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.


First Robotics Finger Lakes Regional Competition Begins

March 24, 2016

The FIRST Robotics Finger Lakes Regional will be held today (3/24) through Saturday (3/26) in the Gordon Field House at RIT.  The competition is free and open to the public. It’s a perfect example of what happens when you bring schools, STEM focused companies, and mentors who work in the industry to work on a STEM based project together over a short period of time.

frc-stronghold-block

The agenda for the competition can be found here.

A list of the 49 teams that will be competing, along with updated scores throughout the weekend can be found here.

An explanation for this year’s game can be found here.

This is the culminating weekend for the event which kicked off in January (click here to read about the kickoff).

 

 


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


Photonics meeting to be held at RSMC

January 21, 2016

Photonics is an up and coming industry, especially in the Rochester Area.  The Finger Lakes STEM Hub would like to invite you to an exploratory meeting next week to learn more about photonics and other emerging industries.   The goal of the meeting is to introduce some of these technologies to the K-12 arena, and discuss what skills will need to be taught to prepare students for either research or advanced manufacturing positions in these fields.

We welcome a couple of guest speakers who are intimately involved in these industries, who both also have an educational role.

Dr. Michael Jackson is an Associate Professor and researcher at RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering focused on correlating material properties to electrical performance of solid state devices. His teaching responsibilities include device physics, E-M fields, optics, meteorology, thin film processing, and device processing courses. Mike is also the Electrical Engineering department’s Outreach Director, involved with dissemination of programs to the K-12, Community College, and Industrial communities.

Dr. Alexis Vogt is an Associate Professor and Endowed Chair of MCC’s Optical Systems Technology program. She has a strong background in the optics and photonics industries, having worked for Bausch & Lomb and Melles Griot prior to taking her adjunct role at MCC to a full time position. Alexis has been a visible face recently in taking the discussion around photonics to the public; check out her recent profile in the D&C.

This event is open to anyone who might be interested, so please share with your educators, counselors, administrators, and colleagues. Since space is limited in the Cunningham House Studio, please RSVP so we can make sure we have enough seating.

Meeting details:

Friday January 29 2:30pm at the RMSC Cunningham House Studio (map)

Please RSVP to Clement Chung:  cchung.pe@gmail.com

 

 


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

 

 

 

 


iCanCode- Code your Way to Success!

December 18, 2015

iCanCode is a year-round computer programming club that offers an after-school academic enrichment program in Computer Science and programming, in addition to a series of programming-focused Holiday & Summer camps for Grades 1-8.  iCanCode also works with PTSAs (Parent Teacher Student Associations) from various school districts to offer custom programming courses at the schools in an effort to enrich STEM education as part of their after-school activities.

Playing Keyboard Ninja during Camp with 6-11 year old students

iCanCode’s mission is to jump-start lower grade school kids’ digital literacy and afford the youth in the Rochester community of different ages, genders and social classes the opportunity to unlock their tech future and learn about computing at an early age using self-guided practice and cooperative learning.

iCanCode uses a fun digital sandbox that includes the many fun coding platforms available such as Scratch, Minecraft, Wix, Unity, Java, JavaScript, HTML, CSS and more.  We work with parents and PTSAs to outline learning goals, and cater learning to meet student interests and support the development of real world computer programming skills that last a lifetime.

iCanCode was born out of a desire to expand coding opportunities for Rochester-area youth.  Farrah Sammour (iCanCode CEO) was inspired to develop the program after an interaction with her then-1st grade son.

“He asked me to teach him how to make his own game. A few hours later, he created his first game “Cupcake Eating Gorilla” and became my inspiration  to provide younger kids in the Rochester community a fun environment to learn how to code.  Now, my son is in 3rd grade and not only can  he play games, he  learned how to code and make his own games and websites, coding is the new literacy as every electronic device our kids interact with is governed by code.”

In addition to our after-school programming, we also have a variety of holiday and school closure camps.  Space is still available in some of our upcoming Winter Camps!

an iCanCode Classroom

Friday Coding Challenge

The iCanCode Center is located at 1425 Jefferson Road Rochester, NY 14623. Visit us online to see all that we have to offer.  Also, for our at-school courses, weekly classes, holiday and school closure camps, please visit our online schedule of events.

Farah Sammour is the CEO of  iCanCode.  She has been in the IT Consulting industry since 2002.  Sammour holds a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology from McGill University in Montreal and is a strong advocate for women in computing and improving gender diversity in STEM fields. She is Certified in Information systems auditing (CISA) and in Risk and Information Systems Controls (CRISC), along with being an active BOD member at the Western New York Information Systems Audit and Control Association and a Key organizer of the Annual IT Security and Compliance Conference in Rochester, NY.  She  has a diverse IT background with more than 14 years of IT experience in Systems Development Life Cycle and programming, iOS mobile application development, applications security and internal controls, enterprise wide platforms Oracle and SAP, in addition to various operating system environments including UNIX, LINUX, IBM iSeries, and Windows.  

