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.

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New Summer PD: Careers and Relevance

April 29, 2016

Counselors! Teachers! Educators!

We have changed up the Summer Professional Development Institute offered by the Finger Lakes STEM Hub this year. More tours and hands-on field experiences, a bit less in-class time, less project-/problem-based learning emphasis (don’t worry! We will still cover the basics using tools from the Buck Institute for Education).

Career signCounselors, think about how you can tie real jobs and skills needed for those jobs to actual career paths students need to take The technical, two-year, hands-on certificate programs like Optical Systems Technology, Precision Machining in Optical Fabrication, or Solar Thermal Technology at Monroe Community College and Food Processing Technology at Genesee Community College to the traditional four-year programs like Optical Engineering at University of Rochester or Environmental Engineering at RIT or Biochemistry at Nazareth College. With industry tours, networking lunches with local professionals, and hands-on field explorations, you can see the local job market, hear the skills needed, and experience first-hand what is needed for students to succeed in the region. [Note: the above programs are local examples, not all will be touched upon in class!]

Teachers, you can see how the topics and skills you teach come to life in the real world, solving everyday local challenges all the way to working on international problems with tiny parts created right here in the region. You will become more familiar with career pathways, traditional and non-traditional, and hear from industry leaders what skills are important and just how our local region is taking the world by storm, creating all levels of jobs your students can easily fill.

So, sign up and come explore student engagement, project-/problem-based learning, 21st Century skills, career & college readiness, and network with local professionals to enhance your teaching and experiences for students.

Click here to see the full course description, and to access the registration link.

Betsy Ukeritis is the Inter-regional Environmental Educator at the NYS Dept of Environmental Conservation.  She is also an active member of the Finger Lakes STEM Hub Steering Committee and the FL STEM Hub Summer PD Institute Committee


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

 

 

 


Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators

December 27, 2011

Are you a teacher, or do you know an outstanding teacher, who uses innovative approaches to teach about environmental education? The Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (PIAEE) recognizes outstanding kindergarten through grade 12 teachers who apply innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for exploratory and integrated learning.

As discussed in the “America’s Great Outdoors: A Promise to Future Generations” report, in order to make environmental stewardship and conservation relevant to young Americans, environmental and place-based, experiential learning must be integrated into school curricula and facilities across the country.

This program recognizes outstanding kindergarten through grade 12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for learning for their students.

“This awards program will highlight and encourage innovative ways to getter integrate environmental issues into our young people’s everyday learning experiences—helping to turn environmental education into environmental action,” said EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe.

Two teachers from each of EPA’s 10 regional offices will be selected to receive this award.  Visit EPA’s teacher award website at http://www.epa.gov/education/teacheraward.

Applications for the PIAEE are due on January 31, 2012.


Natural Disaster Education – Resources to Help

March 24, 2011

On the afternoon of March 10, 2011, a massive 8.9 earthquake struck off the coast of Japan. 

In addition to the devastation caused by the earthquake, a tsunami was unleashed, racing across coastal Japan and radiating out through the Pacific Ocean. 

In the wake of such a catastrophic event, it is very important for students of all ages to understand the cause of such a disaster and the effects on human life and property.  It is important that students see how people in their communities, their country and all over the globe are affected by catastrophic events such as the Tsunami is Japan, the Haitian Earthquake, Hurricane Katrina, etc.     

There are many resources on the internet for teachers and parents seeking to help educate their students about natural disasters and their aftermath. 

Here are some we recommend:

FEMA for Kids – Learn about the different kinds of disasters, how to prepare and stay safe, and how to become a Disaster Action Kid.

http://www.fema.gov/kids/

NEOK12 – Kids science videos, lessons, quizzes and games for K-12 grade school kids that make learning fun and interesting.

http://www.neok12.com/Natural-Disasters.htm

Discovery EducationReady Classroom will provide elementary and middle school teachers with resources to integrate natural disaster preparedness information into their curriculum.

http://readyclassroom.discoveryeducation.com/#/map

 PBS Teachers – Lesson plans, videos, and interactive games to provide teachers with resources on teaching about different Natural Disasters. 

http://www.pbs.org/teachers/search/resources/?q=natural+disasters&x=53&y=21


Earth Day 2011 Websites for Teachers

March 16, 2011

 

At the request of a reader of The STEM Blog, we have compiled a list of educational websites with Earth Day activities for teachers.

We hope you find these links useful – if your class does an Earth Day activity derived from this list please send a photo and brief description to cputnam3@zimbra.naz.edu and we’ll happily put you on the Blog!

http://teachers.net/projects/earthday/ Has a list of projects and requests for projects submitted by a variety of individuals. The dates that the projects were submitted are listed as well. List includes all levels.

http://holidays.kaboose.com/earth-day/ It’s the 40th Anniversary of the holiday and this site has crafts, coloring pages and activities.

http://funschool.kaboose.com/globe-rider/earth-day/  Celebrate Earth Day with free online games for kids, Earth Day puzzles, crafts and coloring pages. Colorful graphics and lots to explore for younger children.

http://www.teachervision.fen.com/earth-day/teacher-resources/6612.html  Lessons, printables, and references are provided as well as fun hands-on activities for science and art, K-12.

http://eelink.net/pages/EE+Activities+-+Earth+Day North American Association for Environmental Education provides a list of curriculum, resources, and ways to celebrate Earth Day.

http://www.dltk-kids.com/crafts/earth.html This site includes information about Earth Day and  activities (including online jig-saw puzzles, poems and a variety of word games).

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/earthday/ A variety of crafts for pre-school, kindergarten and elementary students.

http://www.epa.gov/region5/publications/happy/happy.htm The EPA has a coloring book that can be downloaded as well as a document entitled ABC’s of Environmental Education. This site refers to Region 5 which includes the Great Lakes, but not New York State.

http://www.apples4theteacher.com/holidays/earth-day/ Articles, crafts, activities, poems and reading materials are included in this site.

http://edhelper.com/EarthDay.htm  Worksheets, lesson plans and activities for kids (including materials in Spanish).