Category: STEM/STEAM

12 year old girl credited for breakthrough in lionfish research

 A 12 year old girl, Lauren Arrington of Flordia  decided to study the invasive Lionfish for her sixth grade science project. What she ended up doing is teaching biologists a thing or two.

Thanks to Lauren’s research, we now know that Lionfish, who pose a huge threat to reefs in Florida, can not only survive in salt water but semi-fresh waters as well.  Not good to have such a venomous and hungry fish in rivers and estuaries.

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She is now being credited in an international scientific publication called the Environmental Biology of Fishes.

“They’re eating all the little fish, so there’s no food for the big fish, and it’s destroying the Florida ecosystem,” said Lauren Arrington

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Way to go Lauren!

 You can read more  about Lauren’s research at the sun-sentinel.com

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My Incredible Body app for kids

This app definelty gets added to the Summer Educational Series and beyond. “My Incredible Body” app from Zybright, is FREE for a limited time and is available for Andriod and iOS. My daughter loves this app.

My children love looking at their Human Body book but this interactive anatomy app takes them on a high quality animated tour of the body.

This kid’s anatomy app offers 3D models of the body that cover the brain, digestion, lungs, skeleton, kidneys, senses, muscles and heart.

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The app allows you to pinch, swipe and zoom in on the 3D anatomy models. Each organ has multiple parts which they can tap on to bring up a brief description.  Kids have the option of reading and/or listening to the narration.

They can explore the models, see the connections, watch videos or see demos of the body parts in action.

 You can download My Incredible Body for iOS  and  Android for free for a limited time. 

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TedX Teen Challenge

TedX OrangeCoast’s mission is “To help turn inspiring ideas into actions”. TedXOrangeCoast  is  holding a contest to celebrate the work of teens while focusing on STEAM projects, the contest is open to all teens ages 13-19 years old.

Teens are challenged to come up with an “Idea Worth Doing”. They should submit their idea along with a their plan of action by August 31, 2014. Winners of the TedX Teen Challenge will receive exposure for their project, cash prizes and mentorship for a year. Winners be announced at the 4th annual TEDxOrangeCoast event to be held September 19-20, 2014 at Soka Performing Arts Center in Aliso Viejo, CA.

The Keys of interest for the projects should include one or more of the following: 

  • Innovative: Existing or new project with a novel approach of addressing existing problems

  • Collaborative: Talent and passion win games, teamwork win championships

  • Social Impact: Positive and  measurable impact affecting our community and beyond

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To learn more visit TedXTeenChallenge

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Inspire your Girls to be “Pretty Brilliant”

A new ad from Verizon sends the exact message I try give my girls daily, this ad sends the message to tell our girls they are “pretty brilliant” too.

Verizon has a campaign called “Inspire her Mind”. This campaign focuses on inspiring parents and girls to stay engaged with all things STEM. Research shows there is a significant drop-off in women interested in these fields between childhood and adulthood, from 72% to 55%. Women make up half the workforce in the US. Yet, as far as STEM jobs go, we only hold 25% of the jobs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XP3cyRRAfX0

Our words have a huge impact on our girls. Inspire their future by telling them how smart they are and how imaginative they are. Encourage them to get dirty, to look for bugs, go camping, let her find out how things work and let her build things. Through play time and family time we can spark our girls imagination in subjects like science, technology, engineering, astronomy and physics.

Verizon website dedicated to this campaign includes various videos and facts with in-depth insight, facts and figures from research studies. It also features women who are established in stem jobs.

We need to work together to be make a significant change in the lives of our girls.

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Google launches “Made with Code” website to get girls coding

If you are the parent of a girl – pay attention to this – Google is spending $50 million dollars to get girls to code. This is a huge statement!

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From googleblog.blogspot.com:

Today, we’re attempting to solve this issue on a much larger scale. Along with Chelsea Clinton, Girls Inc., Girl Scouts of the USA, Mindy Kaling, MIT Media Lab, National Center for Women & Information Technology, SevenTeen, TechCrunch and more, Google is launching Made with Code, an initiative to inspire girls to code. The program includes:

  • Cool introductory Blockly-based coding projects, like designing a bracelet 3D-printed by Shapeways, learning to create animated GIFs and building beats for a music track.
  • Collaborations with organizations like Girl Scouts of the USA and Girls, Inc. to introduce Made with Code to girls in their networks, encouraging them to complete their first coding experience.
  • A commitment of $50 million to support programs that can help get more females into computer science, like rewarding teachers who support girls who take CS courses on Codecademy or Khan Academy.

We’ve also posted videos about women who are using code in their dream jobs, like Miral, Danielle, Erica and other inspirational girl coders — like Brittany Wenger, who is using code to fight cancer. And, we’ve developed a few steps parents can take at home to get their daughters excited about computer science. Read more about the initiative here.

Nowadays, coding isn’t just a skill useful for working at a tech company; engineering isn’t just for engineers. Interior design. Medicine. Architecture. Music. No matter what a girl dreams of doing, learning how to code will help her get there. Their future — our future — is made with code. Let’s do what we can to make sure that future is as bright as possible.

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Free LEGO’s for our Future Builder’s

I absolutely loved LEGO’s as a child, as an adult I love to see my children playing with LEGO’s. I know that LEGO’s provide a child with complete freedom that allow their imaginations to soar. They encourage children to give their ideas and predictions a try and their mistakes become masterpieces with endless possibilities.

