— PLUS, New Young Scientist Lab Interactive Portal Brings Science to Life in the Classroom –

“Any curious middle schooler can enter! The key is just believing in yourself … you may never know whether an idea may change a person’s life.” – Maanasa Mendu, 2016 Young Scientist Challenge Winner


Silver Spring, Md. and St. Paul, Minn. (January 12, 2017) – Discovery Education and 3M are proud to announce the opening of the 10th annual Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, the nation’s premier science competition for students in grades 5-8.  This program, offers young inventors the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be mentored by a 3M Scientist Mentor, compete for $25,000, and earn the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist.”

The Challenge rewards curious students who use their science acumen and creativity to solve a problem in their local, national or global community. Fourteen-year-old Maanasa Mendu won last year for her creation of HARVEST, a bio-inspired energy device that captures energy in the form of wind, rain and sun – and converts it to power.  Mendu was inspired to enter the contest through her “pretty awesome” eighth grade science teacher.

“The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge was really meaningful,” said Mendu.  “I encourage any curious middle schooler to enter, because you will not only get a chance to win amazing prizes like $25,000, but you will have a number of opportunities to enhance your scientific knowledge, creativity, and collaboration skills! The great thing about the Young Scientist Challenge is that you have an amazing 3M mentor at your side.  Overall, the Challenge allows you to broaden your horizons.”

Students in grades 5-8 can enter the challenge by creating a one to two-minute video communicating the science behind their big idea that could solve or impact an everyday problem.  Video entries will be evaluated based on their creativity, scientific knowledge, persuasiveness and delivery. Ten finalists will then be chosen to participate in an exclusive summer mentorship program, where they will work closely with and learn from a 3M scientist.

The program challenges, finalists’ thinking to develop an innovation that positively impacts them, their family, their community or the global population. The students will meet virtually with their mentors and will receive additional resources and support from 3M and Discovery Education. Each finalist will also receive a trip to the 3M Innovation Center at the company’s headquarters in St. Paul, Minn., to compete at the final event in October 2017.

All video entries must be submitted online at no later than April 19, 2017. Videos will not be judged on production skills and may be recorded on cell phones or basic digital cameras.


Timed to the Challenge opening is the launch of Young Scientist Lab, an interactive portal for scientific exploration, and new home to the award-winning Young Scientist Challenge. The Lab is a one-stop STEM destination for teachers, students and parents. It offers engaging K-8 activities and standards-aligned lesson plans and interactive teaching tools to foster the next generation of scientists. There is also inspiration on how innovation can solve problems across industries: manufacturing, energy, safety, healthcare, transportation, electronics, automotive, construction and design, personal safety and more. Additionally, users of the Lab will get up-to-the-minute science news, learn about live events, participate in upcoming field trips, and read new blogs about the Young Scientist Challenge.

Over the years, the Young Scientist Challenge has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in student  prizes, paired students with world-renowned scientists and delivered much-needed science resources to millions of students, teachers and families across the country.  In 2016, entries were submitted by nearly all 50 states, from urban, suburban and rural districts. Six girls and four boys were named as the top 10 finalists.

“As an educator, whether or not you have a student selected as a finalist, the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge is about cultivating important skills to help students succeed in college, career and life,” said Francie Snyder, teacher at Manatee County Public Schools’ Oneco and Prine Elementary Schools in Manatee County, Fla. “Encouraging participation in the challenge is about inspiring young minds of all kinds, from all places, about the wonders of science and working to create a solution that could improve lives.”

For more information on the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, including submission guidelines, tips from previous winners and complete rules, please visit:

About 3M
At 3M, we apply science in collaborative ways to improve lives daily. With $32 billion in sales, our 90,000 employees connect with customers all around the world. Learn more about 3M’s creative solutions to the world’s problems at or on Twitter @3M or @3MNewsroom.


