The list of Albert Einstein’s contributions to the world of science is practically endless. Over the course of his life, he published more than 300 scientific papers and was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics. He is regarded by many as a genius. In this month’s video and poster, we celebrate Einstein’s birth on March 14, 1879.
Albert Einstein lived in a time before the acronym “STEM” was introduced. Now, of course, STEM is a very common term and Einstein is sort of a STEM superhero. A similar term that is becoming more and more popular is STEAM, which of course stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math. Because of his combined love of science and music, “STEAM superhero” seems to be an even more appropriate description for Einstein. It’s extremely important that students commit themselves to learning all they can about science, math and language. But it’s also important to remember the arts. Music, painting, sculpture, literature, theatre, film and other means of artistic expression are vital parts of our lives. As Einstein himself said, “The greatest scientists are artists as well.”
Thank you for being a part of the Professional Educators Network. We hope you enjoy this new installment of History’s ARTifacts. Please watch the educational video with your students, download the poster by this month’s artist, Ben Courneya, and watch Ben’s Meet the Artist video.
Meet the Artist: Ben Courneya
Activities for Albert Einstein
One of the practical applications of Einstein’s famous E=MC2 equation was the development of nuclear power and nuclear weapons. While nuclear power has transformed the world in mostly positive ways, the advent of nuclear weapons has brought the planet to the brink of catastrophe more than once. Discuss the politics of using or banning nuclear weapons with your class, as well as the only wartime use of nuclear weapons at the end of World War II.
It is rumored that although he was one of the preeminent scientists of all time, Albert Einstein was actually not very fond of math. This story is most likely a myth, as Einstein excelled at math from a very young age. Having already taught himself algebra and Euclidean geometry, Einstein went on to teach himself calculus before he was 16 years old. Math, being one of the bedrock disciplines in STEM, is critical in many of today’s careers. Discuss with your class the importance of math, not only in relating to esoteric equations of the universe, but also in how we go about our everyday lives.
Possibly one of the most famous equations in history, E=MC2 is known for its simplicity and elegance. The equation neatly encapsulates so much about what we know about gravitation, energy and mass. The equation, and all that it entails, has been the foundation for an incredible amount of technology and innovation in the 20th and 21st centuries. Without it, we would not have GPS, rockets, nuclear power or (regrettably) nuclear weapons. Discuss with your class the importance of this equation and the consequences of how it has been implemented over the last 115 years.
Check out the book Who Was Albert Einstein? by Jess Brallier and Robert Andrew Parker. The book explores the life and career of the famous physicist, from his birth in Germany to his death in the United States. It covers the important theories he formulated, including both special and general relativity. Along with its natural tie to the sciences, the book makes connections to politics and social studies as it follows his life as it wound its way through some of the most eventful times of our history.
This month’s poster by artist Ben Courneya was “painted” in Photoshop. Students can research well-known painters of the past like Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Monet, or learn about new digital artists like Jeszika Le Vye, Kaya Oldaker and Alyn Spiller. Have them create their own art pieces using a variety of traditional materials combined with modern techniques.