Thursday, November 27, 2014

Make your own micro-crossbow

Inspired by the Mockingjay?  Make your own micro-crossbow that shoots flaming projectiles.

Image from the video:

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Four Arlington Robotics Teams going to State Championship

Four Arlington robotics teams will be going to the First Lego League (FLL) State Championship in Harrisonburg on Dec 6-7.

  • Jefferson Middle School
  • Williamsburg Middle School
  • Arlington Science Focus Elementary School; and 
  • a local family team   
FLL is for students in grades 4-8 using the Lego NXT platform.  Learn more at

Some teams need sponsors to help with travel.  To start a robotics team at your school or facility, or sponsor a team, contact Jim.Egenrieder or go here

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Strategies for Increasing Diversity in STEM Learning Environments

The ITEST program supports projects that provide technology-rich environments that help prepare youth, particularly from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM, to enter the STEM workforce. A challenge to successfully delivering STEM education programming is the continued participation of diverse program participants, who may face social or external pressures or barriers in their immediate environment that may limit their attendance. During this webinar we will hear from ITEST projects that are developing innovative program models to successfully recruit, retain, and engage youth from underrepresented communities in authentic STEM learning experiences. 
  • Sally Stevens with the iSTEM Project will share strategies for engaging Hispanic youth in STEM including (1) an innovative mentoring program, (2) culturally themed STEM topics, and (3) a hybrid model of “flash” STEM activities paired with fieldtrips.
  • Michael Evans with Studio STEM will share how their project is using fundamental concepts in energy conservation and sustainability through an informal design-based studio to engage middle grade students in STEM.
  • Anika Ward and Joseph Adamji with Bits-2-Bites will share strategies for recruiting youth from diverse backgrounds and how to keep them engaged.  They used computational thinking to address nutrition and food justice issues.
Register for this Event
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Monday, November 17, 2014

Data Literacy in Elementary Schools

 November 16 at 12:24 PM

Elementary school teacher Lisa Parisi is trying to teach her students a new kind of literacy.
By the time fifth-graders enter her class at Denton Avenue School in New Hyde Park, NY., they are about 10 years old and have developed basic reading, writing, and math skills. They are less comfortable, Parisi found, handling data.
Parisi is part of a growing movement of educators creating lesson plans to teach students to collect and analyze data — even in subjects outside numbers-intensive math and science. She hopes to prepare them to eventually fill the shortage of qualified science, technology, engineering and math professionals, but also to derive opinions from measurable, real-world data.

The United States faces a shortage of between 140,000 and 190,000 professionals with analytical expertise, and 1.5 million managers and analysts who can make decisions based on big data analysis, according to research by McKinsey, the management consultancy. Although the number of data-related graduate and undergraduate programs in the United States has grown rapidly in the past couple of years, there has been less interest in data programs in schools, said Michael Chui, a McKinsey Global Institute partner.
Last year, 361,000 high school seniors in the United States took the Advanced Placement calculus exam; less than half that number took the AP statistics exam, Chui and McKinsey Global Institute Director James Manyika noted in a report.
“It makes sense for us to be thinking about education, starting in early childhood, about concepts such as the difference between correlation and causation, what it means to have a bias as you think about data, conditional probability. These are things we as humans don’t naturally do . . . these are learned [concepts],” Chui said in an interview. He added that curricula should teach students about the realistic limitations of data sets — extraneous information, or sampling error, for instance.
Parisi’s class is studying governments, so she asks students to analyze data sets reflecting state and national policy, she said. For the past few weeks they have

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Reminder - STEM Bridge Scholarship

Community College
STEM Bridge Scholarship Opportunity  2015 – 2016

As part of the STEM Takes Flight at Virginia’s Community Colleges initiative, Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC) is offering a competitive scholarship opportunity for community college students majoring in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) disciplines at any campus in the Virginia Community College System (VCCS). These $5,000 scholarships are competitive awards based on academic merit.

The Community College STEM Bridge Scholar (CCBS) award will provide students with $2,000 in their freshman year (spring semester 2015) and then an additional $3,000 in their sophomore year as long as the student maintains at least a 2.7 GPA and meets other requirements of the award. This scholarship is based on academic merit and potential for a successful career in a STEM field. CCBS will help bridge students to next steps in higher education or employment through coaching and mentoring by VSGC staff, four-year college faculty, and by upper classmen. A series of virtual meetings and attendance at the Consortium’s annual Student Research Conference in April are also

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Imagine how this could work for government and schools!

Noblis Internships for undergrads

Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University

Noblis is now accepting applications for our Summer Internship Program!

from Lead Employee Relations, EEO and Diversity Strategist at Noblis, VP, Diversity at NOVA SHRM

Summer Internship Program

Join Us
A summer at Noblis is a summer well spent. If you are a student who is looking for good pay, valuable real-world experience, and the ability to apply your coursework, Noblis is the place for you.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Arlington and Falls Church make top 100 school districts nationwide

WASHINGTON (WJLA) – Two school districts in Virginia have made Niche’s 2015 list of 100 Best School Districts in America.

