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How Could You Use Primary Sources in Your STEM Classroom? Find Out at the National Science Teachers Association Area Conference on Science Education!

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This post was written by Kellie Taylor, a 2018-2019 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow at the Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress Learning and Innovation Office will facilitate a hands-on workshop during the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Area Conference at National Harbor, Maryland, on November 16, 12:30 p.m.- 1:30 p.m., at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, Annapolis 2. We’ll model and discuss ways to apply inquiry strategies for engaging students with primary sources that highlight scientific practices, the nature of science, and connections between science and society.

The session is available to registered conference attendees, but if you are unable to join us at NSTA in November, you can still browse the many teaching resources available online related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Patent for the Gramophone : No. 534,543, patented 1895 Feb. 19 by Emile Berliner

For an engineering teacher, primary sources can provide context for modern-day design challenges. Here’s an example: Have you ever heard of Emile Berliner? He was a prominent inventor during the 19th and 20th centuries. Not only can students analyze a diagram of the gramophone that plays the flat discs designed by Berliner, but they can also listen to original audio recordings such as The mocking bird.

To see how an inventor uses the engineering design process, explore Emile Berliner and the Birth of the Recording Industry Collection and learn more about the work of an innovator who was a contemporary of Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell. Berliner’s invention of flat discs for sound recording allowed for mass-production of commercial sound recordings.

Other great Library of Congress resources for engineering and science include primary source sets on the Wright Brothers and Understanding the Cosmos (which is also available as a free ebook for iPads).

Teaching ideas related to scientific notetaking, Earth science, chemistry, the work of scientists, and teaching about the brain can be found on the Teaching with the Library of Congress blog.

Everyday Mysteries allow students to ask or find answers to questions posed on everyday phenomena related to astronomy, biology, energy and matter, and more.

Unsure where to start? Explore the Library’s Teachers Page to find a variety of classroom resources, ideas, and professional development opportunities.  In addition, check out the final page of each issue of NSTA’s The Science Teacher magazine for connections to primary sources provided by members of the Library of Congress staff.

We hope to see you at National Harbor!

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