June 2020

K-16 STEM in the NEWS

Two Northwest Ohio schools Earn STEM Designation 

Ten new Ohio schools received STEM/STEAM School Designation from the Ohio Department of Education, including two in northwest Ohio: McKinley STEMM Academy of Toledo Public Schools and Dorr Elementary of Springfield Local Schools. The Ohio STEM Committee approved applications for schools that implement best practices in STEM and STEAM education. STEM education encompasses a culture of inquiry, entrepreneurialism, problem-solving, problem-based learning, and connections to the real-world. STEAM education expands this idea with a focus on the arts.

Twenty-eight applications from schools across Ohio were considered. The designation recognizes a school as an effective place for STEM or STEAM learning. The Ohio STEM Learning Network (OSLN), a public-private partnership managed by Battelle, advises the Ohio STEM Committee and provides supports for schools across Ohio.

“Battelle invests in STEM education to give students opportunities to explore future careers while building critical thinking skills,” said Wes Hall, Vice President of Education and Philanthropy at Battelle. “Assisting schools in the designation process is one way we can amplify student success.”

The schools receiving designation were commended for exhibiting a strong culture of STEM learning, use of problem-based learning, professional development for teachers and staff, and a robust STEM curriculum.  

This year’s designation process began with a series of pre-application webinars for potential applicants, organized by OSLN and the Ohio Department of Education. Both organizations provided additional coaching and feedback to schools applying for designation. OSLN and the Ohio Department of Education heard from applying schools through a series of in-person or online site visits. Finally, each school’s application received a recommendation from the network and was put forward to the Ohio STEM Committee for final review. The committee is a panel of policymakers, agency directors, and business leaders.

“These schools contextualize classroom learning for their students, providing a clear answer to the question, ‘when will I ever use this?’” said Heather Sherman, Director of OSLN for Battelle. “When STEM/STEAM education is done well, students understand the connection between classwork and careers.”

The committee designated ten new schools:

  • Ashland Christian School (Private School)
  • Bath Elementary School (Revere Schools)
  • Dorr Elementary (Springfield Schools)
  • Fairview High School (Fairview Park City Schools)
  • The Kinder Garden School, West Chester (Private School)
  • McKinley STEM Academy (Steubenville City Schools)
  • McKinley STEMM Academy (Toledo City Schools)
  • Shenandoah Elementary (Noble Local)
  • Shenandoah High School (Noble Local)
  • St. Paul School-Salem (Private School)

The Ohio STEM Committee is supported by the Ohio Department of Education.

About the Ohio STEM Learning Network

OSLN was created in 2008 with five schools. With the addition of today’s schools, the network grows to 79 total STEM schools. The schools are supported by seven regional hubs.

The Northwest Ohio Center for Excellence in STEM Education at BGSU is one of the seven hubs of the OSLN.

For more information on OSLN please visit: https://osln.org/

STEM Opportunities

BGSU College of Education and Human Development Summer Academic Camps 

Frustrated by weeks of at-home teaching? Worried about the coming school year? We're offering academic enrichment camps, at our cost, that the young student in your life can take right from the couch. More: https://youtu.be/Y-Wa1eGB7Bs

Visit bgsu.edu/falconyouth to see all this summer's camps, including virtual camps the College of Education and Human Development faculty, are offering to keep students ready for the upcoming school year.


Fallen Timbers Trout in the Classroom

The program teaches youth about cold water conservation, rearing of fish, caring for animals. It can also lead to discussions on various conservation topics especially about clean water, sources of water pollution, government organizations involved with protecting our water, and many other topics.

The program is appropriate for any age group, but is mostly used in middle schools. Ohio has about 40 schools using this program.  Please visit: https://fallentimbers.tu.org/ for more information.


Project Based Learning Ohio

For the first time ever, PBL Ohio is virtual and provides teachers workshop experiences in learning PBL and how to implement it in an online classroom. The event is hosted by PBLMatters, but entirely facilitated by PBLWorks and their National Faculty. This event mirrors the same event that PBLWorks references as PBLWorld. Workshops include PBL 101PBL 201PBL Leadership and Project Slice. To learn more about it visit PBL Ohio Institute website.

Learn how to implement online project based learning through attending this interactive institute, July 29-31


PBS Design Squad Design Challenges   

Use DESIGN SQUAD GLOBAL hands-on activities and videos in classrooms and afterschool programs, in libraries and museums, at events and at home, along with our newest resource DESIGN SQUAD GLOBAL CLUBS that connect 10- to 13-year-olds in out-of-school programs around the world.



Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program

Girls Who Code has pivoted our Summer Immersion Program to become a virtual 2-week opportunity for rising 10th to 12th-grade girls.

Low tech? No tech? No problem! The 2-week virtual program is completely FREE, with need-based tech and stipends available up to $300. They'll learn to code through hands-on projects to solve real-world problems they care about. They'll meet inspiring female role models from our influential corporate partners, like AT&T, Goldman Sachs, Warner Brothers, Disney, and more.

Their participation will unlock our lifelong sisterhood with exclusive alumni benefits, like virtual mentorship, College Loops, and our job platform, #HireMe.



INFOhio’s Professional Development Platform

INFOhio Campus contains everything you need to improve and maintain your educational prowess over the summer months – all at no cost.

INFOhio Learning Pathways are self-paced, flexible, online, and provide information on how to use INFOhio resources and integrate them into instruction. Participants may complete one, two, or more classes within a pathway to earn a certificate for contact hours. Once a whole pathway is completed, participants may earn a digital badge.  

