Now that AP tests are over, how are you engaging your students? What sort of capstone projects do you assign to wrap up the year? If your classroom looks anything like mine, May includes a mixture of independent projects and organizing for fall. Thankfully, I’ve discovered a new resource to actively engage my students in STEM through real-world problem solving—Spark 101 Interactive STEM Videos.
I’ve been using the videos all year and believe that many teachers will especially benefit from these resources during the last few weeks of the school year. They offer free and complete access to real-world problems, STEM expertise, and career insights from STEM employers—as well as complementary teacher-created lesson plans ready to use.
The Spark 101 problem-solving videos help students build research around STEM topics. They are like virtual interviews, with no waiting for someone to respond. Students can glean information about careers, daily tasks, educational pathways, research and problems, all from one case challenge video that is only 10 minutes long.
Here are a few capstone ideas that can be supported by the Spark 101 Interactive STEM Videos:
- Use the NASA video challenge, Researching Bacteria’s Virulence in Space, to highlight the tools and technology currently used in research.
- Bring your class together to focus on healthcare careers and the design process with the video challenge from UT Southwestern Medical Center, Concussion in Professional Football Players: Designing a Neuroscience Study.
- Complement your students’ summer enrichment activities. Whether they are volunteering or interning over the summer, they will see science practices come alive in the video challenge, Backyard Brains: Neuroscience, What Can We Learn from Studying Grasshoppers?
- Give students a perspective on environmental concerns as they spend time outdoors over the summer using the video challenge from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation: What Do Land Use and Bird Species Tell Us about the Health of the Potomac River?
- Engage students in helping you plan for the future. If you lead a discussion on which real-world problems and videos might lead into units next year, your current students can continue to build the connections between curriculum and real-world applications.
Sign into the Spark 101 educator portal and keep track of the case challenges you'll use this year and in the future.