NASA Lands in Oakland!

New Partnership with Chabot Space & Science Center Will Create NASA Learning Opportunities in the East Bay

A new partnership between NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley and Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland, California, is now underway. Anchoring the partnership, a new visitor center for Ames will provide an immersive, dynamic STEAM environment called “The NASA Experience,” opening at Chabot in November 2021.

Under the terms of a 5-year Space Act Agreement, the organizations are beginning a long-term collaboration to create accessible STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) community engagement and education opportunities in Oakland and beyond.

“We’ve long collaborated with Chabot for community engagement activities and are delighted to take this next and more formal step to bring a deeper NASA experience into our surrounding communities,” said Eugene Tu, director of Ames. “It’s one of NASA’s founding functions to share our work as widely as possible, and partnering with Chabot will allow us to reach more broadly than we’d ever be able to do with our existing resources and location in the South Bay.”

Under the formal agreement, NASA and Chabot have identified three main areas for immediate collaboration that leverage the strengths of NASA’s research and Chabot’s long-standing programs.

First, The NASA Experience creates an immersive, dynamic, STEAM learning environment that puts the visitor into the role of a NASA researcher. Hands-on STEAM studios highlight the current science at NASA through interactive challenges, models, artifacts, and more. The visitor center brings to life the thrilling, challenging, and inspiring process of scientific discovery by showcasing the real stories and people at NASA’s Ames Research Center.

“We are so excited to share the fascinating science, extraordinary people and groundbreaking research of NASA’s Ames Research Center right here in Oakland,” said Adam Tobin, Executive Director at Chabot Space & Science Center, “Bringing together NASA Ames’ long legacy of innovation and Chabot’s 137-year history in STEM education creates a powerful opportunity to inspire the next generation of future scientists, engineers and astronomers.”

Leading up to the November opening, Chabot and Ames will provide engaging virtual programs hosted on Chabot Space & Science Center’s Facebook and YouTube platforms to offer participants a closer look at NASA’s mission.

Second, the two groups will create an interconnected network of STEAM education experiences throughout the city that deepens Chabot’s existing “Learning Everywhere” initiative. Building on existing connections with Oakland’s schools, libraries, and local organizations, this partnership will create programs that engage learners in current NASA research.

Third, the partnership will create tangible STEAM career pathways by developing explicit connections between NASA’s career opportunities and Chabot’s youth development programs. NASA will provide speakers, fieldtrips, and independent study on the missions and technology associated with work happening at NASA Ames in collaboration with Chabot’s Galaxy Explorers program, first established in 2000.

Chabot Space & Science Center is a non-profit institution, community resource, and hub for interactive STEAM engagement in Oakland. Founded in 1883, Chabot’s mission is to inspire and educate learners of all ages about the universe and planet Earth.

NASA’s Ames Research Center, one of 10 NASA field centers across the country, is located in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. Since 1939, Ames has led NASA in conducting world-class research and development in aeronautics, exploration technology, and science aligned with the center’s core capabilities.

Link between education, income inequality has existed for a century

Income is inextricably linked to access to education in America and it has been for a century, according to a new study from researchers at Stanford University and Rice University.

“A century of educational inequality in the United States,” published July 27 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examines the link between education and income dating back to the early the 20th century. The research draws upon a dozen nationally representative datasets on college enrollment and completion between 1908 and 1995 as well as tax data from more recent years. It is one of the first studies to examine this link over such an extended period of time.

Researchers Michelle Jackson from Stanford and Brian Holzman from Rice’s Houston Education Research Consortium, part of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research and School of Social Sciences, found that income and educational inequality moved in lockstep with one another throughout the 20th century. The authors said previous studies of this topic, which haven’t examined data going so far back in time, did not reveal such a strong link.

Their paper detailed how inequality in college enrollment and completion rose in the 1930s and 1940s amid rising income inequality; was low for Americans born in the late 1950s and 1960s, when income inequality was low; and rose again for Americans born in the late 1980s, when income inequality peaked. This U-turn indicates the nation is experiencing levels of collegiate inequality not seen for generations, the authors wrote.

“Long story short, the findings reveal that longstanding worries about income inequality and its relationship to college opportunity are warranted,” Holzman said.

One notable exception was during the Vietnam War. For young people at risk of serving in the war, collegiate inequality was high while income inequality was low. During this period, inequality in college enrollment and completion was significantly higher among men than women, suggesting a bona fide “Vietnam War effect,” according to the paper.

