August 2021

K-16 STEM in the NEWS


Art and robotics advance problem-solving skills at Toledo Museum of Art camp

Adding art into science, technology, engineering, and math education helps students engage in authentic problem solving, according to two Bowling Green State University faculty members.

Dr. Jerry Schnepp, associate professor in the College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering, and Dr. Thomas Roberts, assistant professor in the College of Education and Human Development, facilitated a collaborative camp this summer that taught coding and computing within the context of interactive art to about a dozen underrepresented students in STEM.

Last year, they were recognized last year by the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA).

Dr. Schnepp provided the coding and computing expertise and Dr. Roberts, who is experienced with summer camps and pedagogy, designed clear learning outcomes and assessments; and educators at the museum shared art in the museum and developed art projects to align with the lessons.

“These informal learning opportunities provide an ideal setting in which students can engage in authentic problem solving by providing access and opportunity to authentic environments and professionals,” Schnepp said.

In addition to learning about art, coding, and computing, the students also developed communication, collaboration, and critical-thinking skills, and the creativity to solve problems.

Dr. Schnepp went on to say, “We were very happy with the camp. We reworked the curriculum from the previous two sessions, and the students were able to complete more projects. We held the camp at the Toledo Museum of Art and the students were really engaged and did some very creative work!”

Community STEM in the NEWS

Imagination Station Scientist monitoring Lake Erie

BGSU is harnessing power of citizen-engaged science to monitor harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie

Imagination Station is one of several BGSU partners helping test water

Posted on BGSU News website by Bob Cunningham ’18

Bowling Green State University is harnessing the power of citizen-engaged science to help its researchers monitor the toxic algal blooms in western Lake Erie.

This MERHAB (Monitoring and Event Response for Harmful Algal Blooms) project is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It is a partnership between BGSU, the University of Toledo, Ohio State University, University of Michigan Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research, NOAA, and LightDeck Diagnostics and is putting a relatively inexpensive, easy-to-use rapid cyanotoxin detection technology into the hands of citizen scientists and water managers so they can go to a station, take a sample of water, extract it and analyze it right there on-site.

BGSU has loaned equipment to citizen science partners in Ohio and New York: Imagination Station, Old Woman Creek NERR, Maumee Bay State Park Managers, Toledo Metroparks, Cleveland Metroparks, Cleveland Water Alliance, SUNY Fredonia, and the Buffalo Niagara Waterkeepers.

“The great thing about citizen science is that we have a lot of people who want to be part of the solution,” Dr. Timothy Davis, the Patrick L. & Debra (Scheetz) Ryan Endowed Professor in BGSU’s Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences. “They want to help; they want to be involved in the research. It's important because the more people know about what we're doing to help save Lake Erie and the Great Lakes, the more they understand and the better and more informed decisions they can make."

“The idea is that we can't be out on the lake every day but by partnering with citizens who want to be part of the science, we can fill in those gaps. People are out on the water a lot and so as long as they have the resources and proper training then they take a sample.”

BGSU researchers typically test waters in Sandusky Bay weekly during the summer, Davis said.

“We know there's a lot that happens in between testing days out on the lake because it's really dynamic,” he said. “So, for us to be able to start getting information from people around the lake, that's an amazing opportunity, quite frankly, to provide us with data that we need to help validate some of the toxin forecast models that are being developed for western Lake Erie.”

The annual NOAA forecast predicts how severe the algal bloom is going to be and where the bloom biomass will be located in Lake Erie. 

“What we can't do right now is forecast bloom toxin concentrations,” Davis said. “We don't have that capability yet, but we're working toward it and citizen science is going to help us get there. Conditions in the lake can change so rapidly that a once-a-week sampling with citizen science filling in the gaps with these extra data points help us to better validate and develop more accurate toxin concentration forecast models.”

Click here to read the complete story.

STEM Opportunities

Code 4 her Computer Science Mentorship Program for Girls

Each girl (5th through 8th grade) will learn to program with Lego EV3 Robots at 5 mentoring meetings on Sundays 1:30 – 4:30 pm, held in Hayes Hall on the BGSU Campus. The students will work with the same BGSU student mentor and member of BG Women in Computing student organization. Cost: $125.00 (missed meetings cannot be made up). Dates are: August 29, September 19, October 10, October 31, and November 21.

For more information:

Toledo MetroParks Fall Field Trips

Metroparks will help students get outdoors, learn new skills and explore natural and cultural history in northwest Ohio. Programs are designed to connect students to nature through the hands-on discovery of concepts tied to Ohio’s Learning Standards. There are also opportunities to enhance Project Based Learning units through authenticity, public products, and content expert speakers. If field trip costs are a barrier, the Nature Express fund can provide up to 60% of the cost of bus transportation to Chapter 1 schools where 60% or more of the students are eligible for free or reduced lunches. Visit the link provided for more details and to request a program!

Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code continues to offer a free program for 3rd-12th graders to learn computer science and join a sisterhood of students using technology to change the world.

This school year, they will deliver a Clubs experience that’s better than ever, designed to support learning and community building whether in-person, virtually, or in a hybrid environment.

In addition to over 120 hours of free plug-and-play coding curricula and activities, Clubs provide additional benefits to enhance your experience. Get inspired and head to the application to start your free Club today!

Astro Access

Outer space is not just humanity’s future: it's a call to rethink life on Earth today. In zero gravity, what is standing up? What is lying down? What does it mean to be unable to walk if no one there is walking? How does that shift our understanding of disability?

Astro Access announces the launch of Mission: AstroAccess, a new SciAccess program bringing a diverse group of disabled space enthusiasts on a historic ZERO-G parabolic flight! Participants will complete targeted tasks during the program’s flight to help answer basic questions about how disabled people can live and work in outer space. Mission: AstroAccess’ crew of disabled volunteers will take flight on October 17th, 2021, as the first step in a progression towards increasing diversity in space and the greater STEM fields. 


They are dedicated to advancing disability inclusion in space exploration, not just for the benefit of marginalized communities, but for the benefit of all humankind. The tasks conducted during this program will help inform accessible design to make extended space travel safer for everyone.

Toledo Zoo Wild Toledo Teacher Monarch Kits

The Toledo Zoo Education Department is taking preorders for Wild Toledo Teacher Monarch Butterfly Kits that will be available for teachers to use in the classroom with their students. 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 so get your orders in now to assure availability.

Orders are online only at No phone in orders will be accepted. 

For more hands-on experience with monarch butterfly rearing and tagging, teachers can opt to sign up for a two hour professional development class that will take place on Saturday, August 28, 10am-12pm. The $15 fee includes hands-on experience with monarch caterpillars and an opportunity to tag an adult monarch butterfly. You can sign up at the same link.

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

ChickQuest workshop

September 15 @ 8:30 am - 4:00 pm

Challenge students to use Science, Engineering, and Technology to investigate the life cycle of an embryonic chicken egg!

ChickQuest, a Classroom Journey Through the Life Cycle of Chickens, is a 4-H School Enrichment Program that challenges students to use Science, Engineering, and Technology to investigate the life cycle of an embryonic chicken egg. From monitoring living eggs to observing fluffy chicks, these lively activities pique curiosity, encourage collaboration and communication, and provide young scientists with unforgettable experiences. The Ohio Soybean Council, Meyer Hatchery, and OSU Extension want to provide this curriculum for 50 elementary teachers in Ohio during the 2021-2022 school year. Each teacher will receive:

  • Teacher Guide
  • Science logbooks—(set of 25 student logbooks)
  • Incubator and egg turner
  • Fertilized egg coupon
  • A kit that includes experiment supplies
  • One day of professional development training for the teacher
  • 7 CEUs for attending this workshop.

Click here for more information and to register for the workshop.

Toledo Zoo Virtual Programs 

The Toledo Zoo is bringing the Zoo to classrooms through a virtual learning experiences that connects 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 us at for custom times. 

NWO STEM Activity

Cyber Detective

This month's activity brought to you by girls who code

Did you know that the first smartphone was created in 1992? Even though the Simon phone was considered a “smartphone”, the functions and look of this phone were very basic compared to the phones we use today.

The Simon phone contained a touchscreen that could only be used to contain notes, an address book, calendar, clock, and take calls. Technology has evolved exponentially since the first smartphone with almost all types of electronic devices connected to the internet through WiFi or 5G. With the convenience of all of our devices connected comes large potential security risks.

Why is this important? If you purchase items online, fill out a college application, or sign up for a new app you provide sensitive information like a credit card number, your name, your birthday, and sometimes your social security number. In 2019 about 1 in 15 people became victims of identity fraud. The first step in protecting yourself is to be educated in the types of attacks that might leave you vulnerable. Cyber Security Specialists are responsible for implementing security measures in any computer (that is any electronic device that is connected to the internet) and recognizing potential threats. Cyber Security is a fast-growing industry that makes up about 32-45% of all U.S tech jobs with an average base salary of $83,000. In this unplugged activity you will play the role of a cybersecurity specialist, or cyber detective, to follow the clues presented in the story to identify the cyber attack.

Download the complete pdf here!