Brockport Summer STEM Camp returns!

July 11, 2017

Last year we introduced a summer STEM Camp held in Brockport.  The camp is designed for students entering grades 3-5, and is open to students from any school district (see original post here).  This spring, the camp funded it’s very first scholarship given to a Brockport High School graduating senior with a strong interest in STEM. The STEM Camp is back for it’s second year, and there is still space available for kids entering grades 3-5.

The camp will be held at Brockport High School from Monday July 17th to Friday July 21st from 9am-11am each day, and the cost is $80 per student.  Proceeds from the camp will fund two scholarships for BHS seniors.

 

Sign up for the camp by emailing the following information to  juliavisconte@gmail.com

Name of parent:

Name of student:

Student’s t-shirt size:

checks can be made payable to Brockport Continuing Education, and mailed to Brockport Continuing Education, 40 Allen Street, Brockport, NY  14420.  Please put “STEM CAMP” in the memo line.

editors note:  My 10 year old daughter attended this camp last year and absolutely loved it.  She can’t wait to go back!

Do you know of a STEM-focused summer activity?  Please share it with us!


Summer Science Lab Camp

June 14, 2016

What happens when you have a student with a passion for volunteering combined with a love of science?  The Summer Science Lab Camp is born!  The driving force behind this camp is local high school student Julia Visconte.  For this segment of our Student Guest Blog Series,  we asked Julia to tell us about the inspiration for this program:summer fun

I started a summer science lab camp this year (being held from August 8th thru August 12th) for students from any district entering third to fifth grade. The camp encompasses five days of learning and participating in labs in relation to several different branches of science: earth science, biology, chemistry, physics, and astronomy. In addition, four of the five days includes a fun engineering challenge where students will work together to solve the challenge put in front of them.

The idea to create this program came to me in a conversation I had with my mom. I volunteer through notable clubs such as KEY Club and National Honor Society, participating in events like bell ringing for the salvation army and helping out at the community rec. center. One day, after volunteering I got home and told my mom I loved helping out but wished I could add more value rather than collecting money or passing out treats. After hearing my comment she asked me: “Well, what exactly would you be interested in helping in?” I pondered her question for a few days then told her about my idea of a science camp. My mom gave me full support for this idea! My dad was a little more hesitant. He was worried I was getting into something that would be too much to handle on top of the clubs I was already in, my advanced courses at school, and running long-distance on the outdoor track team. I took his criticism into consideration and replied that I was too passionate to give this idea up. He was on-board.summer science

Along with the support of my parents, I received an enormous amount of help and support from my science teachers and technology teachers at school. My physics teacher in particular was enthusiastic with my camp idea and helped me in creating it. He coordinated several conferences including a meeting with the entire high school science department, one with the principal at an elementary school, another with the principal at my own school, and one with the enriched club leader for younger students. These opportunities changed my stature in front of groups of people, I gained so much confidence from this experience. I even got a chance to pursue funding from the student council of my school, thanks to two of my friends who spoke to the advisor about my camp. I can’t even count the number of emails my teachers and I sent to get this program running. This camp helped get me a ton of exposure in the district. This experience has been really good for me and I’m really glad that I got involved with it!

Camp Details:

  • August 8-12, 2016, 9-11 AM
  • Open to students from all districts entering grades 3-5 in September
  • Camp held at Brockport High School
  • Cost is $80
  • Click here to see the flyer for more details and registration information

Julia Visconte is a rising senior at Brockport High School.  She is an active member of the National Honor Society,  Key Club and the Varsity Track Team.  She has participated in Explorers in Engineering with the Rochester Engineering Society,  and is currently involved in Project Lead the Way. She is also a recipient of the 2016 Rensselaer Medal, the 2015 Chemistry and Algebra 2/Trig Award, and the 2015 Pre-Calculus Award given at Brockport High School’s scholarship and awards night.

STUDENTS:  Are you a local student interested in writing about your experiences in local STEM activities?  We invite you to join us for our student guest blog series! Contact our Web Administrator at tammybon@EmpireSTEM-FL.org

 


Recognition Event: Meet Our Award Recipients!

May 25, 2016

STEM award ribbonAs we wrap up our 2015-2016 STEM Recognition program, we’d like to share a little bit about the amazing programs that we got to know this year.

One of the goals of the Hub has been to highlight exceptional work that is already taking place throughout our area. It is our intention to have an impact on students by providing teachers and administrators with examples of great STEM activities that are happening around us. We want to INSPIRE others to engage students in meaningful STEM lessons throughout their years of school.