(Full List of 100 Best School Districts in America)

Arlington County Public Schools was ranked 38th while Falls Church City Public Schools came in at 90th on the list.

The top two school districts came from New York, Edgemont Union Free School District in Greenburgh Town and Jericho Union Free School District. Tredyffrin-Easttown School District in Tredyffrin Township, Pennsylvania rounded out the top three.

Niche looked at over 8,000 school districts to compile the list and evaluated them using student survey responses about everything from academics to extracurriculars to resources.
The top five districts in the Washington, D.C. area, according to Niche's rankings, are: Arlington County, Falls Church City, Loudoun County, Fairfax County and Montgomery County Public Schools.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Life Sciences Salary Survey 2014

Good life science jobs may pay less than physical sciences and engineering, but the work is fascinating, the salaries are still okay, there are more jobs (although more competition) and the demand will continue to grow as baby boomers get older and feeding the world gets more challenging.  More (full-size) graphs here.  

More (full-size) here.  

Monday, November 3, 2014

Arlington Tech discussions go public

from INSIDENOVA Education section:

Arlington school officials start to roll out concept of tech academy

Posted: Wednesday, October 29, 2014 12:00 pm
Sun Gazette: Arlington School Board member Abby Raphael.

With so many plates spinning in the air simultaneously, the last thing School Board members may need at the moment is another contentious community controversy.
So they’re trying to get the word out – now – about the possibilities that exist to create a “tech academy” at the Arlington Career Center starting with a class of 40 freshmen in the 2016-17 school year.

“There are many of us who are champing at the bit to get this going,” said School Board member Nancy Van Doren, but she voiced concern that the idea, which has received extensive internal discussion, needs to get out to the broader community.
It’s time to “begin to get people to understand where we’re going,” Van Doren said. “Let’s show people what the vision is, let’s show them what kind of money we’re talking about.”
The issue came before the School Board Oct. 22 not for action, but as part of a plan to include a description it in the school system’s 2015-16 program of studies. School officials also are asking for permission to add a counselor who would be responsible for promoting the program to middle-school students and their parents.

TandemNSI Challenge - 3D printable robots

from ARLnow's Arlington Agenda:

Competitive Briefing Event for  CTTSO 3D Printable Small Robot Challenge Category: Forum / Lecture

November 05, 2014
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
1000 Wilson Blvd., 31st Floor, Arlington, VA 22209
Arlington , Virginia 22209
The Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) uses technology challenges to meet qualified non-traditional performers who can help solve national security problems. The current CTTSO challenge is seeking “solvers” to develop a written proposal and experimental proof-of-concept for a 3D printable, small robot to assist in bomb disposal. TandemNSI is creating this opportunity for “solvers” to meet CTTSO decision makers and get their questions answered before materials are due on November 27th. The CTTSO panel will outline their innovation strategy and clarify what they look for in a written proposal. Attending this event will put your company at a competitive advantage.

A little push-back in New York

from the Huffington Post:

Alan Singer Headshot
  Social studies educator, Hofstra University, my opinions, of course, are my own

Common Core and the End of History


Since then, in the face of emerging conflict between the West and the Islamic world and global economic stagnation, Fukuyama, a neo-conservative commentator, has backtracked. Among other things, he challenged the Bush administration's idea that the U.S. could somehow export democracy and American values to the rest of the world.

Fukuyama's shift, however, does not seem to have affected the New York State Board of Regents. The governing body regulating education in the state recently voted once again to de-emphasize the study of history in the state curriculum. On Monday October 20, 2014, the Regents, as part of their effort to promote new national Common Core standards and mystically prepare students for non-existing 21st century technological careers, voted unanimously that students did not have to pass both United States and Global History exams in order to graduate from high school and maintained that they were actually raising academic standards.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

GIT: Sharing our Success Event

Sharing Our Success - NoVa

Update:  This event is filled to capacity, and no longer taking registrations.

Driving Distance: Maryland Outdoor Education Training

Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education Green Schools Training

November 5, 6, or 10

Interested in learning about Sustainable Schools in Maryland? Are you applying to be a green school? Would you like to strengthen environmental education in your local community? The Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) is hosting a FREE Fall Green Leader/Green School Training.

This workshop will review the Maryland Green Schools 2014­-2015 Application and the connection with Environmental Literacy. This is a workshop for those who are interested in becoming a Green Leader or getting a detailed understanding of the Green School Application.


November 5, 2014 (Wed. 4:30PM ­ 7:30PM )­ MAEOE Office, Jessup, MD,
November 6, 2014 (Thu. 4:30PM ­ 7:30PM )­ Chesapeake College, Wye Mills, MD, or
November 10, 2014 (Mon. 4:30PM ­ 7:30PM )­ Pearlstone Center,  Reisterstown, MD. PLEASE NOTE: No outside food is allowed at the Pearlstone Center, but snacks will be provided.

Click here to sign up or for more information. Space is limited.