Next Week is Engineers Week!

February 13, 2014

engineering week

Did you know that next week is Engineers Week?

If you are wondering what exactly Engineers Week is, it is the only event of it’s kind designed to:

  • Celebrate how engineers make a difference in our world
  • Increase public dialogue about the need for engineers
  • Bring engineering to life for kids, educators, and parents

More than a week-long event, Engineers Week is a year-round commitment to making a difference.

2014 Theme:  Let’s Make a Difference 

This year’s theme was chosen based on the premise that most Americans, both kids and adults, don’t know what engineering is, or what engineers do.

According to the 2014 Engineers Week Theme page:

They don’t know that engineering is a collaborative, creative process that makes a difference in all of our lives—from advances in life-saving medicines to more productive crop yields to clean drinking water.

Engineers Week is a time to make a difference by celebrating our accomplishments and sharing our knowledge, experiences, and enthusiasm. It is a time to turn comments like “I didn’t know that” into exclamations of “I want to do that!”

If you are looking for more information about Engineers Week, activity suggestions, training and more, please visit their webpage for an amazing amount of references.  They even have a webinar titled Five Easy Ways to Make a Difference During Eweek.


FIRST Robotics Competition at RIT

March 16, 2010

 

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On Friday, March 5th students from forty-four high school throughout New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Canada participated in the Finger Lakes Regional FIRST Robotic Competition, hosted by The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) In total about 4,000 participants and fans attended the annual competition which is sponsored by a robotics organization called FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) FIRST is a non-profit organization founded by Segway inventor Dean Kamen.

 The theme of this year’s competition was “Breakaway” – a robot version of soccer. Five teams qualified for the championship round in Atlanta next month by defeating robots from other teams in the game of Breakaway.

It is essential for schools and STEM related organizations to hold competitions like the First Robotic competition to give students the opportunity to explore science in a fun, hand-on way and to promote an interest in STEM higher education and fields. The competition also increases student’s creative thinking, problem solving and teamwork work skills.  

High school physics teacher Ellen Bansik Lewis saw the valuable skills students gain from participation in the program first hand.  Lewis coached the FIRST Robotics team at Greenwich High School in Connecticut from 2000 – 2003.  “I think that the most impressive aspect of FIRST is how students partner with corporate sponsors, professional engineers, teachers, and their parents and younger brothers and sisters to work as a team, under time constraints, to get a job done that gives them an appreciation for science and technology,” Lewis said.

Lewis saw many of her students go on to college majors and, eventually, careers in the STEM disciplines. “Many of my former students involved in FIRST have gone on to study Engineering or Physics in college. Some of these students had an interest in Science and Technology to begin with, but others found their interest in science because of their participation with the project,” Lewis said. 

Yet, Lewis also saw some students gain skills applicable to other disciplines or that could be applied to STEM fields in a non-traditional way.  “Many students enjoyed designing and building the robot, others enjoyed the computer programming,” Lewis said, “There were also students involved in the project that focused on marketing, publicity, fund-raising, and travel arrangement aspects. I’ve had students go on to pursue careers in business because of what they got out of the project.”

It is quite possible that someday youngsters who participated in The FIRST Robotics Competition at RIT will be students there in a myriad of fields thanks to the valuable skills they learned through the competition.


National Lab Day

February 9, 2010

For those who don’t know about National Lab Day, it is a nationwide movement to bring together stakeholders in communities of support where science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals work together to provide more science experiences to students. National Lab Day is not just one day but a week in May.  Teachers will get the opportunity to work with outside experts. You can simply go on NationalLabDay.org to enter the science project you are interested in teaching, N.L.D. will match teachers with volunteer scientists and engineers in their areas for mentoring. Teachers should become a part of National Lab Day!

This is a great chance for teachers to implement hands-on projects, mentor a student, or even to start a fund-raising to buy needed supplies.  National Lab Day will inspire numerous students.

Read Tom Friedman’s column on innovation and NLD


NSTA Web Seminars

January 27, 2010

Most teachers are busy and rarely have time for any professional development. However, the NSTA learning center is providing many different webinars on different topics in order to deepen the teaching and learning in the classroom. The uncpming webinars are “spark girls’ interest in engineering” and “Teaching Biotechnology: New Tools and Resources for the STEM Career Pipeline”. NSTA is joining force with “Engineer Your Life (EYL)”, a national campaign to showcase engineering as an exciting and rewarding career choice for high school girls. More than 75% of girls familiar with EYL indicated the site inspired them to take an engineering course in college. If teachers know more strategies in helping their students become more interested in a subject, the students’ future will become promising. Therefore, I believe that these are great opportunities for teachers to expand their horizon in teaching. All you need to do is turn on your computer and register online! You can sit comfortably at, and you will gain something valuable from listening to the professionals! Isn’t it wonderful?

