Thursday, December 31, 2015

VEX Robotics Competition - January 9 at Patriot High School

from Prince William County Public Schools

VEX Robotics Competition Set for January 9 at Patriot High School

The next VEX robotics competition for middle school students will take place on Saturday, January 9 at Patriot High School in Nokesville. The all-day event will begin at 8 a.m.

In VEX robotics students design and build robots that play against each other to complete challenging tasks against the clock. VEX is just one of nine robotics platforms that is currently in place within Prince William County Public Schools. For more information about any PWCS robotics programs, contact Denyse Carroll, Regional STEM Education Coordinator (

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Falls Church City Public Schools Seeks STEAM Volunteers

Falls Church City is in need of volunteers who can help with two great projects at Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School in Falls Church.

1. Science Fair Judges for 7th & 8th grade Science Fair projects. Thursday, January 21. The judging process will involve viewing student projects, interviewing students about their work, and evaluating the projects according to a rubric.  Judges should plan to arrive at MEH around 11:30 for lunch and an informational session about the judging process.  The judging will begin around 12:30 and will run until about 3:00.  Register to be Science Fair Judge.

2. Meet with & mentor students on their Exploravision Science Contest  entries. Students are imagining ground-breaking science and technology. They are thinking outside the box as they develop proposals to describe and show their creative ideas. They need mentors to meet with them during the first two weeks of January to talk about the specifics of the proposals. If you've got any expertise at all in any of these areas, please think about helping out. We need dentists, doctors, engineers, fingerprint experts and more! Available dates are 1/4, 1/6, 1/12, 1/14 , 1/19, 1/21, and 1/25 from 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Check out the Student Exploravision Proposals  and contact Marybeth if you are interested.

Please share this message with your colleagues, family and friends. The more volunteers we have for this event, the better!!

Marybeth Connelly
Business and Community Partnerships Falls Church City Public Schools 
office: 703-248-5691  

Friday, December 11, 2015

SeaPerch Volunteers Needed in Prince William - March 11

Northern Virginia's Regional SeaPerch underwater robotics competition will be held on Friday, March 11th at the beautiful Manassas Park Community Center. All Prince William County high schools, Manassas Park High School, Osbourn High School in the City of Manassas, Seton Senior High School will participate.

It’s a large event, and so a large number of volunteer judges are needed! The open shifts are 8am-12pm and 12pm-4pm. Volunteers do not need to know how the robot works to judge the pool competition but will carry a stopwatch and time each team as they complete assigned tasks. Instructions and judging sheet will be provided, along with a stopwatch.

In addition to a great time, volunteers get a free lunch and free SeaPerch polo! (Dress for a hot and humid pool-side!)

If you or someone you know is available, the link to register is below, as is a summary of each of the open activities for which volunteers are still needed. Thank you in advance for participating in this great day!

Volunteer Positions Needed: 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

ACTE report: ESEA Reauthorization Bill Passed in House

Posted by ACTE: 03 Dec 2015 05:52 AM PST

The U.S. House of Representatives voted last night to advance the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) developed by a joint conference committee and backed by leaders in both parties and chambers of Congress. After debate and consideration on the House floor, ESSA passed through the full chamber by a vote of 359 to 64 and now awaits consideration by the Senate.

If the legislation passes both chambers and becomes law, it would mark the largest overhaul of federal K-12 education policy since the passage of No Child Left Behind in 2002.

Because of its significance for students nationwide and far-reaching implications for education policy, ESSA has received substantial media attention. Education Week, a national publication covering education topics, published a piece on its High School and Beyond blog that included reference to ACTE’s endorsement and a deep dive on the CTE-related components of the bill.

ACTE is proud to endorse ESSA, which places unprecedented emphasis on the critical role that CTE has in every student’s education for college- and career-success. As we previously reported, ESSA includes key provisions to advance and strengthen CTE in secondary schools nationwide.

In preparation for the vote, ACTE worked with our champions in the House to gain their support, and called on ACTE members to contact their Representatives and voice their support for the legislation. We will continue to advocate for ESSA as it advances to the Senate, and encourage ACTE members to visit the CTE Action Center to tell their Senators to vote Yes on ESSA!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

November 19 - Vote for Virginia Schools

Amanda at Crittendon applied for a National $100,000 STEM Lab makeover grant the end of last year and received word that her school has made it as a semifinalist.  

