Ruxz_M-rbu5hJUPoenSULdy6Wzk The Science of My Life: March 2014

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Upcoming Herrett Center events

  • "Earth Hour" Night Telescope Viewing - Centennial Observatory
    • March 29, 2014 8:30 PM - 9:30 PM
      For one hour, the world is asked to turn out all unnecessary lights as a gesture of energy conservation. Come to the Centennial Observatory at the Herrett Center and enjoy the dark skies. Free admission.

  • April
    • Total Lunar Eclipse - Centennial Observatory
      • April 14, 2014 10:45 PM - 12:00 AM
        Penumbral phase (not noticeable) begins: 10:52 PM
        Moon subtly darkened by 11:15 PM
        Umbral phase (growing "bite" from Moon) begins: 11:58 PM
        Totality (dark red-orange Moon): 1:06 to 2:25 AM
        Maximum eclipse: 1:46 AM
        Umbral phase ends: 3:33 AM
        Penumbral phase (not noticeable) ends: 4:39 AM
    • Herrett Forum lecture - "Secrets of the City - City of Rocks National Monument and Castle Rocks State Park" - Rick Allen Room
      • April 16, 2014 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
        Herrett Forum lectures are usually presented on the third Wednesday of the month, September through May. Topics are coordinated by the Herrett Forum Committee, a group of local citizens dedicated to bringing high quality speakers, scholars, and artists to Twin Falls. No tickets are required for these free public events. Doors open at 7 p.m.
        The Herrett Center for Arts and Science is located on the north side of the College of Southern Idaho campus, at the North College Road entrance.
  • Tuesday, March 25, 2014

    Idaho STEM Teacher Award Opportunity!!

    Know a great STEM teacher? Nominate them for the INDEEDS Award!

    A coalition of Idaho’s leading industries have partnered with the Idaho State Department of Education and Idaho State Board of Education to improve a prestigious awards program to recognize and reward Idaho’s teachers who are working hard every day to grow the next generation of leaders in science and technology.

    Formerly known as the GIANTS Award, the new Industry’s Excellent Educators Dedicated to STEM Awards Program –referred to as INDEEDS – has been unveiled this year to better reflect the critical role business and industry play in identifying, recognizing and rewarding excellent science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) teachers across Idaho.

    INDEEDS is proudly sponsored by the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Micron Foundation, Washington Division of URS, Hewlett-Packard Company, Idaho Power, and LCF Enterprises, with support from the Idaho Technology Council, Discovery Center of Idaho, Idaho State Department of Education, and Idaho State Board of Education.

    The new award also will help duplicate their successes within local schools and communities.

    Every school principal can now nominate up to one teacher in his or her school for the INDEEDS Award. If you know a deserving teacher, encourage your principal to submit a nomination!

    Two Idaho teachers will receive the INDEEDS Award each year. Each INDEEDS awardee will receive:
    • A $2,000 individual cash prize to recognize and reward his/her personal success, and
    • A $2,000 grant to expand STEM activities within his/her school and community.
    All INDEEDS awardees also will be publicly recognized at the Idaho Technology Council’s Annual Hall of Fame and Innovation Awards Banquet in October.

    Nominations are due to the State Department of Education no later than April 3, 2014 at 5 p.m. MST. Check out the INDEEDSwebsite for more information.  

    Here’s what leaders in education, business and industry are saying about the INDEEDS Award:

    “There is an inseparable link between a growing, robust economy and a high-quality education system. For this reason, I am grateful Idaho’s industry leaders remain committed to improving Idaho’s education system by working to recognize and reward our talented teachers through the INDEEDS Awards Program,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna said.

    “Our primary mission at the Micron Foundation is to spark a passion for STEM education in youth in the hopes of helping develop next-generation engineers, and we’re thrilled to help recognize and encourage the teachers who do this every day,”said Dee Mooney, executive director of the Micron Foundation.

    “The Idaho Technology Council is proud to support the INDEEDS Awards Program to recognize Idaho’s teachers who are working to build the future technology leaders in Idaho and across the country,” 
    said Jay Larsen, President and Founder of the Idaho Technology Council.

    “Businesses need competitive employees with STEM skills. We want to recognize and support those teachers and schools that spark students’ interest in STEM pathways,” said Dr. Lorna Finman, President of LCF Enterprises and founder of Discover Technology.

    Monday, March 24, 2014

    Noche de Ciencias: Engineering Night Encourages Hispanic Students to Pursue Science

    This was a great activity last year when I attended at BHS.  This year I had parent teacher conferences, so I missed this group of UI engineering students as they came to Minico HS.  But I am sure it was awesome!!

    Noche de Ciencias: Engineering Night Encourages Hispanic Students to Pursue Science

    Sunday, March 23, 2014

    Spring Break Herrett Center Activities

    Hoping for a fun week even if you are staying local?  We are so lucky to have a great museum, planetarium, and observatory in Twin Falls.  Check out special events happening this week.  And it's not too late to sign up your 3-5 grader for their Camp-In on April 4-5. 

    • Tuesday, March 25th
      • 1:30 PM - Astronaut (w/ a live sky tour)
      • 2:30 PM - Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure
      • 3:30 PM - Earth, Moon & Sun (w/ a live sky tour)
      • 7:00 PM - Astronaut (w/ a live sky tour)
      • 8:00 PM - Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure
    • Wednesday, March 26th
      • 1:30 PM - Astronaut (w/ a live sky tour)
      • 2:30 PM - Perfect Little Planet
      • 3:30 PM - Earth, Moon & Sun (w/ a live sky tour)
    • Thursday, March 27th
      • 1:30 PM - Astronaut (w/ a live sky tour)
      • 2:30 PM - Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure
      • 3:30 PM - Earth, Moon & Sun (w/ a live sky tour)
    • Friday, March 28th
      • 1:30 PM - Astronaut (w/ a live sky tour)
      • 2:30 PM - Perfect Little Planet
      • 3:30 PM - Earth, Moon & Sun (w/ a live sky tour)
      • 7:00 PM - Perfect Little Planet
      • 8:00 PM - Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure
    • Saturday, March 29th
      • 1:30 PM - Astronaut (w/ a live sky tour)
      • 2:30 PM - Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure
      • 3:30 PM - Earth, Moon & Sun (w/ a live sky tour)
      • 4:30 PM - Violent Universe: Catastrophes of the Cosmos (w/ a live sky tour)
      • 7:00 PM - Astronaut (w/ a live sky tour)
      • 8:00 PM - Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure

    Friday, March 21, 2014

    Spring Equinox

    What are you doing with more daylight??

    Remember to check out global migratory patterns on Journey North.  It is such a great site for teachers and families!

    Monday, March 17, 2014

    MARS Rover Challenge Volunteers Needed


     The NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium needs your help!

    Idaho TECH: Mars Rover Challenge, sponsored by the NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium, is a wonderful educational science & engineering program that enables 4th, 5th and 6th grade student teams to design and construct motorized Mars Rover models from LEGO's.  Each team of 4-6 students test their Rover in one of two Engineering Design Competitions (EDC), located in Twin Falls, or Moscow.  It is a GREAT program that's really fun to be involved with!!

    This is where you come in.  Idaho TECH is not possible without wonderful volunteers like you that donate their time to help judge at each competition.  I hope you want to be one of these wonderful volunteers at the Twin Falls competition held in the gym at the College of Southern Idaho on Saturday, April 12th.  Did I mention that you will receive FREE pizza and beverages at the competition???

    Here are the details...during the competition, each team demonstrates their rover's capabilities on five different courses designed to measure speed, climbing skill, rock collection ability, and weight, as well as overall teamworks skills (blind driving).  Each team is required to have a poster display that highlights the Engineering Design Process, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of their Rover.  Teams will also be presenting to a panel of judges using Microsoft PowerPoint.  Finally, teams submit lab notebooks that document their experiences during the design process.  We need your help to judge these eight events during the Twin Falls competition!!! 


    I'm sure you are very eager to see these LEGO rovers in action!!!  The judged events at the competition will last from 8:30am until approximately 3:00pm at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls, ID.  If you are interested in volunteering, please fill our the attached volunteer form at your earliest convenience and email to or fax it to (208) 282-2721.  You will be able to indicate a preference for one or more of the eight events listed about on your form.