About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content and professional development for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content that supports the implementation of Common Core, professional development, assessment tools, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 4.5 million educators and over 50 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools the UK, and more than 50 countries. Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education


Knovation Presents Digital Learning Awards to Top Districts Utilizing OER Application
The top 100 school districts using netTrekker, icurio applications are recognized for OER usage

CINCINNATI, OH – Jan. 12, 2017 – Knovation, provider of professionally vetted and aligned digital content and open education resources (OER), presents the Digital Learning Awards to the top 100 U.S. districts using applications netTrekker and icurio for the 2015-2016 school year. These districts use netTrekker or icurio to introduce classroom-ready digital learning resources, maximizing teaching and learning experiences to enhance their overall digital transformation.

The awards are based upon extent of usage and presented to districts that utilize the available digital learning resources to their highest potential. For the list of top award recipients, click here.


Boys and Girls Clubs of America Awarded Spacecom STEM Award; Will Be Continuing The Virtual High School’s Space Academy Program


Award from Spacecom and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space Provides Scholarship Funds for After-School Version of Popular Online STEM Course


Boston — Jan. 13, 2017 — For the second year, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and the Space Commerce Conference and Exposition (SpaceCom) have presented the Spacecom STEM Award to an organizationin recognition of its efforts to inspire students toward STEM-related careers. The 2016 award recipient is the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, which will use the award to fund club member access to an after-school version of Space Station Academy, an online course offered through The Virtual High School (VHS, Inc.).


The context of the announcement itself emphasized the potential of STEM and space. During The Space Commerce Conference and Exposition (SpaceCom) on November 17th, astronaut Shane Kimbrough, located on the International Space Station, made a video introduction for CASIS President and Executive Director Gregory Johnson. Kimbrough explained how CASIS supports STEM initiatives that inspire new generations of scientists, pilots and adventurers as part of its mission of managing the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory. Afterward, Johnson announced the Boys and Girls Clubs of America as the award winner.


At NASA we continue to pave the path to the stars, but it’s our STEM advocates who will inspire the journey,” said Kimbrough, from the International Space Station.  “This year’s recipient of the SpaceCom STEM Award will be the Boys and Girls Clubs, to be put towards scholarships for students to attend Space Station Academy, an online course offered through the nonprofit, Virtual High School,” said Johnson.


Typically offered during school hours or for independent study at home, the Space Station Academy program was developed by VHS in collaboration with astronauts, scientists, and educators at the Association of Space Explorers and the Technical Education Research Center (TERC). The course treats students as cadets in training for their first flight to space. They undergo pre-flight training as well as a realistic simulation of a launch and complete a mission on the ISS with a focus on Earth observation and photography, cadets see views of the Earth from the ISS windows, work with the same mapping and targeting software as the ISS astronauts, and explore hundreds of dramatic photos taken by astronauts who have been aboard the ISS.


“The Space Station Academy sends students on a virtual mission to the International Space Station, to participate in in realistic training and on-orbit experiences, observe the Earth from Space, monitor experiments and experience the reality of life as an astronaut” said Johnson.

In early 2016, CASIS had supplied the initial funding to enable 131 Boys and Girls Club members in middle school and high school grades to enroll in the course, which takes students on a simulated mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Club members throughout Florida participated in the informal 10-module program at different points in the year.


“It’s been a privilege and a pleasure working with CASIS to bring our Space Station Academy course to student groups across the country,” said Carol Ribeiro, President and CEO of VHS. “We continue to enhance the course to ensure club members receive the optimal benefit from this after-school, flexible program, and we’ll continue to look for ways to make it even more beneficial in the future.”


About The Virtual High School

The Virtual High School (VHS Inc.) is an online learning pioneer. Since 1996, the nonprofit organization based in Massachusetts has set the standard for quality online education. VHS provides courses taught in global online classrooms for secondary school students and online professional development for educators.  The organization also meets the unique educational needs of schools through custom course development and individualized course offerings. VHS design and delivery standards are the model used by the National Education Association in their recommended standards for online learning. The organization has won numerous awards, including the Stockholm Challenge Award for Global Excellence in Information Technology, and is a three-time winner of the United States Distance Learning Association’s (USDLA) award for Excellence in Programming and Excellence in Best Practices. For more information, visit or call (978) 897-1900.



