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STEM is Elementary Newsletter - December 2017

December 04, 2017

Happy Holidays! Find out about upcoming STEM conferences in 2018, learn about new elementary STEM resources, read interesting articles, and more in this issue.



Upcoming STEM conferences in 2018


Science Educator Council of Ohio Symposium


Conference strands include:
Design and Engineering Principles-Exposing educators to the engineering and design practices, this strand guarantees to tap into the creative side, look past content knowledge toward the process of doing science.
Resources for Inquiry-Learn about resources that provide educators with strategies, protocols and tools to promote curiosity and foster questioning, critical thinking, and problem solving.  Learn how to nurture and preserve a curious mindset.
Earth, Life and Physical Science Content - Science content matter focuses on the science facts, concepts, principles, theories, etc. that are important for all students to know, understand and apply.  Educators will explore resources and opportunities that encourage students to develop decision-making abilities and engage in hands-on science.
Arts and Literacy - Educators will understand the importance of getting their students to read and write in their classroom and the ease with which it can be accomplished. Examine the cross-curricular connections between science, arts and literacy, to provide a creative bridge, reach diverse learners and fully engage the brain.  

Mathematical and Technological Applications - Integrating math and/or technology in instruction acknowledges the importance of understanding problems, developing and using models, constructing viable arguments based on evidence, and critiquing the reasoning of others.

The Ohio Educational Technology Conference

The Ohio Educational Technology Conference (OETC) is the premier P-20 state educational technology conference. Each year, more than 4,000 educational technology professionals and enthusiasts come together to explore the forefront of P-20 learning and innovation in Ohio.
Designed to cultivate partnerships, promote collaboration, deliver high-quality information, and make technology accessible and enjoyable for educators, the OETC is the must-attend conference of the year for P-20 teachers, curriculum and technology coordinators, administrators, higher education professors and administrators, and everyone who is interested in learning more about what’s happening in technology today.
For three full days, attendees can learn what’s new and look towards the future by exploring new technologies,  trying them out in a interactive atmosphere, and learning how to integrate them into the learning environment.
#OETC18 will take place February 13-15, 2018 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

Virginia Children’s Engineering Conference


The Children's Engineering Convention has three major components:

1) staff development for K-5 teachers focusing on strategies that assist children to create, use and control technology,

2) teacher demonstrations of techniques for infusing design, engineering, and technology activities into the Standards of Learning, and

3) a showcase of technology-based educational resources. In addition to the special interest sessions/workshops, other opportunities will include educational vendor exhibits and keynote speakers during each general session.
Participants will experience engineering and technology-based activities that contribute to the development of technological awareness. Workshop highlights will focus on experiences that enable children to:

·           explore how people create, use, and control technology

·           apply knowledge in mathematics, science, English, and history and social sciences in solving problems associated with design, engineering and technology; and

·           use tools and materials to develop technological literacy and self-confidence.

ITEEA Conference

THEME: Building Bridges Within The STEM Community and Beyond - The theme for ITEEA’s 80th Annual Conference, to be held in Atlanta, Georgia, April 12-14, 2018, focuses on building bridges within the STEM community and beyond. Building bridges helps everyone to understand the important role technology and engineering contributes to STEM education.

Top Five Practical Skills Learned
from K-12 Engineering Education


by Gayle Gibson
Director of DuPont Engineering

We understand the importance of beginning STEM education at an early age, especially among young women and minorities. After all, STEM fields will have many exciting job openings. And, almost all of the 30 fastest-growing occupations in the next decade will require at least some background in STEM – in addition to reading and writing.
The skills gained are lifelong skills that benefit children and their families regardless of their future career. 
Learn more at aspx


Engineering: From Trial-and-Error to


by David Grossman
Kentucky middle school science teacher

Read David’s experiences and thoughts on how to create engineering design projects that challenge students to actively consider science through the design process. from-trial-and-error-to-ngss-aligned will kick off the largest learning event in history for the fifth time. December 4-10th, during Computer Science Education Week, tens of millions of students will gather all around the world to participate in the annual Hour of Code. For many, it will be their first introduction to computer science, but for others, it has become an annual celebration of computer science and the movement to expand opportunity.
Join Hour of Code and sign up your classroom today! And as you do, please go one step further - let it be known how computer science is offered at your school, and join the thousands of teachers in pledging to expand access. 

