Monday, February 17, 2014

UC Berkeley's Expanding Your Horizons

Expanding Your Horizons conferences are designed to introduce middle and high school girls to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, (STEM). The UC Berkeley EYH is an annual career conference specially designed for girls in grades 5 through 8 from local school districts. The conference encourages girls interest in science and mathematics and provides positive female role models in science, math, and engineering careers. Registration is now open.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Genes in a Bottle

5th graders at John Muir all extracted their DNA with the help of a Bio-Rad scientist who took time out of his busy scientist life to come to our school and share his knowledge. Try saying Deoxyribonucleic acid 5 times fast.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

SF Bay Area STEAM Colloquium Resource Fair

John Muir CSW represented projects in STEAM education at the Bay Area STEAM Colloquium on Friday. The wind tube was a big hit with the more creative folks that came by our table at the Showcase Gallery. We displayed projects that students and interns made and had our wind tube and supplies ready for making flying machines. Our New Leaf interns enjoyed the experience and were a huge help both at our booth and to Dr. Rona Zollinger, the final key note speaker. Her speech was (according to one of the interns) "by far the best talk of the day". It was deeply inspirational for me to hear her speak publicly about New Leaf, what's been accomplished so far, and our plans for the future.  One of the interns opened Rona's talk with a breathing session for the entire auditorium & another intern closed it with a visualization of the difference each individual would make in the lives of their students and throughout their community. I was honored to be a part of such an insightful, spirited and fun crowd.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tinkering Takes Practice

After nearly three months of open-ended tinkering sessions, I think we've finally got this down. Today was another full house, we had 21 kids come to the workshop & for the first time, I didn't have to help anyone to find something to work on; they all got busy right away.

We had a lot of 5th graders today & since we just finished up exploring with circuits during their class visit, they went right to our circuit section & started tinkering with motors. One kid took a train & hooked it up with a motor and battery to make it go, a couple others were working on making cars out of wood & bottle cap wheels with motors and lights attached; they were all very creative. I could tell that the craft of making wheels (bottle caps, hot glued to either end of a stick, with a straw covering the middle of the dowel to make the wheels spin freely) has caught on and was the basis for lots of projects today. Lots of vehicles were made, a very cool looking toy made from colorful bottle caps, nails and rubber bands, a few flying machines, some craft stick art & probably more I didn't see.

Some kids made colorful cards with dyed shaving cream & tooth pics and two of our littlest tinkerers were fixated on propping up train tracks and setting up a long line of blocks so that when the train derailed, it would hit the blocks and cause a domino effect to hit a pyramid of red legos - it looked like a super cool Rube Goldberg machine in the making!

Here is a picture from last week's pond scum imaging day. In addition to snapping pics of pond scum, some kids found flowers and other things around outside to look at under the microscope and snap up close photo art. I like this one Sadie took: