National Geographic: Virtual Explorer Trivia Night

Thursday, August 20 | Free with registration

In less than a month, our Virtual Explorer Trivia Night returns and we have an exciting addition to announce: Asha de Vos! Asha is a National Geographic Explorer and a Sri Lankan marine biologist whose work seeks to discover how we coexist with blue whales and the rest of Earth’s species. You’ll also be competing against acclaimed National Geographic Explorer and underwater photographer Brian Skerry.

Join us for 60-minutes of trivia fun and prove your geo-smarts on Thursday, August 20. Play as a solo competitor or team up with family and friends to see if you’re smarter than a National Geographic Explorer. This event is free, but registration is required to participate.

Travel the World Without Leaving Home

Summer may look a little different this year, but you can still feel like you’re traveling the world when you watch live talks from National Geographic Explorers at home. Watch marine scientist Enric Sala share his adventures from the Galápagos Islands, explore the depths of our ocean with ocean engineer Grace Young, join photographer Paul Nicklen on an expedition to Antarctica’s remote wilderness, and much more.

STEM Professionals Panel: learn, engage, and explore four STEM career pathways

Get ready STEM Club, because we have four guest professionals coming to join us for some lively discussion on their STEM careers, life experiences, and tips when considering working towards a STEM Career. Save the date: Thursday, 21 May 2020 @ 4:00 P.M. (Zoom meeting details are found in our Elementary STEM Club’s Google Classroom.) Our panel includes the following:

WILLIAM MILLER-LITTLE is a M.D. Ph.D. Medical Candidate & Researcher at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Department of Pathology/Immunology actively works in a research laboratory.

MELISSA SMITH is a Phlebotomist & Clinical Lab Supervisor Technician at OSU Medical Center, Outpatient Care East Lab in Columbus, OH (and STEM Club mom.) 

KARINA HANKENFOF is a Product Engineer & Lab Technician, specialized in materials and mechanical systems with Cincinnati Testing Labs in Cincinnati, OH (and Teays Valley alumni.)

CLAY BURGETT is a Chemist & Information Technology Manager at the American Chemical Society for the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), a division of the American Chemical Society in Columbus, Ohio.

Educational Apps You Can Take Outside and a Family Virtual Tour of George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate!

By: Meghan Thoreau

A girl uses a plant identifier app on her mobile phone to take a picture of a plant. Credit: © Bill Shribman Link: https://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_images.jsp?cntn_id=132237&org=NSF 

Identification Apps: go outside, learn, & post

Plant identification apps helps you instantly identify plants! Picture This is accurate, fast, and offers rich learning content! In addition to plant description and plant care tips, you’ll learn about beautiful plants around the world from the plant community on the App. (Picture This is available in both the Apple Store and Google Play, links are attached below.)

Screenshot image: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/picturethis-plant-identifier/id1252497129

In the FREE version, it’s simple to take a photo, find the matching plant, and read through the description to learn more information. (We noticed after initially downloading the App and opening it that a Subscription Ad appears to trick you. Simply click the X on the top right of the screen and continue onward to the Picture this App’s landing page.) We think you’ll get a lot out of the free version of the app, but it limits how many plants a user can identify without upgrading. (We experimented with the App at home and still haven’t hit our limit after taking a couple of dozen pictures that identified our garden veggies, house plants, herb box, and random flowers and bushes planted in the yard.) For the club’s challenge and more, we feel the free version offers a lot of opportunities to learn and engage with, especially outside.

CLUB’S OUTDOOR CHALLENGE: bundle up in your warm spring gear, maybe an umbrella, and go outside exploring with the mobile App, take several pictures of plants in your yard, neighborhood, or better yet go on a hike. Read through all the information provided about the plants, flowers, bushes, or trees you have taken pictures of. When you get home, go through your collection of pictures and find your favorite to post to Google Classroom Stream for your classmates to read and comment on.

