Ruxz_M-rbu5hJUPoenSULdy6Wzk The Science of My Life: February 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Time to Register for iSTEM!!

Follow the link to read the announcement for the Summer Institute.  Registration opens March 1 and you need to sign up this week.  The website also has the strand descriptions, which are the classes you can sign up to take.  You stay in the same class all week.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Leap Year Science and Math

I happen to love Leap Day, and my family opens a time capsule and adds new items every 4 years to commemorate the occasion.  I wanted to post a description of the purpose of leap day, and this post from the Science Museum of Virginia hit the mark.  Enjoy your extra day tomorrow!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Why Science Matters Lecture in SLC

This looks like a great lecture hosted by the Natural History Museum of Utah on the U of U campus in SLC.  Sounds like a good way to spend Leap Day!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

IdEEA Conference next weekend in Boise

I have just confirmed my plans to attend the Idaho Environmental Educators Assoc Conference in Boise.  The theme is "Natural Partners: Environmental Education and Green STEM" and the workshops, field trips, and other activities look great!  I am very excited to here from state leaders in EE and STEM programs.  It is not too late to sign up, although the fees have risen.  Teachers can also pay for 2 PD credits as well.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Google Celebrates Physics today with Google Doodle

I am enjoying the creative google doodles that come up from time to time.  Today, Google is using the wavelength to celebrate the birthday of German physicist, Heinrich Hertz.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Predators Episode on Idaho PTV...Dialogue for Kids

Tomorrow is another great episode on Idaho Public Television.  Check out Joan's blog for more information.

The Science of Valentine's Day

This is a week late, but I wanted to post just the same so you have these ideas.  I am a poor man's Steve Spangler, since he sells products and workshops for hundreds of dollars a pop.  But I do love his blog because he shares experiments...hoping you will go to his website to buy the materials.  Many of his experiments can be replicated with household materials, and that's what I do.

Last week, I helped with my 1st grader's Valentine's Party.  Of course, I did a science station.  Of course, I colored carnations for the kids.  And I do have some of these hand boilers...and I will buy the friction pens as soon as I find some.  I will have to make a call for liquid nitrogen!  :)  So thanks really are bringing science to the masses.  Someday I hope to be able to afford one of your workshops!  The cruise one sounds fun!

The Science of Valentine’s Day – Love Potions, Love Meters and Hidden Messages

Great STEM images

As I think about the iSTEM theme of Integration meets Innovation, I realize that these STEM topics do not stand alone.  Since we focus on reading, writing, and math in the elementary grades, then we need to bring the S and the T and the E to that level as well.  Science connections come easily to me, but my friend made a good point the other day about Technology.  Since some classrooms don't have advanced tools for learning, she reminded me that even basic tools like rulers and balances can be considered technology.  We need to expand our definitions of STEM so that we don't feel restricted by what "new toys" we can afford for our classrooms.  Engineering seems daunting, but that is just applied math and science to solve problems, and kids do that all the time on the playground!  So here are 2 images that I have collected recently to remind me to connect the dots.

The link to this image is
You can download the PDF file of this graphic

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Updated: Idaho iSTEM Institute Video and General Information

This year, Integration meets Innovation at 4 regional iSTEM Institutes.  CSI will be hosting the week-long conference in June this year, and registration opens soon...look on the State Dept of Ed website by March 1.  They expect the conferences to fill within a few days, so if you teach in any of the STEM fields, check the dates and plan on an amazing week with serious "swag" for teachers!!  My experience last year was one of my first posts on this blog, so check that for more information on what to expect.

I just got the list of classes that teachers can sign up email me if you want to know!!!  Be ready to register on March 1...don't wait even a few days...because the conference will fill!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Scale of the Universe Viral Video by 9th grade twins

Well, I have to do my part to keep this video spreading.  The student probably watched the "cell size and scale" video on that I always show my students and then got inspired to do this video!  Good job!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Herrett Center Camp-In March 2-3

My kids had a great time last year at the Camp-In!  But fair warning....they get VERY little sleep.  Darcy keeps them moving with awesome activities!  My daughter took a greenhouse class with Treeman Dave, and Kenyon made bird crafts with Randy and Jan from the Biology Dept.  I helped Sarah in the microscope class.  My favorite was watching "Dr. Picklestein" from BSU.  Also, since I wasn't going to leave my kids that far from home...I camped at a hotel down the street!  It was a fun weekend for all of us. Sign up your kids they get into the workshops they want.

Students in third through fifth grades are urged to sign up soon for the Science Camp-In at the Herrett Center for Arts and Science the evening of Friday, March 2.

Event organizer and Herrett Center Education Coordinator Darcy Thornborrow has lined up hands-on workshops in chemistry, rocket science, archaeology, aquaculture, geology, astronomy, and more. Each session will be directed by scientists from the CSI faculty or an outside agency.

Students who sign up for the evening’s activities will list their top choices of workshops. The group will also see a show in the Faulkner Planetarium, view through telescopes in the Centennial Observatory, have snacks, get a Science Camp-In T-shirt, and then sleep overnight in the Herrett galleries, under constant adult supervision. Parents will pick up their children at 8 a.m. Saturday, March 3.

