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May 23

Nanoparticle Superheroes Defeat Evil Microbes

Come one and all to the memorable book signing for Anna Rutkowski’s new children’s book Nanoparticle Superheroes Defeat Evil Microbes.  The book tells the inspiring story of Dr. Teri’s wonderful nanoparticle infused paper that makes polluted water drinkable for, potentially, millions of children and families around the world.

Anna partnered with Dr. Teri to craft the story then created the illustrations.  Any profits from the book go to Folia Water to assist in their amazing mission to bring clean water to every person in the world.

The book signing will be at the Citizen Science lab and opened and free to any adults and families.  We will have several activities for children and special guest Dr. Teri herself. We are so grateful to the Citizen Science Lab for hosting us!  This incredible hands-on laboratory is the only Pittsburgh life sciences lab open to students and the public.

Come, be inspired, celebrate science and help save a life.

Permanent link to this article: https://growageneration.com/2017/05/23/nanoparticle-superheroes-defeat-evil-microbes/

May 18

3 CWNC Distinguished Educator Research Fellows

Three teachers from Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic are being honored this Monday May 15th for the completion of a year-long Distinguished Educator Research Fellowship through Grow a Generation.

Amy Murray developed a Zebrafish Aquaria in her classroom and enabled sixteen of her AP Biology students to compete in the Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair doing fairly sophisticated experimentation on zebrafish embryos.  In addition, Mrs. Murray is in the process of developing a website chronicling her and her students experiences with zebrafish research. The website will serve future students and other biology teachers around the globe who will be able to access her methods.  Mrs. Murray was helped by mentor Elizabeth Rochon, a Postodoctoral Associate at the Gladwin Lab, University of Pittsburgh.  Students from the AP Biology classroom were able to visit the University of Pittsburgh Zebrafish Aquaria and listen to the fascinating research of Dr. Michael Tsang with a STEM Career Tour earlier in the year. The visit inspired the kids to look deeply into current methods of medical research. Mrs. Murray reflected after exams, “Their experience with authentic science research, one that is fed by their own curiosity, transforms the classroom into a place where students discover their future.”

Miss Beth Young, director of the drama Department and Director of Forensics, led students to develop augmented reality experiences to enhance drama projects in the school. Students experimented making media for Aurasma, an interaction app for cell phone. They created not only still photography and graphic designs but also digital movies that interacted with a user’s cell phone. Projects are archived at CWNCDrama.weebly.com.  The CWNC Drama Program has readily moved in the direction of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math), not just by learning to incorporate the technology available on its new stage, but also by looking for other ways to integrate technology into the arts.  Miss Young, after seeing the enthusiastic responses to the augmented reality, said, “We are looking forward to the continued use of technology in our drama program; theater, like all of the arts, needs to look for ways that technology enhances what the public enjoys.”

Mr. Keith Zielen, mathematics and computer science instructor, is one of 40 teachers in our nation who has piloted a new college board AP program called computer science principles using the mobile CSP curriculum students in his classroom.  His fellowship enabled him to lead students on the odyssey of creating a digital movie about their experiences with this unique course. They entered that digital video into the I-5 competition where they were named finalists. Mr. Zielen, remarking after the video was posted to YouTube, said, “Teaching the course has been fun and a journey in learning for myself as much as the class.  I hope our story inspires others to give Computer Science another look.”

The Grow a Generation Distinguished Educator Research Fellowship is an honor bestowed on teachers nominated by their principals.  Each project seeks to elevate the school, community and world through meaningful projects made possible.

Permanent link to this article: https://growageneration.com/2017/05/18/3-cwnc-distinguished-educator-research-fellows/

Apr 25

Aleenia on the Frontiers in Learning

The Media Lab hosted Chris Shovlin today from Radio Show and Podcast Frontiers in Learning. He interviewed Aleenia and Dr. Ellen about the Take Action club and Aleenia’s heartfelt commitment to raise awareness about the vulnerable and recruit a team to support, fundraise, advocate, and together shift the world from “me” to “we.”

 

Did you miss the radio broadcast?

Visit TalkShoe.com and search for “Frontiers in Learning” for the most recent podcast.  http://recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-142185/TS-1174143.mp3

Thank you to Chris Shovlin for the wonderful interview and sticking around to offer our Gifted Podcast team some wise words.

Did you miss the article in the Beaver County Times?  Click the image below to read the full article.

