February 2022

K-16 STEM in the NEWS

Marshall STEMM Academy in Toledo plants seeds for outdoor classroom


Marshall STEMM Academy, an Ohio Department of Education STEM-designated school in Toledo, recently partnered with the Toledo Zoo’s Wild PRAIRIE ((PRAiries that InvigoRate Inquiry LEarning) Initiative to build an outdoor classroom on their school property. In January, 3th and 4th graders along with their teachers braved the winter cold and scattered seeds in their schoolyard that will grow and become a living laboratory of ecosystems and insect life. The students will use the prairie to study and learn about native habitats, environmental science, and what they can do to conserve the earth around them. This urban grassland will become a migratory home for birds and will improve stormwater management by reducing water runoff.

The school staff is excited to bring the opportunity to Marshall. Principal Douglas Bell stated, “As a STEMM school, we focus on project-based learning as an educational strategy. We focus on students working hardest and learning the most when solving problems related to their lives. Discovered and supported by research “.

Several schools in the region of northwestern Ohio also have planted urban and rural prairies on their school’s property to create a unique, hands-on learning experience. The Zoo’s Wild Toledo Initiative began in 2014 with conservation personnel who previously mowed lawns and abandoned lots to environmentally beneficial urban prairies.

For more information on this initiative see https://www.toledozoo.org/wildtoledo and for information on building a prairie and BGSU’s partnership with NWO, please see the "What's Happening at NWO?" section above.

Community STEM in the NEWS

BGSU holds Educators of Color Panel


Sponsored by the College of Education and Human Development and coordinated by the college’s diversity and inclusion officer Alexis Lankford, BGSU held an Educators of Color Panel with local teachers and BGSU students to discuss their viewpoints and to answer questions from the audience. During this panel, educators shared their lived experiences, both positive and negative, as an educator in northwest Ohio.

According to Alexis Lankford, “The goal was to further expose our current teacher education majors to the different experiences based on identity within schools. This information will help students become a better educator, support their future colleagues, and learn more about how they can support students of color in the classroom”.

Of the six panelists, three were from Washington Local School district, which is partnering with NWO on the grant-funded Project EDUCATE ((Educators of Diversity: Unified and Collaborative to Aspire Teacher Education), an educational model developed to diversify the educator workforce.

The attendance was over-capacity, mostly with BGSU Education majors, some of whom are currently student teaching. Also in attendance were fifteen Whitmer High School students who are interested in the education profession and came with their Teaching Professions teacher. The book “Culturally Responsive Teaching & The Brain” by Hammond was distributed to those who pre-registered. Attendees were asked to submit questions via a Google form which included how to deal with racist issues in the classroom and others. 

When asked why she became a teacher, one panelist stated it was because “she felt stability in the classroom” when she was growing up and wanted to provide that same stability to other children. 

Another stated he became a teacher because a family member had read books to him and his siblings as a child that was not only written by black authors but also had black male characters in the story. 

The purpose of the EDHD Inclusion and Diversity Committee is to propel efforts to be a community of inclusion, collaboration, and respect by supporting and promoting equity, diversity, inclusion, and cultural competency, and inclusion, and equity as manifested through student learning, faculty and staff engagement, and community collaborations.

What's Happening at NWO?


NWO has partnered with the Toledo Zoo and Aquarium and their Wild Toledo Project PRAIRIE: PRAiries that InvigoRate Inquiry LEarning initiative, an inquiry-based education program that prepares students and their teachers to learn about native prairie habitats found on an outdoor classroom built on their own school’s property.


The hope is that more schools in the region of northwest Ohio will become interested in this initiative that engages students to engage in experiential inquiry and citizen science activities to study prairie habitats, develop a stronger connection to the local ecology, contribute to existing knowledge through data collection, and view themselves as part of the solution to conservation-related problems and above all, climate resilience.


