That sinking feeling – what the plunge of a roller coaster causes

Posted by Katlie Brynds on August 16, 2018

Imagine being on a roller coaster. You’re heading up the first big hill, and all of a sudden, the car tips over the top and plunges down the loop. You can feel yourself rising from the seat, and its as though your insides are floating. The weightless feeling you experience in this situation isnt an illusion. If you had a scale, you would find that you actually weigh less in that moment.

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Topics: IN THE CLASSROOM, BEYOND THE CLASSROOM, IDEAS & INSPIRATION, Science, STEM, Hands-on Learning, Physics

STEAM makes 'Oohs and Aahs' possible: using firework displays to learn STEAM

Posted by Melissa Karsten on July 02, 2018

Have you ever wondered what it takes to light up the sky on the Fourth of July? What makes a display spectacular? There are logistics, technology, and safety, plus the perfect playlist and, last but not least, the fireworks themselves. Sounds like a pretty good mash-up of STEAM in the real world. But it’s no wonder that most of us leave the BIG displays to the professionals.

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Topics: BEYOND THE CLASSROOM, IDEAS & INSPIRATION, Collaborations, Culture, Science, Technology, Resources, Engineering, STEAM

Injection molding and pink flamingos

Posted by Jessica Born on June 23, 2018

Iconic and ubiquitous – that’s the plastic pink flamingo in a nutshell. This legendary lawn ornament’s tale is as much about innovation as it is about kitsch. In the late 1950s and then again in the 1970s, millions of plastic pink flamingos flocked to yards across the US. We have art school graduate and sculptor, Don Featherstone to thank for that. (And how appropriate that his last name is Featherstone and his namesake creation is a bird who no doubt ruffled some feathers. Right?!)

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Topics: BEYOND THE CLASSROOM, IDEAS & INSPIRATION, Culture, Trends

It’s Great Outdoors Month®! Let’s go camping!

Posted by Patty Cooke on June 21, 2018

June is Great Outdoors Month®. And what a perfect month it is to get outside and enjoy all that nature has to offer! The weather is nice, school is out or coming to a close in most areas, and the outdoors beckons us like never before. Plus, the Great American Campout is this Saturday, June 23. So it’s exactly the right time to join in on the fun!

Camping, one of many outdoor activities, always brings back fond memories for me. Every summer without fail, my parents loaded up the van with food and drinks, along with my brothers and sisters and me, and we went to my grandparents’ cabin in Fall River, Kansas, at least once, if not several times throughout the summer. At the cabin, being outdoors was the name of the game. We went fishing, swimming, and boating at Fall River Lake; shot off fireworks in the large, open area behind the cabin; and spent most of the days and evenings outside playing with cousins and listening to the grown-ups relax and enjoy each other as well.

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Topics: BEYOND THE CLASSROOM, IDEAS & INSPIRATION, STEM, Social and emotional learning, Activities, 21st Century Skills, Hands-on Learning

Interest in school garden programs is growing

Posted by Melissa Karsten on June 05, 2018

Gardening. When you hear that word, do you immediately think of a flower, an herb, or a vegetable garden? Or maybe you’re familiar with a sensory or hydroponic garden? There’s a relatively long list of types of gardens, which can be a great lesson, but this week is National Gardening Week and June is Fresh Fruits and Veggies Month, so lets focus on the traditional vegetable garden.

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Topics: BEYOND THE CLASSROOM, IDEAS & INSPIRATION, Collaborations, Science, STEM, Social and emotional learning, Activities, 21st Century Skills