STEM Works Remembers 9/11

It’s impossible to go throughout this day, September 11th, without acknowledging the extent of the impact that the terrorist attacks had on America and its citizens. In the wake of the 13th anniversary of the attacks, those of us at STEM Works wanted to show how STEM has been utilized throughout the aftermath processes of identifying victims, surveying the  damage and rebuilding Ground Zero.

Identifying Victims with Forensics 

After the initial attacks, at least 1,115 out of at least 2,753 victims remained unidentifiable, even after scientists analyzed DNA samples provided by the families of those with missing loved ones who never came home or were never identified. Despite painstaking work over the years from scientists in New York to match bone fragments to an actual identity, restraints in technology left many victims unidentified. However, recent technological advances in DNA testing and forensic identification have given both scientists and families a renewed sense of hope as these DNA tests yield results that would have been impossible 10 years ago. Scientists previously faced the challenge of identifying victims using bone slivers that contained DNA that had been damaged by fire, sunlight, bacteria, or jet fuel. Using the new technology, scientists are able to go back to the same bone fragment and attempt to extract the damaged DNA for testing. Read more here.

Engineering a Better World Trade Center

Considered a testament to the perseverance of the American spirit, the five-year re-construction projects of the new World Trade Center and National September 11 Memorial and Museum are shown in this behind-the-scenes documentary, made by PBS, in cooperation with NOVA, to demonstrate the many various challenges and high expectations that engineers and architects faced to build a stronger, taller, and safer World Trade Center. Watch Engineering Ground Zero

Engineers played a huge role in both clean up and re-building. PBS has also created a number of valuable resources to teach the public about how engineers assisted with rescuing victims, surveying the damage, and preventing unstable structures from falling and potentially injuring more people. Check out these resources here at Engineering the Clean-Up.

Other 9/11 Lesson Plan Resources

  • The National September 11 Memorial & Museum partnered up with New York City’s Department of Education and the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education to develop a different sets of K-12 lesson plans to teach about 9/11. Find them here.
  • Scholastic has created and collected a number of resources to teach 9/11 to the younger kids. Find these resources here.
  • Pearson has created guides and online modules for both elementary and middle school students, parents and teachers. Find them here.
  • McGraw Hill offers a number of activities and lesson plans to teach students about 9/11. Find them here.

Tell us, STEM lovers, how are you choosing to remember 9/11? Comment below.

Encouraging STEM By Engaging Parents

Here at STEM Works, we absolutely adore our Twitter followers because they are a fantastic group of individuals who willingly come together for inspiration, advice, and to share their love of STEM with the world.

As of late, we have initiated a number of Twitter discussions using #STEMWorksDiscussions. We recently asked our Twitter followers the following question:

How do we engage parents in order to drive interest in STEM at school?

Twitter didn’t disappoint, so we’ve compiled a list of their answers, as well as a collection of ideas and resources to help drive STEM via parent engagement.


“Invite them to a school STEM night and show them how great it can be!”

-@Melkoogz

“[Our] school is hosting a 2 week STEM Festival utilizing parents and community members as STEM presenters.”

-hardwicke_sam

“A hands-on learning experience within school [ bridges] the gap between study & workforce.”

-STEAMWrksStudio

“Outreach work starting with 4 year olds! When children learn about doctors, we talk about STEM careers.”

-Sarah4811


Parental Engagement Resources

  • Parents are vital to the success of students, especially during the middle school years, a critical point in students’ educations. Middle schoolers are at a higher risk to lose focus and parental involvement also takes a hit. Prevent this with these tips for successful parental engagement from the Afterschool Alliance, available here.
  • A solid foundation in STEM is critical for the future of society, and we all know that kids are the key to the future. Here’s why we should teach our kids to embrace STEM by starting them young. Article here.  
  • Earlier this year, a panel of educators and experts at the U.S. News STEM Solutions conference discussed some of the often neglected methods of teaching and encouraging students, particularly those in the under-served and minority populations, to take an interest in STEM. Article here.
  • Keeping kids actively thinking, whether it’s after school or during summer vacation, is vital for long-term educational success. The National After School Network is a fantastic resource in offering strategies for parental engagement, available here.

Do you have ideas of your own for parental engagement? Comment on this post or send us a tweet @STEM_Works.