Summer PD is a breeze with self-paced learning through INFOhio Campus. For questions about INFOhio Campus or the INFOhio Learning Pathways please reach out at support.infohio.org.


Imagination Station Virtual Summer Camp

Campers explore the engineering design process as they solve design challenges about animals, transportation (on Earth!), space travel and so much more! Campers will begin their day interacting virtually with each other and Imagination Station’s camp counselors for 90-minutes before diving headfirst into their daily design.

Each week-long, fun-filled, science-stuffed camp is $75 per child. Join Imagination Station as we try something new that promises to deliver unique experiences and unforgettable memories.

Virtual campers will receive online instruction from 9:30 to 11:00 am, a daily design challenge, and passes for a future visit to Imagination Station.

Visit imaginationstationtoledo.org for more information and to register. 

  • June 22 - 26
  • June 29 - July 3


Code.org Professional Learning Program

The Code.org Professional Learning Program offers different workshop based on which grade levels will be taught:

  • Computer Science Fundamentals prepares teachers to lead elementary school (K-5) computer science classes
  • Computer Science Discoveries prepares teachers for creating experiences for middle school (6-8) students
  • Computer Sciences Principles prepares teachers for high school classes (9-12), including Advanced Placement credit

The workshop CS Discoveries and CS Principles will proceed as scheduled on July 6-10, 2020, with four additional follow-up implementation sessions throughout the following school year.

CS Fundamentals workshops will also continue throughout the year, as stand-alone one-day events. The first CS Fundamentals workshop will be held across two days June 23rd, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and June 30th from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Details here. More sessions are planned and will be posted to the Events page.


Ohio Soybean Council Grow Next Gen

ChickQuest is a popular program for elementary classrooms. Presented several times each year in various locations around the state, these workshops are continually filled to capacity with teachers eager to share this experience with their students. Participants are trained to present hands-on engaging STEM lessons and they receive supplies for their classroom. Students learn about animal agriculture, egg production, and life cycles and are able to see eggs hatch!



Ohio STEM Learning Network RE-START Design Labs

The start of the 2020-2021 school year will look different. To help districts through these changes, Envision Ed Plus, Ohio Department of Education and Ohio STEM Learning Network are offering FREE RE-START Design Labs to bring districts together and plan together.



NWO STEM Activity

Ouch! Sunburn Science

This month's activity is brought to you www.nwocenter.org

Grade Level 2-8

What you need:

  • UV beads (purchase through stevespanglerscience.com)
  • Hand lenses
  • Pencil/paper to record data
  • Small plastic containers of sunscreen samples (3 different SPF sunscreens for each group labeled A, B, & C)
  • Plastic bags, paper plates, trays (e.g., containers to hold beads)
  • Markers
  • A sunny day

What to do:

  1. Divide the students into groups of three or four. Each group receives 12-20 UV beads and 2 hand lenses.
  2. Ask each group to use their powers of observation to determine what these objects might have each group record their observations.
  3. Have each group share their observations. Write down their collective thoughts on a whiteboard.
  4. Now, give each group about 5 minutes to take the beads outside in the sun and observe what happens.
  5. Return to the classroom and record the groups’ observations alongside their first thoughts on the board (use a T-chart format).
  6. Tell the class that these are special photosensitive beads. Ultraviolet rays from the sun turn the beads color.


  1. 1. Ask the groups to reflect on this statement: When we go outside, scientists and doctors tell us to protect our skin from UV rays by using sunscreen. How can these UV beads help us learn which sunscreens might work the best?
  2. Provide each group with three samples of sunscreen and have them decide how to set up an experiment and record data that will allow them to determine the possible effects of each sunscreen. Tell each group to rate the color of the beads on a scale of 1-5, with 5 showing the most color or “burning” and 1 showing the least color. Have them create one sample without sunscreen.
  3. Allow them time to set up the experiment. Groups will check their results and record data later that day (or at an interval determined by the teacher).


Have each group report:

  • (1) How they tested the sunscreen using the beads, (2) the data they collected, and (3) what conclusions they drew. Ask them why the effectiveness might have differed among the different samples.

Investigate Further

  1. How could you use the beads to test the effectiveness of other items’ UV protection levels? – ideas: sunglasses, clothing. Give each student a few beads to take home and set up further investigations


Ultraviolet light (also called UV light) is a type of radiation (wave energy) that is not visible to the human eye. None of the energy in the ultraviolet region of the light spectrum is visible to the naked eye. Most of the UV light produced by the Sun is blocked by the atmosphere, but some UV light does reach Earth. UV light is the invisible radiation that will give you a sunburn and can injure your eyes. Sunglasses and sunscreens absorb UV photons to help protect your

skin and eyes from this type of radiation. UV radiation wavelengths are short enough to break chemical bonds in your skin tissue. With prolonged exposure to UV light, your skin may tan, burn, wrinkle, or even develop skin cancer.

The UV beads are made from white or clear plastic. While you cannot see UV light, the high-energy light excites the photochromic dye (a dye that changes color when it reacts with ultraviolet light) in the beads resulting in a change in the shape of the dye molecules.

Interesting fact: Although UV light is needed to excite the molecule to form the high-energy planar structure (color change), heat from the surroundings provides the activation energy to change the molecule back to its colorless structure. If colored beads are placed in super-cold liquid nitrogen, they will not have enough activation energy to return to their colorless form.

Updated: 03/16/2021 01:50PM