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.

Online Learning: Ask a Scientist at the Mars Base Camp Scientists Panel

Get a chance to listen to world-renowned space scientists behind innovative Mars research and the scientists who created the Mars Base Camp Challenge. If you missed this opportunity make some popcorn and click here to watch the recorded webinar now!

Meet the Scientists for the Thursday, October 1st, 7-8 PM Panel!

Dr. Juliane Gross is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Rutgers University. Her academic interests are focused on understanding the formation of history and geochemical evolution of differentiated celestial bodies and early Solar System processes. Currently, she is investigating the mineralogy, petrology, and geochemistry of extraterrestrial planetary samples using a variety of experimental and microanalytical techniques. Dr. Gross is also a NASA Early Career Fellow.

Dr. Shaunna Morrison is a Carnegie Research Scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Earth and Planets Laboratory, is co-director of the 4D Deep Time Data Driven Discovery Initiative and is a CheMin co-investigator on the NASA Mars Science Laboratory Mission. Her research centers around mineralogy, crystallography, planetary science, and data science applications therein. Her recent work has focused on characterizing Earth’s mineralogy through deep time and its correlation with geologic processes, its co-evolution with the biosphere, and its relationship to other planetary bodies, particularly Mars.

Dr. Lujendra Ojha is a NASA, Co-Investigator of the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) and Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM), a NASA science team member of the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) mission to Mars, the co-investigator of the NASA Mars Data Analysis Program on Martian Dust Devil Tracks: Albedos, Lifetimes, and Dust Deposition Rates, and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Rutgers University.

Need Help thinking of a Question?  Here are some Tips 

You have heard the phrase “there are no dumb questions”.  This is very true when we are trying to encourage your creativity and passion for science.

Most youths are curious about what it’s like to be a NASA or space scientist – the challenges, daily routines, and technology.  In addition, you may want to know more about scientists’ motivation, career path and inspiration.  We definitely encourage these types of questions! Please prepare for this unique experience by reviewing these websites to help think of a question:

NASA – Mars Exploration Program
Video of the Launch of Perseverance Rover

Get a Close up Look at the Rover

A quick look at what we know about Mars

Images from Mars

Please note, registration is first come first served, so do not wait! Register for the panel and our 4-H STEM Mars Basecamp Challenge! You MUST register for the Oct 1st panel to attend the Oct 3rd challenge. Once you register, the Mars kits will be mailed to you directly!

Invite a Friend!  Use these flyers to spread the word about this event

The 2020 4‑H STEM Challenge will explore sending a mission to Mars with the activity, Mars Base Camp. Developed by Google and Virginia Cooperative Extension, Mars Base Camp is a collection of activities that teaches kids ages 8-14 STEM skills like mechanical engineering, physics, computer science, and agriculture.

 

The Scientist Panel is Co-sponsored by the Free Public Library of New Brunswick, NJ


ENIGMA: Searching for Life on Other Planets

Are we alone in the Universe? To answer this fundamental question, scientists from Rutgers University and NASA are going all the way back to Earth’s beginning — back before there were people, dinosaurs, or even plants!

Video Lecture Coming Soon!

Figuring out how life developed on this planet will be key to discovering if or how life could have formed on other planets, including Mars. As part of the 2020 4-H Mars Base Camp STEM Challenge, ENIGMA’s goal of finding where, how, and why the key ingredients of life develop will be a critical part of any Mars mission.

Learn More About the 2020 4-H STEM Challenge

More ENIGMA resources for students and educators

World Ocean Week

On our blog, we posted a week-long series of activities in celebration of World Ocean Day 2020. Those activities have been archived here for use during any time of the year. The activities have been bundled together as an interactive slide deck, which you can check out below!

Click here to get started

Virtual STEP Clubs

Join us for a STEM-related virtual Short Term Exploratory Program (STEP).  Young people in grades 5-8 are invited to join us for three consecutive sessions to explore a science theme with a real scientist. Sessions are limited to 30 youth to engage in interactive science activities developed from current research projects.  Youth will join the fun online via Zoom videoconferencing for these one-hour sessions.

Explore Life in the Southern Ocean

Help identify some of the amazing marine organisms that live in Antarctica!  Join Andrew Corso, a Ph.D. candidate at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and identify “mystery” creatures from his recent research cruise off the coast of the Western Antarctic Peninsula.  Youth will learn how to use a dichotomous key and will receive at-home challenges to explore and discuss with their family, friends, and online STEP club participants.

*This program has concluded – but you can follow along by using the resources and recordings posted below. The slide deck is a visual, Internet-powered walkthrough of the activities listed on the table.

Have fun exploring the Southern Ocean!

ID Antarctica Slide Deck

Date Adventure
April 1; 3pm-4:15pm EDT Observing predators and prey in Antarctica

Before you get started, get oriented: Antarctica Worksheet

Then, check out this photo and see if you can identify the predator and prey using the key: Week 1 Mystery Creature and Dichotomous Key

Watch the recording to learn more and find out the answers: Link to Recording of Andrew Corso’s Science Talk

April 8; 3pm-4:15pm EDT Exploring the Penguin Populations at Palmer Station Antarctica

Download this week’s mystery creature and see if you can identify the two circled species: Week 2 Mystery Creature and Dichotomous Key

Watch the recording to learn more and find out the answers: Link to Recording of Andrew Corso’s Science Talk

Explore more penguin data: What can penguins teach us about the ocean? – Project SWARM

Penguin Propulsion Video from BBC Wonder of Animals series

April 15; 3pm-4:15pm EDT Fish of Antarctica

Download this week’s mystery creature and see if you can identify this larval fish: Week 3 Mystery Creature and Identification Key

Watch the recording to learn more and find out the answer:  Link to Recording of Andrew Cross’s Science Talk

Explore more about these unusual Antarctic fishes with this Polar Data Story!

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.

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!