Virtual Learning & Digital Communities Require Digital Citizenship & Academic Conversation

By: Meghan Thoreau, OSU Extension Educator, Community Development & STEM, Pickaway County

Live clip from our first STEM Club Meeting, Meghan Thoreau, OSU Extension Educator introduces the basics to Virtual Club Etiquette and the rules club members promise to follow. Full presentation link: go.osu.edu/videomeeting_digitalcitizenry

We covered the basics for our club members to follow while in a virtual meeting. If any members missed the meeting a recording link has been added to our Schoology classroom materials. The general topics discussed: Digital Citizen, Academic Conversation, Future of Learning, Cultural Awareness, Video Meeting Etiquette, and Schoology classroom tour. Click here to access the unit’s presentation.

The Rise of Virtual Learning

The rise in virtual learning requires extra effort from today’s students. Students have to develop added knowledge and skills to effectively use the internet and other digital technologies, especially in order to participate responsibly in social and online civic activities and platforms. Digital Citizenship is the quality of habits, actions, and consumption patterns that impact the ecology of digital content and communities. Students have to recognize that their citizenry now extends to their quality of digital engagement.

Image source: https://elearninginfographics.com/citizenship-digital-age-infographic/

Academic Conversation

Not only are there behavioral and decision-making skills required online, but there are core discussion skills that students can start practicing to develop reasoning skills of understanding content and different perspectives. Academic conversations are critical to language and content development. Some basic prompts shared with the club members are below:

Image source:http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/apr09/vol66/num07/How-to-Start-Academic-Conversations.aspx

We discussed the Future of Learning and how learning systems are shifting and redefining themselves, and although ‘change is a constant,’ the rate of change schools have been going through has been escalated because of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Cultural Awareness Skillset

Being aware of the many different cultures around you and afar is essential to living in a community, attending school, going to college, and being effective in your workplace – whether that be in-person or virtual. Being culturally aware is the backbone of communication and the foundation of respect. It is essential to grow as a person and be able to interact in a broader range of social groups. Being aware of cultural diversity can build confidence in a person and their interactions with others. Cultural intelligence is a 21st Century Skillset and essential to function in today’s diverse workforce!

Image source: https://www.slideshare.net/carol_sim/cultural-awareness-32849515

Video Conferencing Etiquette

We also covered some basic tips on how best to engage, communicate, and listen in virtual meetings. These tips apply in the virtual classroom as well as their future virtual workspace.

Image source: unit presentation slide by Meghan Thoreau.

  • Ensure your technology works correctly – don’t delay meetings, run a few tests prior to a virtual meeting.
  • Be on time.
  • Mute yourself when not speaking – mics pick up minor noises, like coughs, sneezes, dog barks, or typing. It’s distracting.
  • Wear school-appropriate clothing.

    A good example of school appropriate clothing.

  • Frame the camera correctly – sit eye-level to the lens and try to position yourself so that it shows your midsection and up.
  • Have the right lighting – ensure enough lighting is in the room so the video isn’t grainy.
  • Look into the camera – ensure the camera lens is the equivalent of looking into a person’s eyes.

Make sure the lighting is in front of your face and the computer is at the right level to make eye contact with its camera.

  • Pay attention.
  • Have a clean, simple, and organized background or upload an appropriate virtual backdrop.
Schoology Course Walk-thru 

We explored the Schoology course and how it organizes its resources, materials, and STEM Challenges. The materials landing page was designed to have quick links to the Zoom meeting link and club resources.

Virtual STEM Club November Kick-off: video conferencing etiquette, Schoology, bug benefits, and career paths within Entomology!

By: Meghan Thoreau, OSU Extension Educator, Community Development & STEM, Pickaway County

We have a full line up for the month of November. We’re starting with an important first club meeting, Saturday, November 7, 2020 @ 10:00 a.m. where club members and parents get to meet virtually for the first time and say hello. STEM teachers will share the club’s expectations, resource blog site, video conferencing etiquette, and provide a virtual walk-thru of the Schoology Club site.

(Students and parents please note that all Zoom meeting details can be found in Schoology’s Virtual STEM Club class! If you have any questions or issues finding the announcement please email STEM teachers.)


The following two Saturday’s will focus on bugs and learning about the benefits insects perform and provide vital functions within our ecosystems. For example, bugs provide foods for many birds, mammals, and fishes on which fishing and hunting depends. They also decompose dead materials, and reintroduce nutrients into the soil. On Saturday, November 14, 2020 @ 10:00 a.m. Jeni Ruisch, Director of Outreach and Academic Programming, Department of Entomology at The Ohio State University will be joining our club session. Jeni curates a collection of live critters for outreach activities on or near The OSU campus. During COVID-19, she is personally housing the Columbus BugZoo & providing educational outreach programs via Zoom.

