Exploration and Education: Announcing the 2017 STEM Program Awards!

February 14, 2017

The Finger Lakes STEM Hub is seeking to highlight exemplary Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs and practices in K-12 classrooms through the 2017 STEM Program Awards. This event was piloted last year with great success, recognizing eighteen unique and creative STEM programs from schools across the Finger Lakes region!

2016 STEM Program Award Recipient, Sodus Middle / High School STEM Challenges Program. Photo credit: Nadia Harvieux.

2016 STEM Program Award Recipient, Sodus Middle / High School STEM Challenges Program. Photo credit: Nadia Harvieux.

2016 STEM Program Award Recipient, Nathaniel Rochester Community School Kindergarten, Rochester City School District. Photo credit: Nadia Harvieux.

2016 STEM Program Award Recipient, Nathaniel Rochester Community School Kindergarten, Rochester City School District. Photo credit: Nadia Harvieux.

As STEM educators collaborating through the Finger Lakes STEM Hub Steering Committee, we are privileged to participate in a wide range of STEM programs with our partner schools, from events, like science fun night, to a school-wide initiative, such as a monthly STEM challenge. There are exciting and innovative STEM programs happening all around us! Through the STEM Program Awards, the exemplary STEM programs in our region can serve as examples and models to inspire others in the K-12 arena to give STEM a try!

Programs applying for the 2017 STEM Program Awards are asked to use the NYS STEM Quality Learning Rubric to self-assess their program’s level of achievement in nine different categories, highlighting what their program does best! This rubric was developed by a statewide team of STEM leaders from the NYS STEM Collaborative and the Empire State STEM Learning Network.

2016 STEM Program Award Recipient, Wayland-Cohocton Timber Framing and Woodland Resources/ Photo credit: Nadia Harvieux.

2016 STEM Program Award Recipient, Wayland-Cohocton Timber Framing and Woodland Resources/ Photo credit: Nadia Harvieux.

2016 STEM Program Award Recipient, Churchville-Chili School District Garden of the Saints. Photo credit: Nadia Harvieux.

2016 STEM Program Award Recipient, Churchville-Chili School District Garden of the Saints. Photo credit: Nadia Harvieux.

The STEM Program Awards will provide a forum to share the excellent initiatives and programs that are happening in the education community from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Programs will be honored during a recognition event at St. John Fisher College on Wednesday, May 3,, 2017 at 6 pm. Information about applying for the STEM Program Awards is available on the Finger Lakes STEM Hub website. Applications are due by Friday, March 31st at 5:00 p.m.

Please spread the word to educators affiliated with school STEM programs to apply. Better yet, tell them why you think their STEM program is exemplary! Let’s make a positive impact on STEM teaching and learning by bringing these engaging programs to light!

2017 STEM Program Awards Details

Who can apply? Classrooms, schools, districts, and after-school programs that incorporate STEM education into their curriculum. Schools that participated last year are welcome to apply again this year, but with a different program.
How to apply? Complete the online application available on the Finger Lakes STEM Hub website. Program self-evaluation is based on the NYS STEM Quality Learning Rubric. Highlight what your program does best!
Application Deadline: Online application submissions due Friday, March 31, 2017.

Program Deadline has been extended to Thursday, April 20, 2017.
Award Dinner: St. John Fisher College, Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 6 pm.
To share information about this event, see the 2017 STEM Program Awards flyer.

This event is proudly sponsored by:

brockport siemens-new-logo-600Nadia Harvieux is the Education Program Manager at the Finger Lakes Institute.  She is also an active member of the Finger Lakes STEM Hub Steering Committee and Co-chair of the STEM Program Recognition Committee.  

* This article was originally published in the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute.  Reprinted with permission. *


Computer Science Education Week: An Hour of Code

December 10, 2015

It’s Computer Science Education Week this week! What are you doing to celebrate?

During the week, there are many activities to promote coding.  The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to appeal to beginners and show that anyone can learn to code.

What is the Hour of Code?

The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. Anyone, anywhere can organize an Hour of Code event. One-hour tutorials are available in over 40 languages. No experience needed. Ages 4 to 104. (source:  hourofcode.com)

Minecraft Coding Fun!

Computer Science Education Week has some great project ideas for Hour of Code, including projects featuring Star Wars, Minecraft, and the cast of Frozen!

Made with Code debuts their new coding tutorial featuring Pixar’s Inside Out!


Learn to code with the Inside Out crew!

What ever your kids are into, there’s an activity that will appeal to them and get them interested in the world of coding.

The Hour of Code website features many resources, including certificates for participation, tips on how to set up events or break them down into manageable activities that will work for any setting, and more.  They also have a full resources section to help you plan and promote your event! Whether you are a teacher or parent, there are lots of ideas for any setting, any age, and any level of expertise – from beginners on up!

Did you try out some great activities this week?  Let us know how they went!

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!


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.

Pi Day is coming!

March 11, 2014
One of the tastiest ways to celebrate Pi Day

One of the tastiest ways to celebrate Pi Day!

March 14th (3/14) is also known as Pi Day, an annual celebration commemorating the mathematical constant π.  Officially recognized by the US House of Representatives in 2009, Pi Day was first celebrated on a large scale in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium.  Pi is a symbol used to represent the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, which is approximately 3.14159. Pi Day is a great way to break out of the winter doldrums by having fun with math!

