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On August 5th, the Curiosity rover celebrated its fifth anniversary working on Mars. Since 2012, Curiosity has been exploring the surface of the red planet, working tirelessly to fulfill its primary mission to find out if Mars is, or was, suitable for life. NASA is planning on sending humans to the surface of our closest planetary neighbor in the next few decades, but they have to make sure they learn as much as possible before sending astronauts. Our eventual colonization of Mars has been a hot topic of late, so what better way to educate your children about the journey than to have them plan a trip themselves? In this post, we’ll take you through all the basic steps for a successful mission from one planet to the next!

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July 24, 2017
Rachael Rufino

5 Super-Cool Offline Coding Activities

STEM Education / Play, Learning Through Play, Kids & Coding, Girls & STEM, STEM, STEAM

Learning to code without a computer may seem illogical, but it makes perfect sense.  Unplugging the computer and teaching coding through more familiar mediums such as hands-on activities, can make the subject less intimidating and more interactive.

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July 08, 2017
Kacey Templin

Summer Learning Series Part 3: Marvel Science

STEM Education / Play

What do Iron Man, Captain America, and Spider-Man all have in common? They’re all Marvel superheroes! Since 1939, Marvel Comics has delighted children and adults alike with fantastical stories of good versus evil. It’s evident that superheroes are still captivating the American public, as Marvel is the highest-grossing U.S. franchise today. In honor of Spiderman: Homecoming’s recent release, this Saturday post is all about Marvel science!

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June 13, 2017
Kacey Templin

The Science of Roller Coasters

STEM Education / Play, STEM

School is out and summertime is upon us, which means that amusement park season is in full swing. Children and adults alike look forward to playing carnival games, eating popcorn and funnel cakes, and of course, riding roller coasters. Coasters have been an anchor for American amusement parks for decades, drawing in thrill seekers from around the globe. Guests willingly wait hours in line for a few minutes of thrill, a chance to experience that adrenaline high that makes us giddy. Not everyone enjoys roller coasters, but most find them fascinating. They’re thrilling, chilling, and an excellent study in the power of physics.

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May 29, 2017
Kacey Templin

5 Offline Games That Teach Kids Coding Skills

STEM Education / Play, Kids & Coding, Girls & STEM, STEM

You’ve probably seen an article or two about how coding is the “it” skill for children these days. Organizations like Girls Who Code and Hour of Code are developing coding programs designed to prepare children for career success later in life. Schools around the country are recognizing the need for computer science classes, and nearly 40% of schools around the U.S. now teach programming. While technology continues to evolve, computer science job openings continue to grow.

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April 17, 2017
Kacey Templin

9 Lesser-Known Games for Family Game Night

Creativity, STEM Education / Play, Learning Through Play

It's family game night again, but you've already played Life and Monopoly more times than you can count. You want to switch it up, but you're not sure which games your family will enjoy. Well never fear, ThinkFun has you covered! These lesser-known choices are both educational and are sure to be a hit the next time around. 

 

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March 13, 2017
R. Elaine L. Smith

"At-Risk" Brains and Games

Kids And Creativity, STEM Education / Play, Learning Through Play

Mary and I are two teachers, who have been teaching science in some form or another since dinosaurs roamed the earth (at least that is what we tell our students).  Personal communications changed dramatically with the advent of an affordable personal computer.  Social media, such as Myspace, appeared facilitating communication across long distances, classrooms, age and gender gaps.  At the same time, cell phones became cheap and available.  Now there is opportunity for constant communication from a variety of platforms ranging from Facebook to Twitter to Snapchat. During this time period, we have observed that social communication has become a premier driver of the adolescent brain at the same time that the focus and effort required for academic success has been diminishing.

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