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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 31, 2017
Kacey Templin

Eight Coding Languages You Should Know

Kids & Coding, STEM

Code is what makes the digital world tick. It’s what constitutes an app, computer program, or a website. In a nutshell, it is the way people can write instructions to a computer and have that computer understand the message. While all digital programs require code to function, they each use a separate type of code, which is called coding language. Each language has different attributes that make it more suitable for a specific application. If you’re interested in becoming a web developer, you’d want to check out Ruby, Python, or C#. If you wanted to become a game developer you may want to learn Java, C or C++. Today, we’re checking out eight coding languages you ought to know!

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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 17, 2017
Mike Ritchie

Why 21st Century Kids Need a Programming Education

Kids & Coding, STEM

Coding, STEM, robotics; these have become buzzwords for what a 21st century education should be. Schools are working to integrate technology into the classroom and curriculum, and companies are looking to create products that help children learn and master these new skills. But is it right to put such an emphasis on ‘STEM education’ at the elementary school level?

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July 01, 2017
Alana Hackes

5 Women Who Changed the World

Girls & STEM, STEM

The movie, “Wonder Woman,” directed by Patty Jenkins, came out nearly a month ago and showed boys and girls everywhere that men aren’t the only ones that can be super heroes! It’s only a plus that as of June 25th, the movie is the “highest-grossing live-action film directed by a woman in the world, ever,” according to Vanity Fair. As cool as it is to see women achieving success in the film industry, it’s important to remember that there have been plenty of women that have changed the world over the course of history, whether they were wearing capes or not. Here are five women who changed the world and why we think they’re superheroes!

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June 19, 2017
Sophie Miller

The History of Roller Coasters

STEM

When asked about the origin of roller coasters, most people’s minds immediately gravitate (see what I did there?) to Coney Island in the late 19th century. And it’s true – the roller coaster as we know it saw its start at the iconic New York amusement park around that time. The Gravity Switchback Railway, a simple wooden ride with none of the precipitous drops that we’re used to today, was not the first operating roller coaster in America, but it was the one that first achieved large-scale financial success. People stood in line for hours to ride the coaster, and although it only cost 5 cents per ride, the profits were around $600 a day! While the Gravity Switchback Railway set the scene for the coasters that we know and love today, the history of roller coasters began long before 1884.

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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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