Permanent link to this article: https://growageneration.com/2017/04/25/aleenia-on-the-frontiers-in-learning/

Apr 23

MG Boys Make Powdered Nutella with Dr Das at CMU

The Molecular Gastronomy boys are two 4th grade research fellows in the Baden Academy Media Lab.  Their project mission is to help teach chemistry with easy to recipes that highlight the chemistry, physics and biology.  Thank to to Dr. Subha Das from CMU for helping them to begin to grasp polysaccharides!  How exciting.

Don’t forget to view their video in YouTube, like and comment on it!

 

The Molecular Gastronomy Boys learn about polysaccharides as they make dehydrated Nutella with chemistry professor Dr. Subha Das from Carnegie Mellon University. What fun!  Learn more at their website www.lunchwithchemistry.weebly.com  .

Permanent link to this article: https://growageneration.com/2017/04/23/mg-boys-make-powdered-nutella-with-dr-das-at-cmu/

Apr 17

CADD Connections: Local Companies Inspire Future Engineers


One of the most gratifying moments for a teacher is to see students engaged in purposeful wonder.  David Yackuboskey and his students from the Intro to Computer Aided Design and Drafting class at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School experienced a day of purposeful wonder with a STEM Careers Tour. The first stop of the STEM tour, Michael Baker International, immediately validated a curriculum that emphasizes the basics of computer aided design and drafting with 2D and 3D design software.  Actual models used in the construction and renovation of our roadways were generated using the same computer software students use in the classroom.  In fact, the models looked strikingly similar to the types of projects students had been completing throughout the first semester.  Although the projects were more robust, drafters had to use the same skills to develop them.

One of the critiques of the course from one student’s perspective, Landon Pringle – a junior at CWNCHS, is that the content can be “tedious, and kind of boring.”  That same student couldn’t imagine the amount of detail oriented effort it would take to create such a model.  When asked for his thoughts, Landon replied, “I don’t think I could be a transportation engineer.  I mean it’s cool, but painstaking.”  It means a lot to see that the skills used in the classroom are necessary in the workplace.  Being able to reveal those connections is what teaching is all about, even if a particular student realizes this particular career field doesn’t fit their skill set.

Representatives showcased Michael Baker’s very own software that automates computer generated renderings of bridge cross-sections.  By simply inputting a few dimensions that are specific to the project, a drafter can efficiently compile a set of drawings to be quality checked by an engineer.  A second tool Michael Baker highlighted was bridge inspection training software.  Students used the same software bridge inspectors are trained with to examine a virtual bridge; they navigated an environment, selected tools and analyzed structural concerns.  While this not a drafting application it is a prime example of using computers to increase efficiency in the field of transportation engineering.  

Lunchtime found the group at Robert Morris University’s Department of Engineering.   The scale of RMU’s STEM efforts was exponential next to the CWNC classroom. Students were blown away by the amount of computer aided machinery available to the engineering students. Overheard from the teacher, “wait, you mean students can use all of this?”

Students in the CWNC CADD classroom have been using software to create digital models. At RMU, students got to see how these models can be fabricated through the manufacturing process. Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) was on full display in the department of engineering, and it peaked students’ curiosity and creativity. They wondered how a 2D drawing could be used to guide the arm of a robotic router and etch a precise name into a plastic block. They also mused about the countless other applications of this technology.

STEM Career Tours are not only meant to inspire students.  It is hoped that the instructor, as well, finds inspiration and new insights.  David Yackuboskey said of his visit to Robert Morris, “Seeing this inspired me to push the curriculum further in future iterations of this course. It is my goal to provide opportunities for students to fabricate their own drawings and complete the CADD-CAM loop.”

RMU provided all the participants with flashy highlights of the laser scanner that can generate a 3D CADD model but also a deeper realization. Students recognized that the seemingly simple skills they are developing in class are being honed at universities across the nation and deployed to solve some of our generation’s most pressing challenges.

 

The afternoon brought the STEM athletes to Cadnetics, a full service production team that leads a project from existing building document, through computer aided design and building information modeling, to 3D visual representations.   James Mauler and Travis Johnson, the president and vice president of Cadnetics,  captured students’ attention with a laser scanner render a three-dimensional model of the room they were in.  The model was created and could then be manipulated using similar CADD software to what we use in the classroom.  

The common connection of Cadnetics and the students’ curriculum was communication through visualization of a project.  Whether through technical drawings or illustrative renderings, Cadnetics can put a computer to work with purpose.  Students were struck by the fact that this local company is having a national and even global impact through their knowledge of CAD.  

One of the most interesting lessons students gleaned during the STEM Careers Tour was that the company covets students with short term, 1-2 year, technical degrees.  Cadnetics values employees with very specific skill sets.  James commented that jack-of-all-trade graduates with 4-year degrees often lack the ability to produce results efficiently.  

