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

Back to school: Make it a great year!

Posted by Patty Cooke on July 30, 2018

As educators well know, the beginning of a new school year can be overwhelming for all involved. Parents are anxious about leaving their children in the hands of others. Students are anxious to do well and not fall behind. And teachers, from first-year educators to veterans, are anxious to instill knowledge into a new group of students while managing their classroom and keeping an eye on the health and emotional well-being of each child.

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Topics: IDEAS & INSPIRATION, Teacher Resources, Culture, Resources, Teacher Development

Amelia Earhart: Celebrating a legacy of adventure

Posted by Patty Cooke on July 24, 2018

July 24 is National Amelia Earhart Day, a day that honors her birth as well as her achievements.

Born Amelia Mary Earhart on July 24, 1897, (in Pitsco’s home state, and more specifically in Atchison, KS) Earhart began challenging the notion of what girls could do at a young age, eschewing expected female norms for climbing trees and hunting rats with a .22 rifle. She even collected news clippings about women succeeding in traditional male fields (Amelia Earhart).

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Topics: IN THE CLASSROOM, IDEAS & INSPIRATION, STEM, STEM Expeditions, Career Expeditions, Hands-on Learning

Measured for success

Posted by Preston Frazier on July 14, 2018

It seems like every day is a holiday these days, but we’re not complaining. Let’s take a look at a day that really measures up.

On July 14, 1868, a gentleman by the name of Albert J. Fellows of Connecticut revolutionized an item we keep in our toolbox with his patent for a spring-click tape measure (Wired). 

Rulers have been around since the days of the Romans, so Fellows isnt the inventor of the tape measure. And hes not even the originator of the steel spring measure; he improved Englishman James Chesterman’s steel band measuring chain, which was created in 1829 specifically for surveyors. The issues with Chestermans creation were its size and bulk, which also made it expensive. Fellows added a clip that kept the tape from retracting as well as a few other construction improvements, and the arrangement qualified him for his patent. So today’s tradesmen and craftsmen can thank Fellows for the modern tape measure.

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Topics: IN THE CLASSROOM, Middle School, Competitions, IDEAS & INSPIRATION, STEM, Dragsters, Activities, Hands-on Learning

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