June
2014
June Temperatures Rise with Fun Summer STEM News at Girls STEM Collaborative (GSGSC)
 
Greetings from GSGSC! The Garden State Girls STEM Collaborative is the New Jersey initiative of the National Girls Collaborative Project, a program focused on providing high quality STEM activities to girls. Our primary goal is to strengthen the capacity of girl-serving STEM programs to effectively reach and serve underrepresented girls in STEM by sharing promising practice research and program models, outcomes, products and by connecting formal and informal educators, business and industry in order to maximize the resources that can positively influence our girls. 
As always, this newsletter is for you as members of the Collaborative. It can serve as a forum to promote events and to highlight the good work that you all do, so please let me know what is going on so we can include your program in upcoming issues.
 
In this issue:
  • Haddonfield Elementary Students Participate in "CAN" Program
  • To Get Ahead in STEM, the Key Is C -- Computers 
  • NIOST and NJSACC Offer A New and Incredible STEM Fellowship Opportunity! 
  • Full STEM Ahead is the #1 Resource for New Jersey STEM News! All Aboard!!
  • Take Advantage of this Valuable FREE Resource: Is your program listed?
  • Guitar building teaches Oregon students math, science, history

 
Mike MacEwan
Collaborative Lead, Garden State Girls STEM Collaborative
Haddonfield Elementary Students Participate in "CAN" Program 
 

By Kyle Carney

 

Students from Elizabeth Haddon Elementary School came in with a "can do" attitude to participate in the We CAN Help program on May 28.

The program challenged students to use the STEM skills they have learned during the year to build structures with canned foods.

"This program is great for a few reasons," Denise Sellers of Haddonfield Child Care said. "The kids are able to use the STEM skills they have been learning in a fun way; we get the kids and their parents together to do something fun; and we get to help out the community by giving the canned food away."

The students collected the cans during the school year. Cans were also donated by Wegman's Supermarket and the two teams battled it out for those cans in a chess tournament.

The cans were put to good use on May 28, when the two teams squared off in a competition to design and build the best structure. The two teams, the Minions versus the Swagin Dawgs, were able to build anything they wanted, so long as they only used the cans they had collected. Parents were also invited to participate in the event and they pitched right in on their hands and knees stacking cans.

"The whole concept of this event came together after Torani Syrups began their 'Power Down, Connect Up' initiative," Sellers said. "We wanted to create something that would allow the kids to turn off their screens and be with their families."

The We CAN Help program is based on the CANstruction events that have become popular for architecture firms around Philadelphia and New York, in which architects and engineers compete is design competitions with only canned foods.

"We took that idea and made it a little more fun," Sellers said.

The collection of cans was extensive and after the half hour time limit, both teams had finished constructing their buildings. The Minions designed a castle with a moat surrounding it, while the Swagin Dawgs went in a different direction, building a police station and car.

It was then left to the judges, which included architect Jay Reinert, landscape architect Joseph Sikora, Elizabeth Haddon Principal Craig Ogelby and local sculptor John Giannotti. After some intense deliberation, Mayor Jeffrey Kasko announced the winner: the Swagin Dawgs. All was not lost for the Minions though, as they took home the award for most cans collected, brining in 297 cans.

"It's always a great thing when you can get kids and parents together having fun," Sellers said. "And it's always nice to be able to give back in the process too."

In total, the We CAN Help program collected over 500 canned goods, which were donated to the St. Paul's Church Food Pantry after the competition ended. 

 

Click here to read from this article's source.

Click here to download the press release and learn more. 

Op-Ed: To Get Ahead in STEM, 
the Key Is C -- Computers 
 

By Evan Charles

 

STEM is more than a buzzword or a fad. President Obama has built a significant portion of his education policy around increasing interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, from hosting White House science fairs to launching a "master teaching corps" of STEM educators.

 
The STEM focus is based, in large part, on an assessment that STEM fields will produce the most high-wage jobs and entrepreneurial innovation in the near and long term. Focusing on STEM is a smart investment based on pretty solid evidence.
 
But at the same time, we may be under-emphasizing the best STEM opportunities out there.
 
According to research from the University of Washington, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 71 percent of all future STEM jobs will be "computer occupations." This chart from the research hits you over the head: It shows that nearly three out of every four jobs we expect to be open in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math will be in technology - in particular, computers. Computer coding, software design, data and system management.
 
The next highest percentage of future STEM jobs is in engineering - at 15 percent. No other single projected STEM-related occupation tops 4 percent. When U.S. News ranked the best jobs of 2014, the first two spots were software developer and computer systems analyst. Web developer was No. 9.
 