She Majored in Psychology, minored in English, Pop Culture Studies, and Neuroscience. Her education focus is on human and non-human animal cognition and behavior, and professional background in husbandry. She has additional education in writing and publishing, with 10-years of professional writing experience, including three years as the editor of a magazine. Hobbies are pretty much like her job, diverse and pet friendly. She has lots of bug pets, stays busy caring and maintaining their enclosures, and also trains dogs. Jeni’s career is quirky, but throughly rewarding. Below are some photos of Jeni with some bugs at the Cincinnati Zoo. (The giant stick bug is over a foot long!)

During our Club meeting we’ll learn more about iNaturalist, an online social network of naturalists, citizen scientists, and biologists built on the concept of mapping and sharing observations of biodiversity across the globe. iNaturalist may be accessed via its website or from its mobile applications.

If you can’t wait still we meet, enjoy this Life of Insects educational video by environmental steward, David Attenborough, with some arthropods!


On Saturday, November 21, 2020 @ 10:00 a.m. we’ll engage in more bug challenges and learn about Entomologist Careers and why entomologists are so important?

2020-21 Virtual Elementary STEM Club Registration is CLOSED!

OSU Extension, Pickaway County and Teays Valley School District have teamed up to offer the district’s fourth annual elementary-wide STEM Club. We’ve adjusted our delivery method to virtual format due to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. That said, our program will remain interactive and focused on exploring STEM fields and careers. (Opportunity now available to 4th and 5th grade only!)

We are developing take-home project kits and a technology lending program to allow students a more interactive experience at home. We’ll meet virtually approximately 1-2 Saturdays per month – exact dates and times TBA and based on guest speakers and participant availability. Virtual sessions will be recorded and available to club members only for student security. Register now closed.

Take-home project kits and a technology lending program will be used to engage students in hands-on challenges with virtual instruction. Photo source: https://www.azscience.org/educators/outreach/stem-clubs/

Registration Instructions

If accepted, a $20 fee for the year can be turned in at the first STEM Club meeting or mailed to OSU Extension, Pickaway County, P.O. Box 9, Circleville, OH 43113. (Please make checks out to OSU Extension, Pickaway County).

We will be updating our STEM Club blog regularly, u.osu.edu/tvstemclub/ with club highlights, activity summaries, resources, and club calendar for virtual meet-ups.

Our Goal

The goal of the program is to promote student interest and engagement in STEM. Students who may enjoy STEM club are those who enjoy being challenged and who are interested in:

  • the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math)
  • the process of learning, asking questions, and problem-solving
  • helping people and making a difference in the world

Email correspondence and the STEM Club Blog, u.osu.edu/tvstemclub/, will be the primary communication channels. Program educators contacts: Judy Walley, TV High School Chemistry Teacher, jwalley@tvsd.us and Meghan Thoreau, Community Development & STEM Extension Educator, thoreau.1@osu.edu.

Judy Walley and OSU Professor Betty Lise Anderson engaging use in electronics and sound science from last years club.

COSI Science Festival’s Meet A Scientist Library Youth Program

STEM Club students, please take advantage of this free virtual library youth program made possible through a community collaboration between COSI, DuPont (Circleville), Pickaway County Library, and OSU Extension. Pre-register now!

COSI Science Festival’s Meet A Scientist Youth Program, Saturday, May 9, 2020, 11:00 AM – Peggy Scott, a Dupont polymer scientist, and Christy Yu, a Dupont quality engineer, share their personal experiences and passion for STEM careers to youth and their families. Learn about polymer chemistry, science careers, and engage in a virtual polymer-scavenger hunt from the comfort of your home. Pre-registration is required for this free educational event, go to, go.osu.edu/polymeryouthprogram. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information and passcode to join the meeting. We’ll also send a reminder email prior to the event. #COSISciFest

For more information please email, thoreau.1@osu.edu. Here is the recording of the Polymer Scientist program! 

Bowling Green State University Scholar Shares Her Research Experience

By: Allison Cheek of Bowling Green State University, Candidate of Math and Science Education

Research Experience

This past fall, I was an incoming college freshman and I was told I would be participating in a research group. As a scholar of Bowling Green State University’s Science and Math in ACTION Program, I was allowed to participate in a research group. Research is part of our first-year requirements in the program. I thought that was very intimidating, having to conduct research with a team, as well as moving to a college campus and beginning college classes for the first time. Reflecting over this past year, I could not have been more wrong about being a part of a research group! Being on a research team has been an enlightening and satisfying experience. 

Illustration: an urban heat island. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech, https://climatekids.nasa.gov/heat-islands/

Research Focus: Urban Heat Island

I joined a research group that focused on finding the hottest and coolest places on Bowling Green State University’s campus. Bowling Green is part of an urban heat island. An urban heat island occurs when the temperature is higher in a city than the surrounding rural areas because there are so many man-made structures in one place, such as asphalt parking lots, buildings, concrete structures, and cars. 

