Learn about the ideas and methods for urban growing and food preparation at this conceptual winter farmers’ market, December 1, 2012; noon – 4 pm. Traditional market stalls will be filled with hands-on activities, artist projects, demonstrations, and of course, food! Free with NYSCI admission.
New York Hall of Science Teaches Genetics with Video Games
By Christie Rizk on Nov 04, 2012
What can animated creatures teach students about genomics and related scientific concepts? Researchers at the New York Hall of Science’s Sara Lee Schupf Family Center for Play, Science, and Technology Learning (SciPlay for short) aim to find out. In collaboration with scientists at Michigan State University, developers at the Concord Consortium, and designers at Parsons The New School for Design, they’re creating a video game to boost students’ enthusiasm for and understanding of genetics.
GeniGames teaches both research and applied science, says SciPlay Director David Kanter. Four versions of the game will be used in different New York City high school science classes this winter, while SciPlay researchers track which elements contribute to students’ understanding of scientific concepts. “We’re measuring learning, but we’re also measuring a lot of different affective dimensions of learning like motivation, engagement, and emotional state,” Kanter says. “As opposed to taking it for granted that games are great and that everything should be gamified, we’re trying to understand what the value is [and] for whom.”
In GeniGames’ first version, students design and breed their perfect pet lizard as they learn about concepts like meiosis and genetic inheritance. The second version adds a bit of narrative backstory to the game and replaces lizards with dragons, using the same scientific curriculum. The third adds an element of competition by asking students to design dragons for specific tasks such as racing or catching fish. And the fourth adds the element of community: SciPlay will host a competitive tournament among participating classrooms. Underlying the game are sound genetic concepts based on the known genomes of various animals, so it is realistic, Kanter says.
The study is set to end in August 2014. “We have a hypothesis that not all of these gaming elements are across-the-board great for all kids, so we will be looking into our data at the level of individual students to figure out for whom does narrative really work,” Kanter says. Data gathered in the high schools could also help SciPlay and its collaborators to eventually design games for younger children, he adds.
Christie Rizk is a reporter and editor based in New York. She was most recently an assistant editor for GenomeWeb’s Genome Technology magazine, and has worked as a reporter, editor, and producer at Reuters, Thomson Financial, and The Brooklyn Paper.
New York Hall of Science Presents ReGeneration, Opening October 27
Ten artists present their interpretations of cultural sustainability
Queens, N.Y. – ReGeneration, a new exhibition exploring the relationship between sustainability and cultural vitality, opens October 27 at the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI). The exhibition includes interactive works by 10 artists that inspire visitors to think about the notion of cultural sustainability through collaborative engagement and futuristic visions built upon the history and traditions of New York’s diverse neighborhoods. The exhibition runs through January 13, 2013.
Despite the near ubiquity of the term “sustainability,” there remains significant ambiguity about everything from the actual meaning of the term to overarching solutions to the challenges we face as a community. Technology and behavioral changes including energy production, agriculture, recycling and pollution reduction are all on the table as we work to understand and address the challenge of sustainability.
“ReGeneration is an exhibition about the future,” says NYSCI president and CEO, Margaret Honey. “We challenged the artists to take inspiration from science and imagine a future where we live sustainably, not just in the foods we eat or the materials we use, but in our fundamental approach to how we view our communities and the interdependence between people and our environment.”
NYSCI is revving up for the next exhibit ReGeneration, with artist Angelo Vermeulen and team building the first part of the window garden for his Biomodd project, right now in NYSCI’s Central Pavilion.
This week, the virtual world that will run on the Biomodd computer network is being developed (above image), and students at Parsons are creating concepts and prototypes for “caretaking robots” as part of the Biomodd Collaboration Studio.
If you want to learn more about Angelo’s project and his work, and you happen to be in the Los Angeles area, he is giving a lecture and demonstration at UCLA tomorrow.
In the meantime, mark your calendars for the long awaited opening of ReGeneration on October 27, 2012, at NYSCI.
The final post in our back-to-school tips for teachers comes courtesy of Scott Wayne Indiana, a Content Developer in NYSCI’s Design Lab:
I taught high school math for ten years and the first day of every class involved very little math. I wanted to get to know the students as individuals, as fellow humans. I wanted to hear from each of them. The seeds for the classroom community were planted and we grew from there.
Our next back-to-school tip for teachers comes courtesy of Deliz Vasquez, a fifth grade teacher in Hunts Point:
One thing which I find very helpful is having a “Best Practice” notebook when I visit classrooms, attend meetings, conferences, or professional development. This way I can implement some strategies in my own classroom.
Week two of the school year! We kick off with another installment of back-to-school tips from teachers for teachers. Today, from Amanda Solarsh, 7th Grade science teacher at Simon Baruch Middle School:
Revamp rules, routines and procedures and rethinking classroom setup to start fresh.
LOOK WHAT'S COMING TO WORLD MAKER FAIRE - Speakers Announced
Bre Pettis and Chris Anderson headline the World Maker Faire speaker series. Check out the highlights of who is speaking at World Maker Faire, with talks and how-to workshops from the leaders in the maker movement speaking about science, technology, art, and more.
