The Smithsonian Institution and Lenovo have teamed up to develop and provide freeSTEAM activities for students, along with teachers’ guides. The materials are available in the Smithsonian Learning Lab for educators who would like to replicate or adapt them in the classroom or in after-school programs. As part of the joint initiative, the Smithsonian is providing training for Lenovo employee volunteers to facilitate the STEAM activities with students in schools and in after-school programs during their community outreach. The Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access is designing the activities and step-by-step facilitator’s guides. The center will also create two virtual-reality education experiences for teachers to embed into their curriculum. The Smithsonian Learning Lab projects include Sculptris (creating a 3D model of an insect based on specimens from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History), E-textiles (combining circuitry and fabric to create wearable tech), Wright Flight (learning the basic engineering skills used by the Wright brothers, followed by a digital test flight of a 3D model of the original Wright Flyer from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum), ArtBots (constructing an art-making robot using motors, batteries, and whimsy), Botany Field Book (learning techniques inspired by a National Museum of Natural History botanical illustrator), and CURIO (trading-card game challenging students to discover patterns and connections that inspire their own Smithsonian collection).
Helping students see the possibilities of careers in STEM fields means providing them with diverse role models. PBS LearningMedia has made a list of some of the top black scientists, engineers, inventors, and mathematicians, along with media resources to help teachers to bring their work—and stories—into the classroom.
The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, has partnered with Exelon Foundation in championing science learning for high school students and in encouraging new thinking about the environment. Out-of-school-time providers are invited to develop a STEM Lab for the future aimed at tackling solutions to the environmental crisis, with a minds-on approach and hands-on science skills.
Founded by a former math teacher and school leader, Black Girls Love Math (BGLM) uses a research-based approach to create an engaging, encouraging, and culturally conscious space for Black girls to explore and discover math.