Tornadoes in Queens, snowstorms in October, stranded polar bears. It’s clear we need to do some serious thinking – and acting – about climate change.
More than 100 teachers throughout the New York region have taken up the challenge and are implementing a new climate change curriculum into their middle school classrooms. Part of a two-year partnership between NYSCI and Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors, the My Carbon Footprint curriculum will give students the scientific foundation they need to understand climate change and its related issues. With hands-on activities such as analyzing layers of soil, deconstructing electronic products to determine their effects on the environment, and simulating the effects of sea level rise on a tabletop beach house, students will learn about scientific concepts related to climate change such as mitigation, adaptation, climate variability and more.
Last November, the teachers began the process by attending a professional development workshop at NYSCI, where they learned about the curriculum and tried out some of the hands-on activities. Within the next few months, teachers will introduce the climate change lessons into their classrooms, reaching approximately 12,000 students.
That’s good news for Queens residents, polar bears, and all who share the planet with them.
The race is on to get our nation’s kids up to speed on science. With U.S. students getting low global rankings in science and math proficiency, the need for innovative ways to interest youth in the sciences has never been more urgent.
We’re leading the way with SciGames, a new project developed by SciPlay, The Sara Lee Schupf Family Center for Play, Science, and Technology Learning. SciGames uses technology to turn playground play into interactive games. For instance, by attaching speed sensors to a common playground slide, the slide transforms into a powerful educational tool. Instead of simply racing to the bottom of the slide, kids can experiment with different variables, such as what type of material to sit on as they glide down the slide. This turns the act of sliding down a slide into a fun game that explores science concepts such as friction, and kinetic and thermal energy.
SciGames will also include the development of a mobile app that teachers and students can use to aggregate the data collected during the games on the playground and to conduct analysis of that data back in the classroom. This bridge between formal and informal learning environments is a hallmark of our initiatives to improve and reform education in science, technology, engineering and math.
As a finalist for a $3.44 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the SciGames project is poised to reach approximately 8,000 New York students over the next five years. We are one of only 23 foundations, museums and schools that are finalists for an Investing in Innovation Fund, or i3, grant. The i3 program supports projects that will improve student achievement or student growth, decrease dropout rates, or close achievement gaps.
So get ready. If the kids get high marks in this race, we’ll all wind up winning.
Though scientists have found methane on Mars, a gas produced by living things on Earth, the source remains ambiguous. Cows, termites? Not likely. Chemicals? Perhaps. Microbes? Perhaps if life on Earth is a model.
Explore The Search for Life Beyond Earth at NYSCI to understand why life on Mars may be possible. With NASA sending a new rover to Mars to explore the planet, now is the perfect time to learn about life in extreme environments.
New York Times: On Mars Rover, Tools to Plumb a Methane Mystery
Late last month, 450 of New York’s top business and community leaders gathered to discuss important topics such as the need to engage our youth in the sciences, the challenge of mitigating climate change, the direction of our nation’s educational system, and … how to create your own bling.
Using an LED and a battery, the Create-Your-Own-Bling project was a big hit at this year’s Evening of Science and Inspiration, NYSCI’s annual fundraising gala, which raised $1 million to support NYSCI’s research and programs. Using a theme of Design, Make, Play, the evening included activities such as building paper air dancers, writing laser graffiti, and doodling in the dark.
This year’s honorees included Google, which received the Vision & Benture Award for bold corporate vision to establish a creative corporate environment for achievement in science and technology; Kevin Parker, head of Deutsche Bank Global Asset Management, who received the Global Science Award for world-renowned excellence in engineering, technology and visionary leadership; and John Slaughter, the first African-American director of the National Science Foundation and former CEO of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, who was awarded the Distinguished Leadership Award for transformation, ingenuity and excellence in science.
This Saturday, November 5, NYSCI will host 100 teachers for a My Carbon Footprint professional development workshop. The educators will learn all about the project, receive a copy of the curriculum, and get a chance to try out some of the My Carbon Footprint lessons.
To prepare for this workshop, members of NYSCI’s education staff have eagerly been gathering materials and organizing classrooms and labs. We had a difficult time picking which lessons we’ll be highlighting, but we finally selected Natural Variability vs. Man-Made Climate Change, Life Cycles of Electronics, and Adaptation and Mitigation: Sea Level Rise. Even if you can’t make it to the workshop, you can check out these lessons as well as many more by downloading the My Carbon Footprint curriculum found on the Curriculum page of this site.
These are photos of students completing the same lessons the teachers will try out on Saturday.