The second part of the selection process is receiving Facebook votes on NOV 19.  It is a 24 hour voting period only.  

Please vote on NOV 19 for Crittenden Middle School at and spread the word to colleagues, friends, and family.  

Crittendon provided the flyer right and video below that you can pass around or send via email. 

(You can also tweet, email or post this on your Facebook using the links below).

Monday, November 9, 2015

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Reengineering Electric Cars at Gunston MS

from today's Washington Post:

Luz Chamorro's sixth graders are reengineering cars for other young people.

After-school project teaches kids engineering, helps others get moving.

Through GoBabyGo, sixth-graders rewire toy cars to help
kids with disabilities.


Middle-schoolers don’t usually play with toy cars. But in a classroom in Arlington, Virginia, a group of sixth-graders gather around a plastic Lightning McQueen car, ready to rev it up.
The students not there to play with it, exactly, but to figure out how it works — and prepare the car for a driver who needs it.
Eight students from Gunston Middle School are rewiring the battery-powered

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Not discussed in Math class

Divide a Board

When you want to cut a board into equal widths, you can do some tricky math—or do a simple trick. Let’s say you want four strips: Pick a number that’s easy to divide by four (12, for example) and measure that distance diagonally across the board. Then mark the board at 3-in. increments (3, 6 and 9 in.) and your marks will divide the board into equal widths.

Arlington Middle School Girls STEM Conference


“Get Moving with STEAM!”
(Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics)

Who: Middle school girls enrolled in Arlington Public Schools

Where: Wakefield High School 1325 S. Dinwiddie Street Arlington 22206

When: Saturday, November 14, 2015 – 8 AM to 3 PM Breakfast and lunch will be provided

Cost: $10.00 – (If paying by check or money order, please make payable to Arlington Public Schools.)

Young ladies currently in grades 6, 7, and 8 in Arlington Public Schools will get a full day of interactive workshops. In keeping with APS’ focus on the whole child, participants will engage with professionals in STEAM fields during the morning sessions and learn self-defense techniques and fundamentals of different types of artistic expression in the afternoon. Attending the conference will help students to recognize their strengths and increase their leadership ability.

Transportation will be provided!

Bus Stops
Gunston 7:40 a.m. - Drew 7:50 a.m.
Thomas Jefferson 7:50 a.m.
Kenmore 7:50 a.m.
Langston 7:35 a.m. - Woodbury Park Community Center 7:45 a.m.
Barrett 7:35 a.m. -  Swanson 7:45 a.m

*HB Woodlawn students should find the stop closest to their home school.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Falbo at 703-228-6152/ or the Minority Achievement Coordinator at your school.

Sponsored by the APS Office of Minority Achievement.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Career and Technical APP Contest

Career App contest is part of first lady's Reach Higher initiative 
First Lady Michelle Obama
(Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Michelle Obama and the Department of Education have announced a competition for mobile-application developers as part of the Reach Higher initiative. Developers, vying for $225,000 in prize money, must create a comprehensive app that will inform students about career and technical education opportunities, job-skills programs and career outlooks. Education Week (tiered subscription model) (10/22)

For a complete list of Challenge rules, access to APIs, and to submit a concept, visit

Follow the Challenge:

Being Good At Maths - Asia and Australia

From IFLScience

What Is The Secret To Being Good At Maths?  

October 24, 2015 | by Steson Lo and Sally Andrews

photo credit: Why do Asian children perform so well at maths? Creativa Images/Shutterstock

There is a common belief that Asians are naturally gifted at maths.
Asian countries like Singapore and Japan lead the ranks in first and second position on maths performance in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) tables – an international survey that ranks education systems worldwide – while Australia sits around 12th.
What is the secret to being good at maths? Are you simply born clever, or is it the result of a lot of hard work?
To understand the reasons behind exceptional maths performance, I travelled to Japan to see how Japanese children are able to instantly multiply three- or four-digit numbers together in their head.
How Children Are Taught Maths In Japan
From the age of 7 or 8, all Japanese children are taught the times table jingle kuku.
“Ku” is the Japanese word for “nine”, and the title reflects the final line of the jingle, which is

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Congress to Begin CTE Programs (Perkins Act) Reauthorization

The Carl D. Perkins Act that supports Career and Technical programs typically enjoys broad, bi-partisan support.   From Education Week:

 on October 21, 2015 7:50 AM

Get excited, all you fans of vocational and career education
: Congress is about to start work on renewing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Program. That's the biggest federal program for high schools, and it

Paul Hughes Deconstruction Rebuild Event at TechShopDC - Arlington

Our friends at TechShopDC hosted our first Paul Hughes Deconstruction Rebuild event for Arlington high school students on Wednesday, October 21.  

