Zip a Zipper

Rube Goldberg machine contests

Zipping a zipper is simple, right? Not if you're zipping as part of a Rube Goldberg Machine Contest. In 2014, teams of students nationwide and internationally will compete to engineer the most complicated, ingenious machine they can to zip a simple zipper. That's the prizewinning goal for contestants in the Rube Goldberg Machine Contests for high school and college and the International Online Rube Goldberg Machine contest for ages 11-14.


Young Dinos/Young Diggers

Finding dinosaur fossils

On a high school summer field trip, 17-year-old Kevin Terris made the kind of discovery professional paleontologists dream about. In Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Terris noticed a piece of bone sticking out of a boulder. The bone was part of a set of dinosaur toes, in what proved to be the most complete skeleton ever found of a baby tube-crested Parasaurolophus.


STEM Takes Flight

National Soaring Museum

Things are looking up for STEM educator Kaye Norton, literally. As the National Soaring Museum’s Education Services Coordinator, Norton wants her students looking up at the sky to understand what they're learning about the science of motorless flight.


Spooky STEM for Halloween

Glowing hands, fake blood, "bleeding" paper

Planning a haunted house or spooky lab for your school, your neighborhood, or even your library? Stir some STEM into your special effects! Halloween-friendly activities at can increase the "ghoul factor" to engage learners in exploring mixtures, the immune system, light and vision, acids and bases, energy and more. (Many activities include step-by-step instructional videos.)


Chasing Ice for Earth Science Week

glacier STEM

National Geographic photographer James Balog has spent years documenting the melting of Earth's glaciers. His stunning film Chasing Ice uses time-lapse cameras to "compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate." Chasing Ice will be on video and in education versions this fall. For Earth Science Week October 13-19, connect the film to climate change activities at


Avast me hearties—it's Pirate Science!

Pirates + STEM

Aaaaaaaarrrrrrre you running a pirate themed camp or event this summer? Or planning ahead for Talk Like a Pirate Day, September 19? Well shiver me timbers—it's time for pirate science! 


Science in the Park at ASTC

Professional and public science

This year's Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico will include a public event called "Science in the Park." In Tiguex Park, science educators attending the conference from around the world will show off their best outreach activities, prototypes, and demonstrations to local students and members of the science museum and informal science education communities.  


A picture's worth a billion pixels

Mars mosaic

Humans have yet to stand on the surface of Mars, but zooming in on the red planet with NASA's billion-pixel interactive image is almost like being there. The new online interactive lets Earth-bound explorers zoom ultra close-in to the Martian surface, from more than 228 million miles away.

Clocking in at 1.3 billion pixels, the image's high resolution version combines nearly 900 photos—taken by NASA's Curiosity rover—in a mosaic of the planet's rocky, dusty details. (The photo shown here is one of Curiosity's lower resolution "self portraits.")


Classroom in the Kelp—Teaching Under Water

Teaching While Diving

Anne Scanlon’s classroom is cold, wet and smells like fish and seaweed. She wouldn't have it any other way. That’s because Scanlon is not only an informal educator, but one of 100 specially trained volunteer scuba divers at Monterey Bay Aquarium in California.

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