Camera Technology

My group and I wanted to find the hottest places on campus and find ways to cool the temperature on campus. We collected data each week at twelve locations throughout campus. Five locations were natural, such as; ponds, grass, and green roofs. Seven locations were man-made, such as roofs and asphalt parking lots. At each location, we recorded the air temperature and surface temperature by using infrared thermometers, as well as FLIR thermal cameras

FLIR T540 Professional Thermal Camera, photo credit: https://www.flir.com/

Roofing Systems

After collecting data for eight weeks, we concluded that the parking lots and roofs on campus had the hottest temperatures. After extensive research, we found that solutions to lower the temperatures on Bowling Green’s campus are to plant trees and vegetation, as well as implement green roofs and stone roofs. 

Green and stone roof systems diagrams, credits: http://www.coninnco.com/building-envelope/dow-building-solutions/inverted-roof-systems, http://godfreyroofing.com/commercial/education/roofing-articles/introduction-to-green-roofing/

Solutions

Using our conclusive solutions, we wrote a Green Fund Grant Proposal to BGSU to implement stone roofs to coat the roof of a dorm with no air conditioning, to cool temperatures. 

 

Graph 1: Natural vs. Man-made Surface Temperature and Air Temperatures created by Allison Cheek and an aerial image of McDonald Hall’s proposed roof site, at Bowling Green State University.

Seek Out Researching Opportunities

Being part of this research team was extremely rewarding for me. We were able to collect data, collaborate ideas, and attempt to implement a solution to cooling BGSU’s campus. I have seen the scientific method come to life with the process of research. Being able to participate in research at a university has been a wonderful experience and I would highly recommend participating in exploration if given the opportunity. This experience has helped me apply my scientific knowledge and make a difference by improving Bowling Green’s campus.

I am grateful to the ACTION Program and to my research advisor, Dr. Jodi Haney, for making this opportunity possible!

Photo: Left Allison Cheek, right Alyson Blunk, research students at BGSU.

 

Video Conferencing Etiquette, Summary Writing Challenge, and Big Bang AR App!

By: Meghan Thoreau, OSU Extension Educator

Virtual STEM Club: video conferencing in a nutshell Prezi, go.osu.edu/videomeetings.

A significant part of the world population is currently on lock-down in an attempt to contain the coronavirus pandemic. People are turning to technology to go to school, to work, to communicate and stay in touch with their classmates, colleagues, friends, and family.

We held our first virtual STEM Club session last Friday through Zoom! It was great to see everyone’s faces, check-in, and teach video conferencing skills and virtual meeting etiquette; click here to review our presentation again with your child.

Young STEMist learning video conferencing skills.

VIDEO CONFERENCING ETIQUETTE (skill building)

Students learned some quick Dos and Don’ts in participating in virtual meetings:

  • Ensure your technology is working
  • Be on time
  • Mute yourself when not speaking
  • Wear school-appropriate clothing
  • Sit eye-level to camera’s lens, framing yourself from the midsection up
  • Ensuring the right lighting
  • Looking into the camera, giving audience eye-contact
  • Pay attention
  • Have a clean, simple, organized background, or upload a virtual backdrop

SUMMARY WRITING CHALLENGE

Summary writing isn’t simple. It’s a difficult academic skill. As with any new skill, especially writing skills, students need to be explicitly taught and practice. The students went through some basic definitions and discussed why summary writing is important because it improves reading skills as you pick out the main ideas of reading; it also helps with vocabulary skills where you paraphrase a reading, altering the vocabulary and grammar as you do so.

A summary is a long text distilled to its essentials. It summarizes the key points worth noting, without writing examples and lengthy details. The sentence structure and vocabulary has been changed, but the main ideas remain. Critical thinking skills are improved as you decide on the main ideas of the reading to include in the summary. Summary writing also improves editing skills as you draft and edit the summary. It’s helpful to work with peers throughout the writing and revision process – cooperative learning.

Screenshot of Time for Kids reading resource: https://www.timeforkids.com/.

The students were asked to visit, Time for Kids, and read two short expository readings, select one article to write a summary on. (Time for Kids has currently opened it’s a digital library for free!) It’s important to underline or take notes of the main ideas as students read. More details to the assignment and submitting are found in your student’s Google Classroom, logging in with their student Teays Valley email address. If you experience any issues with Google Classroom, contact, Meghan, thoreau.1@osu.edu.

BIG BANG AR APP

The students learned about astronomy, elements, atoms, and virtual reality technology in previous club programs. We thought this free App engages many of the lessons learned in a fun interactive way to learn about the story of our universe. The Big Bang AR App is available on both the Google Play and Apple stores.