 

Do you work with a program that provides STEM activities in our area?  We’d love to highlight your program.  Please send details to our Website and Blog Coordinator, Tammy Bonisteel: tammybon@empirestem-fl.org

 

 


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!

INSIDE HQ

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!


WE@RIT: A Student’s Perspective

December 2, 2015

WE@RIT-logo2_0On November 9th, the Women In Engineering (WE@RIT) program, in conjunction with the Women in Computing (WiC) program, came together to host their inaugural WE@RIT/WiC Open House.  Geared to girls in grades 5-9, this was an experiential event with activities, demonstrations and displays that showcased the many different areas of engineering that are available to our future engineers.  We invited a local middle school student to share her experience at this event.  

A few weeks ago I attended a Women in Engineering and a Women in Computing open house at RIT. I wasn’t sure what to expect so I was surprised to see so many varieties of engineering. There were Chemical, Computer, Mechanical and many more types of engineering. I didn’t realize there were so many girls, like me, who liked engineering. The place was packed.

One of the many hands-on stations at this event

One of the many hands-on stations at this event

There were a lot of activities that I admired and one of them was the electrical engineering:  robotics. There was a robot that was programed to do tricks like cartwheels and handstands. I was also very interested in a computer program. On the computer you make a robot that battles other robots. This was one of my personal favorites.

My sister also accompanied me and her favorite activity was a big surprise. It was mechanical engineering and materials in science. Really what it was, was playing in goo!

Hands-on gooey fun!

Hands-on gooey fun!

Programmable Robots!

Programmable Robots!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall I had a great time. There were a lot of activities that kept me engaged. It was a lot of fun. I would definitely do it again if they have another open house.

Alexandra Covert is a 7th grade student at the Oliver Middle School in Brockport, NY.

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

 

 


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.


2015 STEM Holiday Wish List

November 25, 2015

Ready to start your holiday shopping? This year there are more STEM-inspired gifts than ever!wish-list

While there are far too many choices to provide a comprehensive list, we’ve tried to give an overview of what is new this year, and what parents we’ve spoken to are looking for.

Tight on space or have too many toys?  Some clutter-free ideas:

Spin off their current favorites:

  • Do your kids love the popular TV series Shark Tank as much as mine? STEM Center USA was the focus of a recent episode, a company that focuses exclusively on innovative STEM products.

    3D carving brings your ideas to life!

    3D carving brings your ideas to life!

  • Look around at what they play with the most.  Is there another level that will enhance their play?
  • Do they like carving?  Take it up a notch to 3D carving.  Inventables has a great selection for the makers on your list.

Great ideas for Girls:

Did you know that today’s elementary school girls are actually more interested in pursuing a STEM career than their male classmates are? (souce:  Fortune) And yet, there is still a great disparity in the field (see our recent blog on this topic).  Toy manufacturers are responding to this increase with STEM-inspired offerings specifically with girls in mind.  Some highlights:

Keeping girls engaged in STEM!

Keeping girls engaged in STEM!

  • The folks over at Mighty Girl always put together a great holiday list, and they didn’t disappoint this year.  Building Her Dreams:  Building and Engineering Toys for Mighty Girls focuses on classic building, construction and engineering toys, while the Holiday Gift Guide has a broader variety, with selections broken down by age group and category.
  • Goldiblox has a wide range again this year, from a line of real-life hero action figures to award-winning construction toys, this company focuses on maintaining the natural curiosity that many girls have, and giving them playthings that nurture their interest in building and engineering.
  • At Project MC², where “smart is the new cool” they have apps, videos, games and plenty of gear for girls of all ages.
  • Roominate is another girl-inspired, girl-led company focusing on inspiring and encouraging girls to pursue their interests in engineering by teaching girls through play.

Looking for lots of ideas to browse?

STEM Wish Lists:  Many major retailers have caught on to the STEM interest and now have their own guides available with tons of choices in every price range

The Classic Building Blocks:

No holiday STEM list would be complete without a Lego mention.  Legos are a holiday classic for many families.  While you are shopping for new sets or accessories to complement what you already have at home, take a few minutes and join the Lego Club (FREE!) which gives ideas and inspiration to your builders throughout the year.  Since most STEM-enthusiasts already have a healthy collection of Legos at home, we’re going to suggest our favorite accessories.

Just a dream for 2015, hopes are high for 2016!

Just a dream for 2015, hopes are high for 2016!

  • Brick Separator – these make great stocking stuffers!
  • Base Plates – you can never have enough of these
  • Lego Storage Systems – many ideas, for any size collection!
  • Lego Slippers – sadly these are only available in France this year, but this item is sure to be a hit among parents.  Who among us hasn’t felt the agony of a stray Lego underfoot? Hopefully our 2016 Wish List will be able to announce that they are available on our side of the pond.

Whether you are planning on battling the crowds on Black Friday, or going with the tech-friendly Cyber Monday, we hope we’ve given you a few new ideas.  Please share with us your own finds and suggestions!