Discovery Education Monthly STEM Content Highlights – January 2017

To kick off the year, we wanted to examine a topic and career path often overlooked in STEM. Using STEM skills is incredible important in the everyday life of our brave law enforcement officers. Whether they are using forensic sciences in collecting evidence, putting puzzles together, staying a step ahead of hackers, educating the public of danger, or protecting our freedoms; STEM plays a large role in law enforcement.

STEMtistic of the Month

Law enforcement employment is currently at a 30-year low.

The number of applicants for law enforcement openings are down by 90% in some cities.

Why does this matter? A decade ago, there were close to 3,000 applicants in big cities for 10 openings with the police, now there are 1,000 applicants for 70 positions. More openings with fewer applicants equates to a critical need in ensuring that all applicants are coming with the STEM skills needed to be successful.

Check out these links to learn how to build skills needed to be successful in law enforcement:

Download the January 2017 STEMtistic Image Link

STEM Content Connection

Operation Prevention: The DEA and Discovery Education have joined forces to combat a growing epidemic of prescription opioid misuse and heroin use nationwide. Operation Prevention’s mission is to educate students about the true impacts of opioids and kick-start lifesaving conversations in the home and classroom.

Explore content that not only addresses the conversations students, teachers, and parents need to begin to have, but the science of addiction. Dig into an on-demand virtual field trip exploring the science behind addiction straight from the experts: DEA special agents, pharmacologists, and chemists. Through standards-based activities tied to this experience as well as stand alone classroom lessons, students will explore facts vs. fiction with drug abuse, careers within this work, and create a public service announcement (PSA) to share their learning and message (which they can submit and win up to $10,000).

Red Ribbon Week Virtual Field Trip: Santa Ana Police Department K9 Unit

This archived virtual field trip explores the world of K-9 officers and their handlers. The program examines how dogs are trained to become K-9 officers and how these dogs with their partners help keep drugs off the streets.

FBI Jobs in STEM: FBI Career Paths – Using Innovation to Protect the Nation

Interested in a career with the FBI? It’s not as specialized of a career path as you may think. The FBI needs many different types, levels, and expertise working on protecting our freedoms. The FBI has outlined jobs needing STEM skills here, including electronic surveillance (ELSUR) operations technicians, forensic scientists, computer scientists, and explosive devices analysts.

NSA Careers in STEM: Careers at the National Security Agency

The National Security Agency (NSA) is an intelligence organization responsible for global monitoring, collection, and processing of information and data for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes, while protecting U.S. communications and information systems against penetration and network warfare. What do they really do here though? Check out these videos!

CIA Codes and STEM: Break the Unbreakable Code – Kryptos

Good at solving riddles, puzzles, or secret codes? Since 1988 the code-bearing Kryptos sculpture has been boggling minds. This four-part puzzle gets harder as you progress and only one CIA physicist and one California based computer scientist have solved the first 3 parts. Section four, a 97-character message which utilizes what may be the most difficult cryptographic code known to humankind has remained unsolved. Do you think its solvable?

Discovery Education Resources

Stuff You Should Know Podcast: How SWAT Teams Work

Audio, Grades 9-12, Discovery Education Streaming Plus

Listen in on a discussion examining the rigors, processes, and dedication of your local SWAT teams.

Stuff You Should Know Podcast: How Will Future Crime Databases Work?

Audio, Grades 9-12, Discovery Education Streaming Plus

One of the challenges of law enforcement is not having data, and information at their fingertips. Many states, agencies, and even departments have their own databases that don’t necessarily work well with each other. How are innovators looking to change this and why?

Investigating a Burglary

Interactive, 6-8, Discovery Education Science Techbook

In this integrated science simulation interactive, you are asked to survey a crime scene, collect evidence, and put clues together to prosecute a suspect.

How Tech is Changing Police Training: Testing Police Memory

Video, 6-8, 9-12, Discovery Education Streaming Plus

This video explores how the use of modern and innovative technology is better preparing our law enforcement officers for pressure filled situations. In this clip, we examine a program which simulates a hostage scenario in order to test the memory of police officers following this high stress situation.

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 STEM career of a Criminal Detective Career Challenge. Pose this challenge to your students and have them use critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and problem solving to develop a profile and identify a suspect as a detective would in the real world.

Submit a STEM Career and Challenge important to your own local community for us to share with the Discovery Community! To submit your idea: STEM Career Submission

Extend Student Learning with Discovery Education Resources:

  • Explore STEM-Works, which has videos and instructions to build your own mock “lie detector” test, known as a polygraph test
  • Discovery Education Streaming Plus video on police and detective work:


Join the Discovery Education STEM Team live on January 12th, 2017 @ 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 January 25, 2017 @ 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.

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