STEM Enrichment Activities (Self-Guided)
Science does not exist in the vacuum of a classroom but rather it is all about us. It is important for students to learn to interact with science outside of the classroom. As adults, they will be expected to make decisions, including voting, on topics related to science and must be comfortable with science in an every-day context. This page lists extracurricular things kids can do to get involved with science outside of school.
Teachers, click here if you'd like to see a list of Enrichment Activities that includes point values and downloadable forms for students to collect evidence that they did the activities.
There are also a lot of upcoming opportunities for teachers and students to get involved with science "in the real world" on the Gold Coast Science Network Facebook page. Go check it out and GET INVOLVED!
Get Your Neurons Firing with these
Self-Guided Extra Curricular Enrichment Activities!
Before you do anything else, first figure out your learning style. Knowing your learning style will help you make good decisions about how to best teach yourself new things.
- What learning style are you? First visit these websites to read about the different modalities: http://csl.cofc.edu/documents/study-skills/online-library/learning_styles/learning_styles_the_four_modalities.pdf and http://www.educationplanner.org/students/self-assessments/learning-styles-styles.shtml. Next, create a graphic organizer (table, concept map, Venn diagram, etc) that illustrates the differences between each modality (you can search for and use other websites to help you as well). Finally, visit this website to take a brief survey to help you determine your strongest modality and write down your results, include the complete list of things you should do to help you learn better: http://www.educationplanner.org/students/self-assessments/learning-styles.shtml. You can also use this type of information to help you better work with other people. Click HERE to read an article about how to use your knowledge of learning styles to better work with and manage other people!
Online Animations and Activities
Textbooks and teachers aren't the only source of knowledge. The internet is a wealth of information just waiting to be accessed and absorbed. All you need to be a STEM guru is an internet connection!
- Do the Malaria Online Assignment and/ or the HHMI Microbes Strike Back assignment.
- Fold It! Cool online game that teaches you about chemistry and proteins. Read through the introduction and then download the software.
- Carbon Footprint - How many planet Earths would it take to support the world's population if everyone on the planet lived like you? Take the online quiz and find out! Click here for instructions
- There are many, MANY resources listed on the Biology Resources page on this site as well.
- DNA Interactive Website has several online activities you can do!
- Timeline Scavenger Hunt (5 enrichment points) - Click here to download and print the worksheet. Follow the directions to find the answers.
- Reading the Code (up to 10 enrichment points) - Click here to download and print the worksheet. Follow the directions to find the answers.
- Controlling the Code (up to 10 enrichment points) - Click here to download and print the worksheet. Follow the directions to find the answers.
Cool Stuff to Do in the "Real" World
- Interview a scientist or Engineer about his or her job. You can choose any job that is a science major. You should do a little background research on the profession before the interview and have prepared questions ready. This is a great way to find out about careers that you might want to potentially pursue.
- Discovery Center for Science and Technology: Science Speaker Series - come hear experts talk about their scientific fields in a way that anyone can understand and relate to - really wonderful speakers!
- Visit a Museum and Design Your Own Exhibit
- The Agriculture Museum in Santa Paula has free admission the first Sunday of every month
- The California Science Center in Los Angeles is HUGE and really fun and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles (Dinosaurs!) is right next door
- The Discovery Cube in Los Angeles is also a great, hands-on place to visit
- Get into the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum (right behind the Santa Barbara Mission) and its sister institution the Sea Center (on the Santa Barbara Pier) all for one low price
- Complete a Science Fair Project - Access the 2015 Science Fair Handbook here.
- Tutoring - Do you like to help other people? Tutoring looks great on your college applications too!
- Participate in a Science-Related School Organization or Club - Many schools have fun science clubs or groups that compete in STEM competitions like Lego league and robotics competitions. If your school doesn't have one of these, maybe you should start one!
- Participate in the Discovery Center for Science and Technology Teens Group - click here to learn more about this excellent program.
- Volunteer at Family Science Night - Click here to learn more about these fun events!
- Attend or Volunteer at a GCSN Conferences for STEM Education at Oxnard College - Check the GCSN website for dates for the next conference.
- Submit an entry for the Science Fair Artwork Competition - Check out the VCOE Science Fair webpage at the start of the school year for contest instructions and deadlines.
- Coastal Cleanup Day - Click here to learn more about this event and download the parent waiver.
- FARM DAY - Click here to learn more about this family-friendly event that provides a one-day opportunity for participants to tour more than 20 Agribusinesses in Ventura County.
- CSUCI Science Carnival - Click here for more info about this super fun event.
There are some great nonfiction science and technology books that really do a great job of helping us see how science is relevant in our everyday lives.
