jump to navigation

Crash Course February 1, 2013

Posted by stem4kidsinfo in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

Crash Course offers videos about Science and World History, taught by a very entertaining pair of professors, Hank and John Green. Over the span of about ten minutes, you receive a complete lesson on a period of history or a scientific region (spanning from Annelids to the Respiratory System). The Biology lessons are great, and the History is even better (the Thought Bubble animations are really cool!). My History teacher has been showing us videos on the Mongols and Romans during class, and they really help establish the key points of each subject without going into the gory details. Crash Course brings humor into both subjects, and each lesson is concise and fun. I’d recommend these videos as supplements for any relevant course, whether as a homework assignment or even as a source for a research topic.

Advertisements

Two-Minute Thesis February 1, 2013

Posted by stem4kidsinfo in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Thpc_wkYuRQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeIgVe1LcRk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6cyIseCcjs

PHD Comics presents a wonderful Youtube series in Two-Minute Thesis, where grad students from wonderfully different fields describe their wonderfully wacky theses through 2 minutes of description, using both art and language to convey their work.  Not only are these videos quick, entertaining, and fun, but they provide great examples of how to do what you love while still making a great thesis out of it.  There aren’t a lot, but they’re spectacular, give them a look!

Explore Engineering: Summer Camp at Uconn January 2, 2013

Posted by stem4kidsinfo in Uncategorized.
add a comment
It’s the dawn of a new year, and what better time to start thinking about summer camps?  Here’s one to consider: the University of Connecticut’s Explore Engineering Program.

http://www.engr.uconn.edu/engineering2000.php

I participated in the E2 program during the summer of 2011, and had a great time.  The camp offers the chance to learn about all different disciplines of Engineering, from Electrical Engineering to Chemical Engineering.  I got to meet a lot of other students interested in STEM, and had a taste of living in a college dorm.  Spending a week on campus was a lot of fun, and all the students were friendly and very eager to answer questions about what college life is like.  This camp is a great idea if you’re interested in both learning more about Engineering’s various sub-fields and in getting a taste of the ‘college experience’.

Days at E2 are divided between attending presentations about each discipline, and studying your own field of choice.  At the beginning of the week, each participant chooses a field they want to study, whether Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, or one of the other 6-8 fields (It changes depending on the year).  Each day starts with presentations, usually in the form of a powerpoint and live speaker, from each of the Engineering sub-departments at Uconn, and the afternoon is spent working on the project the UConn website mentions in the link above.  Projects give you a chance to work with students in the engineering field that interests you most, while the presentations teach more about each area of study Uconn has to offer, so you can find the area that you enjoy the most.

UConn’s campus is fairly large and spread out, with a lot of hills and winding roads, so be prepared for a lot of walking.  As of 2011, the dorm E2 participants stayed in was NOT air conditioned, so bring a window fan or similar way to keep cool at night, because Connecticut is still very hot in the middle of summer (~84 degrees F).  Bring food if you want to be popular with the other students.  Free time is plentiful during the evening, and pickup sports games are common, as are poker tournaments and frisbee games on the quad.  The website offers a more complete packing list, but the most important advice I can offer you is to have fun.  You only have one week at this camp- make sure to enjoy it!

New Breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence November 28, 2012

Posted by stem4kidsinfo in Uncategorized.
add a comment
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/24/science/scientists-see-advances-in-deep-lea…

This article is a bit complicated, but let’s all just sit here for a moment and appreciate the amazing complexity of modern computing.  Seriously, a computer that can simulate your voice in another language?  That’s just cool.

U.S. News- STEM: Why should we care? October 13, 2012

Posted by stem4kidsinfo in Uncategorized.
add a comment
http://money.usnews.com/money/careers/articles/2012/09/10/stem-what-it-is-and…

This article goes very in-depth about the economical reasons STEM is really important RIGHT NOW.  I feel that they make some very good points about the job market and educational system, they do seem to exaggerate a bit on the utmost importance of STEM in the future for all ‘middle-class jobs’.  While I personally doubt that ALL ‘middle-class’ workers will be in STEM fields in the next 10 years, many of them will be, and I hope to help kids get a head start on education.  The public school system is a colossal failure in the STEM fields at the moment, and I’ve met kids who drop out of math as early as fifth grade.  As Brian Kelly writes, “Something has to change.”

Be sure to check out their other articles they link!

Connor

Great Mathematics Books September 16, 2012

Posted by stem4kidsinfo in Uncategorized.
add a comment
This week I’m sharing some of my favorite books on math, appropriate for a wide variety of ages and grades.  I read many of these books between ages 7-12, and I won’t hesitate to cite them as sparking my interest in STEM.