The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) was selected by NASA in July 2011 to maximize use of the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory through 2020. CASIS is dedicated to supporting and accelerating innovations and new discoveries that will enhance the health and wellbeing of people and our planet. For more information, visit


About SpaceCom

SpaceCom, the Space Commerce Conference and Exposition, is focused on the economic development of space and the application of space technologies across important industry sectors of the global economy. The event is produced in collaboration with NASA Johnson Space Center, Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau (GHCVB), Houston First Corporation, and National Trade Productions. For more information, visit



New School Of Hope Survey Shows More Than Half Of Schools Deemed Traditional By Their Teachers.


Gainesville, FL, January 11, 2017 – New survey findings from learning experience design firm MeTEOR Education indicate that very traditional, scripted approaches to schooling are holding back more than one-half of all US teachers and their students.


The Schools of Hope survey, with more than 7,000 educators responding, surprised observers with its findings that one in four educators (25%) categorized their schools as “very traditional” and twenty-nine percent (29%) indicated their schools are just beginning to integrate project-based, real-world learning approaches.


The K-12 Mindshift cohort has just released a new book that takes aim at some of these specific challenges.  Co-authors Rex Miller, Bill Latham, and Brian Cahill worked with a team of more than 60 career educators, a wide variety of specialists, NFP organizations, and business community leaders that led to Humanizing the Education Machine: How to Create Schools That Turn Disengaged Kids Into Inspired Learners.


According to Latham, “If the schools profiled in Humanizing the Education Machine taught us anything, we know that visionary leadership is both possible and effective.  The principal’s leadership is critical for unlocking the creative expertise of the classroom teacher.”


The negative impact of scripted, rote, “machine-like” teaching and learning styles has most recently been illustrated by Latham, Miller and the efforts of the K-12 Mindshift.  Scripted, “one size fits all” schooling characterized by testing and rote learning often led to disengaged students and demoralized teachers.  Latham, an ardent proponent of education reform and an Accredited Learning Environment Planner, notes that “The surprise was the number of educators reporting a lack of significant progress towards modern practices.”


Traveling across the country to identify schools that have “broken-through” the barriers of poverty and failure, the authors and their K-12 Mindshift team found schools where failure had reached such painful levels that the restraints of traditional curriculum and instruction were finally discarded.  New, and often simple strategies such as flexible scheduling and mastery-focused module-based learning empower students and account for different student needs.  The “flex-mod” scheduling process at Legacy High School in North Dakota stands as a powerful example of schools that embrace “more personalized learning, greater relevance and increased student power.”


The survey also found that teachers agree with Miller and Latham’s findings as more than three quarters (75%) reported a dedicated effort to move towards a more relationship-based, student-centered approach.  Actual progress lags intent, however, with fewer than 40 percent of educators reporting substantial efforts towards more flexible, project and collaborative-based learning approaches which engage and empower students.


“Saying the student is at the center of learning is much easier than actually designing learning experiences and learning spaces that significantly change the game,” notes Latham. “We found schools – poor, disenfranchised schools – that have done it.  They are succeeding, and that means anyone can.”


Moving forward, school leaders will be watching closely as the new Trump administration begins to form, with a preference towards open choice and competition among schools.  Old models of teaching and learning which result in student and teacher dissatisfaction are likely to drive highly traditional schools out of business.


MeTEOR Education, Bill Latham and Rex Miller will present their complete findings at the upcoming EdShift regional events in 2017.


About MeTEOR Education:


MeTEOR Education is a leading educational services partner working with education professionals to help them create High-impact Learning Experiences™. As one of the largest providers of learning spaces, including furnishings and interior design services, MeTEOR’s focus is the integration of best practices for teaching and learning to drive inquiry-based instruction, effective use of modern classrooms, and increased student achievement. To learn more visit