Computer skills will be essential to success in non-STEM fields as well. As Ed Lazowska, the author of the University of Washington report, pointed out: "Fields from anthropology to zoology are becoming information fields. Those who can bend the power of the computer to their will - computational thinking but also computer science in greater depth - will be positioned for greater success than those who can't."
 
Perhaps it's time we start thinking of future workforce opportunities - and our corresponding investments - in terms of C for computers and then E, M and S for engineering, math and science. "CEMS" isn't as pretty an acronym, but it's a lot more accurate.
 
The challenge is that our education system - from primary schools through graduate schools - simply isn't training people fast enough to fill these computer-related jobs. According to Code.org, in 2013, 14,000 more high school students took the Advanced Placement (AP) exam in Art (44,000) than the exam for computer science (29,555). Five times as many high school students - 151,477 - took the AP Spanish test.
 
And less than 3 percent of college graduates are earning degrees in computer science.
 
It's not too surprising then that the growing need for employees with computer skills has put pressure on educators and training providers to close the skills gap. I'm partial to one such solution - the coding camp. And not just because I run one. I'm partial to them because coding camps address the problem more quickly and directly than changes to our overall education can or will.
 
To me, coding camps are a fast pass to the STEM job market. And the fact is that this type of skip-ahead option isn't viable in most other fields - especially the STEM ones. Nobody wants an engineer skipping ahead in school. And unless you're Doogie Howser, you don't get to do your undergraduate education and medical school in three years.
 
Of course, no computer coding camp will make you an expert in eight to 10 weeks. The truth is that computer technology is changing so quickly, you'll never stop learning, whether you invested years earning an advanced degree or months at a coding camp.
 
But the good news is that years of school isn't the only option.
 
The demand - both now and in the future - is too high for the long lead time it will take to make computer literacy a core component of middle and high school education, although that needs to happen, too.
 
It's time we start to focus as much on computer education as we have on STEM in general, and include computer education more directly and prominently as we adjust our classrooms to meet our workforce needs. It's time, also, to welcome computer coding camps as an indispensable part of that conversation. 

 

Click here to read from this article's source.

 
NIOST and NJSACC Offer A New and Incredible STEM Fellowship Opportunity!

National Afterschool Matters STEM Practitioner Fellowship
A collaborative effort between the National Institute on Out-of-School Time, the National
Writing Project, and NJSACC: The Network for NJ's Afterschool Communities
 
The National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) at the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College and the National Writing Project (NWP), with generous funding support from the Robert Bowne Foundation, launched the National Afterschool Matters Initiative Practitioner Fellowship in September 2008. The first two participating cities were Philadelphia through the Philadelphia Writing Project, and the San Francisco Bay area through the Bay Area Writing Project.

We have also have or had Fellowships in Minneapolis, Seattle, Pittsburgh, and New York City. NIOST and NJSACC are excited to bring this opportunity to out-of-school-time (OST) practitioners  and classroom teachers in New Jersey. The fellowship is grounded in the inquiry-based, writing, and professional development approaches of the National Writing Project (NWP) and NIOST. This effective professional development model provides frequent and ongoing opportunities for educators in and out of school to write and to examine theory and practice together systematically. Educators who are well informed and effective in their practice can be successful teachers of other practitioners as well as partners in development and implementation of effective and quality practice. Research findings by the fellows will be presented at a research roundtable in the Fall of 2015, and fellows will be encouraged to submit papers for publication.

Participants in the Practitioner Fellowship are selected by application. Through the year-long course the Fellows will explore some of the issues emerging from recent studies that challenge the dichotomy of learning experiences as well as traditional structures of learning. Researchers and policy makers have increasingly questioned the split between in-school and out-of-school programs, calling for new policy and innovative thinking to bridge these divides. 
 
Click here to download the fellowship flyer
Click here to download the fellowship application
 
