STRANDBEEST

There are a lot of little critters in the sand on the beach. Theo Jansen has built the newest one…but it’s not very little. Just from reading the name, STRANDBEEST, it is obvious that this is something massive. Jansen combined robotics with the art of sculpture building to create a “new form of life”. While […]

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Rube Goldberg Machines

The Rube Goldberg machine is a classic engineering project to try as a home or school activity.  For those unfamiliar with a Goldberg machine, Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist in the early 1910’s into the 1930’s who designed complicated machines that performed simple actions, like this Self-Operating Napkin.  Have your young learners draw or design […]

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3D Printing for… Organs?!

Engineering students at the University of California, San Diego have 3D printed tissue that simulates the function and structure of a human liver. The motive behind their research is to shift from testing medications using animal and human subjects. Isn’t it amazing what STEM knowledge can achieve? “The liver plays a critical role in how […]

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Charging your electronics with… a plant?!

When you think about technology and nature, you might think that they are natural enemies.  A common theme in a lot of pop culture is the conflict between these two forces; the battle of progress and industry vs. tradition and nature.  However, in reality, many clever scientists are fighting this trend by finding renewable sources […]

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Meet: Tan Le

“Up until now, our communications with machines has always been limited to conscious and direct forms” Tan Le has created a way for us to interact with computers the way we interact with humans. Our interactions with people are not all explicit. We don’t communicate with one another through pre-set buttons, switches and commands, we […]

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Animating Realistic Movement: LEGO Sisyphus

One of the big struggles for beginning game designers is perfecting their animations. Learning to recreate realistic, natural movement in all its subtleties is an extremely difficult problem. Often, it’s only by watching and mimicking how more experienced animators solve this that the younger generation can begin to grasp the intricacies. Check out this video […]

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A Fun Way to Become an iOS App Developer

Swifty is a free app that provides entertaining tutorials and comprehensive readings about the programming language, Swift. Why would anyone want to learn how to program in Swift? Because it is the language that is used to create iOS apps! This means learning Swifty can assist anyone in learning how to make apps for iPhones, iPod […]

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Book Club: Sorting Through Spring

Though the STEM fields are usually cooped up inside, as the weather warms up and we approach spring and summer it’s important to recognize that STEM doesn’t begin and end on a computer.  It’s important to get outside and enjoy the fresh air while keeping STEM on the brain.  This book, Sorting Through Spring by Lizann […]

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3D Printing for… Cookies?!

XYZprinting has come out with a 3D printer that produces edible creations. We’ve talked about a 3D printer for candy, but this one makes cookie dough, chocolate, sugar, icing, and other uncooked custom treats. This creator can choose a preset design, get designs online or even use a USB drive to upload their own designs […]

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Meet: Ge Wang – A Creator of Computer Music

I think from the experience of building a lot of instruments for the Laptop Orchestra, and I think from the curiosity of wondering, what if we took these hopefully expressive instruments and we brought it to a lot of people, plus then a healthy bout of insanity — put those three things together — led […]

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Wintergatan Marble Machine

Many people would claim that engineering and STEM fields are mutually exclusive from any sort of creative influence or artistic fields.  The cold logic of mathematics, physics, and code is too far removed from the sunny, bright fields of an artist’s painting.  We at STEM exCEL would disagree; an enhanced understanding of STEM leads to […]

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3D Printing for… Candy?!

  The 3D printer company, 3D Systems has developed the ChefJet and ChefJet Pro. These two printers are  Both are capable of producing beautiful, intricate, sugary creations that would otherwise be impossible to make. Flavors include chocolate, vanilla, mint, sour apple, cherry and watermelon. The printers were demoed at The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) […]

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Straw Towers

Engineering can sometimes be a difficult subject for elementary-aged children to wrap their heads around. However, a good hands-on activity can sometimes do the work of 10 classes. A fun and easy engineering activity is something called the Straw Tower Challenge. Using only drinking straws and tape, make a tower as tall as you can […]

