August 2020

K-16 STEM in the NEWS

Metroparks Toledo Successfully offered Camps this Summer


Summer is prime time for adventure, building new skills, making memories and learning about the natural world! Toledo area Metroparks welcomed day campers to 9 sessions of day camp this summer. Modifications to the camp day in accordance with the Ohio Department of Health Mandatory Guidelines for Youth Day Camps such as hula hoops for social distancing in the field, Oak tree arms for lining up and bird wing arms for trail walking gave campers the opportunity to study nature, learn new outdoor skills, become skilled at healthy hygiene habits and make memories that last a lifetime.  

Also Toledo area Metroparks first-ever virtual day camp programming was held for 7 weeks this summer. Each virtual camp included a live naturalist talk and 10 self-guided activities with all materials delivered to the camper’s doorstep. Virtual campers sang songs, embarked on virtual nature walks, and talked to and received feedback from camp counselors as they completed activities through the Flip grid platform.

Each summer, Toledo area Metroparks partners with community organizations bring over 500 children growing up in disadvantaged communities to nature camp—completely free of charge! This year Metroparks brought camp to these organizations with weekly free Explorer bags containing all the necessary materials to complete 3 nature-related activities such as an owl pellet dissection, butterfly feeder craft and nature journaling activities.

Although the summer was somewhat different due to the pandemic, feedback from parents noted the sense of normalcy that in-person camps provided and the great alternative for the circumstances this summer that virtual camp provided.

For more information on Metroparks Toledo, please see the website at:


Community STEM in the NEWS

2020 Awards Highlight Ohio STEM Educators  

Posted on Ohio STEM Learning Network blog

The Ohio STEM Learning Network (OSLN) unveiled the four winners of the “STEM Excellence Awards.” These awards recognize outstanding teachers, school leaders, or education advocates who advance quality science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in Ohio. Nominations for the 2020 awards opened in March.

Battelle manages the Ohio STEM Learning Network as part of the company’s commitment to preparing the next generation of innovators. The network was founded in 2008 and today represents 79 STEM schools across the state.

This year, OSLN awarded the following:

Excellence in STEM Teaching Award

The Excellence in STEM Teaching Award recognizes a teacher who exemplifies integrated, STEM-infused teaching strategies and classroom innovation, and whose work has led to positive student learning outcomes. This awardee engages students in inquiry-based learning to develop creativity, teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills.

Rebecca (Becci) Hartline is a Library Media Specialist and Makerspace Director at Belpre Elementary School in Belpre, Ohio.

Hartline transformed her school’s library into a 21st-century makerspace. Each student’s daily experience in makerspace is guided by a “map.” Students complete stations along the map to learn a series of competencies: Create, Construct, Collaborate, Communicate, and Plan. Every map connects directly to Belpre Elementary’s academic content standards. Her colleagues shared that the new space helps students learn. They shared several examples of students who re-engaged with the library thanks to new hands-on experiences Hartline created. She also works directly with students, as an educator.

Excellence in STEM Leadership Award

The Excellence in STEM Leadership Award recognizes a school-level, district, or regional leader with a proven track record of developing effective STEM programs. This awardee supports and encourages teachers and schools to continually infuse STEM teaching strategies and embrace classroom innovation.

Dana Letts is the STEM Instructional Specialist K-6 for Chillicothe City Schools.

Letts works across multiple schools in Chillicothe to plan and execute a wide range of quality STEM experiences for students and professional development for educators.

She has built community partnerships allowing more than 1,000 elementary students to participate in “place-based” learning, where they about local heritage and organizations. She also led the development of “Adventures in Innovation” at Chillicothe Primary School. This system provides every student with a three-year early engineering program, teaching them essential lessons about teamwork and problem-solving. According to one colleague: “Mrs. Letts has been known to arrive at school in a suit jacket to lead an early morning meeting and close out the day in boots ‘creeking’ with first graders in search of critters.”

As Chillicothe City Schools serves a student body primarily composed of economically disadvantage families, this success helps close academic gaps.