The researchers hope the paper will further demonstrate the systemic nature of the link between income and education and inform future work on increasing educational opportunities, particularly for disadvantaged people.

The paper is online at https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/07/21/1907258117 and was funded by the Russell Sage Foundation.

Duolingo Launches Children’s Literacy App #LearnALanguage

duolingo kids

Duolingo Launches Children’s Literacy App, Duolingo ABC
Available on iOS, the Free App Helps Children Ages 3-6 Learn to Read

Duolingo, the company behind the world’s most popular language-learning platform, has announced the launch of Duolingo ABC. Available on iOS, the free English literacy app teaches children ages 3-6 how to read. The app is designed specifically for younger users to enjoy independently, as the company’s goal is to help children have fun while they practice reading and writing.

The app can be downloaded for iOS at: Apps.apple.com/app/duolingo-abc-learn-to-read/id1440502568

“We created Duolingo ABC to tackle the global problem of illiteracy,” said Luis von Ahn, CEO and Co-Founder of Duolingo. “Teaching people how to read and write can change lives. By taking everything we know about how people learn languages, and how to keep learners motivated with gamification, we believe we can make a dent in global literacy rates.”

Developed by learning scientists, the new app includes over 300 fun, bite-sized lessons teaching the alphabet, phonics, and sight words. Duolingo ABC is aligned with Common Core standards and based on recommendations by the National Reading Panel.

Duolingo ABC does not feature ads or in-app purchases and is available on iOS. It can be found in the App Store in the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE LAUNCHES “THE CONVERSATION” TO SUSTAIN ANTIRACIST ENGAGEMENT, COLLABORATION, AND ACTION

“The Conversation” Goes Beyond the Books with Next Steps Toward a More Equitable Future

Penguin Random House today announced the launch of a new website to support families, educators, communities, organizations, and readers who are working to combat racism and end racial inequities in our daily lives. Named “The Conversation,” this website brings together a curated array of resources and programming for readers, including discussion guides, title lists, and special content for all age groups. With a strong focus on family reading and community engagement, The Conversation was designed as a resource to support multiple constituencies, including educators, librarians, booksellers, activists and allies, as well as Penguin Random House employees. The site is designed to be a dynamic resource, and will be updated in real time as authors and allies create and share relevant content.

This organic employee initiative grew out of an internal company brainstorm about how to assist those learning about anti-racism take the next actionable steps. It also reflects discussions held by PRH employees throughout the company, including members of the Penguin Random House Diversity & Inclusion Council.

“In virtual classrooms and virtual conference rooms, and within our company, people are grappling with how to discuss our world, and how to create real and lasting change,” said Jaci Updike, President, Sales, Penguin Random House, U.S. “We want to amplify the work of our authors, engage with readers, listen carefully to what is being asked of us, and share resources that fuel conversation and spark collective action.”

The Conversation includes resources to facilitate dialogue about books by Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, and other iconic writers. It will also provide toolkits, inspired by the works of Ibram X. Kendi and Jennifer L. Eberhardt, for creating anti-racist workplaces. The website will feature books and content from all of Penguin Random House’s publishing divisions, and the company is creating book bundles and materials for independent bookstores to help these businesses with their outreach to local schools and libraries.

A primary focus will be our youngest readers, with toolkits for raising anti-racist children, centering on books by Jacqueline Woodson and Nic Stone, among others. Additionally, a Family Reads initiative will be launched via The Conversation later this fall, which will include family reading guides for the adult and young-reader editions of Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy and Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime, along with video content and other resources to facilitate meaningful family conversations.

“We want to maintain momentum in our communities, and provide resources for our collective journey ahead,” continued Updike. “All of PRH is committed to the ongoing development of The Conversation – to creating new material and responding to current events as close to real-time as we can.”

To participate in The Conversation, visit www.penguinrandomhouse.com/theconversation.

Hand2Mind Moving Creations

Looking to fill your “shelter in place” days with a little more then TV? If you are like me, you are worried about all the school your little one is missing. We are really looking at learning toys and hands on learning, experiments, and anything that lets them learn by doing while they are home with us.

One toy that we have recently tried was the Hand2Mind Moving Creations with K’nex. My youngest son (and husband) love K’nex, and we were excited to try this kit out.

