inter-American Development Bank and Staff from the Smithsonian Affiliate Biomuseo, along with other local stakeholders invested in education and health. June 7th - 8th the Smithsonian Science Education Center hosted, a two-day professional development workshop on the Mosquito! module, bringing together 45 teachers from around Panama, representing both public and private schools. Teachers had the opportunity to engage in hands-on experiences from the curriculum, and explore ways that this curriculum may be used in their classrooms.
Federal Coordination - STEM Committee Meeting
Smithsonian Science Education Center Director, Carol O’Donnell, attended the Federal Coordination (FC)-STEM Committee Meeting at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Tuesday, May 8th. The goals of the meeting were: a) equip the FC-STEM Committee to guide Federal STEM planning by providing essential background and context, and b) guide the development of the future 5-Year Federal STEM Education Strategic Plan and its ancillary working groups.
2018 STEMconnector All-Member Summit
US News and STEM Solutions Conference on K-12 Panel
While U.S. students are graduating high school at the highest rate ever, questions remain about how well prepared new diploma-holders are for what comes next. For instance, researchers estimate that some 6 million jobs remain unfilled, many of which require individuals with STEM skills that employers say they just cannot find enough of in the talent pool. In response, K-12 administrators, advocates, and policymakers are working to shore up education programs in K-12 to give students the skills they need to compete in the workforce or the college classroom. The change is happening by improving teacher training, integrating more experiential and hands-on learning into the classroom, and teaming up K-12 schools with corporate and higher education partners to advance women in STEM. Several education leaders presented on this standing-room only panel, including Dr. Carol O'Donnell, Director of the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC), who discussed SSEC's role in the Johnson & Johnson Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Manufacturing, and Design (WISTEM2D) initiative.
Smithsonian Science Education Center National Advisory Board Dinner & Meeting
The Smithsonian Science Education Center held its Fall National advisory board events, which included a private tour of the National Museum of American History’s (NMAH) Spark Lab and presentations in their boardroom, a dinner at the National Academy of Science (NAS), and the semi-annual board meeting at the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Services (SITES).
When I ask someone, “How was your day?”, they often respond that “It felt long.” Sometimes, if it was a really tough day, they will go as far as claiming that it felt like “the longest day of the year.” On most days, 364 to be precise, that claim is factually false. Today, however, anyone in the northern hemisphere can correctly state that this feels like the longest day of the year.
On Saturday, April 22nd Dr. Carol O’Donnell spoke at TEDxFoggyBottom 2017: In Metamorphosis!. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience, and TEDxFoggyBottom has become one of the largest student-organized TEDx events in the United States and around the world. This year’s annual conference brought together brilliant innovators and unconventional change-makers in a full-day experience featuring live presenters, and interactive exhibits centered around the 2017 theme: In Metamorphosis, discussing the current changes in our world and the implications these changes have for our society. O’Donnell’s talk reflected on her past experiences with science education, and focused on the importance of tactile experiences with physical objects in a science classroom in an age where digital learning is rapidly taking over.
Creative inspiration can be found anywhere—especially in science! Science is an amazing way to spark inspiration and curiosity and this poem by Gavin does just that. Our poet hails from the Greater Chicago Area and, at the age of only 11, has written a beautiful poem inspired by his awe of bioluminescence in nature. We loved Gavin’s poem so much that we wanted to ask him a little more about his process.
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