Participating students represented Wakefield HS, Washington-Lee HS, Yorktown HS, the Arlington Career Center, and H-B Woodlawn, with the support of each schools' Technology / Engineering teachers and Resource Teachers for the Gifted.

Paul Sans Hughs died September 15, 2012. This program for Arlington Public School students is dedicated to the his memory.  Paul’s passion environmental stewardship and and social justice lead him to start three companies and one non-profit, the Rebuild Warehouse. 

His life's work continues to provided an example of how sustainable businesses practices can make family, employees, and the environment a primary focus and still succeed.

Photos from last night:
The winning team participants each won a TechShop course.

Click "Read more" below for many additional photos.

Monday, October 12, 2015

AUSA Expo Featuring Modern Military Equipment

21 photos from the October 12 expo at the Washington Convention Center:





Thursday, October 8, 2015

Robotics Event Training for Teachers, Parents

The training on Saturday, October 10 is for anyone who wants to support or run either a small VRC tournament or VRC Skills Day. The training will be on how to set up a tournament using our NOVA equipment and how to pack it up into the trailer when done. It is being held at Bull Run MS in Gainesville from 9am to 3pm. 

Register here:

Monday, October 5, 2015

AAUW TechSavvy Event for Middle School Girls

Tech Savvy Logo
Tech Savvy is a daylong science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) career conference designed to attract girls in sixth through ninth grade to these fields and to inform families about STEM education and careers.

Although the program focuses on exciting girls about STEM, Tech Savvy also includes an important program for parents. This component encourages families to reinforce the girls’ interest in STEM. Keep reading for more details on the program for girls and their families.

Tech Savvy Is Coming to Northern Virginia!

AAUW is now accepting applications for the 2016 Tech Savvy program, taking the AAUW Buffalo (NY) Branch’s highly successful, one-day science, technology, engineering, and math conference for girls nationwide. In 2015, 17 selected AAUW branches or states implement Tech Savvy for the girls and parents in their community. Stay tuned for the 2016 sites this fall.
State: Virginia
Event Site: Northern Virginia Community College of Annandale
Event Date: October 24, 2015
Host Branch: AAUW Arlington (VA) Branch and AAUW Alexandria (VA) Branch

Tech Savvy for Girls

The day begins with hands-on workshops in various math and science fields. Past workshops include “Math: Exploring

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A Succinct Rationale for Modern Approaches to Math

Like many of you, I'm sure, I've grown weary of right-wing attacks on Common Core Math from parents who could no longer help with middle school homework, and I stopped trying to convince childhood friends on Facebook to seek enlightenment.  But this video is smart and comfortable.  Share it.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Solar System to Scale

You know all those classroom models and textbook images?  They're all misleading.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Inshoring and the Demand for Technicians

from Jim Stone, Director of the NRCCTE

By now you no doubt have heard or read about "inshoring," the movement of manufacturing jobs back to the United States. Growth in this area has been slow but steady, with the Labor Department estimating that 320,000 new positions opened up in March.

Part of what is interesting about jobs like these is that many require STEM skills, but not necessarily STEM degrees. Needed skills include programming and operating computer-controlled tools, maintaining and repairing sophisticated machinery (which require workers to have a strong understanding of mechanics and electronics), and doing specialized types of welding. 

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article (warning: subscription required) in which it showed that more than three-quarters of existing workers holding the following jobs have less than an associate's degree:
  • Chemical plant system operators
  • Aircraft structure and systems assemblers
  • Model makers
  • Computer machine tool programmers
  • Chemical equipment operators and tenders
  • Tool and die makers
High-quality CTE programs in high schools and community colleges teach the kinds of skills needed to thrive in these middle-skill STEM and manufacturing jobs.

As always, I enjoy hearing from you. Please email me at with your thoughts. 

James R. Stone III

Forbes Calls for Greater Emphasis on CTE

Orginally Posted: 08 Sep 2015 11:56 AM PDT

On Tuesday, September 2, Forbes published an opinion article by Nicholas Wyman titled “Why We Desperately Need To Bring Back Vocational Training In Schools.” The piece outlined the shifting attitudes toward CTE (or vocational education) since the 1950’s, and emphasized the reinvigoration that CTE has experienced that has made it a key component to every student’s education.

