October 2021

K-16 STEM in the NEWS

NWO hosted first-ever BioBlitz BG!

The Northwest Ohio Center of Excellence in STEM Education (NWO) in the College of Education and Human Development (EDHD) at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in partnership with the Toledo Zoo held the first-ever “BioBlitz BG” event on a natural habitat prairie for local fifth graders in Bowling Green city schools.
“BioBlitz BG” was held on September 29 at Wintergarden Park and taught participants how to observe nature and be active citizen scientists, in an effort to help preserve local natural habitats.
Dr. Jodi Haney, Professor Emeritus of Science and Environmental Education at BGSU and GLOBE Master Trainer remarked, “We were so impressed with the participation and engagement witnessed among ALL participants, and we found the event to be remarkable! Our goals for the event were simple: ENGAGE•LEARN•ACT! We wanted to engage students in exploration and investigation in nature in order to learn 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, we wanted to inspire students to take action to help protect and preserve both local prairies and planet Earth.”
Mitch Magdich, Education Curator from the Toledo Zoo and director of the zoo’s Project PRAIRIE (PRAiries that InvigoRate Inquiry LEarning) program, was similarly pleased with the outcome of the event. Along with the help from BGSU Early and Inclusive Childhood Education undergraduates, participating students were charged with the task to document as many living organisms as possible (both plants and animals) as they encountered in the Wintergarden Park prairie. The student-collected data was then uploaded to the iNaturalist platform, a learning application dedicated to citizen science and inquiry-based discoveries in nature that is useful for scientific data collection and conservation.
Mr. Magdich stated, “Using the iNaturalist app, we made 339 recorded observations for Wintergarden Park representing 126 species! 38 observations were classified “Research Grade” which means there is community consensus on a precise identification. Lots of plants were identified and a few spiders (Banded Argiope Spider!), insects (Asian Lady Beetles!), snails, and slugs were also observed. For the Project Prairie Bioblitz as a whole (other schools around the area also participated), there were 1,149 observations recorded representing 336 species. About 25% of all observations are “Research Grade”. Some of the more unusual observations include Red-backed Salamander, Five-Lined Skink, White-Footed Mouse, DeKay’s Brown Snake, Butler’s Garter Snake, and Banded Argiope Spider.
The enthusiastic fifth graders also cycled through two other citizen scientist activities during the BioBlitz. Dr. Haney facilitated the students’ observation of clouds and measurement of air, surface, and soil temperatures to compare prairie habitats as part of The GLOBE Program (Global Learning and Observation of the Environment). This data was uploaded to the GLOBE Program database and shared with scientists who use GLOBE data to better monitor the earth.
The students took soil, air, and surface temperature measurements to compare the prairie to nearby places like the trail and the woods.
Students also took cloud observations using the GLOBE Observer App in order to learn how different types of clouds have a different impact on the earth’s climate. This app allows any citizen to be a citizen scientist, making important observations used by NASA scientists.
Jenna Pollock, Education Program Manager at NWO, taught students how to build their own bee house at BioBlitz BG, to demonstrate how providing native bees with a home enhances pollination in natural habitats. Students built a native bee home using paper straws, recycled cardboard tubes, and metal cans. The bee homes will be a great addition to any backyard habitat. After assembling the Bee Home, students used a provided Prairie Bingo board to explore and make specific observations throughout the prairie.
Mrs. Pollock stated, “We want the students to learn that we need bees for more than just honey! During the activity, we discussed the need for bees on our earth and the role they play in the pollination of plants and crops, and why that is important to local farmers to be able to provide honey. Students could be heard chanting ‘We Need Bees’ through the activity!”
The event culminated with a gathering of all the participants at the park entrance with an enthusiastic cheer and thank you to the facilitators. The results and data collections were sent to the teachers for them to discuss and reflect on this information with their students to further deepen all learning.
Dr. Emilio Duran, Professor, and Director of NWO was excited to offer the first in-person event since 2019 and hopes the “BioBlitz” will grow each year and become an annual event. He stated, “STEM education and inquiry-based learning is as important as ever and engaging young students in this type of activity is part of our mission.”
“BioBlitz BG” was sponsored by NWO, the BGSU College of Education and Human Development, the Toledo Zoo, Bowling Green City Parks, and Lubrizol Corporation.

Community STEM in the NEWS


Area Schools Earn STEM Research Distinction

The Ohio Academy of Science selected 45 Ohio schools and 491 teachers to receive The Governor's Thomas Edison Awards for Excellence in STEM Education and Student Research for their accomplishments during the 2020-2021 school year. The schools along with their teachers from the area who earned the distinction are from Ottawa Hills Junior and Senior High school, Sylvania Northview High School (pictured above), and Perrysburg St. Rose Elementary School.

Each school received a special Governor's Award certificate, and each teacher received a complimentary membership to The Ohio Academy of Science. The Technology Division of the Ohio Development Services Agency funded the program.