Teacher and Students Participate in the
Ohio Heart Design Challenge! 

When choosing a statewide design challenge, we ask ourselves: Is the challenge worthy of your time and talent?  It is important enough to devote over a thousand minds to solve? Does it have large-scale impact? The hardest question is simply: does the challenge impact us personally? Is this a topic that you (and we) will be passionate about?
This year's challenge easily meets the criteria.

·           Heart Disease is a chronic problem that is on the rise - especially in the U.S.

·           Heart Disease is a challenge on a global scale- it is projected to be the worldwide leading cause of death by 2030.

When it gets down to the heart of the matter, matters of the heart impact us all.

For more information and learn how to get involved please visit OSLN at: 


STEM educators:

Reset your classroom curricula with this
summer research experience

Research Experiences for STEM Educators and Teachers (RESET) provides educators with summer research experience at participating Army Laboratories. The goal of this enriching program is to reinforce teachers’ content knowledge through research experience and interactions with Army and Department of Defense scientists and engineers. Selected teachers will participate in on-line learning as a cohort, with a subset of the cohort selected to conduct research on-site with a mentor Army scientist or engineer. At the completion of the program, teachers will be able to translate this knowledge and experience into enhanced science, technology, engineering and math research curricula and enriched learning for their students. reset/ 

eCybermission student registration is open

Cybermission is a free competition for 6th to 9th grade students where students compete for state, regional and national awards while working to solve real problems in their community. Final registration ends December 13.  FREE STEM kits available!

Please visit: 

CODE4her is the new computer science mentorship program for girls in grades 5 through 8 organized by the BG Women in Computing (BGWIC) student organization through Bowling Green State University and their faculty advisor Jadwiga A. Carlson.

The CODE4her mentorship program is sponsored by Google igniteCS. IgniteCS provides funding and resources for groups of college and university students to make a difference in their local communities through CS mentorship.

Let HER learn to program with Sphero SPRK+ Robots. Five 2.5 hour meetings held on BGSU campus on Sundays of 2018

·           January 21

·           February 18

·           March 18

·           April 8

·           April 22

Registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis at

Elementary Spotlight: STEAMStart

STEAMStart is a design-focused STEAM program for K-2 classrooms, camps, and clubs. Each activity begins with a story and focus lesson to introduce the week’s design challenge. Students observe, brainstorm, design, build and prototype, and test solutions. They redesign and retest until they have a good balance of materials vs outcome. Last week's challenge was to design a two-story boxy house that supports 1/2 kilogram of “furniture.” The teams tested shelf braces, columns, triangular supports and other solutions to meet the criteria. Check out this dazzling multi-level building with a firehouse pole escape u=b03866fa96fdce1b281045e41&id=47eced0617&e= f4bb851c 5d


Ohio STEM Learning Network
STEM and STEAM School application now available

Ohio is one of a handful states that has an official STEM designation for schools. Earning STEM designation brings your school into the Ohio STEM Learning Network and into a select group. Out of more than 3,500 schools in Ohio, only 44 have earned designation. Ohio's STEM schools graduate more students from a more diverse study body than the state average. Plus, students at STEM school learn outside of the classroom. Last year along, our students logged more than 81,000 internship hours.
This year, for the first time, schools also have the option to choose STEAM designation with an added emphasis on the arts, in place of STEM. A well-rounded education will always include the arts, but STEAM designation may be the right fit for your local community. STEAM schools will receive the same support from us. There are additional requirements within the application for STEAM designation.
Our network plays several roles in this process. We advise schools seeking STEM designation through technical assistance and application review. We also provide formal recommendations to the State of Ohio on the applications for new schools. Finally, as new schools are awarded designation, we welcome them into our network and connect them with Ohio's other 44 STEM schools.
Webinar soon
Each year, we host a webinar to introduce prospective schools to the current application. Join us on December 13th at 4 p.m. for a comprehensive scan of the application questions and advice on what makes a successful proposal. webinar-offered
Schools planning to apply for STEM or STEAM designation should submit a letter of intent before 5:00 p.m. Dec 20, 2017. For more information, contact Holly Lavender at (614) 387-0539 or 1c80116

Local Tech Heroes

he mission of Local Tech Heroes is to empower all students to realize their potential by challenging them to solve big problems in their communities using emerging technologies. We want to bring together local students and local business to foster innovative solutions to real problems they are facing in their community.
By partnering with local business mentors, technology innovators, and community leaders, we hope to provide these programs and classes to students who don’t have the access to or can’t afford current offerings. Our hope is to provide scholarships for each and every student who wants to learn new skills to enable them hands-on experience in a collaborative environment that directly affects their local community.