STEM Advocate Award

The Ohio STEM Advocate Award recognizes an Ohioan who has demonstrated a passion for STEM education through public advocacy and participation in leadership organizations that advance STEM for all.

Chris Anderson is the host and executive producer of Science Around Cincy and an instructional coach with Hamilton County Educational Service Center.

Science Around Cincy is a video series that features local scientists, engineers, and researchers. Through the STEM professionals depicted, students see scientists, engineers, and researchers as role models from their community. Additionally, Anderson published standards-aligned educational resources with each video to assist educators in bringing the videos into the classroom. The program is presented with support from Northern Kentucky University.  

STEM Innovator Award

The Ohio STEM Innovator Award recognizes an Ohioan who has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to the support of STEM education and outreach within his or her region. This awardee is a leader that identifies, supports, and promotes innovative practices that address important challenges in expanding access to quality STEM education.

Carla Chapman is the Director for Community Relations, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Akron Public Schools.

Chapman led a team of staff during the initial outbreak of the coronavirus. This team created and managed the “Connectors” program. The team consisted of Yvonne Culver and Desiree Bolden of Akron Public Schools, Andrew Ziccardi of Akron’s I Promise School and April Porter of the United Way of Summit and Medina Counties.

The Connectors program ran throughout 52 days of remote learning after Akron schools closed under the outbreak of coronavirus. Through the program, 254 non-instructional staff were recruited to call Akron students. After a training, these staff conducted check-ins on students. Connectors helped students and families navigate use of Chromebooks, Google Classroom, or community resources for food, healthcare, and childcare. 

In total, Connectors logged more than 10,000 interactions with Akron students, helping families persist through the pandemic.


STEM Opportunities

Black Swamp Math Teachers' Circles 

Math Teachers' Circles bring together teachers and mathematicians to enrich the teachers' experience of mathematical problem-solving. There are four goals:

  1. Increase the confidence of math teachers in problem-solving.
  2. Deepen teachers' content knowledge through exploring mathematically rich problems and develop an arsenal of techniques to solving unfamiliar and challenging problems.
  3. Form long-term professional relationships among teachers and mathematicians, through regular, highly interactive meetings.
  4. Provide support for teachers who want to bring richer mathematical experiences to their students

The 2020 sessions will be virtual and are FREE* and open to K - 12 math teachers and college faculty/staff in northwest Ohio. The sessions are free but you must register*. Registered participants will receive the log in information for the Zoom meeting room.

Participants will receive:

  • Great professional development
  • Networking with mathematicians, higher education faculty and other classroom teachers
  • Contact hour certificate

*Click the link to register:

Fall meetings will be virtual from 6:30 - 8:30 PM. You can attend one or both meetings, depending on your schedule!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Tuesday, November 10, 2020

For more information, please contact Dr. Debra Gallagher, Bowling Green State University, at or 419-704-1920.


Toledo Zoo Wild Toledo Teacher Monarch Kits

The Toledo Zoo Education Department is taking pre-orders for Wild Toledo Teacher Monarch Butterfly Kits that will be available for teachers to use in the classroom. Kits are $10 each and come with 2 monarch butterfly caterpillars, a 32-ounce rearing container, a starting supply of milkweed, a detailed care sheet and Monarch Watch butterfly tags that will allow students to tag the adult monarch butterflies before being released. Kits are available by pick up at the Zoo only beginning in late August. Teachers will be notified by email when kits are available for pickup. A limited number of kits will be available online only at No phone-in orders will be accepted.

For teachers who need more hands-on experience with monarch butterfly rearing and tagging, sign-ups are available for a two-hour professional development class that will take place on Saturday, August 29, 10am-3pm. The $25 fee includes hands-on experience with monarch caterpillars, a rearing kit and an opportunity to tag an adult monarch butterfly.

Questions can be directed to Josh Minor at or 419.385.5721 x2046.


