Move over textbooks. Step aside complicated instruction sheets. On Monday, an unusual space opens that will teach kids and adults how to create and build circuits, metalworks, quilts, crafts, robots, and most importantly, that wacky, out-there project that you were told could never be built.
Maker Space is a new area at NYSCI that is made possible thanks to an investment by Cognizant’s Making the Future education initiative. The space, designed by the Brooklyn-based firm Situ Studio, will feature workshops on topics like sewing, soldering, and programming using open-source hardware. But the real skills being honed will be collaboration, risk-taking, creativity and innovation. These are skills that are necessary for careers in STEM. And skills that will help prepare the next generation of leaders.
"Curiosity, creativity and collaboration all come together in the activities we have planned for this space…" said Margaret Honey, president and CEO of NYSCI. "The network of collaborators that will work with us in this new venue represent an inspiring pool of talent to give our visitors – especially young children – the tools they need to nurture the innate human tendency to be creative and see the world differently."
Beginning in May, visitors to NYSCI can participate in workshops and drop-in sessions at the space. Topics will vary but will include sessions on the basics of soldering, sewing (using machines and equipment donated by SINGER® Sewing Company), and circuitry.
So forget your old notions of what you can and can’t accomplish. At Maker Space, there’s room for all your ideas, but there’s no space for limitations.
The woman looked at the items on the table. Vegetable oil, egg yolks, linseed oil and other ingredients. The elements for a perfect creation were right there in front of her, if only she could find the right combination.
The woman was not cooking. She was attending a workshop where participants mixed powdered pigments with everyday materials such as oils, soap and sand to create unique paints. The workshop was part of the conference Design, Make, Play Growing the Next Generation of Science Innovators, which was hosted by NYSCI in collaboration with O’Reilly Media and the White House Office of Science Technology Policy. Design, Make, Play brought together educators, policy leaders, university researchers, and makers to discuss how the kinds of do-it-yourself innovations on display at the annual World Maker Faire can become inspirations for reforming and improving the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in schools.
Paints weren’t the only things created that day – wooden cars, mini bobsleds, robots, pop-up cards and other projects required participants to try out new techniques, find solutions to problems, and use their inventiveness.
So what’s the best recipe for getting kids and adults interested in science? Start with a base of make-inspired projects then add a dash of curiosity and a pinch of critical thinking. Innovation is sure to follow!
Design, Make, Play’s lead sponsor is Time Warner Cable’s Connect a Million Minds. Additional support is provided by the National Science Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, and the Kauffman Foundation.
Participants at today’s Design, Make, Play: World Maker Faire Workshop, Phase Two spent the day exploring ways to enrich learning and increase student interest in science and math with projects that focus on making, designing and engineering. Workshop activities included making pop-up cards with LEDs, creating a robot from scratch, and building a wooden car, among others. The two-day workshop is a collaboration between NYSCI and O’Reilly Media.
Pictured: A conference attendee builds a Vibrocraft in a session presented by the Eli Whitney Museum.
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.
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.
When you think of a coach, images of push-ups and laps around the track may come to mind. At NYSCI, our coach doesn’t carry a whistle or make you do jumping jacks, but she will help you think differently about science.
Jasmine Maldonado has been a Science Coach Specialist at NYSCI since 2007. She provides teachers with different approaches for their science lessons.
“The NYSCI approach is more hands-on and inquiry-based as opposed to just teaching out of a textbook,” says Jasmine. “We encourage teachers to ask their students questions that require explanations, not just yes or no answers.”
As a Science Coach Specialist, Jasmine is an integral contributor to The Partnership for Inner-City Education, which works to improve science education at Catholic schools in New York City. Jasmine visits schools new to the program on a weekly basis and checks on existing schools on a biweekly basis.
Since it’s start in 2007, the program has worked with approximately 100 teachers and 3,000 students. Participating schools have seen increased use of the school’s science labs, an increase in hands-on and inquiry-based science teaching across the grades, increased student participation in regional science and technology competitions, and improved state science exam scores.
Interest in the program is high. Two more schools were just added to the program during the 2010 – 2011 school year, with more expected next year. Due to demand, NYSCI is hoping to expand by bringing on another Science Coach Specialist.
In a study looking at the efficacy of the coaching model, The Partnership for Inner-City Education stated:
"NYSCI’s work with our schools has transformed the way science is being taught. Students are so engaged during and inspired by their science classes that they are dreaming about pursuing careers in science. The teachers are highly motivated by the children’s enthusiasm and want to continue to expand their knowledge in this subject."
Now, go run another lap around the microscope.