YOUR POST SHOULD INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION: 1) Picture of plant, 2) known name/botanical name, 3) a sentence summary (not a direct copy) of the plant description, 4) where the plant got its name, 5) if it has any symbolism, 6) list its characteristics, 7) list it’s the scientific name, 8) it’s planting conditions, 9) a sentence summary of any care guidance, and finally, 10) one thing you find interesting about this plant.
BONUS POINTS if you sketch the plant and include that in your post!


Heads Up: Field Guide to Clouds Mobile App

Screenshot image: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/field-guide-to-clouds/id1121399187?ls=1

The UCAR Center for Science Education’s Field Guide to Clouds is a portable guidebook to identifying clouds. We want you to learn about the different clouds in the sky, including how they form, how they get their names, and what they can tell you about the weather. This assignment will test your cloud knowledge with quizzes and share photos of interesting clouds you find on social media but for us Google Classroom Stream postings. (Field Guide to Clouds is available in both the Apple Store and Google Play, links are attached below.)

CLUB’S OUTDOOR CHALLENGE: go outside and study the clouds. Use the app to identify cloud types and associated weather patterns. Gather your observation notes and cloud pictures and login to Google Classroom Stream: 1) upload a cloud picture you took, 2) name the cloud type, 3) describe in writing how these clouds look, 4) describe what they are made of, and 5) tell us about the weather that is associated with this cloud type.


Virtual Family Field Trip to George Washington’s Mount Vernon

The Mansion at George Washington’s Mount Vernon is one of the most iconic 18th-century homes in America. The building began as a one and one-half story house built in 1734 by George Washington’s father, Augustine Washington, and received its well-known name from his half-brother Lawrence Washington. George Washington began running Mount Vernon in 1754, and over the next 45 years slowly enlarged the dwelling to create the 21-room residence we see today. Washington oversaw each renovation, advising on design, construction, and decoration, despite being away much of the time. Conscious that the world was watching, Washington selected architectural features that expressed his growing status as a Virginia gentleman and ultimately as the leader of a new nation.

Screenshot image: https://virtualtour.mountvernon.org/

CLUB’S FAMILY ACTIVITY: visit the main website and read about George Washington’s Estate, then go on a virtual tour, walking through each room and learning the history and the story behind the furniture, decorations, and objects on display. Please post in Google Classroom Stream one thing you learned that was interested in the tour.

Club Highlights from 2018-2019

By: Meghan Thoreau, OSU Extension

LED Display Circuit Board Challenge

Elementary STEM Club just started its third year of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) programming, engaging approximately a hundred 4th and 5th graders in after school hands-on STEM challenges and career exploration throughout the academic school year. Judy Walley, Teays Valley High School Chemistry Teacher, and Meghan Thoreau, OSU Extension Educator, co-teach the program, which also involves over two dozen high school mentor students. The mentors assist with club activities while themselves gaining both soft and technical skills, leadership, community service, and college/career exploration opportunities.

Physics and Center of Gravity Challenges

STEM education programs can have a positive impact on students’ attitudes towards STEM disciplines, 21st century skills, and a greater interest in STEM careers. Educators throughout Pickaway County have been busy in supporting a number of problem-based learning initiatives, business-teacher partnerships, and STEM teaching initiatives.

Foldscope, Origami Microscope Biology Challenge

Elementary STEM Club is one of those local initiatives that employs hands-on learning through a multidisciplinary approach into many subjects and career paths. The program challenges its youth in chemistry, astronomy, biology, coding, drone technology, connected toys, wearable tech, strategic mind games, escape classrooms, electric circuits, physics, renewable energy, beekeeping, aerospace, flight simulations, aviation, fostering a community service mindset, and more.

Strategic Mind Games and Bee Science Challenges

We invite specialists from the community to teach, share, and engage with the students, such as the Scioto Valley Beekeeping Association, OSU Professors, an Extension Energy Specialist, an OSU Health Dietitian, and the Civil Air Patrol to name a few. Next year we’re hoping to bring some virtual reality, 360 photography, and video production challenges to our students. If you’re interested in sharing a skillset, a technology, a career path, or a meaningful life experience to some amazing and eager-minded students, please email, thoreau.1@osu.edu or jwalley@tvsd.us.