Your kids can learn to apply STEM principles just like an engineer. “Moving Creations from hand2mind, a leading developer of classroom learning tools for over 50 years, is created in partnership with K’NEX®. The step-by-step illustrated guide contains 9 different builds, educational science content, 18 STEM experiments and “Think Bigger” challenges to practice the scientific method. Includes a 98 pg. book with storage box attached.”
(according to Hands2Mind website)

PRODUCT PERKS

STEM building activities teach engineering through play
Walks junior engineers through 9 builds and 18 STEM experiments
Explores the fascinating science of pneumatics (air) & hydraulics (water)
Includes “Think Bigger” challenges to deepen understanding of the scientific method

INCLUDES

  • 98-Page build and experiment guidebook
  • 73 Standard K’NEX pieces
  • 3 Custom pumps with k’nex connectors
  • 3 Tubes
  • 4 Pumps
  • 1 Rocket


PROS

  • Learn STEM just like an engineer

  • Step-by-step illustrated guide contains 9 different builds, educational science content, 18 STEM experiments and “Think Bigger” challenges

  • Explores fascinating science of pneumatics (air) and hydraulics (water)

  • Grades: 2-8

MSRP: $39.99 | Buy It Here

America’s Knowledge Crisis: A Survey on Civic Literacy

Washington, DC — A national survey commissioned by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) draws new attention to a crisis in civic understanding and the urgent need for renewed focus on civics education at the postsecondary level.

Some of the alarming results include:

  • 26% of respondents believe Brett Kavanaugh is the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and 14% of respondents selected Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016.
    • 15% of the college graduates surveyed selected Brett Kavanaugh.
    • Fewer than half correctly identified John Roberts.
  • 18% of respondents identified Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), a freshman member of the current Congress, as the author of the New Deal, a suite of public programs enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s.
    •  12% of the college graduates surveyed selected Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
  • 63% did not know the term lengths of U.S. Senators and Representatives.
    • Fewer than half of the college graduates surveyed knew the correct answer.
  • 12% of respondents understand the relationship between the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment, and correctly answered that the 13thAmendment freed all the slaves in the United States.
    • 19% of the college graduates surveyed selected the correct answer.

ACTA’s What Will They Learn? report, an assessment of 1,123 general education programs scheduled for release tomorrow, helps to explain America’s civic illiteracy. Our analysis of 2019–2020 course catalogs revealed that only 18% of U.S. colleges and universities require students to take a course in American history or government.

”Colleges have the responsibility to prepare students for a lifetime of informed citizenship. Our annual What Will They Learn? report illustrates the steady deterioration of the core curriculum. When American history and government courses are removed, you begin to see disheartening survey responses like these, and America’s experiment in self-government begins to slip from our grasp,” said Michael Poliakoff, president of ACTA.

The survey was conducted in August by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, and consisted of 15 questions designed to assess respondents’ knowledge of foundational events in U.S. history and key political principles. The respondents make up a nationally representative sample of 1,002 U.S. adults. To view the full survey results, click here >>

Avoid The Summer Slide- Fun Ways to Stimulate Your Brain

Summer is a great time to relax and enjoy time together with friends and family, but you don’t want to let your mind turn to mush during that time. According to the Northwest Evaluation Association’s research,  “summer learning loss was observed in math and reading across third to eighth grade, with students losing a greater proportion of their school year gains each year as they grow older – anywhere from 20 to 50 percent.” How do you keep your child from losing their learning or falling behind? Keep their minds active, keep them reading, and keep brains stimulated. No, Fortnight totally doesn’t count, sorry!

Got a little one? Start young and keep them active. There are some amazing books out there, and of course your local library will likely have summer reading programs you can do with your child no matter what age. There are also puzzles and educational games you can play with your child on technology and “real life” touchable options- we recommend a bit of both.

kids apps

We recently tried out these fun and “edu-taining” science based apps aimed at preschoolers, and found them both adorable and fun. My child didn’t even realize they were learning, they honestly enjoyed them. Even my 12 year old liked them- except the dress up app, but that’s pretty good for an age range in my opinion.

I’m a teacher by trade, and I love that there are these apps that let kids have fun while learning.  Since science is an area that is under-taught in many schools, the more ways a child can be exposed to it, the better.  Cosmic Cubs (www.cosmiccubs.com) help kids pre-k and up learn about ecology, the solar system, and just for fun, a space dress up game as well. These three apps are available for Android and IOS platforms, via the App store or Google Play.  The space cubs also teach kids about the importance of being environmentally responsible- reduce, reuse, and recycle – in their Cosmic Cubs Eco Puzzle App.

