April 2021

K-16 STEM in the NEWS

Research through Student Engagement Grant Project Culminates at Ohio Junior Science & Humanities Symposium


In 2016, the Northwest Ohio Center of Excellence in STEM Education at BGSU (NWO) was awarded an Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) Strategic Outreach Initiative grant, titled Research Inquiry through Student Engagement, and was one of only several awarded in the country. The Initiative’s aim was to increase its participation from underserved and underrepresented populations in STEM by investigating new and innovative ways to form mutually beneficial relationships with like-minded organizations. A great relationship with NWO and AEOP was begun, and in 2017, the annual Ohio Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (OJSHS), welcomed 44 students and their teachers from Toledo Public Schools (Rogers High School, Toledo Natural Science Technology Center, and Toledo Technology Academy) to the program for the first time. OJSHS is annually held on the BGSU campus each year, and has been directed by Emilio Duran, professor in the College of Education and Human Development, for nearly twenty years. One of the goals of the grant project is to further the reach of students exposed to scientific research in the setting of the Ohio Junior Science and Humanities Symposium.

The grant funding has been renewed each year, with more and more students discovering the thrill of science by designing and implementing their own original scientific research projects, guided by their teachers. Core teachers at Toledo’s Aerospace and National Science Academy of Toledo (ANSAT) have been very instrumental in the success of their students and the project over the course of the last four years. ANSAT curriculum includes urban agriculture, animal sciences, wildlife-care and management, and aviation studies, and provided the perfect fit for the project. Teachers have led numerous students to success while exposing them to STEM studies and STEM careers and the pivotal role STEM plays beyond the classroom.

Through professional development workshops conducted by Dr. Duran and BGSU faculty emeritus Dr. Jodi Haney, the teachers learned how to ignite student interest in inquiry and how to design and implement a research project. In addition, students were given budgets and funding from the grant to purchase needed research supplies and equipment for their projects.

In March 2021, the OJSHS was held virtually with nearly 90 students from ANSAT presenting their projects to faculty judges and experts in their fields. The entire school year had been taking place online, presenting a unique challenge to students interested in participating in OJSHS, and students and teachers learned to conduct research work from their homes. For example, teachers dropped off aquariums and fish for students to conduct their research at home and a lot of FaceTime hours were spent with teachers and students at the greenhouse and in the fields on the ANSAT campus.

One of the teachers, Mrs. Laura Kubiak stated, “OJSHS was a HUGE success! The opening ceremony and paper presenters were inspiring and set the tone for rigor and reverence to research. We had 10 staff members work hard to make it a successful event, rotating through aquatic, greenhouse and animal lab activities. Throughout the day, the energy elevated as students completed their presentations. I saw students transform in one day! They were elated with pride and confidence after their experience of presenting their research. This has shaped our students confidence, research skills, scientific content, and motivation to take future work to the next level!”

With a mission to advance STEM education for all, NWO at BGSU worked in partnership with AEOP to increase the number of underrepresented students participating in OJSHS, and through this project over 300 students, who otherwise would not have had the opportunity, were exposed to scientific inquiry since 2016.

For more information on OJSHS, please visit: www.ojshs.org


Community STEM in the NEWS


Metroparks Meetup: TPS and Metroparks provide a natural fit for each other

Posted on abc.com
By Dan Smith

STEM collaboration leading to prospective careers in environmental sciences

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - It may appear a bit hidden off of Elmer Street in west Toledo, but the Aerospace and Natural Science Academy of Toledo holds a variety of plants, animals and opportunities.

“The students are always practicing and developing skills to prepare them for a career in natural resources, and we spend very little time just sitting in the classroom,” says Laura Kubiak, wildlife and sustainability instructor at the academy. “It’s much more hands-on, where students are building these habitats, researching on a daily basis, and are completely responsible for running the lab.”

Not only do students help build and maintain the habitats in an indoor/outdoor setting, they’ve got a great outdoor setting just on the other side of the fence. “My students and I really appreciate our collaboration with Metroparks Toledo,” says Kubiak. “Between Toledo Botanical Garden, the Natural Science Technology Center and Hawkins STEM Elementary, we are one inclusive STEM environment.”

Scott Carpenter, spokesperson for Metroparks Toledo, gives full marks for their collaboration: “What they do in this building really is to create future conservation leaders, citizens, voters and perhaps Metroparks employees. The cooperation between us is just... natural!”

That cross-pollination includes colorful photo prints lining the walls of the student-run lab -- as Kubiak describes them: “Pictures of wildlife both near and far, interpretive educational signs, and nature art of beautiful landscapes of our Metroparks. Not only does it brighten up the lab space, but it also is an inviting space for the students to get a closer look at the wildlife and landscapes, to care a little more and get outside.”

Some of these photos were taken by Art Weber, a Metroparks staple we’ve featured on a previous Meetup -- though Ohio children’s author David Fitzsimmons also contributed. “[David] uses these photos very effectively to create award-winning books, and he was generous enough to donate these,” says Carpenter. “Metroparks retiree Karen Hugh really came up with the idea, and went ‘Why are these photos sitting in storage, when they could be here making an impression on these young students?’”

The collaboration doesn’t stop there, from tracking the local turtle population in the parks to planting native species: “We’re participating in a project where we will raise and grow native plants,” explains Kubiak, “then plant them at Oak Openings at a habitat restoration site.”

