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.

 


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!

 


Summertime STEM: Summer Camps

June 9, 2014

Summer Vacation is right around the corner!

Summer vacation is right around the corner!  Our region is filled with opportunities to engage in STEM learning over the summer.  Our Summertime STEM Series of blogs is going to look at a wide range of activities, for kids of all ages and abilities.

In this first installment, we’re going to focus on Summer Camps. Summer Camps are a great way to get immersed in a specific theme or subject. They can range from a couple of days to several weeks, and from an hour or two a day to full day programs, with residential camps an option as well.  Chances are, whatever you are looking for, there is a camp for that!  Summer camp is a summer highlight for many families, so take a look now to see if there’s something that appeals to you.  If you haven’t already, check out our School Break Camps page for a listing of many different kinds of camps in our area.  We’ve tried lot list as many camps in our area that we could find, in a variety of age and price ranges.

Do you have information on a STEM camp that you don’t see listed?  Please share with us and we’d be happy to add it to our listing.

Summer camps are a great way to get activities in without having to do all the planning yourself.  Registrations are well underway, so sign up soon if you are interested.


Dr. Silverstone Goes To Washington

May 28, 2014

Bill Nye at USA Science and Engineering festival

This spring, I have had the privilege of attending two major STEM events in Washington, DC: The US News STEM Solutions National Leadership Conference and the USA Science and Engineering Festival.

The first conference was a gathering of business and education leaders. It included a session organized by STEMx, the 19-state national coalition that is sponosred by Battelle. STEMx also held a reception so that members could get to know our counterparts from other states. While there I met up with other NYS STEM Hub leaders and we discussed the possibility of holding a statewide convening here in the Finger Lakes next fall.

The second event was huge free science fair for kids of all ages. Bill Nye the Science guy was there, as was Dean Kamen, the founder of FIRST Robotics. The event was huge, covering two floors of the gigantic convention center, which stretches over four city blocks.

Sara presenting at the Biodrill Exhibit

Dr. Silverstone  presenting at the Biodrill Exhibit

Mostly I attended not to sit in on the sessions, but as an exhibitor for a small educational start-up, BioDrill. As a vendor, I got to hold a series of conversations with many attendees and spent time visiting the other exhibitors. One such exhibitor was the National Science Foundation, where I ran into some old friends.

hands on exhibit: holding a human brain

In addition to showing off our science education kits and equipment, we gave hands-on demos on creating batteries from fruit and potatoes. It was rewarding to see the parents reveling in teaching their kids, or learning along with them, how to make a circuit. Seeing people of all ages light up with a smile at seeing as tiny little LED light being powered from fruit was a lot of fun. Several parents recalled doing this experiment (often it was the “Potato Clock” variation) and were thrilled to share it with their kids.

Some of the exhibits featured opportunities for kids and parents to experience new things for the first time together, such as holding an actual human brain.

Although it was as loud, busy and exhausting as Disney World, the Science and Engineering festival is highly recommended for parents who want to share their enthusiasm for science and engineering with their families. There was fun for all ages and it is all free. We are fortunate to have our own Imagine RIT right here in Rochester, but if you are looking for a real adventure and something very special to do in Washington DC, this is a great event.

Sara Silverstone is President of Brockport Research Institute, Vice-President of Research and Development at BioDrill Technical Solutions and Director of the Finger Lakes STEM Hub. In her spare time, she plays ice hockey.