Obama Hosts First Annual White House Science Fair

October 28, 2010

In an effort to push the importance of STEM education in the United States, President Obama hosted the first annual White House Science fair on October 18th.   The event celebrated the winners of a broad range of student competitions in science, math, engineering, and technology.   The science fair event comes out of the Educate to Innovate campaign launched by Obama in November of 2009 as a public-private partnership to advance STEM education.  The main goal of the campaign is to inspire young people to consider careers in the STEM fields.  During the event, Obama spent some time viewing exhibits of the winning students projects, ranging from breakthrough basic research to new inventions, and then addressed the crowd of students, STEM educators, and business leaders on the importance of STEM education for the nation’s economic future.

An excerpt from Obama’s speech at the October 19th event: “So we welcome championship sports teams to the White House to celebrate their victories.  I’ve had the Lakers here.  I’ve had the Saints here, the Crimson Tide.  I thought we ought to do the same thing for the winners of science fair and robotic contests, and math competitions, because often we don’t give these victories the attention that they deserve…. What happens when a young person is engaged in conducting an experiment, or writing a piece of software, or solving a hard math problem, or designing a new gadget.  It’s in these pursuits that talents are discovered and passions are lit, and the future scientists, engineers, inventors, entrepreneurs are born. ”   Click here to see Obama’s entire speech.

Obama announced that he’s going to be making a guest appearance on the December 8th episode of the Discovery Channel’s, Mythbusters.  This popular television program uses science to determine the accuracy of urban myths. Additionally, Obama discussed the steps his administration and leading companies are taking to further advance STEM education.  This includes efforts by DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) to place 3D printers in 1000 schools and an initiative by Autodesk to make new easy-to-use design tools freely available to students.   Obama also touched upon a viral video competition by leading fortune 500 companies, developed to show the rewarding jobs students can get if they achieve in math and science.

Article by RACCEMS’s Graduate Assistant Katie Monroe at kmonroe6@naz.edu


University of Rochester’s Engineering Overnight for High Schoolers

October 15, 2010

 

 

The University of Rochester’s Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences is offering an overnight program for high school juniors and seniors on October 29 – 30, 2010.

The highlights of the weekend will be the annual Pumpkin Launch Competition, hosted by Rochester’s chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Students will also attend sveral symposias to learn about different academic programs at the university, including: Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, Optics, and Electrical/Computer Engineering. 

To conclude the program, the students will stay overnight on campus with a current undergraduate in Engineering & Applied Sciences.

For more information and registration please click here.


2010 Excellence in STEM Teaching Award Activities

October 5, 2010

The Rochester Area Colleges Center for Excellence in Math and Science has recently chosen five local educators as finalists for the 2010 Excellence in STEM Teaching Award.  This award is given annually to recognize effective, engaging, and innovative Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) teaching in grades K-12 in Monroe and nine surrounding counties.

This year’s finalists are

Mrs. Laura Westerman - Science Teacher, Dake Middle School in West Irondequoit

Scott Krebbeks, Science teacher, Honeoye Falls - Lima Middle School

Mr. Robin Hill - Teacher at Martin Luther King Jr. School #9, in the Rochester City School District

Mr. Andy Maillet, Math Teacher, Greece Athena High School

Mr. Robert Hollwedel, Technology Teacher at Alexander Jr/Sr High School

To apply for this award, local STEM educators submitted nomination packets with reference letters, an innovative and effective learning activity, and an explanation of how the activity is used in their classroom. Finalists were then selected by a jury of local teachers who have been recognized at the state and national level.  Visit the Rochester Area College’s Center for Excellence in Math and Science’s website to view finalist’s activities.

All five finalists will receive a travel scholarship for up to $2,000 to attend a STEM learning conference of their choice. In addition, one of the five finalists will be chosen for the grand prize of a $10,000 classroom upgrade.  These prizes are made possible though a generous donation from Wards Natural Science of Henrietta, NY.

The winner will be announced at the Rochester Area College’s Center for Excellence in Math and Science Collaboration Event this Thursday, October 7th at the Rochester Museum and Science Center.


Meet Mr. Scott Krebbeks – Finalist for 2010 Excellence in STEM Teaching Award

October 1, 2010

 

Scott Krebbeks, 2010 Excellence in STEM Teaching Award Finalist

 

The Rochester Area Colleges Center for Excellence in Math and Science is pleased to introduce Mr. Scott Krebbeks – a  seventh grade science teacher at Honeoye Falls-Lima Middle School – as a finalist for the 2010 Excellence in STEM Teaching Award.

This award is given annually to recognize effective, engaging, and innovative Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) teaching in grades K-12 in Monroe and nine surrounding counties.

Mr. Krebbeks is dedicated to technology integration and teaching science with a problem solving approach to learning. For example, Krebbeks developed a STEM skill-based activity, called “Tree Identification Geocache,”  for his 7th grade science students. In this activity, students use GPS receivers, tree identification field guides, and teacher-created clues to locate a number of indigenous tree species on school grounds. After identifying each tree, students use laptops to view a Google Earth tour that Krebbeks created to check the accuracy of their answers.

Said Krebbeks: “Aside from being quite enjoyable and motivating for students, this activity allows them to use a combination of technology and traditional tools to complete a task.  Students had to rely on the GPS receiver to get them close to the trees, but had to use clues and deductive thinking skills to determine which tree was the correct one to identify.”

Krebbeks continued, “For the identification portion, students had to use a traditional tool, a field guide, and its taxonomic key to properly identify each tree.  Finally, using Google Earth to check their answers gave a ’sense of pride’ to the activity and put things in perspective.”

This kind of interactive instruction exemplifies what Honeoye Falls Lima Middle School Principal, Shawn Williams, wrote about Krebbeks in his recommendation letter. ”On a daily basis, Scott brings science concepts alive through the use of technology and creative hands on activities.  Scott is a master planner who develops lessons that require students to explore cooperatively.  He expects that they will do most of the thinking and doing.”

Mr. Krebbeks was a 6th grade teacher for 14 years and taught all subjects, but he always had a passion for science.  After some additional coursework to earn his 7-12 Biology certification, Krebbeks interviewed and received his current science position at HF-L Middle School, where he’s been teaching for the past four years.  Krebbeks enjoys watching students bring a sense of wonder to the classroom and hopes that his passion for science becomes contagious.

Congratulations to Scott Krebbeks and the other four finalists: Robert Hollwedel, Andy Maillet, Laura Westerman and Robin Hill.

Visit the Rochester Area College’s Center for Excellence in Math and Science’s website to view finalist’s activities.

Article by RACCEMS’s Graduate Assistant Katie Monroe at kmonroe6@naz.edu