Ruxz_M-rbu5hJUPoenSULdy6Wzk The Science of My Life: September 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Johnny Appleseed Day

My first grader celebrated J. A. Day on Monday with apple activities. (John Chapman was born September 26, 1774, although his official day is March 11)  It got me thinking that simple experiments could be added to the day, so I thought I would share a fun one from a great This site allows users to share and find great STEM activities from the nation's top science museums. It is full of great ideas, and links you right to the actual museum for more information.

This experiment teaches about the difference between sugar and starch, which is a concept that I still cover with my college students. But kids are never too young to learn about chemistry!

Checking For Starch

Monday, September 26, 2011

ISTA and ICTM Conference in Idaho Falls

I am excited to attend the ISTA Conference next week in Idaho Falls.  I will be presenting 2 different workshops on Thursday, and all the sessions look great!  Teachers, download the schedule of presentations and make the effort to be at Hillcrest High School on Oct 6-7.  Of course there will be lots of great resources available for all grade levels. 

I appreciate all the work that has gone into the preparations for this combined conference for Science and Math Teachers.   Thanks Julie!!!!!/USGS_Idaho/status/111200599265124353

Friday, September 23, 2011

Autumn Equinox this event has been around for millenia, but how often do we explain it to our kids?  For many of us, the streets where we live were lined up to match the Fall and Spring Equinox, so driving to and from school and work today (this week) has been tough with the sun right in our eyes!!

I have been involved with PLT for several years, and I love their activities.  In fact, Declo Junior High was awarded a mini-grant from Idaho PLT just a few weeks ago.  I will post pictures of the finished project when we get it done.

So thanks Michelle fo posting something fun to celebrate this day.

The equinox will happen at 3:04 am (Mountain Daylight Time) on 9/23/11. To celebrate the day and the season, take students outside to enjoy a PLT activity! PLT #21, Adopt a Tree, is a great way to start the school year. Students can return to do PLT activities related to "their" tree all year long! Here's a link to additional Adopt a Tree resources to support your PLT guide.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Reminder Post about Weekend Family Science Activities

I wanted to re-post the details about 2 more events this weekend.  On Friday night at the Herrett Center in TF, there is a Girls' Night Out for 3rd -6th graders.  I hope some of you signed up to attend with your daughters.  It looks like a lot of fun.

I will be attending the CROP Walk in Heyburn with many of my CSI Students.  They have been collecting donations and I am excited to see their willingness to be involved.  I have invited neighbors and my local congregation to also participate, so we should have a great group there.  It starts at 10:15 and lunch is provided after we walk around Riverside Park.

Have a great weekend!  Tomorrow I have one more event to share, so check back!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Field Trip to Craters on the Moon

Today I got to hike and explore Craters of the Moon with my 6th grader and 90 of her friends.  What a fun and exhausting day!  I am so grateful for dedicated teachers who make these kinds of experiences possible.  Craters is a National Monument and full of caves and craters and critters.  It is GEOLOGY LIVE!

So I will post a few more weekend activities tomorrow!  Still lots to share!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Thousand Springs Art Festival

The next event this weekend is held in a beautiful area of the Snake River.  I have enjoyed the Festival in the past, and it is a great excuse to get down to the Springs if you have never been there.  The canoe ride is the best way to appreciate the clear water, and to understand a little more about the Snake River Plain Aquifer.

Thousand Springs Festival September 24-25 - The annual Thousand Springs Festival of the Arts will be held September 24-25  at Thousand Springs State Park. Over 60 artisans will attend with pottery, glasswork, clothing and more. Live music will be featured on both days of the event with jazz, blues and acoustical music. Mexican, Basque, seafood and BBQ will be available along with beer and wine. Enjoy kids activities, live demonstrations and canoe and hay rides! Please visit the website for more details and exact directions. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Busy week for Science!! NPLD coming on Saturday...

This may be the busiest weekend of events that I have seen in a long time.  Instead of one monster post, I will share details about one event each day this week, and it will be up to you to decide what direction to go! 

