November 2020

K-16 STEM in the NEWS

Webinars on electric vehicle charging support #STEMpowersOhio challenge


From Ohio STEM Learning Newtork

This year’s Ohio STEM Learning Network’s (OSLN) #STEMpowersOhio challenge question is a big one: “Reimagine energy production/consumption to improve your community.” Through the challenge, students can explore a wide range of energy related sub-topics. OSLN is offering a special webinar on Electric Vehicle Charging on both November 19 and November 30 to promote participation in the challenge.

OSLN encourages teachers and afterschool leaders facilitating the design challenge to modify the design challenge question into something with a narrower focus, as long as the modified question ties back to energy. Perhaps students want to strictly focus on improving energy relating to transportation, or “smart home” technology, or explore equity issues related to equity – any energy related question is acceptable. Use the topic web to see different ways to think about this year’s topic.

As students refine the question, consider the community and the people who will be helped with the solution. Sometimes, these people are called the “problem owners”. Keeping the “problem owners” in mind as students refine solutions leads to a more effective solution.

One potential focus area: vehicle electrification. “Ohio has seen steady growth in electric vehicle sales and registrations,” according to a 2020 Drive Ohio and ODOT study. A persistent challenge to wider adoption of electric vehicles is the lack of charging infrastructure throughout the state. Gas stations are available almost everywhere –electric vehicle charging stations aren’t. This creates uncertainty and anxiety for consumers who may be interested in switching from a gas or hybrid car to a fully electric one.

Drive Ohio and ODOT collaborated with engineering consultancy HNTB and Clean Fuels Ohio to conduct a study about electric vehicle charging in Ohio. They identified some of the problems related to widespread adoption and made some recommendations for actions we can take in Ohio to increase the availability of electric vehicle charging.

They have generously offered to share their knowledge about electric vehicle charging for Ohio teachers interested in this year’s design challenge. Join Drive Ohio and a panel of electric vehicle experts in this free, online webinar on the basics of the electric vehicle charging industry, and how it matters to Ohio communities. Sessions will be held on November 19 (4-5 pm) and November 30 (3:30 – 4:30 pm). Please register on Zoom.
A follow-up webinar will focus on ways to create engaging hook activities to get your students interested in electric vehicle charging and use it as a focus for their design challenge solutions.

Please see the OSLN blog at: for more information.

Community STEM in the NEWS


Local Teacher Recognized Nationally and Regionally for STEM 

Kathryn Nelson, a longtime science teacher and chair of the Science department at Sylvania Northview High School, was recently named the Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) National Educator of the Year Award for 2020.

In 2019, Ms. Nelson was also recognized for her teaching and named the recipient of the Colonel George F. Leist Distinguished Teacher Award at the Ohio Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (OJSHS), which is also sponsored by the AEOP along with the United States Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force and the Northwest Ohio Center for Excellence in STEM Education at Bowling Green State University’s College of Education and Human Development.

The Sylvania News community newsletter spoke with the AEOP director Gregory Stone who stated, "The idea is to recognize an educator who goes above and beyond," he explained. "A teacher who has demonstrated excellence in her capacity as an educator, who has developed the programs within AEOP for her young people in such a way that those young people are able to excel and develop and grow in ways that are exceptional."

"I was humbled and honored to receive the AEOP National Educator of the Year award," Ms. Nelson was quoted in the paper after receiving the award. "The AEOP has provided many opportunities and honors for my students. In particular, OJSHS and JSHS have inspired them to be curious and understand what is possible for them in science, solidified plans to pursue STEM careers, and propelled many to prestigious selective universities, including Ivies. I am proud to represent the many professional educators who work beyond their school's walls and workday to provide meaningful experiences and help students find their passions and true potential."
The Colonel George F. Leist Distinguished Teacher Award was presented to Ms. Nelson at the Ohio Junior Science and Humanities Symposium in 2019. A plaque is presented each year to the teacher of the winning paper presenter who has provided the most help and inspiration for that student. This plaque is displayed in the winning teacher's school, and the teacher is given $500 to purchase books, supplies and equipment for the school. The award is named after Colonel George F. Leist, an Ohio native who founded the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. Following the 1958 launch of the Russian satellite Sputnik, Colonel Leist, then the Commanding Officer of the Office of Ordinance Research in North Carolina, initiated the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) for secondary school science students. The first symposium took place at Duke University in 1958 and spread throughout the United States to many universities during the next four years. In 1962, the National JSHS was created; the Ohio JSHS was initiated the following year in 1963.

The Ohio JSHS is annually hosted by the Northwest Ohio Center for Excellence in STEM Education (NWO) and the College of Education and Human Development at BGSU. The JSHS is sponsored by the U.S. Army Research Office, U.S. Office of Naval Research, and U.S. Air Force Research Office. The JSHS program encompasses forty-eight regional symposia reaching students throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and DOD Schools in Europe and the Pacific.

Dr. Emilio Duran, professor in BGSU’s School of Teaching and Learning, director of NWO and Regional Director of OJSHS of the last twenty years explained, “This event offers a valuable opportunity for young scientists and scholars to share their impressive achievements with their peers and parents and with professional scientists and scholars. The Ohio JSHS provides public recognition and certificates, honoring achievement and interest in research pursuits. This program also helps students attain a sense of achievement and self-confidence resulting from interaction with students from other schools and regions and with professional researchers and educators.” He went on to say that he is absolutely thrilled for Ms. Nelson and her national award, as she displays an enthusiasm and commitment to the event each year.

