Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Summer Brain & STEM

In the summertime, I usually follow this pattern:  stay up super late into the wee hours of the morning, sleep in until around 10 a.m., and then mill about all day.  As the days tick by, I then stop knowing what day or date it is and stop remembering the things that are told to me.  My husband and I go for a week to some beach, and I typically spend a week at home in Alabama with my family.  I do try out lots of new recipes from my Pinterest board, and I do catch up on reading all the books I want. I also stress out a bit about the impending school year, knowing that 40+ hour weeks lie ahead of me, yes, even as a librarian!  But typically, the highlight of my day is going to the mailbox to get the mail.  Three glorious minutes in the sunshine.

However, this summer is completely unlike any of the ones before.  My husband, Michael Daniels, is currently out of a job due to a lay off.  He has been out of work since April.  We decided to put his amazing graphic talents to use, and we opened a Teachers Pay Teachers store, My Dear Watson. He worked for much of June on an editable planner. I set up my folding table, usually reserved for 1,000 piece puzzles, in the guest bedroom, and in my "office", started working on my career cluster lessons.  And while I hear your thoughts, as they are likely the thoughts I used to think - 'WHY are you working in the summer?!?', it's because it is supremely nice to have actual time to ponder, question, write, and re-write lesson material.  There's a feeling of luxury to have time and not have to rush.

Which, leads me to the STEM part of my post title.  I did find so many cool websites while working on the STEM Career Cluster lesson, but I couldn't include them all.  Here are the ones* I didn't end up using in my lesson:

This website has over 1,000+ ideas for science fair projects.  It also has teacher, parent, and student resources.  I like it for the numerous STEM-related career pages.

This website is a great resource if you need a fun project idea, nonfiction article, or an online activity for your students.  Their subjects include:  crime scene investigation, extreme weather, medical innovations, robotics, space, the animal kingdom, under the sea, video games, and wind energy. Each subject has related articles, online activities, local events, and related careers.  There is a "Location" page to find STEM related attractions near where you live or groups to join.  

Like Science Buddies, Curiosity Machine is a non-profit with lots of corporate sponsors.  There are over 80 design challenges, perfect for a Makerspace.  I signed up for a free account.  In doing so, I could add students to any group that I create.  Granted, students would have to sign up for a Curiosity Machine account too, but then they use a group sign-in code to add themselves to the group you create.  I suppose this is so you can assign them a design challenge. That part seems unclear. Their challenges fall into these categories:  aerospace, art of science, biometrics, biochemistry, civil engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, food science, materials science, mechanical engineering, neuroscience, ocean engineering, robotics, and satellite systems.  So, basically, a GREAT and easy way to link what students learn at school with how it impacts their home, their community, and the world

As for me and my summer brain, I am still staying up quite late into the morning, and sleeping in, but I am also trying to make good use of extra time to read, learn, and create!

*As is professional, you should explore and decide on whether these websites are appropriate for your students.

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