Posts belonging to Category STEM

Guest Blog – A STEM Teacher’s Story

Highlighting a Guest Blog - a STEM Teacher’s StoryAt the beginning of this year, I heard my students buzzing about the game Minecraft, which allows players to build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D generated world. This was an opportunity to infuse 21st century skills with technology in a relevant and meaningful way. Just as Thomas Edison was able to refine his ideas, making them more desirable, it was my intention to adapt a game that students were already highly interested in to make it thought-provoking and engaging.

I changed the premise and purpose of the Minecraft game, and combined it with a method of systems thinking known as DSRP; i.e. a theory and method of thinking, an acronym, standing for Distinctions, Systems, Relationships, and Perspectives. I challenged students to form teams and build a world from one specific perspective-one that uses algae as a fuel source. After some research on algae cultivation and biofuels, the students were able to build, virtually authentic, algae farms.

I was impressed with their ability to understand the relationships between the parts of their system [systems thinking]. This became evident when students decided to put their algae farms next to the power plant so carbon dioxide off-gases from the power plant could be used to promote accelerated algae growth, thereby keeping the off-gases from adversely affecting earth’s ozone layer.

Since this project, we have tackled problems such as disaster preparedness and the waste/trash epidemic, through similar studies. It was amazing to see middle school students attacking real-world problems. This technology has proven to be engaging and also an effective tool to facilitate skills necessary in the 21st century.

Louis Rossi Think STEM Coach Green Hills School Greendell, NJ 07839

Louis Rossi
Think STEM Coach
Green Hills School
Greendell, NJ 07839

Check out this additional info!

Thomas Edison on Time MagazineThomas Edison said … “The man who doesn’t make up his mind to cultivate the habit of thinking misses the greatest pleasure in life.

Time ® is a registered trademark of Time Inc.


The MOOCS are Coming, The MOOCS are Coming!

The MOOCS are Coming, The MOOCS are Coming!

The MOOCS are Coming, The MOOCS are Coming!

Yes they are, and with the potential to redefine education. A product of the Internet revolution, MOOCS are “Massive, Open, On-line Courses” designed to reach as many students, formal and informal, as possible. Think of them as super webinars for the world, distance learning on steroids.

Universities are experimenting with them as a way to reach larger audiences, leveraging their intellectual capital on campus; and as a potential way to reduce the spiraling costs of on-campus education. Big name schools like Stanford University, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, City University of New York, The University of Michigan, MIT, Harvard and others are developing delivery platforms with strategic partners. Even high schools are potential application areas for MOOCS.

What could this mean for the traditional bricks and mortar, red brick schoolhouses of yesteryear? Might this be a way to reduce high school costs at all levels? What could this mean for how our “kids” gain socialization through the interactions of fellow students? Certainly such questions remain to be answered, just like they did when the Internet began re-defining how business does business. Big change, gale force winds, could be coming to our education system.

Because of many potential learners at once, i.e. very high student teacher ratios, MOOCs can use several approaches for feedback and interaction; such as peer-review, group collaboration or online assessments, quizzes, and exams; and in the future there is likely to be even more ways for on-line students to interact.

The MOOCS are Coming, The MOOCS are Coming!

Thomas Edison, a devoted and disciplined life-long learner would certainly applaud this technology. To him it would be a massive way to digest new information and keep a-pace with changing times. Remember, this was the man who thought so much about information being the key to invention/innovation/entrepreneurship that he put his business office in his library. Imagine what this great man could have done with an Internet connection! Imagine what it would be like if we could teach many kids around the world, through MOOCS, about inventing like Edison. Go MOOCS!

Editor’s Deep Dive

Thomas Edison on Time MagazineThomas Edison – Man of the Millennium – said … “I find out what the world needs. Then I go ahead and try to invent it.”

Time® is a registered trademark of Time Inc.


Thomas Edison in Your Classroom … Attention Teachers!

Teachers … as you arrive back in school once more, bring Thomas Edison with you and introduce his rich legacy to your students. Here are major points to develop lesson plans; and show how Edison’s work is important to integrating the curriculum.

Thomas Edison in Your Classroom ... Attention Teachers!Edison brought more wealth to civilization than any other human being. He died in 1931, but his accomplishments and industries created live on, representing 10% of the world’s economy. [LESSON PLAN HELPER: Connect history and technology and science]

Undoubtedly, the educational discipline called STEM is being used in your school. Thomas Edison pioneered this interdisciplinary, multidimensional way of solving problems at his West Orange labs 125 years ago. [LESSON PLAN HELPER: Connect science, technology, engineering and math]

With Edison comes that indomitable spirit to never give up, in spite of failures. He epitomized the man who learned valuable lessons from failures…coining his famous quote….”Fail your way to success”. [LESSON PLAN HELPER: Connect science, technology, business and economics]

He created four huge industries…the electric light and utility industry, recorded sound, motion pictures and the modern day R&D lab. All together he had 1093 U.S patents; and counting his overseas patents the total climbs to 2332. His work is broad and deep in scope making him the greatest inventor who ever lived. Life Magazine proclaimed him the Man of the Millennia. [LESSON PLAN HELPER: Connect science, technology, engineering, math, history and economics]

With his creation of industrial R&D labs, Thomas Edison takes the industrial revolution of the late 1880s and extends it indefinitely into the future, systematizing the process of invention, completely changing the standards of living for all on planet Earth—giving us the concept of progress led by technological advancement…the heartbeat of today’s economies the world over. [LESSON PLAN HELPER: Connect creativity, innovation, invention and history]

Thomas Edison was an entrepreneur, a businessman who had both vision and the ability to see and shape new markets for his products. His famous four rules for business were:

  • Think out of the box
  • Be entrepreneurial … take risks
  • Fail your way to success
  • Success demands that you improve your products

[LESSON PLAN HELPER: Connect business, history, economics and innovation]

Thomas Edison in Your Classroom ... Attention Teachers!He saw great potential in both alternate energy technologies solar systems and wind energy; and pioneered the storage batteries needed for electric vehicles. He developed the concept for re-charging electric vehicles in a garage-his garage, all the way back in 1908. [LESSON PLAN HELPER: Connect science, technology, engineering and math]

Thomas Edison was life-long learner and man of letters. He kept 4,000 laboratory notebooks and produced over 5 million written documents. This great man was a master communicator. [LESSON PLAN HELPER: Connect creativity, innovation, language arts and speaking skills]

There are numerous ways to bring Thomas Edison alive to your students in a way that complements your classroom and curriculum. Turn your kids onto this American icon, and they will reward you with a flood of invention and creativity!

Sources of Edison Information for your Classroom:

Classroom Activities to Try:

Have your students identify modern inventors, entrepreneurs, and creative individuals who have that Thomas Edison spirit [i.e. like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Dean Kamen] and discuss them in class.

Invite local inventors into your classroom to discuss how they solve problems and their inventions.

Challenge your class to do some inventing in class:

Let us know how your kids react to Mr. Edison, or if you need some help … contact us at

Oh, by the way…2012 is the 135th anniversary of recorded sound-the phonograph [1877]; the 130th anniversary of the electric utility industry [1882]; and, the 125th anniversary of the West Orange Labs [1887]. Now there are some things to discuss in class!

Thomas Edison on Time MagazineThomas Edison said … “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”

Time ® is a registered trademark of Time Inc.