Fun Fact:  Did you know that Pi Day is also Albert Einstein‘s birthday?

Math has escaped the classroom!  Check out the Pi Sightings page to see Pi everywhere.

Check out all these Pi Day activities:

Parents:  There are many math activities that can be done at home, but in talking with students and parents, the favorite way to celebrate Pi Day at home is by bringing some pi(e) to the dinner table.   Chicken pot pie, shephards pie and of course, pizza pie are all great choices for a pi-themed meal.   There are even more choices to finish off your meal with, as pie is definitely a family-favorite dessert.  Check out this great list of ideas for other edible (and non-edible) ways to celebrate Pi.

Other fun ways to celebrate at home include taking a family walk, jog or bike ride for 3.14 miles.  NY Weather not cooperating?  Hop in the car for a short 3.14 mile drive.  Locally, The Rochester Museum and Science Center has special Pi Day activities from  3:14 – 6:28 pm on Friday.  If you can’t make it on Friday, they will have the same activities on Saturday and Sunday from 12-4.

Teachers:  Find grade-specific activities at Education World.  Want to include some Pi Day fun into your ELA classes?  Try writing a Pi-ku,  a math version of the traditional 5-7-5 syllabic haiku. A Pi-ku of course, follows a 3-1-4 syllabic pattern.

Fun pi t-shirt from www.zazzle.com

Fun pi t-shirt from http://www.zazzle.com

For example:

Math is fun
Mixed with some pie

See this fun idea along with 4 others in the HOMEROOM (US Dept. of Ed blog).

A look ahead to next year: In the year 2015, Pi Day will have special significance on 3/14/15 at 9:26:53 a.m. and p.m., with the date and time representing the first 10 digits of pi.

Need more ideas?  Visit the Pi Day website and Teach Pi website  for many more ideas and resources.

President Obama Hosts 2nd Annual Science Fair

February 13, 2012

On Tuesday February 7th, President Obama hosted the second-ever White House Science Fair. The science fair featured research and inventions from over 100 students from across the Unites States.  Inventions included a variety of projects such as robots,  rockets, and even a marshmallow cannon.

President Obama tests an invention by shooting a marshmallow out of an air cannon.

After viewing some of the displays and testing the inventions, President Obama addressed the audience about several new initiatives to boost STEM education in the United States.  These initiatives will increase the number of students studying STEM subjects, and prepare the 100,000 math and science teachers needed to teach our future engineers, inventors, and innovators.

Some of the steps to meet these initiatives include:


  • A new $80 million investment for STEM teacher preparation programs requested by the Department of Education.
  • A new $22 million investment from the philanthropic and private sector to support STEM education and teacher preparation programs.     
  • National Math and Science Initiative will prepare 4,000 new STEM teachers from 31 UTeach sites by 2015.
  • Teach for America will recruit 11,000 STEM Corps members by 2015.


President Obama is expected to put forward his full budget request for this initiative on Monday, February 13 for the 2013 fiscal year.   For more information on President Obama’s STEM initiatives visit www.whitehouse.gov.  

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.

NYSERDA Energy Smart Workshops

December 16, 2009

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has created four new free workshops for teachers to help integrate energy education into their lesson plans and create energy smart students. These workshops are for K-12 Teachers, educators in not-for-profit agencies, pre-service educators, college professors, and other educational professionals. These workshops have been specialized base on grade level. The ABCs of Energy is aimed at grades K-3 and is a hands-on workshop that lays the groundwork for energy education. The 4 Es of Energy for grades 4-6 uses hands on activities to explore energy forms and sources. Focus on Solar is a workshop is specialized for 5-8 or 9-12 and teachers solar energy applications. Energy trilogy for grades 7-12 explores how economics, efficiency and environment relate to the energy challenges before us.

These workshops will be held in the finger lakes region. The first, Energy Trilogy, will be held on Jan. 28, 2010 at Genesee County Community College and again on April 28 at Monroe 2 BOCES. Monroe 2 BOCES will also host Focus on Solar for both grade levels on April 29, the ABCs of Energy and the 4 Es of Energy on April 30. More information about these workshops including location and registration information can be found Here at the NYSERDA website. The Workshop Flyer also gives a more in-depth look at the four workshops.

7 Biggest Challenges Teachers Face

November 10, 2009



The Teacher Chronicles author Natalie Schwartz interviewed more than 50 teachers, and The Teacher Chronicles dismantles the misconception that teachers have benefits of working til 3 p.m.,  low-pressure jobs, and they get to enjoy summers off.

In fact, teachers have to deal with an array of behavioral issues in their classrooms. This article is about the 7 biggest challengs teachers face, and 7 different experiences from teachers throught the country.

The 7 biggest challenges are:

First challenge: Students with bad behavior

Secondchallenge: Unhealty environment

Third challenge: Out of touch policy makers

Forth challenge: Difficult parents

Fifth challenge: Office politics

Sixth challenge: Lack of time

Seventh challenge: Emotional stree

View Article


Congratulations to Suzanne Pilon!

August 5, 2009

White House

The Rochester Area Colleges’ Center for Excellence in Math and Science (RAC-CEMS) wants to congratulate Suzanne Monagan Pilon for receiving the  Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Mrs. Pilon is a Primary Multi-Age Teacher at Hilton’s Quest Elementary School. The news article can be found at Hilton Central School District’s website.

To find out more about this and other awards for educators, visit our web site’s Educator Fellowships and Awards page.