We’d like to also thank everyone who has been involved in the program over the last two years. It’s been a pleasure and a plunge into the wild side of STEM education, youth workforce development, and promoting a mindset of lifelong learning – all critical to today’s workforce.

Civil Air Patrol and Aerospace Careers

Civil Air Patrol

We ended last year with a great program partnering with Civil Air Patrol (CAP). Civilian volunteers – with a passion for flight, science, and engineering – led the program highlighting STEM careers in aviation, space, cyber security, emergency services, and the military. The whole organization is powered by a team of dedicated civilian volunteers with a passion for aviation and STEM education. If you know of a student, 12-years and up, that has in interest in aviation, would like a chance to fly a plane, work towards their pilot license, attend leadership encampments, career academies, and more, visit http://www.ohwg.cap.gov/.

Aerospace Officer Donna Herald, Lieutenant Casey Green, and Lieutenant Colonel David Dlugiewicz volunteered their time and aviation skills to lead our youth into exploring the history of the Civil Air Patrol, emphasize the value of civic engagement, and underscore the growing deficient of pilots and aerospace specialist in the workforce.

Physics Concepts, Bernoulli Principle on Air Pressure Differential Theory Challenges

The CAP lessons built on previous STEM Club programming that taught physic concepts, the law of gravity, and re-instilled aircraft principal axes, such as the friction, center of gravity, and coding parrot drones challenges. Lieutenant Colonel Dlugiewicz taught the discussed Bernoulli Principle (an air pressure differential theory) and Sir Isaac Newton and the laws of motion and lift. The students engaged in a hands-on activity such as filling an air bag with one breath, leaving a gap between their mouth and the bag to allow a vacuum to form, demonstrating Bernoulli’s principle.

Part of a Airplane and Axis Challenges

Lieutenant Casey Green discussed the parts of an airplane focusing on the components that control an aircraft’s moment and direction. The students broke into groups and rotated between two stations. The first engaged the students in building paper airplane that they cut strategic slits into. The students experimented by folding different components of their airplanes to change and control the overall direction of their paper airplanes. The second station engaged the students in two different sets of CAP flight simulators to further the students’ understandings of the aviation principles taught in the program. The flight simulators provided a semi authentic experience that helps young pilots learn to fly.

Flight Simulator Challenges

Our community has some amazing young minds that are thinking and embrace the many dynamic career pathways of a STEMist. Please get involved and support more STEM programming in your community, it matters.

 

Buzzing Around In STEM


By: Emma Rico, Teays Valley High School STEM Club Mentor

Photo: Emma Rico leads the honey sampling station

Over the past year, I have been fortunate enough to be able to be apart of the STEM Club mentoring program at Teays Valley Elementary School Buildings. The program engages young minds in STEM challenges while stressing the importance of the science fields and problem solving skills. I watched the students eyes sparkle with curiosity and saw each grow as a student and an individual. However, when I’ve assisted with teaching the students, I also learned a couple extra things. I not only learned things in relation to the science topic that day (which I found very interesting), but I also learned more about myself. There is something about nurturing the minds of others that allows me to see myself more clearly and to impact others. The STEM mentoring program has allowed me to stretch my mind and the minds of others.

Photo taken by Emma Rico, bee keeper Louise Adkins leads discussion on bee anatomy.

This April the elementary students learned about the community, function, and purpose of one of the oldest creatures on earth: bees. With the help of OSU Extension, the Scioto Valley Beekeepers Association, Teays Valley School District, and a senior high school student, Erin Robinski, we have been able to teach the importance of bees and what we can do to help them survive in today’s changing environment.