Toledo Zoo staff will install urban or rural prairies on school property in the spring while providing curricula and support for teachers and students to learn the basic skills of taking care of their prairies. Students will be engaged and prepared to become prairie “ambassadors” and will ultimately participate in a “BioBlitz” in the fall, an event that focuses on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time.


In the fall of 2021, NWO, the Toledo Zoo, and Bowling Green City Schools held the first annual “BioBlitz BG” at Wintergarden Park, with support from the BGSU College of Education and Human Development, Lubrizol, and the Bowling Green City Parks and Recreation Department.

The goals for this event were simple: ENGAGE•LEARN•ACT! The participating students from Crim Elementary engaged in exploration and investigation in nature and learned about both living and nonliving components of the local prairie ecosystem and what they and their families can proactively do to maintain its health. Finally, students were inspired to take action to help protect and preserve both local prairies and planet Earth. For more information about BioBlitz BG, please visit: https://www.bgsu.edu/nwo/programs/bioblitz-bg.html.


For more information on the Toledo Zoo Wild Toledo Project PRAIRIE Initiative, interested schools can find more information on the Zoo’s website at: https://www.toledozoo.org/wildtoledo

STEM Opportunities

Women in STEM at BGSU Call for Presenters

Presentation Proposals are now being accepted for the 38th annual Women in STEM program at BGSU. We invite STEM professionals to facilitate a hands-on session (45 minutes) for a group of 15-20 students to highlight a STEM topic and/or career in order to instill awareness, excitement, and passion for STEM disciplines!

For more information on this impactful program, please see our website: https://www.bgsu.edu/nwo/programs/women-in-stem/PresenterInformation.html

Educationprojects.org Upcoming Workshops

Teachers will have the chance to do the lessons and then go back to the classroom to share with students. Collaborate with peers and learn from industry experts. All of the events listed are free. Please click on the titles to get more information and register.

Feed the World: Energy and Ethanol
Feb. 17, Springfield OH
(Ohio teachers only)

ChickQuest workshop
Mar. 2, Columbus OH
(Ohio teachers only)

Ag is STEM: Teaching science through ag systems #3
Mar. 4, online

Nourish the Future: Feeding and Fueling the World
Mar. 12, New Orleans

Summer Academic Programs at BGSU

Discover summer learning opportunities for youth in 3rd -12th grades with Summer Academic and Youth Programs at BGSU.

BGSU is offering a combination of virtual and in-person summer camps that are engaging, fun and affordable.

Summer Academic Camps provide opportunities for students to connect to BGSU while expanding their knowledge, building life skills and exploring their interests.

Please visit the Pre-College Summer Programs website as new programs are continuously added!

Smart Mobility Ambassador

DriveOhio, a new Smart Mobility Ambassador program for STEM early-career and youth volunteers, in collaboration with educators and community partners, to engage students of all ages in conversations about smart mobility career opportunities across Ohio. 

This program will provide high school students with professional development, and mentoring and networking opportunities, while learning about smart mobility career pathways, sharpening their coding skills, and earning volunteer hours.

DriveOhio will recruit college and high school students to volunteer to become Smart Mobility Ambassadors. We will provide training to STEM volunteers on smart mobility content and interactive STEM coding programs, in preparation for delivery through classroom and virtual platforms, with support from DriveOhio Alliance industry experts.

For more information: https://drive.ohio.gov/about-driveohio/resources/smart-mobility-ambassador

NASA STEM Kids Virtual Event - Mars Exploration

Registration is open for the K -4th-grade students are invited to register at https://nasa.gov/centers/glenn/stem/nasa-stem-kids-virtual-event

INFOhio Open Space Community

Educators can enhance professional growth with Open Space to connect, collaborate, and create with other educators in Ohio. INFOhio transforms student learning by providing equitable access to quality resources and cost-effective instructional and technical support for each student, educator, and parent in Ohio. This group's purpose is to provide a space for INFOhio users to share resources and ideas, create and participate in discussions, and get announcements about what's happening at INFOhio and around the state.

