STEM Friday Roundup

What’s STEM? It’s an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and it is used to describe anything—from curricula to careers to books—that draw on or explore those fields of study.

What’s STEM Friday? It’s a weekly online celebration of books and activities that explore themes of science, technology, engineering and math. Every Friday, book bloggers across the internet share their thoughts on STEM topics, and every Friday someone compiles the links to all their posts so that you can peruse them at your leisure.

Why am I telling you this? Because today is STEM Friday, and I am the STEM Friday host!

If you are a contributor, leave me a link in the comments section. If you are a reader, check back throughout the day, as I’ll be adding STEM Friday links to the list below all day  …

First up is my post about International Coastal Cleanup, the perfect volunteer effort for anyone (or any group of someones) who has read TRACKING TRASH and felt moved to do something about ocean pollution.

Over at Ana’s Nonfiction Blog, author Ana María Rodríguez shares the slime in a sneak peak post about her book SECRET OF THE SUFFOCATING SLIME TRAP …. AND MORE!

At the SimplyScience blog, author Shirley Smith Duke shares a review and some related classroom activities in her post about the book HURRICANES!, by Gail Gibbons.

At Wrapped in Foil, Roberta explores Cat in the Hat science with a post reviewing WHY OH WHY ARE DESERTS DRY, by Tish Rabe, Aristides Ruiz, and Joe Matheiu.

Jeff at NC Teacher Stuff checked in with a post about SNAKES, SALAMANDERS, AND LIZARDS, by Diane Burns and Linda Garrow. (I love snakes, salamanders, and lizards!)

Cleanup! Cleanup! Everybody Cleanup!

ICC, Worcester, Massachusetts, 2007

If you’ve read my first book, TRACKING TRASH, you know that I’m a fan of the ocean cleanup extravaganza known as the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC). One day, hundreds of thousands of volunteers, millions of pounds of trash lifted from shores and deposited in safer places AND a twenty-five year record of every single item collected*. What’s not to love? Having participated in a few events myself, I know first-hand the impact they have on local beaches and the people who love them.

This year, The Ocean Conservancy is encouraging event organizers to take their work to the next level: clean up beaches, record the trash you find … and at the same time do everything you can to be sure you make as little impact on the planet as possible. No more Boxes of Joe on the sidelines, folks; bring your own coffee in a re-useable mug. I love it.

Participating in a planned ICC event is an excellent way to empower students who are aware of the ocean pollution issue. (TRACKING TRASH readers, for example.) Yes, there is a lot of trash in the ocean, but we can do something about it. We can clean it up, we can look carefully at what we find, and we can change our habits. You can participate alone, with your family, with a classroom of students or as part of a scout group. The options are endless, and the impact is real.

This year’s ICC is September 17, and you can find more information and an event near you at The Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup page.

For more information on ICC events happening in Massachusetts, where the festivities are spread out over a two month timeframe, visit the 2011 Coastsweep page.

* For 26 years, volunteers have counted all the debris collected on beaches around the world during ICC. Their results are compiled and published annually in The Ocean Conservancy’s State of the Ocean report. You can access the 2010 report from the ICC webpage linked above.

Especially for Science Teachers

It’s a linky kind of Friday …

Today I’ve got some links especially for science teachers. I’ll add this post to today’s STEM Friday round-up, but please feel free to forward it to the science teachers in your life, too.

First up, the American Museum of Natural History has published its slate of online classes for the fall, and they are pretty cool. (Space, Time, and Motion, anyone?) You’ll find full listings and course descriptions at the AMNF Seminars on Science webpage.

Also, the National Research Council has compiled a new framework for improved K-12 science education standards in the United States, and their report is available online for free. Go to the National Academies Press website and scroll to the “Dowload Free PDF” button. (Free registration is required in order to download.) I’ve begun reading it myself and am encouraged by the call to move science education away from rote memorization of facts and toward a hands-on approach wherein students actively participate in the scientific process. I know the transition to more experiential learning in the science classroom won’t be easy to implement, but good gravy, won’t it be more fun?

Finally, in the spirit of encouraging kids and teachers to actively participate in the scientific process, a sneak peak at my upcoming book about citizen science is now available on Goodreads. (You must be a Goodreads member to access the page; becoming one is free and easy.) If you read the chapter, I’d love to know what you think.

A round-up of posts from the kidlitosphere on the topics of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) can be found at Wrapped in Foil today. Check it out, and happy clicking!