Visit Website (Spark girls’ interest in engineering)

Visit Website (Teaching Biotechnology)


White House Begins Campaign to Promote Science and Math Education

November 30, 2009

The white house is starting a campaign to promote Science and Math education by recruiting Elmo and Big Bird, video game programmers, and thousands of scientists. President Obama announced on Monday to encourage companies and nonprofit organizations to spend money, time and effort to help students in middle and high school pursue science, technology, engineering, and math.

The campaign is called Educate to Innovate, will focuses on activities outside the classroom. Science and engineering societies promise to provide volunteers to work with students in the classroom in order to culminate in a National Lan Day in May. Another part of the campaign also includes a two-year focus on the television show “Sesame Street”, and a website http://connectamillionminds.com/ which was set up by Time Warner Cable. This website provides a searchable directory of local science activities.

It is essential to get children involved in exploring the cool side of science and math. I believe that this campaign will have a positive impact on children. Children learn the best when they are having fun. By incorporating all the fun activities into learning, children will become innovative from participating in different science activities.

Read this article


Famous Women in Mathematics

April 29, 2009

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There is a very special relationship between one of my math professors this semester and a student in the class. The professor has said several times during the semester: “I need to find out about some female mathematicians”, usually after comments like: “…and that math book was written by a man, right?”  They have inspired me to do a little bit of research about famous women in mathematics to arm my professor with much needed information to respond to the student before this semester is over!

Hopefully this information will be useful to others to encourage young girls to pursue a career in mathematics or related fields.

I found three websites with lists of famous women mathematicians. Some of the links in the websites link you to biographical databases in other websites.  The three websites are: Biographies of Women in Mathematics, Famous Mathematicians from Underrepresented Groups, and Female Mathematicians. I checked all the mathematicians that were in more than one of the three lists and here are the ones I picked:

Name

Achievement

Theano

c.16 Century B.C

Wife of Pythagoras. Ran School of Pythagoras after his death. Wrote works on the Golden Ratio.

Hypatia

370?-415

Made idea of conics easier to understand.

Florence Nightingale

May 12, 1820 – August 13, 1910

Called: Prophetess of Applied Statistics

Invented Polar Area Chart in the form of polar wedges to dramatize the needless deaths caused by unsanitary conditions and the need for reform.

Winifred Edgerton Merrill

September 24, 1862 – September 6, 1951

First American woman to receive a PhD in math.

Worked on the geometrical interpretation of multiple integrals and figure out the computation of the orbit of a comet.

Maria Gaetana Agnesi

May 16, 1718 – January 9, 1799

“By far the most important and extraordinary figure in mathematics during the 18th century.”

Most important work: Analytical Institutions gave a clear summary of the state of knowledge in mathematical analysis. It included: analysis of finite quantities; elementary problems of maxima, minima, tangents, and inflection points; analysis of infinitely small quantities; integral calculus; and the inverse method of tangents and differential equations.

Grace Chisholm Young

March 15, 1868 – March 29, 1944

Worked with her husband on set theory. Authored 13 publications with her husband and 18 by herself.

Bruckner and Thomson wrote that “The whole field of what was then called ‘the theory of functions of a real variable’ was reworked and rewritten in those first decades [of the 20th century]. The Youngs played a major role in that effort.”

Edith Clarke

February 10, 1883 – October 29, 1959

Achievements in applications of mathematics to engineering.

She became an authority on the manipulation of hyperbolic functions, equivalent circuits, and graphical analysis.

Irmgard Flugge-Lotz

July 16, 1903 – May 22, 1974

Professor Flugge-Lotz acted in a central role in the development of the aircraft industry in the Western world. Her contributions spanned a lifetime during which she demonstrated, in a field dominated by men, the value and quality of a woman’s intuitive approach in searching for and discovering solutions to complex engineering problems.

Ellen Amanda Hayes

September 23, 1851 – October 27, 1930

Hayes wrote several textbooks on Lessons on Higher Algebra (1891, revised 1894), Elementary Trigonometry (1896), and Calculus with Applications, An Introduction to the Mathematical Treatment of Science (1900).

Edna Kramer Lassar

May 11, 1902 – July 9, 1984

Kramer’s greatest work is considered the book, The Nature and Growth of Modern Mathematics, which was published in 1970. This work took her 14 years to complete. In 1972 she was elected into the Hall of Fame at Hunter College. Her many books still are read and studied today, including A First Course in Educational Statistics, Mathematics Takes Wings: An Aviation Supplement to Secondary Mathematics, and The Main Stream of Mathematics.