Wyman notes the need for a diverse workforce that is equipped with a variety of backgrounds and skills – noting that many students’ interest would be better served by hands-on learning opportunities that are frequently featured in CTE. Furthermore, he points to the challenges faced by students who have obtained education that has led to un- and underemployment among many young professionals today.

Wyman’s point regarding the value of and need for increased support for CTE is correct; students who enroll in CTE programs are building the skills they will need for their future careers and preparing themselves for success in whatever field they so choose. By helping students to incorporate CTE into their educational road map and better informing them of the options available to them, we can prepare them for college and career success.
To learn more about how you can work with the media to strengthen awareness of CTE (including writing your own op ed), click here to visit the Advocacy Toolkit.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Women in applied science

The discovery of a new hominin species is making headlines around the world this week but what many people don't realize is that the excavation team that uncovered this historic find was made up of six daring women scientists! The fossils were found at the bottom of a cave system in South Africa; one of the scientists, Marina Elliott, said that their collection and removal involved "some of the most difficult and dangerous conditions ever encountered in the search for human origins.” Thanks to the dedication of these six women, people everywhere will have the opportunity to gain new insight into the development of our species.

Palaeoanthropologist Lee Berger learned about the fossils in Rising Star Cave in October 2013 -- as well as their location, at the bottom of a 36 foot long shaft that gets as narrow as 7 inches across. He put up an ad on Facebook seeking scientists with a background in archaeology or paleontology, but with a catch: “the person must be

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

National Building Museum Big Build Event for Families


The Big Build

A Hands-on Family Festival of Tools, Trucks, and Construction

September 19, 2015  

Big Build
Photo by Emily Clack Photography.

Saturday, September 19, 10 am–4 pm

Be a builder for the day at the Big Build festival! Amateur builders young and old can discover what it's like to build a brick wall, carve stone, hammer nails, and much more as they work side-by-side with designers, builders, and artisans demonstrating their skills. Meet plumbers, ironworkers, landscape architects, woodworkers, and experts in many other fields to learn about their professions and hobbies. This year at the Big Build,visitors can:
  • Climb aboard trucks and tractors
  • Construct a log cabin
  • Imagine the view from the beams of a skyscraper
  • Compete in a nail driving contest
  • Create a hardware windchime
Want your company to exhibit at The Big Build in 2015? Contact Ben Lauer, Family Programs Assistant, at blauer@nbm.orgfor more information.

Want to help make The Big Build even bigger? Contact Jessica Oplak, Corporate and Association Relations Manager, to learn about our exciting sponsorship opportunities.
The Big Build is generously supported by The Associated General Contractors of America and I.M.P.A.C.T.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Virginia Tech Makers Festival

This event is the first of its kind at the NVC and we would like tons of kids and their families to attend. 
Admission is FREE! Parking is FREE! Also accessible by metro.

We also need volunteers and sponsors.  See this webpage for info.

Virginia Science Festival 2015- VT MAKER FESTIVAL - September 26, 2015 - The Northern VA Center -  Falls Church, Virginia

Hands-on experiences, live performances, and interactive demonstrations that will inspire a wonder in science for all ages.  

The National Capital Region’s Maker's Festival day is Saturday, September 26 from 10 AM to 4 PM. Be part of the festival fun!

General information
The Virginia Science Festival-NCR is part of the statewide Virginia Science Festival that runs from September 25 to October 30.

Jennifer Carter

- See more at:

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Virginia Environmental Education Conference

Registration deadline: September 20, 2015; Conference: October 7-9, 2015 – Natural Bridge, VA – Theme: What Lies Under Nature’s Bridge: Connecting The Classroom to the Outdoors – Conference will include a panel to discuss environmental literacy and how Executive Order 42 will impact Virginians. 