Video produced by Emma Rico

We started off with a brief introduction by Tina Bobeck on the importance of bees being pollinators and the other variety of pollinators that exists, such as hummingbirds and bats, but also by monkeys, marsupials, lemurs, bears, rabbits, deer, rodents, lizards, and other animals. We learned surprising facts such that there are over five-hundred different types of bees that live in Ohio alone. The students also discovered some medical benefits from honeybee products, such as honey, bee pollen, propolis, Royal jelly, beeswax, and bee venom, have all long been used in traditional medicine.

Photo by Emma Rico, Louise Adkins showing off honeybee products to students.

Erin Robinski provided a short presentation to the students on what flowers to plant to help the bees in our area. The program was fortunate to have the president of the Scioto Valley Beekeepers, Louise Adkins, talk to the students about the anatomy of the bee and what makes them unique. The students learned that bees have five eyes, communicate with their antennas, can see ultra light, and do not have lungs. (Instead, bees draw in oxygen through holes in their bodies known as spiracles and pump the oxygen through a system of increasingly tiny tubes that deliver oxygen directly to tissues and muscles!) The students were eager to learn more during this portion and tended to ask more questions then the program allotted for, but we appreciated the inquiring minds.

Photo taken by Emma Rico, Observation Hive built by bee keeper Tom Zwayer.

We also had the Vice President of the Scioto Valley Beekeepers, Tom Zwayer, talk to the students about the role of a beekeeper and how the hive functions. Zwayer share the bee hive history to the students. In the 1800s Lorenzo Langstroth, an American apiarist, clergyman, and teacher created the modern day beehive used today. Langstroth is considered the “father of American beekeeping (and lived most in life here in Ohio.) The students also learned how bees are very protective of their home and do not like outsiders. They were shown how beekeepers can add an accessory to a hive’s entry point to confuse outside insects and bees by changing the “front door” access point. Beekeepers also set internal traps in the hive to catch unwanted mites and beetles that can harm the hive and bees. The students were able to try on the beekeeper suits, look at some real bees in the observation hive, try honey, and ask more questions of our local bee experts. They even came up with questions that I had not even thought of!

Photo by Meghan Thoreau, students trying on beekeeper suits, O-H-I-O.

I think the bee program was one of my favorite STEM themes, because the students were able to learn about how small creatures keep our world alive. In addition, the students learned how they can help bees through planting local pollinators as well as growing food and treating for pests more sustainably. It doesn’t take much to make a big differences for bees. I feel honored to be able to influence young students in exploring STEM fields. It is an opportunity that I wish I could have been involved in more during high school. This program has allowed me to be more involved in the community, help ignite the flame of curiosity, and learn more about how the world around me works. It is one of the things that I will miss after graduation, but I hope that these young STEM students will grow and make real transformative impacts to come in our future!

Foldscope the “Origami Microscope” Build and Investigation Biology Lab

By: Meghan Thoreau, OSU Extension Educator

Photo taken by: Meghan Thoreau

A Foldscope is the ultra-affordable, paper microscope. It was designed to be extremely portable, durable, and to give optical quality similar to conventional research microscopes (magnification of 140X and 2-micron resolution). The Foldscope brings hands-on microscopy to new places and is especially great for our young STEMist to learn and explore with.

Students learned the basic components of a microscope, built their origami microscopes (as a take home STEM project), and engaged in a hands-on biology investigation lab.

Image source: STEM Club Foldscope Presentation, go.osu.edu/foldscope

Students also engaged in a club discussion on different research methods used in science.

QUANTITATIVE DATA collection which is in a numerical form which can be put into categories, or in rank order, or measured in units of measurement. This type of data can be used to construct graphs and tables of raw data.

VS

QUALITATIVE DATA collection which is empirical, observations, surveys, or interviews. This type of data provides insights into the problem(s), helps to develop ideas, or hypothesis for potential quantitative research. Used to uncover trends and dive deeper into the problem.

The Foldscope is a learning product that can be self assembled and includes art through hands-on origami, photography, and drawing what is observed. Foldscope is used in classrooms in over 130 countries worldwide. You can skim through the presentation by visiting go.osu.edu/foldscope.