Here are some fun ways to learn about Engineering, Design and other STEM apps.

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No homework tonight. Actually, at PS 446 Staten Island, there will not be homework tomorrow night either, or the next night. In fact, in a bold move that parents will either love or hate, PS 446 has banned homework indefinitely. “We have worked hard to ensure that the school day is enriched with learning and activities. Students will have intermittent assessments to show what they know, freeing up their afternoons and evenings for family, friends and ‘being kids’ again.” says Academic Coach Sav de Trees. “It’s also a very ‘green’ policy.” she adds.

The school administration and staff state that nowhere in a union contract, chancellor’s regulation, or state education law is homework required. The school community that proposed and fought for this new “No HW” policy references Finland’s homework policy. “If it works for the number one country in education, then it can work for us.” says PTA member Sara Sota.

The School Leadership Team plans to assess how the policy is working again in December 2017.

By Patrick S. Baloney

This morning started off as a normal June day at PS 46, however that is not how it ended. Ms. Behavior’s 4th grade class was working on an assignment when all of a sudden an infected sparrow flew through the window and pecked at the teacher. Eye witnesses state that immediately following the peck, the teacher’s eyes turned green and blue, she began foaming at the mouth and turned into a zombie.

Honor student, and girlscout, Ainta Gonnagetme ran to call the main office. However, it was too late, the teacher had already bit the phone cord and ran out of the room. The students grabbed sharp number 2 pencils and followed. By the time they found the zombified teacher, she had already infected the other staff. Three teachers appeared in the hallway, also zombified and tried to snatch the students.

A quick thinking student named Nicholas, ran and grabbed the class turtle from the cage and approached the zombie teachers. “Everyone knows zombies are scared of turtles, DUH!” said Nicholas in a post attack interview.

Within minutes, students grabbed other class turtles and corralled the zombies into the cafeteria until the authorities arrived. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) arrived and collected the zombified teachers.

No one, and I mean NO ONE, messes with our school.” yelled Class 4-413 as the CDC van drove away.

For over two decades virtual reality took a break. Now it’s back and the huge headsets and gloves have been replaced by smaller, lighter ones and work with your smartphone.

What does that mean for education? Well, actually a lot. From virtual field trips to virtual science experiments, classrooms are going to be immersed in educational content.

Low cost headsets can be found for as little as $20. The mobile devices are another thing. Some have said to partner up with companies that collect old phones and see if they would donate to your school. 

Where Education is Going with Virtual Reality. from Mr. Portelos on Vimeo.

5 things Minecraft teaches kids (plus one bad thing, too)


A woman walks her child to school as he is dressed as a character from Minecraft in New York October 31, 2014. 

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Why Be An Engineer?

Posted: December 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

Read Exxon Mobil’s take on the situation

America has a problem: Not enough U.S. students are pursuing engineering careers.

That troubling fact helps explain why there are currently millions of vacant jobs across our nation, even as the number of Americans not in the labor force is the highest it’s ever been.

BAE InfographicNew_10-2014There simply are not enough applicants with adequate skills to fill many of the most promising positions available in the 21st century. This lack of skills is especially acute in jobs that increasingly rely on science, technology, engineering, and math.

This set of circumstances is worrisome for science-based companies like ExxonMobil, of course. But more broadly it is troubling for America’s future competitiveness in the global economy.

To help address this predicament, ExxonMobil has launched a nationwide initiative seeking to inspire the next generation of engineers. OurBe an Engineer campaign aims to highlight the meaningful contributions that engineers make to the world, as well as provide resources to assist young people interested in pursuing the profession.

In the weeks and months ahead we’ll be running a number of commercials on television in support of this effort. You cancatch them at ExxonMobil’s YouTube channelas well.

Over the next few weeks I will occasionally turn this space over to guest bloggers who will share their experiences as engineers and why engineering can make for a rewarding and valuable career. Among them is Dan Mote, longtime educator and currently the president of the National Academy of Engineering.

Today, though, I want to share with you a few thoughts on the state of engineering in America offered by our Chairman and CEO, Rex Tillerson.

Rex is an engineer himself, with a degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas. These remarks, culled from various interviews and speeches he has given the last few years, are instructive for why we are pushing ahead with our Be an Engineer initiative:

We’ve got to help young people understand how exciting the world of the engineer is to be able to create things that have never been created before. …

One of the challenges we’ve had as a profession is that young people don’t really know what an engineer does. And it can take on a certain connotation of being nothing more than a technician, when in reality scientists discover things and help us understand why they are. Mathematicians help us calculate and measure. …

Engineers are the marriage of science and mathematics. We take those two things, we put them together and we create everything around us, from your iPad to this building we’re sitting in to the medium that we’re broadcasting to people today to the houses we live in to the cars we drive. They are all engineering products.

I am confident that the more that young people actually learn what engineers do and accomplish for society, the more they will be drawn to pursuing careers in that direction.


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