Engineering Go For It Newsletter for November

Find resources for Computer Science Education Week (Dec 4-10), learn how your students can develop mathematical models of their cities, see the list of top STEM books from the National Science Teachers Association, and more STEM resources and events. 11022617975 98&ca=eac63838-42ce-4b4d-9fb7-8c60e1169b7c

What is Weather? By WBGH

Our new, FREE, Instructional Modules provide teachers with high-quality, supplemental digital media resources for teaching about Earth's systems. NGSS-aligned, emphasizing engagement with ideas and practices, the modules contain engaging media such as videos, interactives, data visualizations, and games, supported by selected, exemplar LESSON PLANS to aid integration into core curriculum and instruction. Below is an excerpt from the grades K-2 lesson plan on weather. ess-lpwhatweather/what-is-weather/#.WiBCLbQ-f6A


Teachers, mentors, librarians, makers: Create an Inventor Club to get access to tons of resources & support as you inspire your learners to be inventors and innovative thinkers.


Article by Matthew Lynch in The Edvocate

The processes of inquiry, reasoning and collaboration required in STEM learning are similar to any experiential activity; learning activities must be hands-on experiences. STEM classes also demand rigor and relevance in a curriculum, and the students who take these classes must learn to think critically as they use science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to solve real world problems through direct learning experiences. experience s

Learn about the revised
Ohio Learning Standards
for Technology

Instructional Technology Consultants from the Ohio Department of Education have been traveling the state to introduce educators to the skills and knowledge that make up the revised Ohio Learning Standards for Technology. If you have not been able to attend these workshops, we have scheduled a new session for Dec. 14 in the Cleveland area.
Join us on the 14th if you: 

·           Have seen the revised Ohio Learning Standards for Technology but aren’t sure what to do next;

·           Need ideas of what these standards could look like for the grade level or subjects you teach;

·           Are still thinking these standards are only for the technology teacher. (They are not.) 

 The work session will feature activities to familiarize you with the revised standards. You will find connections between the standards and other content areas, which will help you begin visualizing and planning ways to integrate the standards in your instruction.
To find more information and register for this session, log in to SAFE and click on the STARS link. Select “Event Search” and type technology standards in the keyword search. Leave the event title blank.

Teaching the F-Word in STEM: Failure

Each year, new students in the Academy of Aerospace and Engineering go through an adjustment phase as they learn our STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) curriculum and our method of exploratory learning. Almost gone are scripted activities, and instead students are tasked to develop their own experiments, research topics of their own choosing, and build objects of their own design. While many students find this academic freedom exciting, many also find it disconcerting and even frightening–they might fail! They often have never failed at anything in school. They have always followed directions and gotten straight A’s. Now they feel threatened by the uncertainty of choosing their own path in learning and discovery.
Read more at 10/25/teaching-the-f-word-in-stem-failure

Itty Bitty Science

By Michelle Kortenaar, Victoria Fiordalis, Miriam Krause, Laurinda Willard, Cheryl Lani Juárez, Melissa Thomas, Zoe Peters, Carrie Jubran, and Alli Sribarra  
The Collaborative for Early Science Learning is a group of six museums in six different cities that partner with their local Head Start programs to provide training for teachers and opportunities for family engagement.

Native Tech

An internet resource for indigenous ethno-technology focusing on the arts of Eastern Woodland Indian Peoples, providing historical & contemporary background with instructional how-to's & references.

Reynoldsburg students take on local pollution and Great Lakes erosion

Cynthia Meisel’s classroom engaged in her unit on erosion and deposition, investigating problems on the Lake Erie shore in northern Ohio. With an emphasis on the environment, students Gabe and Genevieve showed off their erosion tables, modeling the effects of rainwater moving soil to the coastline. These classroom concepts can lead to Ohio families losing parts of their backyards to the great lakes. Students explained a few strategies for combating soil loss, like breaking coastal waves with cinder-blocks, then gave common sense recommendations that any homeowner could follow. on-local-pollution-and-great-lakes-erosion

MakerX is Coming!