The website has lots of coloring pages you can download as well as information sheets in addition to the apps. The apps are technically free but cost $1.99 for full access. Kids will have access to puzzles, games, learning about the planets, asteroids, meteors, comets, problem solving, and more. They also teach new vocabulary words. Even the dress up game helps with dexterity and hand/eye coordination, as well as learning about colors and more. Not to mention, spark an interest in space.  The three apps available are the Cosmic Cubs Eco Puzzler, the Cosmic Cubs Dress Up, and Cosmic Cubs Space Puzzles. $1.99 for full access.

kids apps

Learning a language is great for any age, and Rosetta Stone has options for any age learner at any level of knowledge. There are so many benefits that come from knowing a second language, and the younger you start, the better off you are. There is no time like the present, so no matter your age, you aren’t getting any younger- now is the best time. The benefits are really endless, from being able to get better job opportunities, to making better connections in the community and beyond, improving your memory, enhancing your ability to multi- task and decision making skills, improving your first language, and more.  It also keeps the brain active and challenged, which is necessary and helps with overall learning and brain health. So why not?

For kids, there is Rosetta Stone Homeschool. There used to be some pretty cool award winning apps for kids, but from what I can see (and from multiple calls to customer service to inquire) they seem to be discontinued. Rosetta Stone Homeschool uses pioneering technology “which promotes long-term retention and correct pronunciation—without memorization or drills” (as per the company).
Using an immersion method, language is taught the way you would naturally learn, with no translation required. With patented speech-recognition technology, TruAccent®, your child’s speech is analyzed and corrected to get the best accent possible. There are reports and progress data so you can see how your child is progressing, and your child can learn from a computer, phone, tablet, or whatever is convenient, on or offline.

Not just for kids, Rosetta Stone’s pioneering speech recognition technology helps kids or adults learn the language of their choice. With more than 30 options to choose from (including endangered languages), choosing the language you will learn might be the hardest part. You learn the way children naturally learn their first language, with image recognition, pronunciation assistance, and repetition. Tutoring is also available.

It starts with a core lesson that introduces you into a bunch of new words. The core lesson takes about 30 minutes. This is followed up by several smaller lessons that focus on different aspects that you learned in the core lesson. These range from about five to ten minutes each.

We have started learning a new language here -and I will update you in 6 months and let you know how it’s going.

3 Reasons to Get Your Kids Interested in History

History is one of those subjects in school that some of us loved, and that others just couldn’t help sleeping through.

Whether or not history seems exciting and interesting to a child will be affected by their temperament and innate interests, but also by the way in which the subject is taught. Endless lists of dates to memorise is unlikely to as fascinating as visiting a reenactment site or hearing an adventurous tale set in the past.

 

While kids generally enjoy fantasy games such as https://finalfantasyxvapp.com/#home, history can be no less exciting and engaging, not to mention educational and informative.

 

Here are some reasons why you should get your kids interested in history if possible, and nurture that interest when it arises.

 

History contains timeless lessons for the present and the future

 

History isn’t just a record of stuff that happened in the past, it is, to a large degree, also a record of the causes and effects of different events, as well as a series of lessons about the ways in which life can unfold and how to live it meaningfully and productively.

 

The events in history may have occurred a long time ago, society may have changed in various ways, and technology may have advanced more than anyone could ever have imagined, but people are fundamentally not very different, and the lessons which applied to the people of yesteryear will likely still apply to people living today.

 

What philosophies did Ancient Greeks and Romans develop to help them face the world courageously? Which ideological viewpoints caused civilisations to fall rather than rise?

 

History is rich with applicable lessons for the present day.

 

History can offer great fuel for the imagination

 

It’s no surprise that the authors of so many great works of fiction (and for that matter, great TV shows) have been ardent fans and students of history. History is, by its very nature, full of incredible sources of inspiration for the imagination to latch onto.

 

When looking back at history, you can see events so strange and wondrous that they’re almost impossible to comprehend. You can hear tales of people living lives uncannily similar to our own, but with the social fabric altered in essential ways.

 

You can read myths and legends of strange creatures that still find their way into popular entertainment today.

 

For any child with an active imagination, studying history can be a great thing.

 

History can help people to appreciate and respect their roots

 

As modern people, often living in relatively peaceful and stable societies, it can be very easy for us to take things for granted, to feel that the blessings we enjoy just fell out of the sky, and to become apathetic about the world, and careless about our responsibilities to our societies.

 

Studying history, however, can teach people to respect their roots and honour the incredible labours and sacrifices of their ancestors — imperfect as they may have been — to create those things that we enjoy today.

 

Not only can this reflection on history help to boost self-esteem, but it can also help to deepen a sense of social responsibility, and the understanding that society can only be maintained through careful effort.