These bright young minds will even have one more contribution to their budding careers in the environmental sciences. “Our students will actually be earning an industry credential called the Certified Interpretive Guide, through our Metroparks staff,” offers Kubiak. “They’ll be able to interpret and explain what’s happening in the environment through public speaking skills. Ultimately, we’re changing kids’ lives to empower them to go into careers that are making a difference, and becoming environmental problem-solvers.”

Copyright 2021 WTVG. All rights reserved.


STEM Opportunities

BGSU Summer Academic Enrichment Camps

Our virtual Academic Enrichment Camps are back for 2021 and have been redesigned to meet the needs of students in grades 3 through 8.

Every day for two weeks, students will be engaged in online interactive learning in a variety of content areas. Students can select to enrich their learning in mathematics, reading, science and now social studies. These courses are taught and designed by trained teachers who are experts in their content. During the camps, students will work directly with their camp instructor and same-age peers, enjoying a variety of activities to peak their interest in learning and deepen their knowledge.

Session 1: June 14-25, 2021
Session 2: July 12-23, 2021

For all of the latest updates and camp information, visit the Academic Enrichment Camps website.



Applications open for Code.org Professional Learning Program

Ohio teachers can join Code.org’s Professional Learning Program, an intensive, year-long learning experience for middle and high school educators interested in teaching Code.org’s Computer Science Discoveries (middle school) or Computer Science Principles (high school) courses.

Participants will explore the Computer Science curriculum and tools, experiment with specific teaching strategies, and join a local community of teachers using this curriculum.

Learn more and apply here


Believe in Ohio Program

The Believe in Ohio program has online STEM Professional Development Workshop Opportunities for STEM and Business/Economics teachers. Believe in Ohio provides the program curriculum in a Google Classroom for teachers. These workshops will familiarize teachers with the concepts of entrepreneurship and design-thinking ideation by engaging teachers in the resources to utilize with students to develop a STEM business or commercialization plan. Through this process of engagement, the workshop will provide instruction and activities to increase teachers' conceptual knowledge of the entrepreneurial mindset, design-thinking, and the relationship between STEM and innovation. For more information, contact: Jenna Pollock: jpolloc@bgsu.edu and the website at: www.BelieveinOhio.org.


Ohio STEM Learning Network

STEM externship program for teachers restarts, apply by April 23

The Manufacturing and Engineering Externship Program (MEEP) is back! Educators should apply now to join a cohort experience running summer through fall of 2021.

MEEP seeks to address the growing STEM skills gap in the manufacturing and engineering sectors by engaging Ohio teachers in paid summer externships with local companies in STEM industries.

This program is funded by a grant from the Office of Naval Research.

Looking for the inside scoop on the program? Before joining the staff of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, Kristin McQueen taught at L&N STEM Academy. She completed MEEP in 2019 and reflected on the program in a brief interview.

Through MEEP, teachers will see STEM concepts in action. Then, with professional development, develop a new project-based learning experience to take back to the classroom. Teachers who complete the program’s requirements will receive a $2,500 stipend.

Click here for more information!


Imagination Station

Imagination Station has virtual learning opportunities that tackle a variety of science topics in a unique and exciting way. Each carefully designed program will keep students engaged with amazing demonstrations. There are opportunities for all grade levels!



Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP)

AEOP STEM programs for all ages, and at varying levels of experience and interest. All programs are free and within commuting distance. Several of GEMS sites are still accepting applications for summer 2021. Middle school and high school students can spend the week exploring STEM during this FREE summer experience. Learn more and find a site here! Application timelines vary by location.




There is still time to join the movement for gender equity in tech. Apply TODAY to start a 3-5th or 6-12th grade Club ​this spring for a chance to win a sweet swag bag!

Teachers, Volunteers, Parents can start a 3-5th grade Club to access both plugged and unplugged activities from the book club model. Or, start a 6-12th grade Club to access beginner to advanced curriculum. Regardless of which program model, there is an option to host the Club 100% virtually, as a hybrid of virtual and in-person, or fully in-person.

With customizable curriculum options and minimal prep time, pilot a mini-Club this spring and host a longer one next year! For more information please see: https://code.org/


NWO STEM Activity

Community Trees Challenge Activity Tracker

The GLOBE Program

Celebrate trees by joining the GLOBE citizen science community in the 2021 Community Trees Challenge, where Science is Better Together!

April 15, 2021 to May 15, 2021

Who can participate: Everyone! (students and teachers at all grade levels, informal educators, and the public in GLOBE countries.) While getting out and taking observations might not be possible for everyone, this challenge provides multiple ways to participate and learn all about trees.

How to participate: During the Community Trees Challenge, The GLOBE Program is asking citizen scientists to observe, learn, engage, and create as they track their progress on the Trees Challenge activity tracker. You can choose the best journey for your interests or try to complete all the activities. Work together as a family, as a group of friends, or independently.

By completing these activities, you will improve your science observation skills, enrich your understanding of trees as part of our landscape, learn why NASA studies trees, be a part of a NASA-sponsored citizen science project, as well as join a citizen science community. Your observations of tree height contribute to a global database that is free and open so that anyone - scientists, students, communities, and citizen scientists - can conduct research.

For more information and activities: https://observer.globe.gov/trees-2021

Updated: 06/15/2021 10:11AM