On the Web: Project-Based Science
SciLinks® is a web-based service from NSTA that provides online content chosen to augment printed articles and books. It does so through keywords; the keywords for this issue are:
The NSTA Calendar lists the following opportunities relating to Project-Based Science. To learn about other science-education events and opportunities, click here.
- Project Exchange
Explore the project-based learning units developed by teachers and shared on the Project Exchange website. In one activity, students choose a myth rather than a traditional scientific question to prove or disprove using scientific and problem-solving means, similar to the Discovery Channel Mythbusters series. These high school–level materials can easily be adapted for middle school classes. Teachers can access project samples and accompanying instructional activities, resources, and assessments.
- Student Engineering and Design Community
The Student Engineering and Design Community is a resource for teachers and advanced high school students interested in architecture, mechanical and civil engineering, industrial design, and animation and games. The site provides access to popular two-dimensional and three-dimensional design software, as well as other tools to help promote project-based learning. Materials include curricula, a teachers-only discussion forum, projects, and homework help for students.
- Science for America
The Science for America website offers resources for planning and implementing science instruction, developing project-based learning curricula, and collaborating with colleagues. It provides submission, rating, and discussion tools so that users can easily find the best materials.
Students of all ages can play MedMyst, an online, problem-based adventure game from Rice University. Participants attempt to solve medical mysteries dealing with infectious diseases in a futuristic world. During each mission, players explore such topics as chemistry, pharmacology, neuroscience, and medicine. Teacher materials to support and extend the games, as well as links to related topic sites, are included.
- GIS Resources
Geographic information system (GIS) tools are increasingly a part of lessons in environmental, biological, and Earth sciences. Teachers and students can use these tools to tackle problem-based instruction and community research projects. eSchool News Online has compiled a set of GIS news stories, best practices, and web links for teachers.
- 2008 International Virtual Science Fair Contest
All projects entered in the Virtual Science Fair Contest must be about living green and alternative/environmental energy. Middle school through college students can design a “green” building. All grade levels can start and continue an original new project in their communities or schools that promotes ecology and environmentally friendly actions. The deadline for science fair project entries is December 15, 2008.
- Action for Nature Young Eco-Hero Awards
Action for Nature seeks applications from students ages 8–16. The program recognizes the individual accomplishments of young people who have carried out environmental action projects. Projects must concern environmental advocacy, health, protection, or research. Winners will receive a cash award. Applications are due February 28, 2009.
- Young Naturalist Awards
The American Museum of Natural History’s research-based essay contest for students in grades 7–12 promotes participation and communication in science. Students choose a topic in biology, Earth science, or astronomy and take an expedition to an area where they can explore their topic. Twelve scholarship awards, two for each grade level, will be presented to the authors of the winning essays. In addition, up to 36 finalists will receive a $50 cash award and a certificate of recognition. Up to 300 semifinalists will receive a noncash award and a certificate of recognition. The teachers of the top 12 winners will receive a collection of books for their classrooms. Entries can be submitted between December 1, 2008, and March 2, 2009.
- Apprentice Ecologist Awards
The Apprentice Ecologist Awards program and competition is designed to encourage youth to get involved in protecting the wild lands and waters that sustain Earth’s biodiversity and ecosystems by working together on wilderness stewardship and conservation efforts. Participants receive a signed official certificate, and their stories are published on the website. A $500 scholarship will be awarded annually to the author of the top Apprentice Ecologist essay. The entry deadline is December 31, 2008.
- Youth Incentive Award
The Coleopterists Society, an international organization, has a program to recognize young people (grades 7–12) who study beetles. In addition to monetary grants of $150, awardees will receive up to $200 (Junior Award) and $400 (Senior Award) of equipment credit. The selection committee invites proposals for topics such as field-collecting trips to conduct beetle species inventories or diversity studies, attendance at workshops, visits to entomology or natural history museums for special training and projects on beetles, and studying of aspects of beetle biology. The proposed activities or projects will be evaluated on their degree of creativity, educational benefit to the applicant, scientific merit, feasibility, and budgetary planning. Applications are due December 15, 2008.