Each year, two student finalists and three delegates from each regional JSHS program are chosen (all expenses paid) to attend the National JSHS each year. In recent years, three winners of the Ohio symposium, Suraj Srinivason (2019), Aaditya Shidham (2008), and Keith Hawkins (2009), have won the top national award. In 2014 the top award winner at the Ohio JSHS, Bluyé DeMessie, also won the 3rd place award in the Environmental Science division at the National JSHS. Dr. Duran stated, “Clearly Ohio has many high-achieving young people, and we are proud to be able to highlight some of their success with this event.

For more information on OJSHS, please visit the website at:

For more information on the National JSHS, please see:

The Sylvania News is sponsored by the Sylvania History Buffs,


STEM Opportunities

Grow Next Gen E-courses Believe in Ohio Program

The Believe in Ohio program has online STEM Professional Development Workshop Opportunities for STEM and Business/Economics teachers. Believe in Ohio provides the program curriculum in a Google Classroom for teachers. These workshops will familiarize teachers with the concepts of entrepreneurship and design-thinking ideation by engaging teachers in the resources to utilize with students to develop a STEM business or commercialization plan. Through this process of engagement, the workshop will provide instruction and activities to increase teachers' conceptual knowledge of the entrepreneurial mindset, design-thinking, and the relationship between STEM and innovation.For more information, contact: Jenna Pollock: and the website at:


Toledo Zoo Virtual Learning

Virtual learning experiences will connect students with Zoo educators and animal ambassadors at the Zoo through tours & classroom lessons. Each lesson comes with a packet of activities for the student to do at home.

Register for a custom session with up to 75 participants for $50. Contact for details.

Classes are also open for individuals on select dates. Pricing and schedule is at


Drones in School

Drones in School is a one of a kind opportunity for students to experience the excitement of being on an actual racing team while also applying their classroom learning to real life.

Drones in School, The Collegiate Drone Racing Association (CDRA) and MultiGP are very proud to announce the formation of the MultiGP STEM Alliance. With a focus on students at the middle school, high school and college levels, the MultiGP STEM Alliance is dedicated to the mission of using drone racing to foster the growth of STEM education.


NASA Educator Resources

NASA STEM materials support curriculum with hundreds of resources organized by subject, grade level, type and keyword and can be found at

Find NASA science resources for the classroom. NASA Wavelength is a digital collection of Earth and space science resources for educators of all levels — from elementary to college, to out-of-school programs.


Ohio Invention Convention

Ohio Invention League's Invention Convention is the premiere K-12 program helping Ohio students learn and navigate the invention process, in order to innovate solutions to a problem they identify. This no cost program is perfect for the classroom, after school programs and at home engagement. Could a "moonshot" effort draw a million more girls and young women into STEM fields? That's the intent of the new initiative that will embed STEM learning opportunities into out-of-school programs over the next five years which includes technical assistance, educational resources, access to Intel's “She Will Connect” partners and mentorship from STEM experts, including Intel employee volunteers.


Imagination Station

Imagination Station offers virtual workshops: More information can be found at Tinkering Workshops. Also offering in-house workshops again with different workshops every weekday at 10:30am, 1pm, and 4pm. Workshop topics include Super Slime Lab, FrankenPlush, Sew-n-Stuff, and Wiggly, Wriggly Worms (Make Your Own Worm Composter). More information can be found at Think Tank Workshops.


Grow Next Gen E-courses

Topics include: 

  • Making bioenergy from biomass
  • What do you know about GMOs?Water quality
  • Soybeans 101
  • Soy and world hunger
  • Today's agriculture
  • Global agricultural trade
  • Food science and technology
  • Food science and high-oleic oil
  • Bioproducts
  • Aquaculture

These courses include information about the science, issues, and careers related to these subjects. Pre- and post-tests allow easy assessment of students' learning. Check them out!


#STEMpowersOhio Workshop Series

The Ohio STEM Learning Network (OSLN) and The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology offer teachers a new three part workshop series to help bring the #STEMpowersOhio Design & Entrepreneurship Challenge to classrooms. This virtual series is geared for 6th – 12th grade teachers and will be offered free of charge.

Session 1: Design Thinking 101
Experts from the the PAST Foundation will get you started with an overview on design thinking to frame the #STEMpowersOhio Challenge.
Dec. 1, 2020 • 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Session 2: All About Energy
The Works will help you incorporate energy concepts and brainstorm ways to hook students on the energy topic.
Dec. 8, 2020 • 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Session 3: Partners and Projects
OSLN will convene a panel of energy innovators and detail how to bring local partners into the design challenge at your school.
Dec. 15, 2020 • 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Register here to participate in this series:


NWO STEM Activity

Moon Rocks

What You Need

  • 4 cups baking soda
  • 1/4 cup water
  • glitter
  • food coloring
  • vinegar

What To Do

Create moon rocks and explore chemical reactions and draw conclusions about the moon itself.

  1. In a bowl, mix together the baking soda and glitter. Then add food coloring and water.
  2. Using your hands, form "rocks" out of the mixture, place on a baking sheet or plate and let sit overnight.
  3. The next day, have each family member grab a rock. Try gently poking your rock to create craters.
  4. Using a spoon or pipette, drop some vinegar onto the moon rocks and see what happens to the rock.

What happened to your moon rock after it had been touched? What might this tell us about the moon?

Astronauts brought back moon rocks from their trip to space. How have they been preserved? Research moon rocks and see!

Updated: 04/06/2021 11:50AM