Discovery Education Monthly STEM Content Highlights – December 2016

During the holiday season, we see all the amazing sights, sounds, and joy shared by all; however, we sometimes forget all the work that it takes to make this time so special.

STEMtistic of the Month

78% of adults plan on using their smartphones for holiday shopping.

28 % of Millennials plan to do ALL of their holiday shopping online.

Why does this matter? Commerce and business is the backbone of our country. As people begin to shop online more and more, the type of jobs and solutions needed changes. Robotics engineers and technicians, online marketers, logisticians, website designers, and coders are increasing, while malls are in a steep decline. As problems change in industry, new innovating thinking and solutions are in demand.

For more information on innovations in shopping, commerce, and shipping, explore:

  • Amazon Warehouse Robots: See in action a few of the 15,000 Kiva robots that lift shelves and carries them around to the fulfillment team (YouTube).
  • Amazon Robotics: Learn more about how Amazon is building a culture using the 4C’s to innovate business.
    • UPDATE: Amazon is creating 100,000 new US jobs—for humans (Quartz) 
      It’s no secret that Amazon is interested in automation. The company has deployed tens of thousands of robots in its famously efficient warehouses, and is working on grocery stores that don’t need cashiers. But the e-commerce giant still has a soft spot for humans. On Jan. 12, Amazon announced plans to create more than 100,000 full-time US jobs, with benefits, over the next 18 months.

Download the December 2016 STEMtistic image here.

STEM Content Connections

Discovery Education – Holiday Collaboration:

Holiday Global Collaborative Learning Experience

Celebrate the holidays with the 4C’s by collaborating and communicating to other classrooms from around the world! This year Discovery Education has teamed up with GlobalLabs to bring you a collaborative project allowing classrooms to examine their favorite holidays and invent new ways to celebrate people, places, things, and events they love.


White House – Honoring our Troops:

White House Holiday Interactive

This year’s White House holiday decorations pay homage to our men and women of the military. Send a digital message of gratitude to our active duty service men and women. The USO will share your message with our heroes through their centers around the world where our uniformed men and women are currently deployed. Have your students send a message now at


STEM Connections around Decorating our Cities:

2012 Rockefeller Tree Setup Time-lapse

TIME magazine time-lapse video depicting the installation, setup, and lighting of the Rockefeller Plaza Tree. What jobs are shown? Where do your students see STEM?  (Note: – be aware of surrounding content.)


Decorating Disney World

Planning for the big holiday transformation at Walt Disney World takes months, but the theme transition happens over one night, and you can see it in one minute. Watch as Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park transitions to a holiday wonderland in this time lapse video.


Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights

The holidays bring lots of tourism business! People from all over the southeast United States travel to Louisiana to create memories on a magical road trip. Eight of Louisiana’s most festive cities display millions of twinkling lights and host fun events for the entire family. Ask your students to plan the shortest distance tour!


U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

The National Christmas Tree always gets a lot of coverage, but the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is just as interesting, if not more so! This year the tree traveled 3771.74 Miles from Payette National Park in Idaho, and you can track the tree’s journey, learn about the history of the Capitol Christmas tree, see where every tree called home, and investigate the outdoors with the National Parks Service.


Additional Discovery Education Resources:  

India: Diwali Festival

Discovery Education Streaming Plus, Grades K-5

The five-day celebration of Diwali marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year. One of the major festivals of Hinduism, the Festival of Lights spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.


Discovery Education Streaming Plus, Grades 6-12

STEM is about critical thinking – Have your students investigate holidays to separate facts, fiction, and myths. Also have the find creative ways people celebrate the holidays… like dropping 200lbs of Baloney at midnight on New Year’s eve in Lebanon, PA.


Battery Manufacturing

Discovery Education Science Techbook, Grades 6-12

The number one forgotten item when buying gifts: batteries. Battery usage and purchasing is at an all-time high as our world needs more and more energy. Explore how batteries are made and innovations for the future!

STEM Career Challenge

“You can’t be what you can’t see.”

STEM Career Challenges are developed to engage students in content tied to STEM career pathways often overlooked. Connecting student passions to their individual futures helps capture student interest in learning. STEM Career Challenges have been developed to allow flexibility and customization for each teacher, school, and district based on your own standards and curriculums.

This month, we look to introduce students to the Logistician STEM Career Challenge. Logisticians develop and manage an organization’s supply chain. They coordinate the logistics, from production design to disposal; develop strategies to maximize profits; and oversee transportation, inventory, warehousing, and delivery.

Pose the challenge to your students and have them use creativity, communication, collaboration, and problem solving to find solutions that are most effective in growing their business.

Submit a STEM Career Challenge important to your own local community to share with the Discovery Education Community.


Extend Student Learning with these Discovery Education Resources:

Ocean Currents and Shipping Lanes

Discovery Education Science Techbook, Grades 6-8, reading passage

Did you know that the oceans are divided into lanes, much like the traffic lanes we drive in on land? With so large an area, who would have thought that it was necessary to define where and when ships could sail? There are several reasons for doing this. Some are economical, some are ecological, but all of the reasons make great sense.


How It’s Made: Mail

Discovery Education Streaming Plus, Grades 3-8

What are the only letters you’ll never see in a postal code? How does mail make it from mailbox to mailbox? See how mail is sorted electronically by size and postage.


Hospital of the Future

Discovery Education Streaming Plus, Grades 9-12

High-tech medicine and digital data management are sophisticated logistics that are already being introduced in Thuringia, Germany, at the hospital of the future.


Join the Discovery Education STEM Team live on December 13, 2016 @ 7 PM ET as we highlight STEM Strategies that Work. STEM teacher leaders will share STEM strategies they utilize in their classroom that all educators can replicate to help develop a STEM culture. The DE STEM Team will also be live for “Open Office Hours” to answer questions, share ideas, and continue the conversation around STEM implementation and culture.




Join the Discovery Education STEM Team for our monthly STEM Chat on December 28, 2016 @ 8 PM ET as we facilitate rich conversation with our guest host and STEMthusiasts from around the world. Learn more about participating in a #DESTEMChat. stemchat-december-2016


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