We used the NYS STEM Quality Learning Rubric as a guide to indicate the current status of programs as well as to provide them with a vision for future growth.

Over the next several weeks, the STEM Blog will feature  these programs, providing a closer look at these award-winning programs that are enriching STEM experiences for our students throughout the Finger Lakes Region.  We will feature a single school per blog post and include a brief description and some of the slides that they provided to us with their application.  In the meantime, please enjoy the photos from our Recognition Event at the STANYS Central Western Section Science Exploration Days at St. John Fisher College on Friday, May 13th.   There are too many to post, so please click here to view them via google.  We thank STANYS and all of our sponsors for their incredible support!

2016 Award Winners (listed in alphabetical order):

  • Brighton High School – Energy and Sustainability Course
  • Churchville Chili School District – Garden of the Saints
  • Eastridge High School – Project Lead the Way
  • Brockport Central School:  Fred W. Hill Elementary School STEM Program
  • Greece Arcadia High School – Titan Memorial Hospital
  • Greece Athena Middle School – 21st Century STEM Innovative Solutions Expo
  • Lima Primary School – STEAM Education Program
  • Seneca Falls:  Mynderse Academy ­ Robotics Club
  • Nathaniel Rochester Community School ­ NRCS Monthly STEM Challenges
  • Nathaniel Rochester Community School – NRCS STEM School
  • Nathaniel Rochester Community School – NRCS 3rGrade STEM Class
  • Nathaniel Rochester Community School – NRCS Kindergarten Class
  • Rochester Institute of Technology ­ SMASH Experience for Girls
  • Siena Catholic Academy – Ms. Vona’s 6tGrade STEM Class
  • Sodus Middle/High School STEM Program – STEM Challenges Regional Event
  • St. Louis School – STEM Lab
  • Wayland­-Cohocton High School ­ STEAM Program (Timber Framing and Woodland Resources)
  • Wheatland-­Chili Central School District :  K12 STEM Education Program

Learn more about our recognition program by visiting our program page on the Finger Lake STEM Hub website.


Meet a local science author this weekend!

April 8, 2016

Annette Dunn is a local author who has recently published a series of science books for young children.  The series, Jumbo Minds’ Science ABCs, introduces the language of science to young children in ABC form.  There are 4 books in the series: ABCs of Biology, ABCs of Chemistry, ABCs of Earth Science, and ABCs of Physics.

Annette Dunn

Each book, written and reviewed by scientists and teachers, highlights 26 words from each subject, introducing the vocabulary and concepts in the very simplest and gentlest way. A dyslexic-friendly font was used to aid readability. The books target children ages 0-6, but include detail that can apply to older students and adults.

From the home setting to the school setting, there are many applications for incorporating this series to fit many needs.  The authors have also created a matrix for educators that align the content of the books with the Next Generation Science Standards.

Jumbo Minds, the publishing company behind the series, started with a passion to share the love of science with children, especially during the explosive brain growth period when languages are most easily learned.  Co-founded by Annette with her sister Corrine Knight, they were later joined by sister Valeri Sewald, making Jumbo Minds a true family affair to bring the language of science to our community’s youngest learners.

We asked Annette where the inspiration for their company came from:

There were two main factors that led to the creation of Jumbo Minds:

The first was the awareness of the knowledge gap in the American scientific educational system. We learn language from birth in order to communicate. We’re taught to count as babies and begin to understand numeracy. However, our children are not introduced to science concepts or science language until brain connection growth subsides. We feel that this is an opportunity missed. 

The second factor – there weren’t enough books that allowed us to share science with our young children.  So we decided to create what we were looking for but hadn’t found.  Studies have shown that the best time for children to learn additional languages is birth through age five. Exposure to language during that time period of explosive brain growth leads to improved language fluency and understanding later in life. We feel science is a language, and that by introducing the terminology and concepts to young children, they will have a strong foundation on which to build their knowledge of science and the world around them. 

liftbridge_final

Tomorrow, April 9th,  you can meet Annette at Lift Bridge Book Shop in Brockport!  She will be there from 2:00-4:00 pm.  There will be a book signing as well as a hands-on activity for kids that will introduce them to a few physics words and concepts.

For full details, please visit the Lift Bridge Book Shop event page.