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As a parent, I love that as the child grows, their building possibilities grow from the same set of LEGO’s. They could potentially use the same blocks for years. Although, I am sure that they will add on to their existing set with some of the new themed sets. One set that I am very pleased to see coming out in August is a limited-edition box set called “Research Institute”, featuring three female scientists.

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LEGO stores hold FREE Monthly Mini Builds

Your local LEGO Store has FREE monthly Mini Model Builds on the first Tuesday of every month.  Your child can learn how to build a mini model and take it home for FREE (I think I already said that but I love FREE). These events are for kids ages 6 to 14.  The next upcoming Mini Model Build is: LEGO Beach Van: Tuesday, July 1 and begins at 5:00 pm until supplies last. 

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June 2014  Mini Build

Lego’s are an important part of your child’s development. Here are some the many benefits of Lego’s from ehow.com

Math and Science Skills

  • Building with Lego bricks fosters spatial reasoning and awareness of proportions and patterns. As a child builds, his or her mind is reasoning about what pieces will work best, how they should be arranged and how big or small the creation should be. The basic Lego bricks also teach fractions and division. From whole to half to quarter, children are learning fractions without even realizing it. Physics and engineering skills are also stealthily being developed. As a child builds a tall building or bridge, he or she is learning to think in three dimensions, balance weight and use supports for these structures.

Child Development

  • The most obvious physical benefit of building with Legos is the development of fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are those that require small muscle movements. As a child manipulates the Lego bricks, he is developing the coordination of the small muscles in his fingers and hands. The ability to follow directions is also a benefit of Lego building. Many Lego kits come with step-by-step instructions that a child must follow in order to complete the task.

Thinking Skills

  • As a child builds with Legos, she is using problem solving skills. She has to figure out which blocks work in her building, sometimes using the trial and error method. Planning and organizing are other benefits. Lego building requires the child to have a plan before she builds, even if it is only a basic one. She also must organize his thoughts as well as the Lego pieces in order to bring her idea to life.

Creativity

  • Creativity is, perhaps, the most obvious of the benefits of learning with Legos. Building with blocks fosters a child’s creativity. Children can toss aside the instructional kits and use only the Lego bricks to create anything their minds can imagine. Free, open-ended play encourages children to think outside the box and dream up endless possibilities.

 

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Doodle 4 -US winner on Google today

For 7 years now Google  has held a a competition. They invite kids, grades K-12 to draw an invention that would make the world a better place. This year they had more than 100,000 submissions.

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This years winner is  11-year old Audrey Zhang of New York. She is a third time finalist in this competition. Not only is Audrey’s animated drawing headlining the Google page today but she also won a $30,000 college scholarship, a $50,000 Google for Education technology grant for her school and on top of that Google.org donated $20,000 in her name to charity: Water toward providing clean water to schools in Bangladesh.

“To make the world a better place, I invented a transformative water purifier. It takes in dirty and polluted water from rivers, lakes, and even oceans, then massively transforms the water into clean, safe and sanitary water, when humans and animals drink this water, they will live a healthier life.”
– Audrey Zhang, 11

The Google doodlers team spent a day with Audrey to turn her illustration into a moving animation which is what you see today on the Google page. Google Doodle 4 – 2014 winners

In all there where 250 state finalists, 50 state winners, and 5 national age group winners. Click here to take a look at the outstanding national grade group winners.

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Pictures from  https://www.google.com/doodles/doodle-4-google-2014-us-winner

Outstanding job Audrey!!!

 

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SciGirls Encourages Girls (and boys) in STEM

 

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SciGirls is a GREAT show for kids target ages 8-12  (but my 7 year old loves it!) it encourages kids curiosity with all things STEM. Each episode features a different group of tween girls that put science and engineering to work by creating and exploring.  Your kids will see scientific and math principles applied to real-life scenarios. I also love that the show displays teamwork and conflict resolution.

They have a fantastic website filled with games, videos and projects submitted by kids. The viewing schedule times are a little difficult for us but you can watch the entire episodes through the PBS website and YouTube.

SciGirls Website

 

 

The following is from PBSkids SciGirls website:

Tips for Encouraging Girls in STEM

How can you help?

Supporting girls in basic ways offers a great foundation for their science success:

  • Encourage Questions

    Encourage girls’ natural curiosity about the world. Scientists are professional question askers. Let her know that it’s perfectly acceptable to not have all the answers, and encourage her to explore and discover!

  • Offer a STEM-friendly Home

    Science happens everywhere. Gardening, auto mechanics, construction, cooking and plumbing all use STEM skills. Encourage safe experimentation and discovery in the kitchen and backyard, where she can practice predicting, measuring, observing and analyzing. Offer basic supplies, Internet access, a library card and a space where she can get a little messy.

  • Provide School Smarts

    With the growing importance of science and technological literacy, it is important to strengthen girls’ engagement, interest and confidence in middle school. Once in high school, girls will make choices that will either open or close doors to continued STEM studies and eventual careers in the field. Help them make educational choices and see the connections between science and math classes and future career options. Start early!

  • Help Girls Access Opportunities

    Great science learning happens outside the classroom as well. In addition to programs such as SciGirls, learning opportunities for kids can be found at science museums, zoos, scouting organizations and STEM clubs during afterschool hours, weekends and summer breaks. These programs often provide girls with introductions to working female mentors, who can help girls navigate the course of becoming a scientist.

  • Talk the Talk

    Talk to girls in your life about math and science. Ask them about what they are learning in school. Encourage them to share their struggles and their successes!

 

 

 

 

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