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.


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


Hour of Code: 5th Grade Edition

December 22, 2015

During Computer Science Week, we asked you what you were doing to celebrate the week, or to get in your Hour of Code.  We heard from the Fred W. Hill School, in Brockport.

The Hill school is a busy place.  “The Hill School Learning Community is comprised of wonderful families who send us over 560 magnificent children enrolled in grades 4 and 5. We employ the most dedicated and caring adults who have uncompromising commitment and passion towards educational excellence for our students.” (source:  BCSD website)  This commitment and passion is evident in the classrooms, and their attention to STEM education is just one example.

Heidi Squillante teaches a 5th Grade class at the Hill School.  Her students were excited to share what they have been doing.

An Hour of Code at the Hill School

An Hour of Code at the Hill School

Our class enjoyed doing the “hour of code”. One of my classmates, Matthew, and I had fun completing the Minecraft program. It was like a puzzle; we would connect the little puzzle pieces then hit “run”. We watched for mistakes and fixed them together. It was like video games, in school! – Brennan

Hill 2

hands on learning – prosthetic hands!

In addition to the Hour of Code activities, students in Squillante’s class participate in STEM activities on a regular basis. From Robotics to prosthetics, a variety of STEM topics have been covered already this year.

My 5th grade class participates in STEM twice a month. One thing that I found interesting was when we built prosthetic hands. We used plastic cups, straws, string and tape. I thought that the most interesting time was when we had to make it open and close without using our other hand. Then we added blue foam to make it look realistic, it made it feel more realistic too.       – Indigo

STEM learning goes throughout the Hill school.  School-wide and grade-level programming keep the kids excited about learning.Hill 3

The STEM session I found most interesting was when we created rockets. Our class made rockets out of cardboard, paper and tape. After we constructed our rockets, we launched them with an “air launcher” pressing down on an air pillow to make them go. It was lots of fun and our class hit the target the most of any 5th grade class, 21 times! – Jeffrey

The emphasis on STEM is a district-wide initiative.  Many of the STEM projects are guided by Mr. Coon, who is a technology teacher at Brockport High School.  Mr. Coon travels to the Hill school to give STEM lessons  to all of the 5th grade classrooms on a regular basis.Hill 4

Does your school participate in STEM programming that you would like to share?  We love sharing ideas and activities here at the Hub!  Please send details to our Website and Blog Coordinator, Tammy Bonisteel:  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.

 


Holiday Gifts with a STEM Twist

November 26, 2014

wish listWhether you are still getting ready for Thanksgiving, or have already started making your list – and checking it twice – the big holiday shopping season is upon us.  Are you looking for STEM-inspired gifts this year?  If you are, you are in luck, because retailers across the globe are responding to an increased interest in gifts that are related to science, technology, engineering and math!

Not sure where to start?  Here are some ideas to get you started:

The website Modern Parents Messy Kids offers up a brilliant list that not only includes price ranges and target age groups, but real life input from parents on what kids like about these toys.   It goes one step further by breaking the list down into categories to really help you pick a top notch gift:presents

  • Engineering
  • Robotics & Technology
  • Chemistry & Life Sciences
  • Single-Player Math & Logic Games
  • Multi-Player Math & Logic Games

Internet Retail King Amazon.com has joined the ranks by offering a S.T.E.M list of toys to help encourage an interest in science and math while kids play, focusing on toys that excel at being both fun and educational.

“I’ve always been interested in science and math. These toys spark a child’s curiosity about how things work, generating an organic and engaging learning experience.” (Mike G. Amazon Editor)

Math Formulas Tie from Uncommon Goods

Math Formulas Tie from Uncommon Goods

Girls on your list?  Check out the Holiday Gift Guide from Mighty Girl. Broken down by age, this guide really takes the guesswork out of it when shopping for kids.  Might Girl has “the world’s largest collections of books, toys and movies for smart, confident, and courageous girls” (www.mightygirl.com).  Just as STEM is not just for boys, this list is not just for girls!  Plenty of ideas for ALL kids to be found here.

Embrace your inner geek with this incredible collection of gift ideas from Uncommon Goods.  You’ll find something for everyone here, even the hard-to-buy-for teens on your list!

tinker crateIf you are looking for a gift that will last well beyond the holiday season, check out some of the new subscription services that have hit the market.  Tinker Crate is one such service, that parent company Kiwi Crate, Inc., describes as “a laboratory for hands-on experiments delivered every month.”  With subscriptions that range from 3 months to 1 year+ the tinkering fun will continue well into the new year.

If you are not into the Black Friday mob scene, the great thing about these lists is that they focus on items that are easily found online, from the comfort of your own home.  Of course, if crowds are your thing, print off the lists or load into your smart phone and off you go.

If you are taking part in Small Business Saturday, many of the small independent bookstores and toy shoppes have innovative and unique gifts that are also STEM related.

So, What’s on your shopping list this year?

 

 


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

 

 

 

 


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.