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Monday Morning Ready11.02.2018
Jumpstart Your Week!

Anna Du was walking along Castle Island’s beach in South Boston when she noticed plastic scattered on the shoreline. She reached down to pick it up, and quickly realized there were many more tiny pieces than she could handle.... < read more >
Grade 3-4

Why is the buildup of plastic in the oceans such a big problem? What do you think will happen if people don't find a solution?

Grade 5-6

If you could solve a big problem, like the buildup of plastic in Earth's oceans, what problem would you pick? Why?

Grade 7-8

According to the article, Anna Du's ROV detects where microplastics are accumulating on the ocean floor, but it doesn't actually collect them. Why is her idea still an important invention?

Grade 9-10

According to the article, 2,500 students entered this years' Broadcom Masters competition. That pool was narrowed down to 300 projects and then the top 30 finalists were chosen. If you were a judge, what criteria would you use to narrow that pool? How would you select a winner when there were so many good ideas?

Investigate Careers in STEM


  1. Have students discuss what STEM is. Encourage them to identify things they are learning now-both in and out of school-that could help them succeed in a science, technology, engineering or math career.
  2. Instruct students to select one STEM career that interests them and conduct research to learn more about it. Tell them to make a list of skills and educational requirements needed to enter this career and personality traits that many people who succeed in this field share. Have students also investigate the outlook for employment and salary projections for this career.
  3. Have students identify one or more people currently working in this field. Encourage students to conduct research to learn about these people, major projects they have worked on and the path they followed to succeed in their careers.
  4. Give each student a piece of plain white paper. Have students fold their papers vertically in thirds. Instruct students to use what they learned to create a brochure that educates people about this career. Encourage them to incorporate profiles of the people they investigated to give their brochures a personal touch.


Invite students to share their brochures with the class. Challenge classmates to identify at least one component in each brochure that would inspire them to pursue the featured STEM career.


Grades 3-4:
Discuss STEM and STEM careers as a class. Then divide the class into small groups, based on the type of STEM career each student would like to pursue. Have groups conduct research to learn more about their chosen careers and people who have succeeded in the field. Then have each student create his or her own brochure.
Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into small groups. Have each group discuss what STEM is and identify different types of STEM careers. Instruct the group to select one STEM career to investigate further. Also have each group member identify and investigate one person who has succeeded in this field. Have group members brainstorm ideas about how to create an effective brochure. Then have each group member create his or her own brochure that incorporates details about the person they studied.
Grades 7-8:
Divide the class into pairs. Have partners discuss what STEM is and identify different types of STEM careers. Then have each student conduct research to learn about a particular STEM career. Challenge them to also identify and learn about three or more people who have succeeded in this field. Then have each student create his or her own brochure. Challenge students to select a design, message and format that will encourage others to pursue careers in this field.
Grades 9-10:
Have students conduct research to identify different types of STEM careers. Instruct students to pick the career that interests them the most. Give students time to conduct research to learn what is needed to enter these fields and how three or more people found success in their chosen careers. Then have each student create his or her own brochure. Challenge students to present vital information in a creative and personable way so others will be encouraged to pursue careers in this field.
STEM Resources
Encourage your students to explore the science, technology, engineering and math in history with these lessons from the National Museum of American History. Lessons target grades K-12 and cover topics ranging from DNA and body parts to computer programming languages and lasers.

STEM in 30
Join the National Air and Space Museum for STEM in 30, an interactive classroom program consisting of 30-minute webcasts that engage middle school students in STEM topics ranging from WWI airplanes to rovers on Mars. You can watch live, even submitting your own questions and chatting with experts, or view archived programs on-demand.

Disaster Detector
The citizens of Smithsonville are in dire need of a Disaster Detector! Are your students up for the challenge? If so, invite them to play this game, presented by the Smithsonian Science Education Center. The game teaches players how to analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and how to implement tools to mitigate the effects of those disasters.

Scaffolding Science Vocabulary Development Within Inquiry-Based Instruction
In this hour-long video from the Smithsonian Science Education Center, author and professor Dr. David T. Crowther provides teachers with a basic understanding of language development. He also provides strategies for scaffolding both content and science vocabulary within inquiry-based science instruction.

STEM Lessons From Space
Have you ever wondered what kind of STEM activities occur on the International Space Station? Invite your students to follow astronauts as they demonstrate STEM concepts such as Newton’s Laws of Motion, surface tension and advances in technology. The NASA lessons go beyond textbooks and use videos and additional resources to supplement classroom activities.

Do Try This At Home!
Want to be inventive at home or in the classroom? Try your hand at these fun activities from the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.

An Astronaut Reflects on Sally Ride’s Legacy for Women in STEM
Sally Ride encouraged girls to embrace science and engineering, helping democratize space for all. Read this Smithsonian magazine article to learn why more work is needed.