So I will start with National Public Lands Day on Saturday.  Across the country, national parks are FEE-FREE in support of this annual event.  It is a clean-up day, and sites all over Idaho are hosting projects.  So check the national website as well as the Idaho site for ideas.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Jane Goodall Live - Sept 27 In Movie Theatres Nationwide

Thanks to my friend Lauren for letting me know about this one night movie event about Jane Goodall. Find a theater that has chosen to show this documentary and GO! Idaho, you can go to Hailey, Idaho Falls, or Boise.
There are 11 theaters in Utah that are showing the movie.
And in Grapevine, TX, you can go to Tinseltown 17!!

Here is the event website for more details and ticket information.

I have a few previous posts about Dr Goodall, so you know I consider her to be one of the greatest scientists and humans on the planet. I am sure this is a fundraiser for her organization, the Jane Goodall Institute, and that is why the tickets are $15. Worth it!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

STEM Job Statistics

Thanks to Brandi for sharing this information.  I appreciate reading what the realities are in the current job market. 

Just a little STEM research from Dept of Commerce that you may be interested in. Below are highlights.  See full report at:

·         Across all levels of educational attainment, the largest group of STEM jobs is within the computer and math fields, which account for close to half (46 percent) of all STEM employment. Second are engineering and surveying occupations with one-third of all STEM employment, while 13 percent are in the physical and life sciences, and 9 percent in STEM management jobs.
·         define STEM jobs to include professional and technical support occupations in the fields of computer science and mathematics, engineering, and life and physical sciences.
·         Although STEM employment currently makes up only a small fraction of total U.S. employment, STEM employment grew rapidly from 2000 to 2010, increasing 7.9 percent. In contrast, employment in non-STEM jobs grew just 2.6 percent over this period. STEM jobs are projected to grow at a fast pace relative to other occupations. From 2008 to 2018, STEM jobs are expected to grow 17.0 percent compared to just 9.8 percent for non-STEM jobs.
·         a STEM degree is the typical path to a STEM job, as more than two-thirds of the 4.7 million STEM workers with a college degree has an undergraduate STEM degree.
·         all STEM degree holders receive an earnings premium relative to other college graduates, whether or not they end up in a STEM job. Likewise, college graduates, regard-less of their major, enjoy an earnings premium for having a STEM job.
·         In addition to higher earnings, workers in STEM occupations on average experience lower unemployment rates than workers in other fields
·         Among the four STEM occupational groups, the physical and life sciences have the highest-educated workforce, with nearly 40 percent holding a graduate degree – about double the share for computer, math and engineering jobs.
·         because STEM includes professionals as well as first-tier support jobs, we find that a number of STEM workers have less than a four-year college degree; nearly one-quarter (23 percent) have completed an associate degree or at least some college, and 9 per-cent have a high school diploma or less. So while it is certainly true that the majority of STEM workers tend to have at least a bachelor’s degree, opportunities also exist for STEM workers with lower education levels.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Idaho Public TV Dialogue for Kids

Starting next week, Joan starts her '11-'12 season on D4K.  On September 20, she discusses sports physiology.  All of the topics are related to science and teachers and classrooms can submit questions and get prizes!  I have some cool calendar placemats about the show so if you are local, let me know if you want one.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Field Trip to Emerald Lake

Early Saturday morning, I met a few of my students for a Water Ecology lab at a nearby lake.  We learned about pH, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, and other critical quality factors.  A big thanks to Ross from the Ag Dept for helping us have a meaningful experience.  I brought Don and one of my kids to help, and they ended up kayaking around the lake while we took samples.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Survivor Tree in NYC and the POWER of Nature!

One of the stories I shared with my students this week was about this Survivor Tree.  It was the last living thing pulled from the rubble at Ground Zero.  It was burned and broken.  But it has been nursed back to health all these years, and was replanted at the Memorial Plaza in NYC.  I hope all the thousands of people directly affected that fateful day have received similar love, support, and care by those around them.

I am grateful that waterfalls and trees are the centerpieces of the Memorial site.  I watched family members today be able to touch their loved ones' names that are written around the perimeter of the waterfalls.  Very poignant.