The event begins at 6 p.m. Friday, March 2. The registration fee is $40 per student and must be limited to the first 140 students who sign up. Participants are required to sign up before the registration deadline of Friday, Feb. 24. No registrations can be taken at the door the night of the event. For more information or to sign up, contact Thornborrow at 732-6664 or at

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Declo Science Fair Kick-Off

I had a fun time with the 4th and 5th grade classes yesterday.  Here are a few of the points we talked about:  the project guides and the display boards are free this year for all the students.  The teachers are passing those materials out to the students.  The teachers are in charge of grading the projects as class assignments.  The projects are due on April 9th and will be displayed at the Community Dinner on April 10th.  Check with your child's teacher about doing projects with a partner. 

Most importantly, have FUN with your project!  Choose a topic that interests you and check the websites that are in the packet or on this blog.  Start soon by choosing a topic this month, and starting your experiment by March.  Projects are not reports and are not models.  Students were reminded they had to test an experiment.  We are here to help so good luck and discover something new!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

UPDATE: Giving a Shout out to Squishy Circuits on CNN

This is one of my favorite demonstrations, but I have a lot to learn about electrical circuits.  I have already posted about Squishy Circuits, but I will look for this story on CNN this Sunday.

Dale Dougherty, founder of Make: magazine (Where squishy circuit recipes were first published!) and Maker Faire will be profiled on CNN on Sunday. The preview video includes a bit of Dale and Sanjay Gupta making Squishy Circuits!
Dale Dougherty has a simple idea: all of us are makers. We’re born makers. We don’t just live --- we make. Dale believes that America used to be a nation of makers. People were proud to tinker in their garages and basements and pass on the tradition of “making” to future generations.

Here is the full segment from CNN.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cassia Regional Tech Center Open House

On Thursday afternoon, the Tech Center in Burley is hosting an Open House for parents and students of Mini-Cassia.  From 4-7 PM, the teachers will be on hand to show off all the programs available to Juniors and Seniors in our District. Whether your student wants to learn CADD (like my son is doing right now...and earning 16 college credits as a result) or get training in EMT, CNA, Construction, Electronics, Graphic Design, IT,  Auto Mechanics, or Automated Manufacturing, this is a great resource for our community. 

I attended a field trip with the 8th graders last Friday, and I was reminded how awesome that Center is for our students.  Students have to plan for these classes, since they take the place of 2 classes in a regular school day, but it has been totally worth it for my son.  It is a great way to get more "T" in a STEM education.

The Electronics Class builds VEX Robots

The Automated Manufacturing class designs and builds cool stuff!

EMT Basic students practice on a lucky 8th grader

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Updated: White House Science Fair Today

This looked like a great event at the White House this week.  Science Fair Projects give students the opportunity to investigate, work together, and find solutions to real problems.  Here are some links with information.

Monday, February 6, 2012

UPDATED: Cassia Science Fair Links

Science Fair season is here in the Mini-Cassia area.  I will publish a series of posts focused on helping students, parents, and teachers with the projects that are being assigned at a number of elementary schools.

OK...all you need is to get some ideas.  There are places on that site for parents, teachers, and even students to explore.  For older students, you can "Ask an Expert" and get advice from practicing scientists.  Awesome!

Another favorite site is, and when you go there, they have another great resource available.  More links!

Another favorite...ZOOM on PBS kids

There are almost too many places to search for ideas, so my advice is to follow the packet that will be passed out to students, and choose a topic that they love.  Then look for ideas.  Remember the goal is to have fun learning something new by doing an experiment.  Science fair projects are NOT reports, but the more you know about your topic, the better your experiment will be.  Good luck!!

Free Smithsonian Water Webinars

The Snake River is the lifeblood of Southern Idaho, so this Webinar Series will be a great fit for my Environmental Science curriculum, as well as all the presentations I do for the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts.
FREE webinar series: "Water Matters," the topic of the 2012 Shout environmental education program.

Talk with Smithsonian scientists and experts sharing their scientific, historical and artistic perspectives on this critical natural resource. Webinars will be broadcast from the Smithsonian's Washington, D.C., complex as well as its field research centers. Get lesson plans, hands-on activities and project ideas and help your students earn recognition for their exploration through a digital Smithsonian Badges program. Connect with other teachers and students and take action to preserve our environment.

Participate on your own or with your students. Join the teacher preview sessions to get tips and ideas before the webinars, which run Feb. 7-8, March 26-27, and May 16-17.

Give your students a voice in environmental issues.
Sign up to participate today!

Description: Shout LogoShout is a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution, Microsoft Partners in Learning, and TakingITGlobal. More at

Stay Connected:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Big Miracle Movie...trip down memory lane...

In the same week, 2 movies have been released that took place in 1988-89, my Senior Year of High School. (See ABC Space Camp Post) This story brings back great memories of the Biology classroom where I LIVED!  My mentor, Sherri Steward-Ganz, would tell us about the whales each day in class (I was her aide by that time).  We were busy building an Ecology Center that year, but I have pictures of these whales in my yearbook...she drew them of course.  Teachers have such influence over their students, and I try each day to share my passion with my students that Sherri shared with me.  Sadly, I have lost track of my friend.  Where are you?  I have so much to tell you!  Until then, my readers can read a little about your adventures...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

STEM in the News...Girl Scout Power!

I appreciated this segment on ABC news yesterday that highlighted the efforts by the Girl Scouts of America to promote STEM activities.  They are learning to be "smart cookies!"  I loved the lessons I learned as a Brownie and Girl Scout...and of course I still have my uniform!  Thanks for keeping it safe, Mom!