Monday, August 8, 2011

Must-Have Magazines for the Ultimate STEM Classroom Library

If we want our students to be excited about STEM/STEAM subjects and careers, we need to do everything possible to engage them within the context of our classrooms.  Beyond access to technology and integrating STEM into the curriculum, I believe a having a thoughtfully, purposely built classroom library is key.  One totally undervalued category to include in your library is magazines.

With that in mind, I've compiled a list of key titles that touch on various parts of the STEM fields in a way that will truly engage students:

Wired - Wired is the magazine of the digital age, covering STEM topics as comprehensively as any publication out there.  What's more is that they integrate them seamlessly and in a way that ties in pop culture, science fiction and cool gadgets.  It's a mix that will absolutely grab students' attention.  See also: Fast Company, Popular Science

Fast Company - This is a business/entrepreneurship magazine, but is really very close to Wired in terms of STEM content.  For example, they frequently spotlight innovative uses of technology, design and science in business.  Your students will see the cutting edge of STEM careers and industries.  See also: Inc., Entrepreneur

Discover - Discover is arguably the best pure science magazine available, and it presents topics with just the right balance of depth and storytelling.  From the teacher's perspective, it's a great resource for discussion of real world examples of science in the news.  You could build a lot of anticipation for the topics you would normally cover with stories from here.  See also: Wired, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, National Geographic

Dwell - Dwell is about beautiful, functional architecture, design and art.  It's so visually compelling that students will be drawn to it immediately, and when they inevitably start asking questions, that's your cue to start making the connections between what you're doing in class and the real world.  See also: Real Simple, Fast Company

Make: - While the other magazines on this list will provide plenty of inspiration, Make: will have them actually doing things.  Make: is full of projects for beginners and experts alike in robotics, programming, electronics, crafts and all manner of DIY stuff.  See also: Craft: (their online-only sister publication)

Perhaps the best feature of these particular titles is that each of them is supplemented by amazing websites brimming with more articles as well as projects, videos, photos and thriving communities.

If you're wondering how you can afford these titles, this is the time to reach out to friends and family with an Amazon wish list for your classroom or start a project.  There are also emerging resources like Swellr and Local Schools Local Needs that will make this easier.

I would urge you, however, to subscribe to some or all of these yourself, as they will provide you with as much inspiration and real world context as it will for your students.