Check back next week for some pictures and stories from the workshop.
No carbs, lo carbs, cabbage soup, lemonade… heck, even princesses have their own diet. But could a food plan that includes bugs be the next big diet fad?
Many cultures throughout the world include insects in their diets, but here in the United States, the idea has yet to catch on. David Gracer is working to change that. An English teacher, writer and naturalist, Gracer advocates the eating of insects as an excellent source of nutrition and as an intelligent food choice for an overcrowded planet. Bugs, after all, are a good, and plentiful, source of protein, vitamins and minerals.
Gracer will be at NYSCI this weekend as part of the Dead or Alive Halloween event. He will talk about the value of insects in human diets and will even offer bug tastings all day.
If you like what you taste, you can make a bug-filled day of it by dining at nearby El Globo, where they serve quesadillas a los chapulines (grasshopper quesadillas), a Mexican specialty.
So hop, wriggle or worm your way over to NYSCI this weekend. You don’t want to miss this event – everyone will be buzzing about it!
For the past two weeks, Sesame Street viewers across the country have been treated to a morning science lesson with NYSCI and a loveable muppet named Murray Monster. Murray, with help from a Spanish-speaking lamb called Ovejita, cheered on as NYSCI Science Instructor Adiel Fernandez gave short lessons that encourage kids to learn science through design and think like engineers. Adiel is an educator with NYSCI’s Sara Lee Schupf Family Center for Play, Science, and Technology Learning (SciPlay), which created the science lessons.
The Sesame Street episodes, filmed in NYSCI’s Rocket Park Mini Golf, Rocket Park, and Science Playground, ran locally on PBS stations in New York and New Jersey, as well as in Nebraska, Montana, West Virginia, Ohio, Florida, Arizona and California.
See if you can spot NYSCI next week on Sesame Street on WNET Thirteen (October 20 at 10 am and October 21 at 7 am), WLIW21 (October 24 at 9 am), and NJTV (October 20 at 11 am).
On September 17, more than 300 people packed into NYSCI’s auditorium to hear a panel of experts discuss the impact that “making” can have on education and innovation. The panel, called “Making, Education, and Innovation,” was held on the first day of World Maker Faire, a festival celebrating invention, creativity and the do-it-yourself movement.
Margaret Honey, NYSCI’s president and CEO, participated in the panel as an expert on children’s education. Margaret explained that NYSCI works to
“create experiences, particularly for young people, that are inspirational and, like Maker Faire, are catalytic and transformative … Places like science centers or children’s museums or other kinds of community-based organizations are also really important hubs for community activity because we’re less of a barrier and more of a resource that engages.”
Other panel experts included Tom Kalil, deputy director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Dale Dougherty, founder of MAKE Magazine, co-founder of O’Reilly Media, and creator of Maker Faire; and Francisco D’Souza, CEO and president of Cognizant.
The entire panel discussion can be viewed online here.
Congrats to 100kin10 on the launch of their initiative to respond to the national imperative to prepare, deploy and support 100,000 excellent STEM teachers over the coming 10 years. NYSCI is a proud partner through our Design Lab work, where we are committed to training the next generation of STEM teachers in design-based learning. Design Lab fellows Brian Schnee and Paige Teamey recently shared their latest design projects at World Maker Faire, held earlier this month. Design Lab teachers also helped facilitate a new design starter activity, Circuits in the City, where children, parents and teachers used LEDs, buzzers, pipe cleaners, wires and other materials to test out ideas for circuit-related items that will make the city a happy place.
View Press Release here.
LetsMakeRobots will demonstrate the Yellow Drum Machine (YDM), as well as other robots by their members. The YDM is a funky little drumbot. It roams around and makes beats, and samples. They’ll also have some fun projects for you to try yourself!
Sometimes the best part about making things is destroying them. Come learn this little known secret with Llaves Designs, where you will learn the art of piñata making.
Demonstrations and hands on opportunities to create hollowed papier-mâché magic.
Simple Bots is the awesome new eBook that teaches you how to make a bunch of fun and easy bots in no time. This book is written with the beginner in mind and no prior knowledge of robotics is necessary.
Look for Simple Bots at World Maker Faire, NYC.
See the original Internet sensation LIVE! Geysers of soda shoot over twenty feet into the air in this spectacular mint-powered version of the Bellagio Fountains, brought to you by the mad scientists of EepyBird. EepyBird has been featured on Late Night with David Letterman, Ellen, the Today Show, and Mythbusters, and they were named Best of 2006 by People Magazine. Their online videos have won two Webby Awards and received two Emmy nominations.