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.

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.