Annette Dunn is CEO of Jumbo Minds, Inc. JumboMinds_RGB-300x191

~Sharing the Love of Science~

 


Bio Class visits URMC Life Sciences Learning Centers

March 14, 2016

The Life Sciences Learning Center (LSLC) is a unique hands-on science inquiry center for students and community members.  It is located at the University of Rochester Medical Center.  They offer innovative and engaging programs to area secondary students.  We invited a local high school student to share her experience following a recent visit to the LSLC.

A few weeks ago, my biology class visited the University of Rochester’s Life Sciences Learning Centers. We only knew that we were doing a lab, so we didn’t quite know what to expect. Upon arriving, we donned our lab coats and sat down at our individual stations. We immediately started a lab that involved the development of an HIV vaccine. First, we studied the spread of the virus and how the immune system reacts to it. This involved exchanging fluids which could possibly contain the virus. We then tested our fluids to see who was “infected.” Our instructor then showed us how to set up gels to test the vaccines. We got to use a micropipette to place the solution in the gels, which proved to be a bit of a challenge. However, there were some future doctors and scientists who were definitely naturals. After this, we sent an electrical current through the gels. Our results helped us determine which vaccine would be the most effective.

BHS at URMC1

Brockport High School Bio Students visit the LSLC

At the end of the program, our class got a photo together.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time at the learning center. I liked getting to see what doctors and scientists do every day to help save lives and advance technology. I would definitely return to do another lab.

 

Bridget Moyer is a 9th Grade Student at Brockport High School.

Want to learn more about the Life Sciences Learning Center?

URMC To learn more about the LSLC, visit their website or check out their facebook page to learn more about their exciting work with area students.

STUDENTS:  Are you a local student interested in writing about your experiences in local STEM activities?  We invite you to join us for our student guest blog series! Contact our Web Administrator at tammybon@EmpireSTEM-FL.org

 

 

 


STEM Program Awards

December 18, 2015

The Finger Lakes STEM Hub is proud to announce the STEM Program Recognition Awards!

Many school programs around the Finger Lakes Region make STEM Education a priority. The Finger Lakes STEM Hub would like to recognize those programs as models for others in our region.  

STEM award ribbonWho should apply?

Classrooms, schools, districts, and afterschool programs that wish to be recognized for incorporating STEM education into their curriculum.

For full details, please visit the STEM Program Recognition Awards page on the STEM Hub Website.

The application is now open!

The Application Deadline has been extended!  The new deadline is Friday, April 15, 2016 at 5:00 pm.

 


Initial STEM Coach Goal Met

December 1, 2015

Earlier this month we featured the RES STEM Initiative and their call for volunteers to get more STEM coaches into area classrooms.  If you didn’t see the original blog post, you can read it here:  STEM Education is Important – and You Can Help!

RSV

The RES STEM Initiative has exceeded the 2015/16 school year starting goal to have 30 volunteer Coaches available to support STEM teachers in Upstate New York.  We filled the conference room the evening of Thursday November 5th, with STEM Coach candidates, Teachers, and School Administrators interested in building the connections that put technical people into classrooms.  Engineers, technicians, entrepreneurs, machinists or anyone with a STEM Related Background, will now begin to support hands-on STEM Delivery.  (The year-end goal is more than twice that number.)

November meeting was well attended

November meeting was well attended

The “magic” is that these people have the real-world application experience to make whatever STEM Topic their teacher/partner is pursuing, tangible, usable, and therefore worth remembering!  These Technical people not only bring concepts, but in particular, they bring the Hardware that supports STEM instruction, to the classroom.  We are offering volunteer STEM Coaches to all Rochester area school districts.  Six STEM Coaches are already working at Honeoye Falls-Lima Primary School.

Taking a closer look with Survey equipment

Taking a closer look with Survey equipment

If you have a Science Technology Engineering or Mathematics background, and are retired (or available during school hours), please consider joining this effort.

The RES is also providing Literacy Tutoring at the Dr. Walter Cooper Academy.  This is a Third-Grade volunteer initiative that also needs your support.

There is a BSA Explorer Troop run by the Rochester Engineering Society, where Teens get an eleven-week exposure to Area Engineering/Manufacturing Firms, and extensive Career-Path guidance from practicing Engineers.  We featured this Explorer Troop earlier this year on our blog.  Check out the blog post here.