Bre Pettis from MakerBot Industries and Chris Anderson from Wired and 3D Robotics, and author of Makers: The New Industrial Revolution. Pettis and Anderson will discuss the lessons learned in building big maker businesses and give a glimpse of where they think this movement is going, in the talk “Going Big: From Maker Movement to New Industrial Revolution.” On the morning of Sunday, Sept. 30, Anderson will also speak on DIY drones (remote control quadcopters) in “Why Should the Military Have all the Cool Stuff?”
Jack Hitt, This American Life contributor and author of Bunch of Amateurs: A Search for the American Character, will talk about Meredith Perry, founder of uBeam and the latest amateur to break out of her metaphorical garage as the inventor of the wireless battery charger, and how she’s part of the coming DIY revolution.
David Pogue, New York Times technology columnist, will recount his adventures in hang-gliding, landing on a nuclear carrier, handling 10-foot sharks underwater, firing an AK-47, slicing a brain in half, and pouring a $12 million gold bar for his presentation, “Should Science Be Allowed to be Interesting? One Man’s Insane Journey through a TV Career on PBS.”
Mason Peck, NASA’s chief technologist, will provide an update on the Mars Curiosity rover and NASA’s connections to the maker community in his presentation, “Working with NASA on Innovative Space Technology.”
Alton and Carrie Barron, hand surgeon and psychiatrist author duo, will speak about their research and recent book, The Creativity Cure, showing why and how making things is good for our minds, moods, earning potential, and the economy.
Jonathan Lippincott, author of Large Scale: Fabricating Sculpture in the 1960s and 1970s, will present the history of the sculptures made at his family’s large-scale sculpture fabrication company, Lippincott, Inc. Founded in 1966, Lippincott was the first fabricator dedicated exclusively to prototyping and building large-scale sculpture; they were the makers behind many familiar works by artists such as Claes Oldenburg, Louise Nevelson, Barnett Newman, and Ellsworth Kelly.
Catarina Mota and Dustyn Roberts, co-chairs of the Open Hardware Summit, will explain how, over the last few years, open source hardware went from an obscure hobby to a burgeoning movement. The pair will review the defining events of the last few years to draw a snapshot of the current state of the open source hardware movement and the impact it’s having in maker culture and beyond.
Stuart Schmill, dean of admissions at MIT, will offer advice to young makers (and parents of makers) on how best to prepare for the college experience and application process.
Allan Chochinov, founder of Core77, will moderate “Design and DIY: How Makers are Influencing Product Design,” an industrial design community debate featuring a panel of industry leaders, including Tad Toulis of TEAGUE, Gadi Amit of New Deal Design, Carla Diana of Smart Design, and Jared Ficklin of Frog Design.
Invigorating panel discussions include:
"After the Kickstarter" - Real stories from makers "going pro" and delivering on successful crowdfunding campaigns.
The latest in 3D printing and digital fabrication.
Firsthand reports on the diverse range of exciting new models of makerspaces (shared workshop environments that are taking off around the world).
Peter Meehan, former food writer for the New York Times and co-editor of the fun and irreverent food magazine Lucky Peach, interviews a panel of food makers (chefs!) that he admires most.
Our third installment of back-to-school tips from teachers for teachers, courtesy of Gina Tesoriero, 7th Grade Special Education teacher at Simon Baruch Middle School:
One thing that I like to do to prepare for the upcoming year is to identify one thing that I did well last year and one thing I would like to improve. This way I can set a professional goal for the school year and start thinking about how I will hold myself accountable.
Today’s back-to-school tips courtesy of Jill Fonda, teacher at The Beacon School:
While I’m by no means a veteran teacher (this will only be my fourth year), I’m happy to share some of my thoughts for the high school teachers out there:
—Smile. A lot of teachers will be super-strict the first few months of school to ensure that students don’t take advantage, but personally, I’ve always found that warmth and kindness go a long way in garnering student respect and forging meaningful relationships.
—Leave first-day procedures for the second day (or even third!) if you can, and do something fun and student-centered instead. It’ll get the kids talking about your class with their peers and their parents, and they’ll be ready to take on the syllabus and the information index cards with a bit more zeal. This year, I’m going to try the Oreo Challenge on our first day back: the students will have to determine if double-stuffed Oreos are really double-stuffed. There’s an added bonus in that I’ll be able to assess my students’ lab skills without giving a scary diagnostic exam!
It’s back-to-school season! To all the educators out there, welcome back and good luck. To kick off the year, NYSCI asked some of our teacher collaborators for tips and tricks that set the tone for a successful (and sane) school year.
We’ll check in a few times over the next few days. If you want more classroom resources from these teachers, all of them are also contributors to Teachers TryScience, a resource for lesson plans, videos, and other resources brought to you by NYSCI, IBM and Teach Engineering. And you can always sign up NYSCI content designed specifically for educators at my.nysci.org
Our first bit of advice comes from Veronica Pastore, a P4K teacher at PS65 in Brooklyn: