Ruxz_M-rbu5hJUPoenSULdy6Wzk The Science of My Life: April 2012

Friday, April 27, 2012

Celebrate Arbor Day...Today!

Well, since it is Spring in Idaho, our temps have swung from 85 degrees last weekend to 35 degrees right now with freezing rain.  BUT it is still Arbor Day so time to bring out the tree cookies and other activities.  Next Tuesday at my local junior high, we will be awarding prizes to the winners of our "Poet-tree" contest.  Thanks to a mini-grant from Idaho Forest Products Commission last Fall, the teachers supported this activity for their students.  The kids and teachers made trees from art supplies and displayed them in the hallway of the school, and students added their poems to the trees to be judged this week.  The winners in each grade level will get to plant a tree at the school when the weather is better. 

Visit the Arbor Day Foundation website for information on volunteer opportunities and educational resources.
Celebrate National Arbor Day every year on the last Friday in April. Learn how you can celebrate Arbor Day in your community.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

CSI Astronomy Day 4/28

If Pocatello (and the Science and Engineering Festival) is too far away, then your next best bet this weekend is to celebrate Astronomy Day at the Herrett Center.

A day and night full of events has been planned for this year’s International Astronomy Day at the Herrett Center for Arts and Science at the College of Southern Idaho.

The afternoon and evening of Saturday, April 28 will include lots of kids’ and family activities, including make and take astronomy projects, coloring pages, and water bottle rockets, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to the Rick Allen Room, where most activities will take place, is $1 per person.

The Centennial Observatory will offer safe views of the Sun, bright stars, and planets from 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., then reopen for a nighttime star party from 8:45 p.m. to midnight. Targets will include Venus, Mars, Saturn, the Moon, and more. All observatory events are free of charge, and weather permitting.

The Faulkner Planetarium will show ‘Lifestyles of the Stars’ and a live sky tour at 2 and 7 p.m.; ‘The Search For Life in the Universe’ at 4 p.m.; and ‘Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon’ at 8:15 p.m. Admission prices for the planetarium are $4.50 for adults, $3.50 for seniors, and $2.50 for students.

For more information, contact the Herrett Center at 732-6655 or visit the website at

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

AMAZING PD Opportunity for Secondary Science Teachers

Many of you use the Genetics Learning Center website, one of my favorite online resources.  The Univ of Utah has a companion site just for teachers, at  Each summer they offer a workshop in SLC, and it  looks like a GREAT program!  I am tempted to move one of my science camps just so I would be available to attend in case I am accepted into the program, but I am sharing the announcement hoping someone else can go also.  You will receive 3 credits and a $500 stipend.  Please apply!  The topic is The Neurosciences of our Senses.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Science kidding!.

Meet dozens of NFL and NBA cheerleaders pursuing science careers at the USA Science and Engineering Festival.

As I was looking for more information about the National Science and Engineering Festival, I came across some youtube videos from these awesome ladies.  So here ya go!  Very smart current and retired professional cheerleaders that are cheering for science...who knew?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Chimpanzee Movie Opens Today!

The Chimpanzee movie is finally here! I am so excited to see this film..I wish I didn't have to drive several hours to get to a theater that is actually showing it. Remember this week only, $1 of each ticket goes to the Jane Goodall Institute, so please go this weekend! I am so grateful that I have met Dr. Goodall, and that she has been such a positive example of grace and activism and leadership.

This clip from Jon Stewart is a summary of the film, but more importantly, it is a reflection of Jane's sweet and passionate nature. Happy Earth Day!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Updated! ISU hosting a Science and Engineering Festival Sat 4/28

I have been waiting to post the details for this event, but I am so excited for this activity that I am giving you the information this week so you can make plans to attend.  The National Science and Engineering Festival is next weekend in Wash DC, and Idaho is the only state in the Intermountain West that is hosting a satellite event.  It is totally FREE to attend, and there are many booths set up for families to experience a variety of activities.  Next week I will introduce you to the Science Cheerleaders, because they are just so awesome at cheering for the National Festival in DC.

Here is the homepage for all the activities...we are so excited to go!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

History of Science Now Showing on PBS

I realized last night that I forgot to post a reminder that Dialogue for Kids was on again, and the topic was Idaho Ecosystems.  Check out Joan's website on Idaho PTV to learn all about the topic.

To redeem myself, I am posting a link to another great show that I have been watching for the past 2 weeks.  History of Science is a BBC series and it covers my favorite part of science...the people!  I try to share who discovered all the things we study in Biology and Chemistry and Physics.  That is so interesting to me...and maybe it will help the vocab words stick a little better. 
Here are the episodes coming up, and the link to the complete schedule.  Thank heavens for DVRs...I never watch a program live anymore!  But the new episodes air on Monday nights, so those are easier to cath.

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012 - 2:00 AM "What Is The World Made of?" Show is TVG
Sunday, Apr 22, 2012 - 5:00 AM "What Is Out There?" Show is TVG
Monday, Apr 23, 2012 - 10:00 PM "How Did We Get Here?"           Show is TVG

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Southern Idaho Tech Expo this weekend

Southern Idaho Technology Expo 2012 - Bringing the latest in technology and innovation, the first annual Southern Idaho Technology Expo (S.I.T.E) will be held April 20-21 at the Twin Falls County Fairgrounds. The show will feature innovative technologies available right here in the MagicValley! Admission is FREE to the public, and there will be door prizes for the first 100 attendees. Additionally, Filer Mutual Telephone has donated a 46" Sony Bravia HDTV to give away at the show. If you are interested in a booth, or have questions, please contact Justin at Filer Mutual Telephone Co 326.4331.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Times News Article about Dr Allen and climate research

I just met Dr. Allen at the EPSCoR Meeting in Sun Valley.  I am excited to pursue a possible opportunity for my students.  We hope to visit one of his research sites this summer to learn more about his research.  We have great resources here in Southern Idaho, and I continue to believe we do our best work when we combine the strengths of  K12 teachers, community college teachers, university professors, and researchers.  We all have a vested interest in Idaho's future.  Relationships matter more than statistics.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

2012 National EE Week: Greening STEM

April 15-22 is the National Environmental Ed week, culminating in Earth Day on April 22.  I love the theme this year because it incorporates 2 of my favorite topics...environmental ed and STEM activities.  The website has a lot of great information.  Teachers can register for EE toolkits with resources.

Also, CSI is sponsoring their annual Green Week.  The Sustainability Council stays busy all year, but this is their week to shine.  Follow the link to the activities happening all week on campus.  And like them on FB!  I do!

I shared this image once before, but it is worth posting again.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Updated: Declo Science Fair with newspaper article

Wow!!  Where do I start?  The 4th and 5th grade students did such a great job on their projects.  The projects were creative and relevant, and the kids all worked hard to follow the scientific method to answer their questions.   Teachers, Staff, and Parents were supportive and proud, and the PTO volunteers were absolutely critical to the success of the Science Fair.  We had 130 projects displayed, and 8 local judges visited over 2 days to read and score all the projects.  The overall winners in 4th and 5th grade won a trip to Science Camp, and the fee was paid for by a generous donation by a parent who contacted me out of the blue to see how they could help.
There were teachers' choice winners and Honorable Mentions.  There were winners in Plant Science, Physical Science, Earth Science, Health and Nutrition, Animals, and Scientific Method.  But there were so many great projects...I am grateful I didn't have to judge.  Way too hard!

I am so thankful for the support I received from all my friends and teachers to make this such a positive experience for the students.  Just imagine what we will see next year!

5th Grade Winner, Brinley, did a fabulous experiment with her dog.  The judges were impressed with her research and procedure.  She interviewed a dog trainer to make sure her methods would be effective.  Great job!!

This 5th grade student did his project on rockets and could not wait to launch his rocket for the class.  But the wind took it much farther than he expected...and we are still looking for it!  :(

Monday, April 9, 2012

Math Career Panel tomorrow at CSI

Representatives of the math, computer science, and engineering fields will come together for a panel discussion at 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 10 to discuss how students can use their math-related education. Included on the panel will be an electrical engineer, civil engineer, mechanical engineer, database administrator, and a high school math teacher. Admission is free and refreshments will be provided. This will take place in room 276 of the Taylor building.

This looks great!  I will be supervising the Declo Elementary Science Fair tomorrow, and I can't wait to post pictures! 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Update: Rupert Elementary Science Fair and Family Night

I had a great time at the Family Science Night in Rupert.  The Science Moms, April, Amber, and Lori, organized a fun evening with volunteer presentations and hands-on activities about fiber optics, fossils, microscopes, evidence collection, and more.  More than 40 projects were displayed by the kids and they were excited to see their ribbons and prizes.  I was able to bring the microscope station and the squishy circuit station so kids could investigate and discover.  Thanks goes to INBRE for funding the microscope materials.

Three grand prize winners won a trip to the CSI Summer Camp in Burley June 18-21.  Congratulations to all the kids who chose to participate!  Go Science!

Grand Prize winners learned about circuitry doing Squishy Circuits!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

EPSCoR Conference in Sun Valley

What a busy and informative day I had in Sun Valley yesterday.  I attended meetings and poster presentations for the EPSCoR Tri-State Consortium annual conference.  This is a collection of research scientists and institution professors that work to create a stronger environment for research in Idaho, Nevada, and New Mexico.

What is EPSCoR and why is it so great for Idaho?  First, it stands for Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.  The theme of the Tri-State Consortium is Water and Climate Education, and it is based on science issues that are critical to our local economies.  So the researchers receiving funding from this program are all tackling some piece of the theme.

I am just scratching the surface, but the program is responsible for funding and providing materials, cyber-infrastructure, and training for all levels of students in Idaho and beyond.  EPSCoR is a NSF program, and the money and services provided by EPSCoR have helped state institutions as well as informal centers like MOSS. 

I had good discussions with several scientists that want to help CSI students get involved in research across the state.  Since community college students don't get exposed to faculty who are focused on research, some partnerships would really benefit my students.  I look forward to continuing the conversartion that leads to my summer school students getting some field experience.  Exciting day!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Climate Change Lesson plans for Teachers

This looks like a great resource for educators, and I like the fact that the materials have been prepared by multiple agencies.  Climate science needs to be understood by everyone, so that we can make informed policy decisions based on science and not opinion.

Last week, a study was released that showed how much different groups of Americans "trust" science content.  There was a direct connection between a person's opinion about climate change and their trust in ALL science.  It was a sobering look at how powerful one issue can polarize an entire population.  Let's stick with science on this one.

Here is an older article (2010) from Scientific American with some great graphics!