The criteria for the Thomas Edison Award for Excellence are: (1) Conduct a local science fair with 12 or more students and have two or more of these students participate in the 2021 Virtual District Science Day OR Have 6 or more students participate in the 2021 Virtual District Science Day when no local has been conducted, (2) Students must participate in at least one more youth science opportunity beyond the classroom. The Ohio Academy of Science defines STEM education as both the mastery and integration of science technology, engineering, and mathematics for all PK-12 students. It incorporates scientific inquiry and technological design through student-focused, project-based curricula to develop skills of communication, teamwork/collaboration, creativity/innovation, critical thinking, and problem-solving.

For the complete list of teachers please see the Ohio Academy of Science website at: https://www.ohiosci.org/scholarship-opportunities/department-of-development/

What's Happening at NWO?

Northwest Ohio STEM Collaborative

The NWO STEM Collaborative aims to connect, share, learn and grow knowledgeable networking within the local STEM community, while providing high-quality STEM opportunities for K-12 students in Northwest Ohio. 

Upcoming Sessions:

  • Session 2 - December 9, 2021
  • Session 3 - February 10, 2022
  • Session 4 - April 7, 2022

Time: 3:45 pm - 4:45 pm
Location: Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West
2275 Collingwood Blvd. Toledo, Ohio 43620

Contact: Please contact Lori Bolone with any questions. lbolone@esclakeeriewest.org

Click here to register!

STEM Opportunities

BGSU Planetarium

Events and happenings through November 21 including “Spooky Space” on October 30; “My house has stars on November 6th, and Cosmic Colors and Cosmic Recipe!

For more information, please see: https://www.bgsu.edu/arts-and-sciences/physics-and-astronomy/bgsu-planetarium.html

Ohio STEM Learning Network

#STEMbuildsOhio challenge learning series has launched with updated portal!

This year’s #STEMbuildsOhio Design & Entrepreneurship Challenge asks students to consider how they can improve their school, community, or world by reimagining an existing physical space, system, product, or service so that it is more equitable, accessible, or efficient. Educators can sign up now to begin the challenge.

The design challenge web portal (https://designchallenge.osln.org/) contains new resources on the infrastructure topic, basics on design challenges, and all the details on upcoming events.

Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision challenge

The Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision competition challenges K-12 students to envision a future technology while engaging in Next Generation Science Standards. Inspire a lifelong love of STEM and discovery in an engaging, hands-on way! It’s not too late to register teams of students. The deadline for submissions is January 31. 

Download the free lesson plans for teachers and register online today!

We <3 Veterans Pin Design

The Army Educational Outreach Program, managed by Battelle, has launched the “We <3 Veterans Pin Design” challenge with Future Engineers. Students in fourth to eighth grade will use their 3D design skills to create a wearable pin that demonstrates their gratitude towards veterans. If chosen as one of the ten finalists, the pin will be printed and distributed to veterans who visit the National Veterans Memorial Museum in Columbus, Ohio! Students can complete this free, online challenge at home or in the classroom, in-person or virtually.

Check out the landing page for tools and resources to support the pin design process, so all can participate even if not a 3D design expert! All pin designs must be submitted by Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2021. The designs will then be reviewed by a panel of judges that includes U.S. service members and veterans.

2022 EngineerGirl Writing Contest Is Open!

The 2022 EngineerGirl Writing Contest is open! This year’s theme is “Sustainable Solutions: Engineering for our Future” and students are asked to write an informative essay about how engineering can help humanity meet one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. These goals identify 17 areas where urgent action is required on all levels – from international institutions to individual households – and the aim is to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people have equal opportunities to enjoy peace and prosperity. Take a look at the contest rules and regulations, then make sure essays are submitted by February 1, 2022!

GrowNext Gen Chickenology Workshop

How do environment, heredity, and genetics affect living organisms? Engage students with this STEM-based curriculum unit focusing on 8th grade Life Science standards.

Register now!

NWO STEM Activity

Ghost Rockets

This month's activity brought to you by Playdough to PLATO https://www.playdoughtoplato.com/20-halloween-science-experiments-kids/



  • Draw ghost faces on clear film canisters. Use a permanent marker to avoid smears.
  • Once the marker is dry add 1-3 spoons of corn starch to each film canister.
  • Fill the canisters roughly 1/3 of the way with warm water and stir until the corn starch is dissolved and the ingredients are combined.  
  • Take a piece of Alka seltzer and break it into 2-3 pieces.
  • Quickly drop the pieces into the canister, put the lid on, flip the rocket over, set it down, and step back!

Extend the Fun:

Further, explore science by adding varying amounts of ingredients.

  • What happens with more or less Alka seltzer? 
  • What about more or less corn starch? 

Updated: 10/15/2021 03:32PM