This is an immersive learning App designed by Tilda Swinton and CERN scientists to take people on an “epic interactive journey through the birth and evolution of the universe” – in mixed reality and augmented reality. It takes students “back 13.8 billion years and discovers how space, time, and the visible universe came to be.” Students can see the universe form in the palm of their hand and virtually “witness the formation of the very first stars, our solar system, and the planet we call home.” This lesson allows students to learn about the microscopic building blocks that make up everything – and everyone – we know, and find out if we are made of stars. The experience ends with the student able to take a #starselfie and share it with your friends and post it in Google Classroom!

Here are a few of the student #starselfie shares:

STEM Stars!

Please stay tuned while we continue to plan and line up guest speakers for our future Virtual STEM Club programs.

Quotes above from the Apple store description: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/big-bang-ar/id1453396628.

 

Zoom Meeting Reminder

20 Online Learning Resources for Kids - Chicago Parent

STEMist – our 1st Virtual Elementary STEM Club is scheduled for Friday, 3 April 2020 at 3 PM. All students were invited to our virtual class through Google Classroom, using student school emails. All Zoom details, meeting links, meeting ID, tech resources, homework, etc. can be found on our class within Google Classroom. We provided some helpful video assignments for the students/parents to watch prior to the virtual club to help better understand the technology that we will be using before jumping into our Zoom meeting. There is also a pre-meeting quiz to make sure each student knows how to log into a Zoom meeting.

We are going to keep the first session simple and make sure everyone understands the technology, Zoom features, Google Classroom, and video conference etiquette. This is a test for us to see if our bandwidth can handle the participant number, etc.

If there are any parents or students with questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to email educators or call/text Meghan directly 607-351-5896.

Exploring Virtual STEM Club Sessions

Image result for virtual teaching through Zoom

Dear STEM Parents,

We, Judy and Meghan, have been exploring and video conferencing about how we could offer Virtual Elementary STEM Club Sessions for your child during the COVID-19 disruption. We developed a short survey that will help us assess what devices your student has available and if there is an internet or a mobile device with Wifi. We understand that online programs have an equity issue, but this problem will take many solutions to overcome, and this may be one of many. Please try to submit the survey by the end of day Friday, 27 March 2020. We’d like to start working on this asap: https://airtable.com/shrKY3ZocUI6oXhcy (Please only fill out the survey once! This is only for students already registered for the STEM Club Program.) We have also emailed this message to parents to cover our bases!)

We’d also like to include a few high school students in this program to help them earn their STEM Certificate and get more experience while sharing some tech skills as we plan and deliver our program. And remember to keep visiting our STEM Blog as we will be posting more stories in the coming weeks.

Remember to stay healthy, keep learning, enjoy the chaos of these close family times, and practice social distancing!

Image result for social distancing

Image source above: What is social distancing and how should you do it? [Getty Images]

Top header image source: Shutterstock / Rawpixel.com

Engineering a Catapult and Creative Writing Challenge

By: Meghan Thoreau, OSU Extension Educator

This September Teays Valley elementary students learned about catapults and the engineering design process which involves problem solving and building solutions through teamwork, designing, prototyping, testing, rebuilding, and continuing to improve and reevaluate their design solutions.

Students learned the basic catapult design concepts and components. They learned about force, accuracy, precision, and angels – and made engineering connections – engineers apply science, writing, and math concepts early into the design process and prototyping before they’re ready to build final products to meet their clients’ needs.

https://www.gettingsmart.com/2017/10/integrating-edp-and-cbl-in-stem/

They also learned how force affects the motion of a projectile, the difference between accuracy and precision, as well as learned the optimum angle for launching a projectile the farthest distance, being at 45 degrees.https://wafflesonwednesday.com/accuracy-vs-precision/

Catapults may be an old technology, but engineers still apply many design concepts into modern applications that need to store potential energy to propel a payload. Examples such as clay pigeon shooting or more complex in aircraft catapult take off for short runways.

Our catapult project was a two-part challenge: 1) apply the engineering design process to building a catapult, and 2) use the catapults in a creative writing challenge. The students worked in groups moving through target stations.

They used their catapults to hit a dynamic target that gave them points, letters, words, and images. The students had to add up their points, look up new vocabulary with the acquired letters, add the words and phrases collected, and finally handwrite a group creative writing narrative that they read out loud to their peers.

Skills Applied:

  • Engineering concepts
  • Geometry/Angles
  • Visual Motor
  • Bimanual
  • Math/Addition
  • Alphabetization
  • Handwriting
  • Creative Thinking/Storytelling
  • Team Communication
  • Oral Presentation

*Pictures from Teays Valley Elementary Students registered for 2019-2020 STEM Club Program.

 

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.