K-16 STEM in the NEWS
37th Annual Women in STEM Went Virtual
Over 325 middle school students from all over the northwest Ohio region and beyond virtually attended the 37th annual Women in STEM program on Earth Day coordinated by the Northwest Ohio Center of Excellence in STEM Education (NWO) at Bowling Green State University.
Students spent the Earth Day themed day exploring and performing experiments and hands-on activities in physics and astronomy, chemistry, biology, engineering, mathematics, and technology as they learned about the STEM fields and what STEM has to offer in high school and beyond from their classrooms. Presenters from a wide range of STEM professions virtually offered over 60 breakout sessions and hands-on workshops throughout the day.
For the first time, a children’s book author presented the keynote address that empowered the students to pursue the STEM fields like she did, while featuring one of her nonfiction STEM books and highlighting an Earth Day topic. Mary Kay Carson, a nonfiction children’s book author from Cincinnati, Ohio has written more than fifty books for kids about wildlife, space, weather, nature, and other science and history topics. Thanks to the generosity of BGSU alumni Brian’73 and Dottie’72 Linn through the Ellen J. Blackwell Curriculum Resource Center Support Fund, each student participant received their own copy of one of Ms. Carson's books.
Jenna Pollock, Education Program Manager at NWO and coordinator of the event stated, “We were amazed at how our presenters rose to the occasion and provided engaging hands-on activities and virtually presented them to our participants. Many provided materials which were delivered to the participating schools so that the students could perform the activities while watching their presenter through Zoom. It was a fantastic event! We are thrilled to hold this event every year, demonstrating to this age group a rewarding career in STEM is more than possible."
Workshop session titles included: Design and Build a Newton's Cradle with the PHH gals, NASA Eggstronaut Parachute Challenge, UT Medical Simulation Lab: Intubation Demonstration, Chemists Celebrate Earth Week 2021: Reducing Our Footprint with Chemistry, and Phun with Pharmacy!
One teacher thanked NWO for providing the opportunity virtually, as it expanded the participation. “For our district, the fact that this was virtual allowed us to actually participate. Being closer to Cleveland, BGSU is really beyond the distance we can drive to take students for an event like this. Even if the event were to take place in person next year, we’d love the consideration of continuing to allow virtual participation in some capacity as we really believe in the importance of creating more opportunities to encourage and promote STEM in our district (particularly at the middle school level) when so much in middle school is already challenging to navigate,” she stated.
One student stated, “Women in STEM really opened my eyes to the opportunities and jobs I could do in STEM. I loved the fun activities that we did!”
One of the over forty presenters stated, “From my experience, “Women in STEM” plays a significant role in developing girls' interest in and identity as scientists and engineers not only by exposing them to a variety of career options but by providing in-person experiences with women in STEM careers. It makes learning fun, accessible and provides students with real-life applications for STEM.”
NWO annually organizes the event and is a partnership with a number of area universities, K-12 schools, and community organizations that have a mission to advance STEM education for people of all ages. Sponsors for the 37th annual Women in STEM program were BGSU, BGSU Curriculum Resource Center, BGSU’s College of Education and Human Development, The Anderson’s, Walmart, the Perrysburg Rotary Foundation, and NWO.
For more information and photos of the event, please see our website at: https://www.bgsu.edu/nwo/programs/women-in-stem
Community STEM in the NEWS
Two Ohio Junior Science & Humanities Symposium Students will continue their research after graduation
Two students who participated for several years in the Ohio Junior Science & Humanities Symposium (OJSHS) annually held at Bowling Green State University, will continue their research that was part of the original scientific research projects they submitted to OJSHS.
Ruth Posta, a senior at Aerospace and Natural Science Academy of Toledo Public Schools, will attend Alaska Pacific University to major in Marine Environmental Science. Her goal is to help rehab and save sea animals, and she wants to learn and study how to contribute to making sure animals thrive on the planet. She presented her project title, “Aggression in Male Betta Fish” in the research poster competition of OJSHS.
Ruth is graduating with honors and 44 college credits. When she arrives on the campus in Alaska, she will be a sophomore.
Jake Zajkowski, a senior at Anthony Wayne High School, presented a research paper at the 2020 OJSHS and this year a poster titled, “A Study of the Effectiveness of Hydroponic Growing Variables on Lactuca Sativa Var. Capitata”. He also competed in agriculture science fairs and won the National Agriculture Science Fair in 2019 also with a project on hydroponics, which is a type of horticulture that involves growing plants without soil. This year he was elected the President of the Ohio Future Farmers of America (FAA), one of few selected for the position from Northwest Ohio during FFA’s long history. Jake plans on taking a gap year after graduation and will attend Cornell University in 2022, with a major in plant sciences.
Instructional Materials Matter: A No-Cost, One-Day Conference
Ensuring access to vetted, standards-aligned materials that promote and celebrate equity for each student can be a challenge. Join INFOhio for a one-day, no-cost online conference to learn more about Ohio's plan for securing quality instructional materials that are freely available and accessible for each child.
Art of Nature Virtual Camp
Ages 8 to 12
Log on to nature with this artistic virtual nature camp. The creative nature of art provides many opportunities to “go green” and have a positive impact on our northwest Ohio region. Campers will enjoy age-appropriate eco-friendly art activities exploring Metroparks habitats through upcycled crafts, journaling, painting, drawing, music, and more! Campers will interact with staff and volunteers through live interactive webinars, recorded videos, and downloadable activities. All materials provided. Internet access required. Please see website for reservation details: https://metroparkstoledo.com/camp
June 28 - July 2 [Register] (11 to 11:45 a.m)
Applications, scholarships for 2021-2022 Code.org professional development close soon, apply now!
Applications are open now for a new cohort of Ohio teachers to join Code.org’s Computer Science Professional Learning Program. Code.org’s Professional Learning Program is 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. Learn more and apply here!
Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Program
Teachers interested in bringing oil and gas educational lessons into classrooms, join OOGEP for a K-5 Workshop on June 14th. The goal of this workshop is to help foster energy education by connecting science to the natural gas and oil industry.
Girls Who Code FREE Clubs
Bring free customizable coding curriculum and resources to your community by signing up to start a Club today. Clubs are free, open to students of all genders, and Girls Who Code supports club organizers each step of the way to make it a fun and life-changing experience — no prior coding knowledge needed! With expanded summer options, start a 3-5th and 6-12th grade Club over the summer. Plus, you can now apply at any point to start a Club up to 10 months in the future, making it even easier for you to apply today to get a head start on your summer or fall Club!
NWO STEM Activity
A Swing and a Miss: The Mathematics of Baseball
What you need:
- Ruler (one for each team of 2 students)
- Table to record student information
What to do:
- Divide the students into pairs. One student holds the ruler by its end between the other student’s separated thumb and index finger. (Make sure the ruler is facing the same way for each attempt.)
- The student releases the ruler and both carefully measure at what increment the second student is able to catch the ruler.
- Do this ten times and calculate an average “time” (the inch or centimeter mark where the students caught the ruler).
- All teams then share their data to find an average value for the entire class, for boys only, for girls only, or other parameters. Graph results in a scatter plot.
- How is the measurement of centimeters or inches related to seconds? (Have students write their average “time” as centimeters per second)
- Would the experiment be fair if a student was allowed to drop the ruler by herself or himself? Why or why not?