    If you know anyone else who might be interested, please pass this request along.  To sign up or for questions, please contact Shayla Jackson at Idaho State University,, (208) 681-2996

     We look forward to meeting you at the Twin Falls competition!


    Sunday, March 16, 2014

    Pi Day and Albert Einstein Birthday!

    This is a  little late, but I did my part on Friday and celebrated Pi day with my staff.  Of course, that means we had Pie for a mid-afternoon snack.

    This reminded me of a favorite website that I used a lot when I was a substitute teacher.  It was a site that calendered holidays and anniversaries of inventions and discoveries.  Any given day I could share a story of a scientist and we could talk about the impact of their inventions on our daily lives.  That is when the history of science comes alive to students today.  When we ask them, "Where are we now because of ..." and "How has your life improved because of..." they can understand the relevance of discovery.

    Actually, I found another site that brought back great memories!!  The Pacific Science Center in Seattle is awesome, and I have enjoyed visiting it on several occasions.  The first trip was during a DOE internship during the summer of 1988.  We spent the night in the museum and had a great time!!  There was one student from each state, and somehow I was chosen as "Miss Texas."  OK..."Miss Science Texas."  That was a great 2 week experience as we traveled the state visiting research sites and doing lab work with scientists.   I would love to track down a few of my friends I met, but I did find one... he is now a Biology professor and researcher in New Hampshire.  We had a fun connection because we both lived in Connecticut when we were young, and we knew the same people.  The world can be so small sometimes.

    Monday, March 10, 2014

    COSMOS is back with Neil deGrasse Tyson

    Last night I enjoyed the new COSMOS show hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson.  There were poignant moments and interesting stories.  I am not sure how I feel about the animated segments, but I understand why it is part of the show.  With Seth McFarlane as a producer, I knew to expect something in his favorite genre.  I hope there is plenty of discovery and great footage of the universe as we now understand it, and the opportunity to discuss a variety of theories in a civil way.  I was happy with the first show, because in the end, it was about the passion and compassion of Carl Sagan and how his legacy is worth sharing with a new generation.

    Saturday, March 8, 2014

    CSI Herrett Center Science Camp-In

    Explore Herrett: Science Camp In
    The Herrett Center for Arts and Science is hosting a Science Camp-in on April 4 & 5, 2014 for grades 3rd – 5th . We hope  to encourage children in science by having fun with it.  This Science Camp-in is available to students from far and wide.  The hands-on workshops are taught by professionals in chemistry, archaeology,  health science, physics, astronomy, and more.  See attached registration form for list of workshops.
    Campers will have the opportunity to participate in two workshops for more hands-on fun!  They will also attend a planetarium show in our new upgraded theater.  Campers will then have the chance to form social connections and gain team building skills with informal educational science activities.
    Campers will then experience their own  “Night in the Museum” at the Herrett Center, under constant adult supervision. It will be a memorable night and an unique experience by spending the entire night in the museum where imaginations come to life!
    It is first come, first served…so sign up now to ensure your child’s place for the classes of their choice.
    Registration: 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm  Friday, April 4th
    Parents will pick up their children 7:30 am - 8:00 am Saturday, April 5th
    The registration fee is $40 per camper and is limited to the first 72 campers who sign upParticipants are required to sign up before the registration deadline of Monday, March 24. Registration form is attached. No registrations can be taken at the door the night of the event. For more information or to sign up, contact Aaron Ursenbach at 732-6664 or at

    Friday, March 7, 2014

    Idaho PLT Events and Resources

    Opportunities for students, teachers and counselors.


    1)      Arbor Day Digital Photo Contest for Idaho 5th-12th grade students.  Cash prizes, notoriety and more!  Submissions accepted March 10-31, 2014 at

    2)      Sustainable Forestry Tour for Teachers & Counselors.  Applications accepted through March 31, 2014 at  This is an amazing week spent learning in and about Idaho’s forests.  VIP treatment!  All expenses paid.  2 optional credits available.

    3)      Project Learning Tree one-credit professional development workshops throughout the state.  Activities are correlated to Common Core State Standards and other Idaho Content Standards.  Opportunities for educators of PreK through high school.  Each title is a different credit.  Take several!  Learn more at  PLT is a FUN way to get relevant info and materials for your students, via an interesting and reinvigorating learning experience for yourself!  (Classes this spring are in Boise, Lewiston, Nampa, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Falls, Moscow, Rexburg, St. Maries, Sagle.)