This STEM Career Tour echoed what is repeated again and again by the business communities we visit. Industries are being exponentially transformed by digital technology. Traditional “blueprints” are outdated thanks to the impact CADD has had in the industries of architecture and construction management.  This experience, in combination with a passionate teacher who wants to apply what they’ve learned in future offerings in the classroom, and project based opportunities for the students, prepares a new generation for the 21st century jobs we can only imagine.

Read more at www.stemcareertours.com

 

Permanent link to this article: https://growageneration.com/2017/04/17/cadd-connections-local-companies-inspire-future-engineers/

Apr 02

CADD Connections: Cadnetics

One of the most gratifying moments for a teacher is to see students engaged in purposeful wonder.  I saw this in my students’ interaction with James Mauler and Travis Johnson, the president and vice president of Cadnetics respectively. Facilitated by STEM Career Tours, students enrolled in the Introduction to Computer-Aided Design and Drafting (CADD) course at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School were able to see how their newly acquired skills are put to work in Greater Pittsburgh.  This blog will highlight student experiences on the final stop of the STEM tour, Cadnetics.

The use and application of technology captured students’ attention during our visit with James and Travis.  They witnessed a laser scanner render a three-dimensional model of the room they were in.  The model was created and could then be manipulated using similar CADD software to what we use in the classroom.  Of course, I had to deflect questions like, “why don’t we have a laser scanner at school,” and “why can’t we make models like this!”  But, these questions reflect a level of interest and engagement I had not seen in the classroom.

The curriculum at CWNCHS emphasizes the capability of computers to increase, Precision, Efficiency, and Communication in the design process.  Of these three, Communication in design was demonstrated at Cadnetics.  We learned that the company provides services to multiple disciplines across many industries.  The common thread was communication through visualization of a project.  Whether through technical drawings or illustrative renderings, Cadnetics can put a computer two work with purpose.  Students were struck by the fact that this local company is having a national and even global impact through their knowledge of CAD.

The most important lesson students gleaned during our trip was that the company covets students with short term, 1-2 year, technical degrees.  Cadnetics values employees with very specified skill sets.  James commented that jack-of-all-trade graduates with 4-year degrees often lack the ability to produce results efficiently.  This was a refreshing perspective from an employer who is constantly looking for talent to grow his business. Students need to see that a 4-year degree is not the only path that can lead to success.  Perhaps one of my CAD students will work for Cadnetics one day.

Permanent link to this article: https://growageneration.com/2017/04/02/cadd-connections-cadnetics/

Mar 25

Vote this week! i5 Digital Video Competition

I am so proud of the hard work and creative genius that 4 different groups of students have put forward to enter the i5 Digital Video Competition. They each need your help!

March 26-April 9
Go online to your Youtube or Google account (if you do not already have one they are free!):
1. Click the links below then click “LIKE”
2. You can ‘like’ for up to 3 middle school and 3 high school films. Please help us get the Viewer’s Choice Award!

Watch as the AP Computer Science Principles class at CWNC describes this fascinating new program…

Students from Baden Academy worked are inquisitive and hilarious as they explore the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math of our school play.

Four students attended at G-MITES Spring camp and created a hilarious and informative video about a fascinating part of Pittsburgh’s history.

Elise took it upon herself to make a film (she is an amazing young girl and has commanded the Nerd Battalion since 3rd grade).  Check out what she learned about cyber security,

Don’t waste a moment – go vote!

 

Permanent link to this article: https://growageneration.com/2017/03/25/vote-this-week-i5-digital-video-competition/

Mar 22

CADD Connections: Robert Morris University’s Department of Engineering

One of the most rewarding challenges for a classroom teacher is to use curriculum as a means to connect students to their desired end, to stimulate their thinking and illuminate possible career paths. Facilitated by STEM Career Tours, students enrolled in the Introduction to Computer-Aided Design and Drafting course at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School were able to see how their newly acquired skills are put to work in Greater Pittsburgh.  This blog will highlight student experiences on the second stop of the STEM tour, Robert Morris University’s Department of Engineering.

Students immediately contrasted the scale of RMU’s STEM efforts to our own at CWNC.  They were blown away by the amount of computer aided machinery available to the engineering students.  As a teacher, it was encouraging to hear phrases like “I might just apply here,” and “wait, you mean students can use all of this?”

