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 Scholarship is now open for Fall 2016

March 9, 2016

The New York State Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Incentive Program application is now available for high school seniors entering college in fall 2016.stock-illustration-35725116-scholarship-stamp

The STEM Incentive Program is available to those students who:

· Are in the top 10 percent of their high school Class of 2016

· Plan to attend a SUNY or CUNY college or university in fall 2016

· Plan to pursue an undergraduate degree in a STEM program of study

· Plan to work in a STEM field and live in New York State for at least five years after graduation

· Meet other eligibility requirements listed on the HESC website.

The deadline for application is August 15.

To learn more about the program and it’s requirements and regulations, visit the HESC website.

HESC2


Student Blog Series: Tell us what you are doing in STEM!

March 9, 2016

We need you There are many exciting opportunities and activities that are happening across our region.  We would love to hear from the students that are participating in these activities, so that we can share your stories and highlight what students today are interested in.

Who wants to share their experience?

Who wants to share their experience?

STUDENTS: Have you participated in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) program that you really enjoyed?

  • What did you think about it?
  • Do you think other students would like to participate in this?
  • What has this experience meant to you?

We will walk you thought the writing process, giving as much (or as little) support as you need.  If you have an experience you would like to share, we would love to hear it! If you would like to see an example of a student blog, please see our WE@RIT:  A Student’s Perspective blog.

stock-photo-14048292-wantedTEACHERS:  Writing about field trip or class experiences also makes a great group project.  If your class would like to share what STEM programming they have been excited about, we’d love to hear from you. If you would like to see an example of a classroom submission, please see our Hour of Code:  5th grade edition blog.

If you’d like to share your experience, please contact our Web Administrator at tammybon@EmpireSTEM-FL.org


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.


STEM on the Big Screen: Big Hero 6

November 21, 2014
In theaters now:  Big Hero 6

In theaters now: Big Hero 6

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, check out the newest release from Walt Disney Animation Studios: Big Hero 6.

Set in the future in a fictional town called San Fransokyo, it’s a film about kids, robots, and technology.

In this STEM-inspired film, Superheros go high-tech, making the storyline appealing to kids that love the STEM fields, while also captivating others who may have yet to discover how cool science and technology can be.

Rated PG, this film has a running time of 102 minutes.  I took a group of 3 kids: ages 7, 9 and 10.  They all loved it!  If you are wondering if it’s right for your child, check out the parent reviews at Common Sense Media for an in-depth look at the issues that come up in the film.

The 6 Superheros:  Click here to see the full trailer

 

 

 

 


Acclaimed Scientist to Speak in Rochester: The Future Needs Girls in Science

September 8, 2014

Girl Scouts of Western New York is excited to bring to Rochester Ainissa Ramirez, Ph.D., a science evangelist, former professor of mechanical engineering at Yale and science adviser for science programs like NOVA. She will speak as part of the Leadership Breakfast Series taking place Friday, September 19 at 8 a.m. at the Riverside Convention Center.

Ainissa Ramirez Ph.D

Ainissa Ramirez, Ph.D.

Dr. Ramirez believes science is fun for everyone. She will share why it matters to get girls more involved and engaged in science. She’ll also talk about the interesting history of girls and women in science. For example, did you know that girls used to dominate science classrooms? Today many girls shy away from science labs, but it’s important for girls to know they can pursue science if it interests them. There is nothing wrong with a girl who loves science!

Dr. Ramirez will share a little bit about her own journey and how she ended up – and succeeded – in the science field. She’ll even provide an inspirational message on encouraging more girls to pursue education in the sciences.

The general public is invited to this event, and proceeds will help to provide programming for girls in Rochester and throughout Western New York. If you have an interest in science or believe girls should feel comfortable dreaming up any future they please – including a future that involves science – join Girl Scouts for this event!

The cost is $40 per person or $30 for students. Learn more or purchase your tickets here .

Ruth Harper-Rhode is the Public Relations Manager of the Girl Scouts of Western New York, Rochester Service Center


Summertime STEM: Science

July 8, 2014

Child’s play… and so much more

Albert Einstein once said “Play is the highest form of research.”  Summer vacation is a fantastic opportunity for encouraging all sorts of exploration and research through play.  Children love experimenting, and these experiments teach them about the scientific method and different scientific principles, all while having a great time.

Bubbles are a favorite summertime activity for kids of all ages.  “Bubbles not only involve children in learning, but they are fun, easy to use, and ever-changing. In addition, many science processes such as, investigation, discovery, experimentation, observation, definition, comparison, and classification can be learned simply by playing with bubbles.” (Angie Dorrell, M.A.)*

A bucketful of science just waiting to be explored!

Summertime and water play go hand in hand.  Get them out, get them wet, and see what happens.   Science Concepts Young Children Learn Through Water Play is a detailed primer in why this is a great avenue for science discovery and gives many suggestions for getting started!

Safe Kids.org provides important safety resources for parents

Safe Kids.org provides important safety resources for parents

Safety First:  Before starting water play, it’s a great time to review water safety tips.

Looking for activities that are already planned and will get you out of the house?  Check out the new Summer Science Festivals being offered by the Rochester Museum and Science Center.  Running Fridays and Saturdays through the end of August, the Festivals are kicked off this weekend with the topic of Hometown Heros.  In addition to the weekend Festivals, there are Live Science Performances during the week as well.  Auditorium shows are daily at 1 and 3 pm, Science Encounters are daily at 11:30am, 12:30pm and 1:30pm, and the Electricity Theater is daily at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm.

Rainbow Slime from learnplayimagine.com

Rainbow Slime from learnplayimagine.com

If you are looking for science activities and experiments to replicate at home, check out howtosmile.org for an amazing list of activities.  They are sorted by topic, and even have a fun STEM Camp 2014  idea list to try at home.  Learning 4 Kids also has a very user-friendly list of activities designed to encourage learning science through play. We also found this fabulous, colorful Rainbow Slime recipe that the kids can’t wait to try.

“A leading researcher in the field of cognitive development says when children pretend, they’re not just being silly – they’re doing science.”  Read more here from Alison Gopnik at Smithsonian Magazine.  So let them be silly, and discover science in the process!

What is your family doing this summer that involves science?  We’d love to hear from you!  If you have a budding scientist at home that wants to share what they’ve been doing, have them contact us for inclusion in other Summertime STEM posts.

 

 

photo credit:  Soap Bubbles, Water Balloons.  *Excerpt from: :  Bubble, Bubble, Pop!  Exploring the Magic of Bubbles by Angie Dorrell, M.A.