Prototype Activities for STEM Box Debuted to Teachers

With activities for a brand new Biology in a Box K-12 unit on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) under development, several members of the Biology in a Box team traveled to Nashville to the Area Conference for the National Science Teacher’s Association to gauge teachers’ reactions to the new activities. Biology in a Box creator and project director Susan Riechert presented the new hands-on activities, which capitalize on examples from the field of biomimicry, a design discipline that studies and emulates natural systems to create technology. As the conference theme was “Sound Science: Southern Style,” activities involving animal sound production were highlighted. These included a popular video of the mating call of a jumping spider, which uses three varieties of sound production in combination during its dramatic song. Suzanne Lenhart, professor of mathematics at the University of Tennessee and associate director for education, outreach and diversity at NIMBioS, presented the “M” part of the STEM activities: student exploration of math concepts using sound wave graphs and sound measurements. Kelly Moran, education and outreach coordinator at NIMBioS, described additional opportunities for teachers at NIMBioS. Biology in a Box sets are now in 80 school districts in Tennessee and several surrounding states. “Box Keepers,” designated teachers who store sets of boxes and handle loans to others interested teachers, are still being sought for several counties in Tennessee. To view a map of participating county school systems in Tennessee and a current list of Box Keepers for each county, click here.

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