The Physics of Bridges


How Bridges Are Built | Educational Innovations Blogby Lior Zitman

Bridges have changed greatly over the years.  Thanks to advances in building materials and machinery, building a bridge is now more precise than ever before.

Nevertheless, all these modern marvels come down to a few simple physics principles.  Our technologies may evolve, but some things—like physics—never change!

Every bridge, regardless of its form, must constantly balance the opposite forces of tension and compression.  How these forces work together is what makes each bridge type unique. Read the rest of this entry »


Making Scientifically-Accurate Snowflakes


By Priscilla Robinson

Snowflakes!  They arrive in flurries, storms and blizzards, not to mention “Winter Bomb Cyclones!”  I’ve always thought the science behind snowflakes is amazing.

A snowflake begins when a tiny dust or pollen particle comes into contact with water vapor high up in Earth’s atmosphere.  The water vapor coats the tiny particle and then freezes into a tiny crystal of ice.  This tiny crystal will be the “seed” from which a snowflake will grow.  The process is called crystallization.

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STEM vs STEAM: Why the “A” Matters


By Tina Brown

We first heard the term “STEM” several years ago.  In May of 2013, the National Science and Technology Council introduced their five-year strategic plan.  It was a 127-page report on how to strengthen American schools’ science, technology, engineering, and math education programs.

Essentially, the goal of this plan was to produce children who would eventually be competitive in an international job market. However, within a few years of the STEM hype, educators realized there was something missing.

The Missing Element in STEM

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The Magic of Spring, Seeds, and Science!


by Priscilla Robinson

Spring in the Pacific Northwest comes with a fanfare of germinating seeds, blossoming flowers, and budding trees.  As a science educator, I like to jump on Mother Nature’s bandwagon to bring this burst of plant life into my classroom.  What your students see every day can bloom into teachable moments.  These learning ideas will help you make the most out of the magic and science of spring.

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The Power of Electricity, Magnetism… and Infomercials!


Educational Innovations BlogBy Cathy Byrne

Virtually all fourth grade students explore electricity and magnetism.  As part of this unit, students are asked to do two things:

1 –   Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents (4-PS3-2)

2 –   Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another (4-PS3-4). 

This year, the teachers at my school put a new twist on our electricity and magnetism unit… and the results were amazing!

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