I love these quotes that emphasize the powerful healing abilities of the natural world.

"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside...amidst the simple beauty of nature."  Anne Frank

"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts."  Rachel Carson

Friday, September 9, 2011

Awesome Science Teacher and Friend makes the Front Page!

BJHS Teacher Reda Gomske is doing great things for her students. She is full of ideas and new materials to make this year great! I have totally enjoyed getting to know her this summer and am grateful she was one of my teachers at Science Camp-Twin Falls.  Congratulations Reda for all your efforts~

Follow the share link to read the article in the Times-News.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

CROP WALK on September 24 in Heyburn

This year I have been asked to participate in the Annual CROP WALK to raise awareness and money for both local food banks and global food scarcity programs.  This is a community event that brings together many denominations, service clubs, youth groups, and families.  If you would like additional information or a chance to donate, please let me know by September 22.  The Walk is at Heyburn Riverside Park, check-in is at 10:15, and a lunch is served after the walk.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Idaho Power Education Grants

Here is yet another opportunity for our schools to get money for meaningful activities and lessons.  What is holding us back from taking advantage of all the resources available to teachers, parents, and community groups?  The answers include time and passion, and we all need to have more of both!

Idaho Power has launched a new set of grants aimed at improving educational opportunities across its service area.
The Powering Tomorrow Grants are available to tax-exempt organizations, schools and programs that intend to use the funding primarily to promote educational opportunities, strengthening communities down the road. The electric utility will award multiple grants of up to $1,500 each.
To apply, Idaho Power asks interested groups to “share their education story” at idahopower by Jan. 31, 2012. A complete list of eligibility requirements and contest rules is also available on that page.
Special consideration will be given to programs that serve large numbers of students of any age, create meaningful differences in their communities, encourage innovation or advances in new and established fields, and receive a large number of nominations.

Read more: 

Science Education Programs and Products - NSTA Calendar

Here is an amazing list of grants and programs available to teachers in Science and Math and the Arts, among other fields. There are so many funding opportunities out there, but finding the grants can be hard, so I hope this helps. I think the challenge is finding time to write the applications, but it is well worth your efforts!

Science Education Programs and Products - NSTA Calendar

Monday, September 5, 2011

Letterboxing in Island Park

We just returned from a quick trip to Island Park and YNP.  It is time I shared one of my favorite activities...letterboxing.  It is the older cousin of geocaching, but you don't need GPS technology to play.  You can find boxes all over the world, and discover great places as a result of your hikes.  I use to find boxes, and this trip we found one in Box Canyon, right at Island Park.  Once you find a hidden box, you put your "stamp" and name in their logbook, and put their stamp in your own log book.  We have a special stamp that we use, and I am always delighted when we actually find the box.  This time, we also found an osprey nest with babies and a protective mom, as well as a wild rasberry patch.  The view was beautiful as well.  So wherever you are, try letterboxing for yourself.  It is a really fun activity!

Cool fish ladder below the little dam at Buffalo River Hydroelectric Project

Friday, September 2, 2011

Teacher/ Donor Programs

Here is some information about DonorsChoose, which matches donors with teachers that need specific supplies for their classrooms.  Another site is  I personally know these programs work, and have brought equipment to Cassia schools.  So parents, ask your teachers to participate, then donate toward a specific supply.  No more lotion for teachers!  None of us can buy a $200 supply, but each of us can give $5 and that can really add up to great new stuff for our kids.

Grants for Teachers - CenturyLink is partnering with to offer grants totaling $100,000 to fund classroom projects in public schools! Projects must be submitted by a teacher at a public school to be eligible. Log on to and submit your request for a project that fills a need in your classroom. For best chance to receive funding, projects should be submitted by September 12!    

Thursday, September 1, 2011

City of Rocks Falconers Presentation

This should be a really cool way to learn more about Birds of Prey in our area.  The presentation will begin at 9:30 AM this Saturday, September 3, at Register Rock.  Here is the link...

Have a great Labor Day Weekend!  Get out and do something fun!