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Meet: Thomas Suarez

“A lot of kids these days like to play games but now they want to make them, and it’s difficult, because not many kids know where to go to find out how to make a program.” Check out this TED Talk where 12-year-old Thomas Suarez discusses how he became an app developer at such a […]

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Interactive Stories

In games, a big part of the appeal lies in the interactivity. Instead of reading a book about someone else’s decisions, the game is about your decisions. Like choose-your-own-adventure books, you make a difference in the virtual world. But having a branching story line can sometimes be difficult to design around. That’s why I wanted […]

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Story Cubes

Just recently I picked up a fun game called Rory’s Story Cubes. The game only comes with a small sheet of rules, and 9 special dice. These dice are special in that they have no numbers. The only thing on them is a set of generic images: a fish, a rainbow, a smile, and so […]

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Lego Education with Tested.com

Earlier this month was the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where the biggest names in the electronics business get a chance to show off their latest innovations and offerings to the press. It just so happens that Lego was there showing off the latest advances in their Lego Education line, which we at STEM exCEL use […]

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Meet: Gabe Zichermann

“Video games, a naturally sedentary activity, are ruining our children’s minds and making them lazy and entitled.”  Many of you have likely heard this argument, or something very similar to it.  But how about this one?  “Games are making our children smarter.”  This is the point of Gabe Zichermann, an entrepreneur, author, and overall advocate […]

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Computer Science Requirement?

Computer science is becoming increasingly recognized as a critical field to understand in today’s digital age.   According to US News, many colleges are beginning to require a computer science course for graduation in the same way that English and History are required. This new change reflects a growing understanding of how important it is […]

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An App With Good Application

A great way to get your kid started in computer programming is the same way you let a kid draw.  You let them have a blank piece of paper and some crayons and let them draw what they want.  Here’s a great conversation about an app that lets your child do just that. Mitchel Resnick: My […]

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It Can Happen On This Side Of The Pond, Too

A lot is going on in the UK to encourage youngsters to learn more about how the world is coded around them.  It can happen on this side of the pond, too! Education technology startup Tynker is expanding to Android, after attracting more than 8.8 million children to computer programming courses through its website and iPad app. […]

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Tired of Kid App Overload?

Here’s something to add to your child’s tablet that would complement their studies and imagination, an app to help them understand computer programming! The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has released a new iPad app that aims to help 5-7 year-old children take their first steps in programming. ScratchJr is a free app based on MIT’s […]

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A digital itch?

Well, with a digital itch, comes a digital Scratch.  STEM exCEL utilizes a number of resources to kick start your child’s computer-related STEM interests at afterschool programs at elementary schools.  Through a series of courses we help your PTA create a school community Computer & Coding Club.  Here are some great examples of how such […]

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Coding Festival in the UK

When you make the decision to take advantage of the many opportunities for your kid to learn computer programming, it is like a celebration to see it unfold.  It’s like the party atmosphere you feel when your child plays a song on the flute for a family concert.  Well, in the UK, they’re having a […]

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Yes, your child should learn how to code!

You may be from a generation that is good at email and maybe Microsoft Office products… but never learned how to make a website or learn how to write code in a computer language.  STEM exCEL may work with your school’s PTA to set up a Computer & Coding Club at your child’s elementary school. […]

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Resource for children to learn to code

STEM exCEL offers introductory computer science and coding classes to then be followed up with more in-depth instruction to build a Computer & Coding Club at your elementary school.  We work with a lot of resources during the course and for your child (and family) to practice and create at home.   Here an excerpt […]

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Why? Here’s Why!

The Case For Learning To Code is important for parents and school officials to read: I was having lunch with a highly respected tech industry 50-something friend who was pondering her next career move. Between bites of arugula she told me that ‘in the meantime,’ between advising start-ups and beginning her own business, she was […]

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Who Needs to Know How to Code

Children are increasingly using computer programs and playing video games.  The challenge is whether they understand how these programs work and to use them properly.  Language arts curriculum supports students’ development in the skills of reading, writing, and oral language to express their ideas. This may be leveraged by a computer science and coding club […]

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