For more information: https://openspace.infohio.org/groups/infohio-community/130/

STEM Next Million Girls Moonshot Free Online Trainings

Technovation and STEM Next believe in the power of parents as supporters and co-learners along with their kids, everywhere. Technovation in collaboration with STEM Next’s Million Girls Moonshot is offering a series of free online trainings for parents and caregivers that will boost parents’ confidence and skills to support their children as they learn and explore STEM topics. 


Believe in Ohio STEM Innovation and Entrepreneurship Scholarship

Qualified Ohio Juniors and Seniors are invited to apply for this scholarship that recognizes Ohio students for their contributions to STEM Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Designed to ensure inclusion from across the state, the program provides at least one $1,000 scholarship in each of Ohio’s 99 State House of Representative districts and in each of the 33 Ohio State Senate districts. Applications will be accepted until April 15, 2022.

For more information, visit Believe in Ohio Scholarship



Girls Who Code empowers students to learn, connect, and make an impact through our free, virtual Summer Immersion Program and Self-Paced Program. Girls Who Code’s summer programs are for current high school students who identify as girls or non-binary.

All experience levels are welcome and encouraged to apply!

Programs are available June 17 – August 12, 2022

For more information: https://girlswhocode.com/ or https://girlswhocode.com/programs/summer-immersion-program

Computer Science Education from OSLN

Time and time again, we’ve seen school administrators play a pivotal role in bringing computer science education to a school. Whether you’re a principal, counselor, or other building staff, you could be the link between your school and the kind of coding skills that ensure prosperity for all students.

To learn more about bringing computer science to your school, join us for the CS4U informational session on WednesdayFebruary 23, 2022, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. During this virtual meeting we will address:

  • Availability of computer science courses for every grade and every school
  • Details on a computer professional learning series for teachers with no-cost scholarships
  • How state policies on computer science education are changing, including changes to teacher licensure requirements

This informational session is designed for school and district administrators, school counselors, and teachers interested in teaching Computer Science.


NWO STEM Activity

Oil Spill Cleanup

Connecting STEM activities to real-world problems

This month's activity was brought to you by Little Bins Little Hands. https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/oil-spill-experiment/

An oil spill is a form of pollution generally found in a marine ecosystem. However, oil spills can happen on land too. An oil spill occurs when oil leaks or spills into the water. Oil spills can also happen in rivers or lakes!

What causes an oil spill?
Oil spills are often caused by accidents, but they can also be caused by human error or carelessness. These accidents involve tankers, barges, oil drill rigs, and other places or methods of transportation that store or hold large amounts of oil.

Why are oil spills harmful?
Oil spills are harmful to marine birds and mammals as well as fish and shellfish. Oil coats the feathers and fur of marine life which leaves them susceptible to hypothermia (being too cold) because their fur or feathers cannot protect them from the weather.

Additionally, an oil spill can contaminate the food supply or food chain. Marine mammals that eat fish or other food exposed to an oil spill may be poisoned by oil.


  • 2 Tin Pans
  • Water
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Dawn Dish Soap
  • Medicine Dropper
  • Spoon
  • Paper Towels
  • Cotton Balls

Other options to explore include a very fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth!


  1. Fill the tin pan/ tray half full of water. 
  2. Pour oil into the water.
  3. Try different ways to clean up the oil. Can you use the cotton balls? The paper towels? How about the spoon or medicine dropper to scoop out the oil?
  4. Lastly, try using the Dawn Dish Soap.

For older kids, you can also have graduated cylinders available. Measure the oil into the cylinder before pouring it into the water. Then have them use a spoon to try to collect the same amount of oil and put it back into the cylinder.

Set a timer and see how much oil is recollected at the end of the given time!

CHALLENGE: What other ways can the kids come up with to remove the oil from the pan?

You can also check out this simple ocean pollution activity for younger kids.

Click here to view the complete online experiment.

Updated: 02/16/2022 08:56AM