- Read The Secret Life of Germs. This book was written by the doctor/scientist who discovered the cause of toxic shock syndrome in the 1980's. It is a fascinating book about microbes that interconnects all facets of life science: microbiology, biochemistry, ecology, evolution, and more. Want to find out what public locations commonly have the most fecal (poop) bacteria lurking on them? - It's in here. Feeling extra ambitious? Answer these questions as you go.
- Check out one of these great books from your local library, or pick out your own...
The Hive Detectives by Loree Griffin Burns
There’ s a Hair in My Dirt by Gary Larsen
Prehistory by Claudine Roland
Ouch! By Dorling Kindersley
The Future of Life by Edward O. Wilson
Life Script by Nicholas Wade
The Humans Who Went Extinct by Clive Finlayson
The Journey of Man by Spencer Wells
Mutants: One Genetic Variant and the Human Body by Armand Marie Leroi
The Double Helix by James D. Watson
One Renegade Cell by Robert Weinberg (for those interested in cancer)
Into the Jungle: Great Adventures in the Search for Evolution by Sean B. Carroll
Smithsonian Intimate Guide to Human Origins by Carl Zimmer
The Omnivore’ s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Genome by Matt Ridley
Good Germs, Bad Germs: Health and Survival in a Bacterial World by Jessica Snyder Sachs
Honor Thy Symbionts by Jeff D Leach
The Wild Life of Our Bodies: Predators, Parasites, and Partners That Shape Who We Are Today by Rob Dunn
Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
FREE Online Videos
There are many great science videos available for free on PBS.org, Nova, HHMI, and many other science education websites. Here are a few specific ones to consider:
- There are all sorts of great Bill Nye videos on You Tube.
- Videos About Evolution
- Great Transformations
- Why Sex
- The Mind's Big Bang
- Evolutionary Arms Race
- Your Inner Fish (there are three episodes - treat each one like a separate video assignment)
- The Origin of Species: The Making of a Theory
- Life's Rocky Start - What is the secret link between rocks and minerals, and every living thing on Earth?
Podcasts are audio stories and reports archived on the internet. My kids love Science Friday!
- Science Friday is a great place to find podcasts.
FREE Online Lectures / Speakers
Sometimes lectures are dull a drab. But some are really fascinating, especially if you find one on a topic of particular interest to you. Rather than rotting your brain on useless web content, spend some time exercising it with a free online presentation about something that you find stimulating.
- NASA JPL von Karman Lecture Series
- Howard Hughes Medical Institute Holiday Lectures Series
- Very interesting series of 5 lectures on how the brain and memory work - watch all five or just the ones that interest you most. Each one is about one hour long. Click this link to get started!.
- Lecture on Prion Diseases (like mad cow disease)
- TED Talks are a great way to learn about advances in science and the way we think about things.
- Defying Disease TED Talks - this series of TED Talks includes 17 presenters. Each presentation is about 15-20 minutes long. Think about how the information presented will affect the world and/or your life. You can access the entire series of 17 presentations from Netflix (search for "Ted Talks" and select "Defying Disease")
- WIlliam Li: Can We Eat to Starve Cancer? and Update to Dr. Li's Ted Talk on Cancer
- Alan Russell: The potential of regenerative medicine
- Aubrey de Grey: Undoing Aging or the longer talk Dr. Grey gave which is worth 5 points by itself: The Science of Ending Ageing
- Dean Ornish on the World's Killer Diet
- Larry Brilliant Wants to Stop Pandemics
- Bruce Aylward: How We'll Stop Polio for Good
- Joe DeRisi Solves Medical Mysteries
- Kary Mullis's Next-Gen Cure for Killer Infections
- Cynthia Kenyon: Experiments That Hint of Longer Lives
- Seth Berkley: HIV and Flu -- The Vaccine Strategy
- David Agus: A New Strategy in the War on Cancer
- Nicholas Christakis: How Social Networks Predict Epidemics
- Kelly McGonigal: How to Make Stress Your Friend
- Peter Attia: Is the Obesity Crisis Hiding a Bigger Problem?
- Richard Weller: Could the Sun Be Good for Your Heart?
- Russell Foster: Why Do We Sleep?
- Sonia Shah: 3 Reasons We Still Haven't Gotten Rid of Malaria
- Bonnie Brassler: How Bacteria Talk
- The Coming Crisis in Antibiotics
- Here are some articles you may want to consider, or you can find your own.
- See How Smoking Prematurely Ages the Skin
- The importance of stupidity in scientific research
- Why are there still so few women in science?
- Introduction to Memory Techniques
- Tangled webs: Why scientists want to recreate spider silk
- Six Spider Web Superpowers
- How the Brain Learns (be sure to click through and print out all three pages)
- You can also find YOUR OWN article by Google something that interests you