In our CADD class, students have been using software to create digital models.  At RMU, students got to see how these models can be fabricated through the manufacturing process.  Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) was on full display in the department of engineering, and it peaked students’ curiosity and creativity. They wondered how a 2D drawing could be used to guide the arm of a robotic router and etch a precise name into a plastic block.  They also mused about the countless other applications of this technology.  Seeing this inspired me to push the curriculum further in future iterations of this course.  It is my goal to provide opportunities for students to fabricate their own drawings and complete the CADD-CAM loop.

Our trip to RMU gave students a taste of what it would be like to continue to develop their CADD skills at the university level, they also got a literal taste of college when we stopped for lunch at a campus dining hall.  Over lunch, I had the opportunity to chat with some students about their experience.  Flashy highlights included the laser scanner that can generate a 3D CADD model from live readings in real-time and the massive machine responsible for pressing out plastic molds, but the most impactful comments involved a deeper realization.  Students recognized that the seemingly simple skills they are developing in class are being honed at universities across the nation and deployed to solve some of our generations most pressing challenges.  For example, we learned CADD-CAM is assisting concussion research and the development of prosthetics for amputees.

I like to change the narrative on the classic question “what do you want to do when you grow up?”  Instead, I ask students what problem they are interested in solving with their life’s work.  On this stop of our STEM Careers Tour, students saw that RMU is asking the same question of its engineering students.

Permanent link to this article: https://growageneration.com/2017/03/22/cadd-connections-robert-morris-universitys-department-of-engineering/

Mar 16

Favorite Teachers and the Best of Compliments

Your help is requested. Please find a way to prop up your phone or camera and make a quick film for one of my research fellows. Third grade Riley is asking you a question; “What is the most profound and memorable compliment a teacher ever gave you.”

The responses will be posted on her website for voting to be included in her upcoming book, “Give a Kid a Compliment.”

In celebration of the Ides of March, here’s mine Riley.

 

If you would like to send her your mp4 video, please email me (drellen@growageneration.com) with
– your name as you want it to appear
– contact information
– and paste the below paragraph into the email.
This video is being submitted for the project “Give a Kid a Compliment.” All submissions become the sole property of Baden Academy Media Lab/Grow a Generation and may be used for the website http://giveakidacompliment.weebly.com/

We will contact you if we wish to use your submission in any other way.

On behalf of Riley and all those who will learn to give a kid a meaningful compliment, thank you!

Permanent link to this article: https://growageneration.com/2017/03/16/favorite-teachers-and-the-best-of-compliments/

Mar 14

Pi Day 2017

What is Pi Day? 

March 14 is Pi Day and Albert Einstein’s birthday!  How are you going to celebrate?

Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159.

Around the world, people celebrate the universal language of math by recognizing Pi Day.

Top Five Classroom Activities

  • Sing a Pi song

  • Have a Pi memorization contest (winner gets a piece of pie!)

  • Have an Einstein look a like contest.

  • Cut Pi (Wrap a string around the circumference of a circular object. Cut the string when it is exactly the same length as the circumference. Now take your “string circumference” and stretch it across the diameter of your circular object. Cut as many “string diameters” from your “string circumference” as you can. What do you notice?

  • Create a daisy chain of circles to encircle your classroom with trivia, facts, history, and information about pi created by students.

Top Five At-Home Activities

  • Surround yourself with Einstein quotes

  • Watch a video about Archimedes of Syracuse (287–212 BC) or one of the other mathematician’s who helped us learn more about Pi.

  • Approximate Pi with the Buffon Needle Experiment

  • Create an Infographic about the various fields of mathematics and science that Pi is valued (geometry, trigonometry, calculus, cosmology, number theory, statistics, fractals, thermodynamics,mechanics, electromagnetism, engineering, computer algorithms, etc).

  • Create your own Pi Day Pininterest page (or add to mine!)

Top Five Individual Math Activities

  • Bake a pie (then calculate its volume!)

  • Celebrate with San Francisco’s Exploratorium by creating an avatar and joining other’s in the fabricated reality of Second Life.

  • Check your inbox at Tau time (6:28 pm) on Pi Day for an MIT admission acceptance (What do you mean you forgot to apply?!?)

  • Solve Pi Day Sudoku

  • Estimate Pi with Tooth Picks

Pi Trivia:

  • Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point.

  • Pi is irrational and transcendental number.

  • Pi will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern.

  • Hold Pi (3.14) up to a mirror and it spells PI.E

  • Pi has been known for almost 4000 years

  • Twitter  #piday

 Enjoy Vi Hart’s Pi Day Rants!:

Permanent link to this article: https://growageneration.com/2017/03/14/pi-day-2017/

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