    Questions?  Contact Michelle at, 208-334-4061.


    Sunday, March 2, 2014

    IDEEA Conference Summary

    This weekend I attended the annual Idaho Environmental Education Association Conference in Boise.  I have attended once before, and it was a meaningful experience so I was excited to return.  The theme was EE in the backyard and beyond, so I decided to submit a proposal to present about the Declo STEM Day.  I was pleased with the interest that teachers and nonformal educators showed in my message that parents can be so effective as partners at our schools.  I know I really don't have a classroom of my own, so I try to support other teachers by providing resources and energy that benefit our kids. 

    The conference was great because we have some passionate educators throughout the state that share their stories and talents with us.  I went on a field trip to a Bird Preserve that a local Audubon Society chapter was working to improve and restore.   We took a night tour of the MK Nature Center.  We heard from retired Idaho teacher and astronaut, Barbara Morgan.  I saw good friends and met a few new friends.  I am grateful for the time I spent in Boise. 

    A side trip was to Bonneville Point, where Captain Bonneville arrived in the Treasure Valley with his expedition, and when he saw the trees in the valley below, he said, "Le Bois, Le Bois" which translates into The Trees.  Or so the story goes...

    A small group of us attended the evening trip to the MK Nature Center.  It is a great site in Boise...reminds me of my GHS Ecology Center so much!!

    Saturday, March 1, 2014

    Idaho 2014 iSTEM Institutes Open for Registration Today!!

    This year, the iSTEM institutes are scheduled to be at 6 different sites around Idaho in June.  This free opportunity for teachers in all grades remains very popular, so if you are interested in grabbing a spot, you need to sign up now.  The College of Southern Idaho institute remains a solid choice for teachers in the Magic Valley and beyond.

    Teachers choose a strand to participate in all week, they receive tons of free materials and resources, and they stay very busy with activities, lectures, and networking opportunities.  I have been involved as a Strand Provider for three years, and it was a worthwhile week.

    We are pleased to announce 2014 i-STEM Summer Institutes for TEAMS of teachers, counselors, and administrators are being held at six of Idaho’s i-STEM Centers providing a choice of one location per participant and only at the institute in your educational region.


    REGISTRATION is now open.

    i-STEM Regional Institute Dates:

    Lewis & Clark State College, Lewiston June 16-19

    North Idaho College, Coeur d’Alene June 16-19

    Eastern Idaho Technical College, Idaho Falls June 17-20

    Idaho State University, Pocatello June 23-26

    College of Southern Idaho, Twin Falls June 23-26

    College of Western Idaho, Caldwell June 24-27


    Educators and administrators from across the state of Idaho will have a unique opportunity to receive training, information, and hands-on activities to teach students about various science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related topics. The goal of the i-STEM Summer Institute is to support educators as they learn how to integrate STEM materials and lessons into their curriculum and schools. The 2014 i-STEM focus is integrated STEM, the practices of the Common Core Math Standards, and Next Generation Science (and Engineering) Standards.



    Participants will explore research-based practices and cross-curricular applications along with specific STEM content provided by experts. The format of the institutes will be a combination of:

    • Modeling best-practices around STEM curriculum including hands-on, project-based, inquiry-based, and design-based instruction, and pedagogy;

    • Plenary sessions, with nationally recognized keynote speakers;

    • 21st century skill-based curriculum and pedagogy;

    • Leadership strategies;

    • 20 hours of interactive curriculum and instruction linked to Idaho/national STEM education learning standards;

    • Continuing education credit opportunities will be made available for individuals attending the 2014 i-STEM summer institutes.


    2014 i-STEM summer institutes are supported in part by an Idaho State Department of Education Math Science Partnership grant and a variety of i-STEM business and industry partners. All participants will receive free tuition for continuing education credits, tools, resources, curriculum, a technology device, and material kits for use in your classroom or school, along with meals and connections to STEM Content experts. Please note we have fully adopted a “Place Based” model for the 2014 i-STEM summer institutes and participants are expected to attend the institute in or near their respective region. This change allows for greater local teacher participation, as we have now opened 6 institutes across the state.