There are six concurrent sessions with diverse environmental topics that address Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) and environmental literacy. The conference is open to everyone who is interested in learning more about the environment. See for more information and to register. Sponsored by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Guitar strings and waves

Posted by TeenTimes on Thursday, July 16, 2015

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Senate approves ECAA with support for STEM and CTE, Arts

Various sources:
The conference committee is expected to strengthen accountability measures within the bill and continue to require states to identify and support schools that need additional assistance to serve their most vulnerable students.
Earlier this Spring, ECAA suggested major progress, but educators used the amendment process in July to persuade lawmakers to improve the bill. 
The best news for STEM is support for STEM and CTE subjects and teachers.  The ECAA provision based on Sen. Merkley’s (D-OR) STEM Education in the Global Economy Act, which is designed to increase student access to courses in STEM education subjects and provide additional resources to recruit, train, and support teachers of these subjects.
This past week, the Senate approved amendments to make career and technical education a core subject, to protect student data privacy, to require school districts to inform parents of state or local policies regarding “opting out” of standardized tests, to require states to set a cap limiting time spent on tests and to establish a full-service community schools grant program. Other electives were also included in the "core".  

Monday, June 22, 2015

STEM, Women and Gender Stereotypes

Original Venture Beat article:

Another useful perspective on STEM, women and gender stereotypes from

Are Girl-Focused Engineering Toys Reinforcing Gender Stereotypes?

theodp writes:
VentureBeat's Ruth Read casts a skeptical eye at current rage of toy segregation meant to inspire tomorrow’s leaders in STEM: "Toys geared at girls serve to get them interested in coding and building when they’re young, hopefully inspiring their educational interests down the road. But these gendered toys may be hurting women by perpetuating a divide between men and women." Read concludes, "Ultimately, girls (who will become women) are going to have to learn and work in a world where genders are not segregated; as will men. That means they need to learn how to interact with one another as much as they need to be introduced to the same educational opportunities. If STEM education is as much for girls as it is for boys, perhaps we should be equally concerned with getting boys and girls to play together with the same toys and tools, as we are with creating learning opportunities for girls."

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Women and STEM webinar

I don't know Donna Milgram, so this is not an endorsement; but it's free.

NEW “Women and STEM Success Blueprint” Webinar

Donna Milgram ▪ Recruit More Women to STEMSave your spot now for my new “Women and STEM Success Blueprint” webinar! Learn how to enroll up to 25-50% female students in your STEM classrooms at this webinar event. 

Sign up for this free webinar to learn: 

* The #1 mistake educators make that prevents them from improving female enrollment in STEM 
* Why most attempts at outreach to women don't lead to actual increases in enrollment—and what to do instead 
* How to learn from these mistakes and enroll up to 25-50% female students in your STEM classes 
* The proven blueprint for transforming your STEM classrooms in only a year's time! 

Save your FREE spot now: 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Intelligence and Technology

from the Higher Perspective blog.

The Intelligence Of A Crow

This is a quick three minute clip showing a crow, named 007, solving a complex, eight-step problem with the end reward being a little snack. It went viral after being posted to the BBC’s YouTube channel. 
The TED Talk below is about building a crow vending machine.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

For those thinking about college majors...

Money isn't everything, but it often demonstrates value and, metaphorically, provides a little grease where otherwise there'd be friction.

From the Washington Post.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Blogging in Schools

Reposted from EduDemic

Four reasons for teachers and students to blog, and five tips on how to do it.

Why Teachers and Students Should Blog

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Demand for certifications

Posted: 28 May 2015 09:13 AM PDT
DataDrivenBlogSeriesBy 2018, the U.S. will need at least 4.7 million new workers with postsecondary certificates.[i]

This month’s entry in our blog series on data and research as tools for CTE advocacy highlights the mounting importance of certificates. The above data point estimates the number of new workers with a postsecondary certificate as their highest credential who will be needed by 2018 in order for the United States to meet talent demand. This statistic refers only to new positions in the workforce, on top of the many certificate holders already contributing to the economy. 

As you know, CTE programs provide stackable credentials, including postsecondary certificates, to help students meet their educational and professional goals.  When sharing this statistic with policymakers, media or the public, follow it up with information on certificate earnings in high-wage, high-demand fields and describe CTE’s role in preparing students for those careers.

See more at ACTE Fact Sheets.

[i] Carnevale et al., Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018, Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, 2010

Friday, May 22, 2015

Girls Math Virtual Participation

Participate Virtually

Register Now
Tuesday, June 9, 2015 from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM (EDT)

We invite you to participate virtually in this unique convening that will bring together a select group of researchers and practitioners in a dynamic working group to define common research goals and priorities around girls’ math identity. The convening will be streamed live online and as a virtual participant, you will also be able to