STEM Roundup: Auto Racing, ‘Winners Guide’ to Research, California Summit

By Erik W. Robelen — February 11, 2011 2 min read
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It’s Friday, a great day for a quick roundup. So here goes for all you STEM education fans.

• We’ll start with a new (pun alert!) spin on learning about science, technology, engineering and mathematics: The Daytona International Speedway is co-sponsoring a four-day professional development institute that culminates in a day at the racetrack to watch the Gatorade Duel, two qualifying races for the Daytona 500 this month. Twenty-four teachers will “improve their knowledge of STEM disciplines and best practices, using the world of auto racing as their classroom,” according to a press release.

Topics include the analysis of speed, understanding force, energy, and motion, and figuring out how safety applies to speedways. The curriculum for Driving Science was developed at Clemson University’s College of Engineering and Science with a grant from the DuPont Office of Education.

• In other STEM developments, a new book by current and recent Harvard University undergraduates who have won national science competitions seeks to encourage high school students to undertake research projects and compete in science fairs.

“We had two goals in mind while writing this book,” said Shiv Gaglani, a coauthor of Success With Science: The Winner’s Guide to High School Research. “First, we wanted to motivate our younger peers to discover the benefits and excitement that come with science research. Second, we aimed to provide these students with a practical guide that will help them to succeed in their research endeavors.”

The book, published by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, includes how-to advice on: using the scientific method to your advantage, writing a publishable research paper, making a professional show board or poster, and giving a “winning” slide presentation, the press release says.

James Gentile, the president of Research Corporation for Science Advancement, plugged the book in the Huffington Post.

• Finally, two items from the National Academy of Sciences. First, California State University, in collaboration with the NAS, is hosting a summit on Valentine’s Day to explore “new and potentially transformational changes to the preparation of teachers” in the STEM fields.

Second, this is a little older, but I just learned about the summary of a NAS workshop comparing professional development of math teachers in the United States with China. (You may recall that Shanghai made a very strong showing on the recent PISA exams.)

UPDATE (12:30pm):
Here’s another item that’s worth a look. The Hechinger Report has a new article titled “The Evolution of Teaching Evolution.”

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.