Toledo Zoo Virtual Programs

The Toledo Zoo is bringing the Zoo virtually to participants! Virtual learning experiences will connect participants with Zoo educators and animal ambassadors at the zoo through tours & classroom lessons. Register groups for a custom session with up to 75 participants for $50. Programs are offered Monday-Friday. Preset times are available for quick registration, but dates and times are flexible. Contact info: for custom times. 

Registration and schedule is at

Topics include:
  • Habitats
  • Endangered Species
  • Food Chains
  • Invertebrates
  • Coverings
  • Animal Teams
  • Mammals
  • Reptiles
  • Birds
  • Zoo Careers
  • Adaptations
  • Venom
Custom Topics are also available


Metroparks at Home 
Content and activities you can enjoy from the comfort of your home.

At times, nothing is more healing for your mind, body, and spirit than a healthy dose of nature. Visit Metroparks at Home to explore a variety of educational self-guided nature activities you can enjoy in a Metropark, or from the safety and comfort of your home. Content is continually updated so check back often!



Registration for #ecyber21 competition year opened Wednesday 8/12, so don't miss out!

eCYBERMISSION is a web-based science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) competition for students in grades six through nine that promotes self-discovery and enables all students to recognize the real-life applications of STEM. Teams of three or four students are instructed to ask questions (for science) or define problems (for engineering), and then construct explanations (for science) or design solutions (for engineering) based on identified problems in their community. Students compete for State, Regional, and National Awards. The U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program is committed to answering the Nation’s need for increased national STEM literacy and to expanding STEM education opportunities across the country to open doors to new career paths for American students that lead to a brighter tomorrow.


NASA STEM Engagement

Continue to Celebrate the Mars Rover recent landing.

This STEM toolkit contains mission-focused STEM lessons, do-it-yourself projects and real-world problem solving across STEM fields.  

Learn all about the Mars 2020 mission, including the rover, Perseverance, and the helicopter, Ingenuity!


The Museum of Science

The Museum of Science, #MOSatHome, is crafted to bring a collection of FREE STEM resources designed to bring the Museum virtually to everyone. Learn more about their virtual resources at


NWO STEM Activity

Global Warming Demonstration

This month's activity is brought to you NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology.


This demonstration uses a water balloon to show how Earth's oceans are absorbing most of the heat being trapped on our warming world.

What You Need

  • Several balloons
  • Lighter (be sure it creates a flame rather than a jet)
  • Bottle of water
  • Bucket
  • Safety goggles
  • “DIY Space: Water Balloon Demonstration” video tutorial – download video (mov)

Watch the "DIY Space: Water Balloon Demonstration" video tutorial at the top of the page for instructions on doing the demonstration.

What To Do

  1. Blow up the balloon and tie it. Ask someone to hold the balloon while you put on safety goggles. Explain to students that the air-filled balloon represents Earth's atmosphere and the flame represents the heat from the sun.
  2. Take the balloon and have students stand at least three feet away from you.
  3. Hold the bottom of the balloon. Place the lighter's flame onto the balloon, but at a safe distance from where you are holding the balloon. As soon as the flame touches the balloon, the balloon will pop.
  4. Now make a water balloon. When filling the balloon, try to remove any air bubbles as placing the flame over an air bubble could cause the balloon to pop prematurely. Explain to students that this balloon represents Earth's oceans. 
  5. Make sure your safety goggles are still on and hold the balloon over the bucket. Make sure to hold the balloon at the bottom and place the lighter's flame on the balloon, at a safe distance from where you are holding the balloon. 
  6. Depending on the size of the balloon, the quality and thickness of the rubber, and the presence of any air bubbles, the water-filled balloon should last more than one minute with the flame on it. Be sure to follow any safety instructions on the lighter with regard to how long the lighter may be held lit without cooling off.
  7. Eventually the balloon may pop, so position the bucket to catch the water.
  8. Explain to students that this demonstration illustrates how Earth's oceans are absorbing a great deal of the heat generated by climate change. In fact, Earth's oceans are absorbing about 80 to 90 percent of the heat from global warming. Since water can withstand a lot more heat than the atmosphere, the temperature of the oceans isn't changing that much.

Updated: 03/16/2021 01:50PM