MakerX The Columbus Maker Expo will take place on April 21, 2018 at the Reynoldsburg Battelle Fablab and Reynoldsburg Performing Arts Center.
MakerX is an independent maker festival that consists of a celebration, learning, and networking event for everyone interested in the exciting new technologies of digital design and fabrication.
MakerX advances the growing international series of maker festivals (often titled Maker Faire, MakerCon, or Makerfest) that draw thousands of attendees to each event (over a million globally in 2016) to demonstrate and share technologies that are revolutionizing the ability of students, hobbyists, professionals and companies to design and create using the latest tools in CAD, 3D printing, laser cutting, microcontrollers and other electronics, robotics, drones and more.

The World As It Might Be: Where Toys and Engineering Meet

By Eric Iversen from Start Engineering

Toys are supposed to be fun, instruments of play engaged in for its own sake. Play is its own reason for being; it doesn’t help us accomplish anything or serve any purpose other than reaching its own, self-constructed pleasures.
Engineering, on the other hand, is defined by its usefulness. It is a problem-solving enterprise. It makes a claim on our minds, time, and tax dollars because it makes our lives better across multiple, varied realms, in reliable, enduring ways. Good engineering yields bridges that last decades or more, an electrical grid that holds up to heavy weather, airplanes that stay in the air, and ever-faster, more powerful computers infiltrating ever-more areas of our lives. (Hmm, is that actually good?)
Given these cross-purposes, are toys and engineering really a good fit? 11/17/the-world-as-it-might-be-where-toys-and-engineering- meet


Moulding young minds into mechanical engineering marvels
The DISCOVERING STEM series was developed by qualified teachers and academics, following the latest pedagogical trends in order to combine theory with practice.
ENGINO® TOY SYSTEM is perhaps the most advanced and versatile three dimensional construction toy in the market today, offering unique opportunities for creation for both children and adults alike. The toy comprises of a system of multi-faceted rods and connectors that share some unique geometrical features that allow connectivity up to 6 sides simultaneously! In essence, this patent-pending design transforms rods into connectors, leading to builds that may be either dense or with large openings. This feature alone enables children to build fast and easy, simple or complex models, using a very low number of different components and a much lower quantity of parts.

WeTeach App

WeTeach® is a free innovative App with user friendly features for forum members.  The App provides real time mobile experiences so educators can connect with colleagues around their district, region, state or nation.  Users will connect with other educators who are teaching similar grade levels and subject areas.

Online discussions should be positive and focus on learning, student performance, assessment and experiences in your schools and with your students.



A science magazine that explores our world and inspires girls to be their brilliant best. Created for all kids 7+. Recommended for all humans.
This is published by Manufacturing Stories. They are a social media company promoting manufacturing in the US to families, educators and community leaders. Their mission is to be a cheerleader of sorts for manufacturing and all of the richness of innovation, social fabric and prosperity it offers America magazine-to-know-more-and-be-more-and-inspire-girls

What inspired your interest
in STEM?

For Nathan Kahl, it was several trips to EPCOT as a child and then return visits with his kids. Read more in his blog, STEM at the Theme Park.
Why not try some related lesson on biodomes, Biodome Engineering Design Project, or A Mini World. In keeping with theme parks, watch Roller Coaster Physics: STEM in Action, a video of LinkEngineering member Donna Migdol’s lesson with middle schoolers working on a project about motion and rollercoasters. Log into LinkEngineering and share your experience!
Did you know that next week is Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 4-10) in honor of Grace Hopper’s Birthday on December 9th. Many engineers, especially those who work in Computer Sciences, need to learn coding skills. Simil Raghavan has posted some great resources to link you to some easy and fun coding activities for all ages. You can learn more about Grace Hopper’s inspiring contributions to Computer Science at EngineerGirl.
The LinkEngineering Team

That's it for this newsletter.

Please let me know of elementary STEM events, resources, or professional development opportunities that you would like to see in an upcoming edition of the STEM is Elementary newsletter!

Bob Claymier