Those selected for the New Jersey STEM Practitioner Fellowship will:
  • Become part of a community of practitioners. Fellows work collaboratively to study effective practices and investigate the structures in which effective practice happens - at the program/classroom, activity, curriculum, and individual levels using their own Science, Technology, Engineering and/or Mathematics curricula as the objects of study.
  • Learn strategies to engage in program reflection and inquiry. Fellows learn approaches and strategies that will help them become better at program/classroom observation and analysis.
  • Improve programs and practice. Fellows identify and investigate effective instructional strategies and bring these strategies back to their classrooms and/or OST programs.
  • Collaborate to identify ways that schools and OST programs can better work together to support youth in STEM learning and engagement.
  • Engage in leadership activities to disseminate program/classroom improvement strategies. Fellows present their work to peers, administrators, parents and community members. They are encouraged to design and deliver workshops based on their work to share new expertise with others in the field.
  • Write a STEM-focused inquiry paper that intentionally brings the worlds of OST and the school classroom together as part of an article for professional journals.
Responsibilities of Fellows:
  • September 2014 to November 2014: twice monthly Saturday meetings at the NJSACC office in Westfield, NJ
  • December 2014 to May 2015: monthly meetings, one Saturday per month in Westfield, NJ
  • April or May 2015: a spring writing retreat, where rough drafts of STEM research articles will be completed. Location TBD.
  • October 2015: a formal Round Table Presentation of research to the broader community
Application Process:

Employer approval must be obtained (see Memorandum of Understanding). Please complete the Practitioner Fellowship application and return, along with the MOU, no later June 27th 2014 by e-mail, fax, or mail to:

National Institute on Out-of-School Time,
National Afterschool Matters Practitioner Fellowship
Wellesley College, Waban House
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481

fax: 781-283-3657

For more general information contact: Elizabeth Meister, (781) 283-2607 or emeister@wellesley.edu

If you have specific questions in regards to the New Jersey Fellowship please contact Mike MacEwan, Director of STEM Initiatives for NJSACC at: mmacewan@njsacc.org

To apply, request the National Afterschool Matters Practitioner Fellowship application and the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) from mmacewan@njsacc.org, the NJSACC website at: www.NJSACC.org or on the NIOST website here.
Full STEM Ahead is the #1 Resource for New Jersey STEM News! All Aboard!!
 
Eighty percent of jobs created in the next decade will require math and science skills (National Science Foundation). NJSACC's new Full STEM Ahead! Afterschool Initiative continues to help New Jersey afterschool providers become STEM leaders, preparing students for these jobs.
 
Some of their latest informative STEM news include such items as:
 
Click here to stay up-to-date at FullSTEMAhead.org
Take Advantage of this Valuable FREE Resource: Is your program listed?
 
The Online Program Directory lists organizations and programs that focus on motivating girls to pursue STEM careers. The purpose of the directory is to help organizations and individuals network, share resources, and collaborate on STEM-related projects for girls. 


When you sign up for the Program Directory, you will enter your program description, resources available within your organization, program and/or organizational needs, and contact information.

The Directory contains program descriptions, resources available within each organization, program and/or organization needs, and contact information. Submitted entries undergo review and verification prior to publication.

 

Click here to register your STEM program
Guitar building teaches Oregon students math, science, history 

 

By Chelsea Davis

 

COOS BAY - A group of Coos Bay fourth-graders are ending the school year on a good note.

 

On Tuesday, Nick Krissie's class of nine students at Sunset Middle School put the finishing touches on their diddley bows, one-string slide guitars that originated in the South and became a big influence on the blues.

 

When the music class became overcrowded this year, Krissie had an idea. In his spare time, he makes cigar box guitars.

 

"They're simple enough a fourth-grader could do," he said. "When I was in fourth grade, the money to buy a guitar was outside of reality; so was making one."

 

So he put a call out for essays. Out of the school's 125 fourth-graders, 70 wrote essays hoping to get into the class - 10 made the cut. Some talked about why they deserved to be in the class. Others, like Ryan Liggett, went into extensive historical detail about the one-string guitars. He was among the first on Tuesday to find the right frets and play the first three immediately recognizable notes of Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water."

 

The diddley bows are made of very few parts - cookie tins, dominoes, nails and wire - but soon the students were plucking away, trying out that famous riff.

 

The class did the math. After doing just a few chores, they would each be able to afford the materials required to make a diddley bow.

 

"It's organized chaos," Krissie said to superintendent Dawn Granger, with the students scattered behind him, heads bent over their new instruments.

 

"That's OK," Granger laughed. "That's what learning is."

 

The students built everything themselves, besides the holes that Krissie drilled.

 

Principal Dale Inskeep even joined in, wowing the kids with his guitar chops as lead of the Dale Inskeep Band.

 

Fourth-grader Anna Quaglia said the diddley bows took four weeks to make. She plans on practicing over the summer, hoping to add some more songs to her repertoire.

 

This class is a new realm of hands-on learning, incorporating science (sound waves), math (calculating fret positions) and history.

 

"If you practice it, you will get better at it," Krissie told his students. "All you need to do is practice."

 

Click here to read from this article's source.

Contact
Michael MacEwan 
Collaborative Lead  
Garden State Girls STEM Collaborative 
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