For further information, please use the Contacts below:

STEM Coaching:  Jon Kriegel –  jkriegel@rochester.rr.com  or cell: 585 281-5216

Literacy Tutoring:  Lee Loomis – leeloomis46@gmail.com

RES Explorer Post 801 Staff or Tour Options:  Richard Repka – rrepka10@gmail.com

Jon Kriegel is a Director and Past President of the Rochester Engineering Society.  Jon began mentoring and volunteering as part of Eastman Kodak’s 21st Century Learning Challenge, and continues to volunteer today through his work as the Volunteer Coordinator at the RES.


2015 STEM Holiday Wish List

November 25, 2015

Ready to start your holiday shopping? This year there are more STEM-inspired gifts than ever!wish-list

While there are far too many choices to provide a comprehensive list, we’ve tried to give an overview of what is new this year, and what parents we’ve spoken to are looking for.

Tight on space or have too many toys?  Some clutter-free ideas:

Spin off their current favorites:

  • Do your kids love the popular TV series Shark Tank as much as mine? STEM Center USA was the focus of a recent episode, a company that focuses exclusively on innovative STEM products.

    3D carving brings your ideas to life!

    3D carving brings your ideas to life!

  • Look around at what they play with the most.  Is there another level that will enhance their play?
  • Do they like carving?  Take it up a notch to 3D carving.  Inventables has a great selection for the makers on your list.

Great ideas for Girls:

Did you know that today’s elementary school girls are actually more interested in pursuing a STEM career than their male classmates are? (souce:  Fortune) And yet, there is still a great disparity in the field (see our recent blog on this topic).  Toy manufacturers are responding to this increase with STEM-inspired offerings specifically with girls in mind.  Some highlights:

Keeping girls engaged in STEM!

Keeping girls engaged in STEM!

  • The folks over at Mighty Girl always put together a great holiday list, and they didn’t disappoint this year.  Building Her Dreams:  Building and Engineering Toys for Mighty Girls focuses on classic building, construction and engineering toys, while the Holiday Gift Guide has a broader variety, with selections broken down by age group and category.
  • Goldiblox has a wide range again this year, from a line of real-life hero action figures to award-winning construction toys, this company focuses on maintaining the natural curiosity that many girls have, and giving them playthings that nurture their interest in building and engineering.
  • At Project MC², where “smart is the new cool” they have apps, videos, games and plenty of gear for girls of all ages.
  • Roominate is another girl-inspired, girl-led company focusing on inspiring and encouraging girls to pursue their interests in engineering by teaching girls through play.

Looking for lots of ideas to browse?

STEM Wish Lists:  Many major retailers have caught on to the STEM interest and now have their own guides available with tons of choices in every price range

The Classic Building Blocks:

No holiday STEM list would be complete without a Lego mention.  Legos are a holiday classic for many families.  While you are shopping for new sets or accessories to complement what you already have at home, take a few minutes and join the Lego Club (FREE!) which gives ideas and inspiration to your builders throughout the year.  Since most STEM-enthusiasts already have a healthy collection of Legos at home, we’re going to suggest our favorite accessories.

Just a dream for 2015, hopes are high for 2016!

Just a dream for 2015, hopes are high for 2016!

  • Brick Separator – these make great stocking stuffers!
  • Base Plates – you can never have enough of these
  • Lego Storage Systems – many ideas, for any size collection!
  • Lego Slippers – sadly these are only available in France this year, but this item is sure to be a hit among parents.  Who among us hasn’t felt the agony of a stray Lego underfoot? Hopefully our 2016 Wish List will be able to announce that they are available on our side of the pond.

Whether you are planning on battling the crowds on Black Friday, or going with the tech-friendly Cyber Monday, we hope we’ve given you a few new ideas.  Please share with us your own finds and suggestions!

 


Summertime STEM: Fizz Boom Read!

June 12, 2014

The library has always been a great place to find summertime activities for children.  This year, with a science theme that brings science and reading together, the result is a winning combination that is sure to entertain the kids and keep their reading skills up – all while doing some really cool science activities! Readers of all ages are invited to participate in science-related activities that include chemistry, robotics, biology, astronomy and much more.

Fizz Boom Read

FIZZ BOOM READ is the theme for Summer 2014 for many libraries around the country, as part of the Collaborative Summer Library Program.

The Monroe County Library System has put together a brochure highlighting activities held at every library in their system, and you can also find library-specific activities online or in person at your local library.

Along with the children’s program, many libraries are offering programs for teens and adults that stay with the science theme.  “Spark a Reaction” is the program for teens, and “Literary Elements” is for adults.  Get the whole family in on the fun!