The Number Devil

The Number Devil, by Hans Magnus Enzensberger, follows a mathophobic boy named Robert as he dreams of the titular Number Devil, who teaches him the joys of mathematics.  The book is broken up over 12 nights, during which Robert learns about many different areas of number theory, with awesomely redesigned names (why calculate 10 factorial when you can have 10 vroom?!).  The book also ventures into a bit of the history of mathematics towards the end, along with some mentions of topics like ‘impossible’ geometry and logic.  The Number Devil is one of my all-time favorite books, from its humorous scenarios and amusing illustrations to its bizarre sense of logic and charming plot.  I first read this book when I was 7, and I still remember the sense of amazement upon seeing the wonderful world of mathematics, from “prima donna” numbers to “rutabegas”.  While this book is probably more suited for budding elementary or middle school mathematicians, its quirky sense of humor is suited for almost any age.

The Adventures of Penrose, the Mathematical Cat

Penrose is a cat, but not just any cat- he belongs to the mathematician Theoni Pappas, and as such Penrose has the unique experience among cats of meeting all kinds of strange mathematical creatures.  The book is divided into short sections on different areas of mathematics, all of which are independent of each other- perfect for quick exercises with younger students (i.e., those with shorter attention spans).  Each section contains a brief story coupled with a lesson, where Penrose helps an oddity of the mathematical world in some way, from the Fibonacci Rabbit to the odd creatures called Tangramians.  After each lesson, Penrose thoughtfully supplies brief exercises and crafts to do related to the lesson, such as how to fold your own origami crane, or how to create a magic square with any odd-numbered length for a side.  While the book lacks a continuous plot as a result of the lesson-based system, the dialogue is often humorous, especially to younger children.  This book is probably best for grades 2-5 or so.

More books to come next week!

PhD student uses LEGO Mindstorms in the lab August 29, 2012

Posted by stem4kidsinfo in Uncategorized.
add a comment
http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2012/07/start/playful-prototyping

I love stories like this- things commonly thought of only as toys put to work in the real world.  Personally, I’ve always found Mindstorms really cool, and seeing them used to perform delicate labwork is awesome.  It just goes to show how much potential there is in a building kit like LEGO, and adding in the robotics aspect makes me wonder what these things will be used for next.

Thanks to Susan for sending me this article!

NASA’s ‘Mohawk Guy’ August 8, 2012

Posted by stem4kidsinfo in Uncategorized.
add a comment
While the Curiosity landing on Mars is certainly a big piece of news in and of itself, many people seem preoccupied with something a little closer to home: a member of the ground crew, known to many only as ‘Mohawk Guy’.  Mohawk Guy, AKA Bobak Ferdowsi, has become famous on the internet practically overnight due to his smile, Iranian heritage, and most of all, his hair.  Bobak’s twitter account went from only a few hundred followers to 40,000 as the livestream of the Curiosity landing progressed.  He has been receiving marriage proposals from many women he hasn’t even met, but he already has a steady girlfriend (sorry, ladies).  On his sudden internet stardom thanks to his unique hairstyle, Bobak is slightly surprised, but says it’s okay “as long as it encourages more people to go into science”.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/08/nasa-mohawk-guy-bobak-fer…

Daniel Radcliffe sings The Elements Song August 7, 2012

Posted by stem4kidsinfo in Uncategorized.
add a comment

Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame sings The Elements Song.  While this may not be strictly educational, I think this is funny enough to share here.  The original song is a classic, and Radcliffe’s interaction with the audience is priceless.  When the original song was produced, in 1959, there were 102 known elements, in contrast to the 118 known today.  Perhaps a revision is in order?

OUYA: A New Approach to Video Game Consoles July 21, 2012

Posted by stem4kidsinfo in Uncategorized.
add a comment
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ouya/ouya-a-new-kind-of-video-game-console

OUYA is an upcoming video game console that aims to bring us back to the “good old days” of console gaming.  The console is powered by Android, so games will be easy to develop, and software licenses will be more affordable- hopefully leading to cheaper games.  The console itself will be sold for just $99- which seems incredible given the $200 pricetag on most of the consoles out now.  Additionally, all games produced on OUYA must be at least partially free to play, taking inspiration, the creators say, from popular PC games such as Team Fortress 2 or League of Legends.  This means that ALL games, if not entirely free, will most likely include some form of free trial, demo version, or tutorial level that you can try before you buy.  While OUYA is still early in development, there is a lot of support for this small console ($5 million has already been raised on Kickstarter!), and I hope to see a lot of good things from this project in the future.