K-12 & Education

It's a competitive world in which science, technology, mathematics and engineering impact our economy, health, societal well-being and policy. Scientists, engineers and educators provide the ideas and knowledge base for U.S. leadership in science and engineering. Learning how people learn, while also supporting the very best ideas and students are also essential goals in today's changing world.

Mysteries of the brain: thinking brain

Through neural connections, called synapses, the brain can process and store enormous amounts of information. Neuroscientist Gary Lynch at the University of California-Irvine explains how this incredibly complex communication process allows animals to learn and remember.

Mysteries of the brain: brain-computer interface

Neuroengineer Rajesh Rao of the University of Washington is developing brain-computer interfaces or devices that can monitor and extract brain activity to enable a machine or computer to accomplish tasks, from playing video games to controlling a prosthetic arm.

Mysteries of the brain: perceiving brain

Sabine Kastner, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at Princeton University, is studying how the brain weeds out important information from everyday scenes. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, Kastner is able to peek inside the brain and see what areas are active when a person sees a face, place or object.

Mysteries of the brain: Building a brain

Carlos Aizenman, a neuroscientist at Brown University, is studying the brains of tadpoles to understand how neural circuits develop and absorb information from the surrounding environment.

Mysteries of the brain: brain states and consciousness

Neurobiologist Orie Shafer at the University of Michigan is trying to understand how the brain's cells communicate in order to control sleep patterns. To help solve this mystery, Shafer is teaming up with mathematician Victoria Booth to study a tiny and unlikely specimen: the fruit fly.

Mysteries of the brain: emotional brain

For years, researchers have struggled to understand how emotions are formed and processed by the brain. Now, neuroscientist Kevin LaBar and his graduate students at Duke University are using a virtual reality room to study how the brain reacts to both negative and positive emotions.

Mysteries of the brain: evolving brain

Using amazing new technologies, evolutionary neuroscientist Melina Hale and her graduate students at the University of Chicago are discovering that the basic movements in one tiny fish can teach us big ideas about how the brain's circuitry works.

Mysteries of the brain

For centuries, scientists and engineers have studied the brain and yet, how it works largely remains a mystery. Understanding the brain means knowing the fundamental principles underlying brain structure and function. Explore the mysteries of the brain with investigators who span the spectrum of scientific and engineering disciplines. "Mysteries of the Brain" is produced by NBC Learn in partnership with the National Science Foundation. For more information, please visit: http://www.nsf.gov/brain/.

Episode 12: Bioprinting

In Episode 12, Charlie and Jordan chat about 3-D bioprinting, plugging up leaky graphene and a new approach to learning for the Pre-k crowd called Connect4Learning.

Gigabit-networked microscopy used to create a cross-country learning environment

The University of Southern California is partnering with a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) high school in Chattanooga, Tenn., and using gigabit networks to send high-definition 4K images of microorganisms directly into a biology class. This gives students live access to researchers and microscopic images, observations and knowledge, while also enabling them to manipulate the microscope from 1,800 miles away.

How computers compute

Even though we think of computers as super high-tech machines with tiny parts, they can also be huge, wooden, and mechanical. It's what they have in common that makes them computers: switches!

Barobo robots teach children algebra

At the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, Barobo, Inc. showed the National Science Foundation their robot that helps teach children algebra in a completely new way. By taking algebra off the page and into the physical world, Barobo aims to inspire a new generation of mathematicians.

Could you love math?

Jere Confrey is an NSF-funded researcher at the College of Education at NC State University. Her work in mathematics education provides a valuable perspective on the challenges and opportunities around having a positive relationship with math. She is one of the #WomenInSTEM we are highlighting for Women's History Month.

The sweet science of chocolate

Everybody loves chocolate, but did you know that small daily doses of dark chocolate improve vascular function, reduce pregnancy complications, and lighten gloomy moods? But while it's easy to appreciate, creating this confection is an elaborate feat. Local chocolate-makers explain the precision engineering and chemistry behind the beloved treat.

A glass conducter

A light bulb has the glass carefully removed, leaving the glass base and filament intact. The bulb is connected to AC electricity, and the filament quickly and dramatically burns out. This leaves the two wires that originally supported the filament separated by the glass in the base. Take a propane torch and heat the glass base (the bulb remnants are still connected to the electricity), a point is reached where the heated glass is no longer isolating the two wires from each other, but has become a conductor of electricity. As the electricity flows, the heat generated lights up the glass, the propane torch can be removed, and the glass continues to glow very brightly.

Flashy grape

A grape makes a great dipole antenna, and makes a great (small and safe) series of sparks in the microwave.