If you’re looking for ideas to do at home that go along with the library theme, you can find hundreds of ideas online.  Several Pinterest boards devote themselves exclusively to this theme, like the Fizz Boom Read 2014 Summer Reading Program board and SRP 2014 – Fizz, Boom, Pop!  We also have an entire page dedicated to FUN STUFF on the Fingerlakes STEM Hub website.  Check it out!

Of course, while you are at the library you should take a look at the many science-themed books that you can find on the shelves.  From activity manuals to non-fiction fact books, and fictional stories about science to biographies about your favorite scientist, there is something for everyone to be found at your favorite library.  Don’t find what you are looking for?  Don’t forget about inter-library loan, an inexpensive way to check out books from every library in your region, delivered right to your local library for pick up.

Discounted Admission to local museums!

Discounted Admission to local museums!

While you are at the library, check out a V.I.P Pass, which gets you discounted admission to places like the Genesee Country Village and Museum, George Eastman House, GEVA, Memorial Art Gallery and the Rochester Museum and Science Center.

What science-based activities and stories are you looking forward to this summer?  Please share your ideas!

 


Guest Essay: NYS Should Adopt the Next Generation Science Standards

May 23, 2014

Kimberle Ward addressed Regent Norwood at the May Meeting of the Finger Lakes STEM Hub

My work with the Finger Lakes STEM Hub has been a passion of mine. The Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) have provided an equitable playing field for students throughout New York State as well as the Nation. With the implementation of the CCLS our STEM learning standards have been addressed in isolation. It is time to fully align and integrate STEM learning skills P-12.

The opportunity to speak with Regent Norwood was an honor. On behalf of educators my message was composed to share the urgency to continue the momentum of the teaching and learning improvements we are experiencing with the CCLS and adopt/adapt the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Regent Norwood,

The research highlights that when provided with equitable learning opportunities, students from diverse backgrounds are capable of engaging in scientific practices and constructing meaning in both science classrooms and informal settings. The NGSS account for the changing demographics of our schools and place every child on a fair and equitable playing field.

College and Career demands the ability to problem solve by forming a hypothesis and testing it out. These are the skills our students need to be successful professionally and personally.

The demographics of our schools are rapidly changing. We are facing challenges as a result of increased poverty levels and the presence of families in the United States seeking better opportunities for their English Language Learners.

The NGSS are rigorous, they place every child on a level playing field, and they make connections to the ELA and Math standards. Our students need to be exposed to STEM learning opportunities in a world that is globally connected with competitive demands that will continue to focus on the success of students throughout the United States.

Integration of subject areas strengthens science learning. Science is currently being de-emphasized. We cannot afford to disregard the 21st century learner and learning skills K-12. We need to excite, inspire and motivate our students to use inquiry and problem solving to explore the wonders of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The NGSS provide these opportunities.

The crosscutting concepts are overarching scientific themes that emerge across all scientific disciplines. These themes provide context for new disciplinary core ideas that enable students to develop a cumulative, coherent, and usable understanding of science and engineering. Concepts are integrated and interrelated supporting a rigorous set of standards for increased learning and deep understanding.

The time is now, why wait? Teachers are embracing the shifts in ELA and Math, making the shifts in Science reachable and doable. Developing modules using the NGSS that imbed the ELA and Math standards will certainly provide a cross-discipline of learning, making it relevant and rigorous. This is critical especially for our K-6 teachers who often disregard or spend less time on Science standards due to lack of competence, confidence, and connections. the NGSS provide these connections.

With a strong engineering component present in the standards our students will have increased chances for a decent, well paying jobs. Engineering provides opportunity to inspire creativity and innovation…the very things that will position the United States to be much more globally competitive.

The progressions are critical for deep understanding of the foundational concepts of science and engineering. We can no longer teach these concepts in isolation of each other. Please, our STEM learning commitment needs to be aligned and the NGSS give us hope for improved learning in the area of Science and engineering. We cannot wait, our students deserve a set of standards that speak the language of 21st Century learning skills needed to improve and advance. This makes good sense, providing a model for innovation and commitment to our students K-12, by adopting the NGSS, will continue to motivate other States to emulate the work of our NYS educators. They have embraced and persevered the work…because they believe this is what is best for KIDs!  

Thank you.   (Presented at STEM Hub Meeting, May 9, 2014)

Kimberle A. Ward is the Superintendent of the Gates Chili Central School District.  In addition, she is the Previous Superintendent of the Naples Central School District, and taught Science at the Middle and High School levels for 14 years prior to Administration.