Rózsa Péter

February 17, 1905 – February 16, 1977

Péter was the author of Playing with Infinity: Mathematical Explorations and Excursions, translated into at least 14 languages, and Recursive Functions in Computer Theory. The latter was the second Hungarian mathematical book to be published in the Soviet Union because its subject matter was considered indispensable to the theory of computers.

Helena Rasiowa

June 20, 1917 – August 9, 1994

Helena Rasiowa greatly contributed to the development of research in Poland on applications of logical methods in the foundations of computer science. She was one of the first to realize the great importance of mathematical logic for computer science – and at the same time she clearly saw the significance of computer science for the development of logic itself.

Argelia Velez-Rodriguez

1936-

Cuban Black Woman: First Black woman to receive a doctorate in mathematics at the University of Habana. She taught in several American schools before joining the mathematics faculty at Bishop College in Dallas, Texas, where she was chairperson of the Department of Mathematical Science from 1975 to 1978. In 1979 she became a program manager with the Minority Institutions Science Improvement Program in Washington, D.C. Since 1980 she has been a program director for the Department of Education.

As the author of Famous Mathematicians from Underrepresented Groups said: “… until recently, women were mostly prevented from doing mathematics, so relatively few women have become famous in mathematics.” Therefore, now that women are able to study mathematics, we must inspire, encourage and help girls become interested in mathematics at an early age and help them pursue careers in math or related fields.


Keep Your Kids Interest in Science with Holiday Gifts

December 8, 2008

Do you have a kid that is interested in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM)? Do you want to get your kid interested in these subjects?

When I was a child, I always had an interest in putting things together. I still do! I don’t know if it is a learned behavior or not. I loved puzzles. I wanted to help my dad put the bike (or anything) together. I saw my older brother putting together his toy model car and I wanted to do that! But that was a boy toy. I couldn’t play with it or get one for myself! Now, when I buy or someone gives me something that needs to be put together, I don’t go to sleep until it is. Just in case you’re wondering, I got BS in Computer Science and now I’m studying to be a High School Math Teacher.

I also collected bugs. Yes, I was a girl who collected bugs! I don’t remember why I started doing this. It may have been for a school science project and then I made it a habit. But, whenever I saw dead bugs around my house or on my way home, I picked them up and put them in a yogurt cup in the kitchen closet. They may even still be in my mom’s house! After a while, I was able to see the bones or interior structure of some of them. Even though it’s not what I studied, I love biology, the Discovery channels, all doctor’s programs on TV and nature.

My older niece got her first camera when she was in Kindergarten. It was a Polaroid. She kept on getting upgrades often, until she got a video camera, taped it to a remote control car, turned the camera on and off it went to record. We’re hoping she gets an engineering or a science related education. She still has a couple of years to think about it.

What are your kids into? What are you doing to keep them interested in STEM subjects?

dinoworks

One way to keep your kids interested in STEM subjects is by giving them games related in the STEM subjects they like. To find STEM related games, go into your favorite toy store web site. Look in the learning category and then in science and discovery. Then, it’s probably going to be divided into specific science categories. It may also have an option to select by gender but I don’t think it’s necessary to use this selection by gender with science “toys”.

Here are MY PICKS of toys that may get your kids interested in science at an early age or encourage them to pursue a science related career, if they’re already interested in science.

Subject

Ages

Toys

STEM

Babies & Toddlers

Blocks, Shape Sorters, Stacking Shapes, Farm Animals, Counting/Number Games

STEM

Preschoolers

Mazes, Puzzles, Towers, Legos, Counting/Number Games

Dinosaurs

4 to 10

Big Bucket of Dinosaurs

Nature, Physics, Chemistry, Air and Water

5 to 9

Little Labs: Stepping into Science

Geology

5 and up

The Young Scientists Set #2: Weather Station – Solids, Liquids, Gases – Volcano

Astronomy

7 and up

Planet Quest

Dinosaurs

8 and up

Dinoworks: Cast & Paint – 19″ Tyrannosaurus Rex Casting Kit

Anatomy & Biology

8 and up

Edu Science Human Body Learning Game with Bonus Stethoscope

Bug Science

8 and up

Backyard Safari Night & Day Bug Habitat

Chemistry & Physics

8 and up

Edu Science Junior Scientist Kit

Microscopes

8 and up

Edu Science Quick-Switch Microscope (comes in different colors)

Electricity

10 and up

Electronic Playground and Learning Center

Can you share with us how you got interested in science, technology, engineering or math or some of the related things you did as a kid?