Thursday, April 24, 2014

How Do You Become a Dolphin Trainer? April #STEMchatOnAir

Photo by Brenna Hernandez via John G. Shedd Aquarium
Leticia and I are partnering again to bring you another interactive Google+ STEMchatOnAir! Join in on April 29 to discuss careers in aquatic sciences and animal care.

How do you become a dolphin trainer? Ken will tell us! He basically has the job I once wanted, but no one ever laid out a career path for me. And Leticia once dreamed of being a marine biologist. He'll set us all straight.

Ken is a biologist and animal behaviorist with more than 35 years of experience under his belt. He began his training career working with guide dogs for the visually impaired and has maintained a close affiliation to pet training throughout his career. In fact, he once hosted two seasons of the pet training television series, Talk to the Animals, which compared pet training to the important work done with training and caring for animals in zoological facilities.

It sounds like he might have some tips for dog owners, and maybe those us raising kids, too!



Here's the link to RSVP to the chat--you can also click on the "Q&A" button to leave a question for Ken at any time.

Technical Tips for Joining a G+ Hangout On Air


First, you’ll need to make sure you have a Google+ account. If you have gmail, you have a Google Plus account, though you may need to activate it.

Add Kim Moldofsky to your circles. (While you're at it add Leticia and The Maker Mom)

When I host #STEMchatOnAir (or the college admission series I recently started), I’ll create an event you can join on Google Plus. You’ll find the links to the event on the blog, Facebook Page, G+ Page and Twitter in the days leading up to the hangout.

Once you click confirm on the event, you’ll get a notification within G+ that will allow you to join the hangout once it is live.

Here are other tips for Google Plus Hangouts On Air.

obligatory photo of me at the dolphin lab




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Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Upcoming Chicago STEM Events for Kids and Families

Chicago's North Side Mini-Maker FaireDid you know The Maker Mom has a sister site? Well, it's more like a poor neglected cousin of a site, but I'm hoping to kick it up a notch this summer. I write about Chicago-area STEM and Maker events. Here are a few things to add to your calendar (click for details):

This Saturday, April 26: Midwest Regional MATE ROV competition at UIC (click for details) and the Chicagoland version of the USA Science and Engineering Festival at Oakton Community College is Des Plaines.

Mark you calendars for these other events.

May 3: Chicago Northside Mini-Maker Faire. The Maker Mom will be there with a box filled with 250, 5-foot-long single-legged pantyhose making cool stuff. Join me!

May 4: Okay, this isn't tech-related, but STEM Kids Chicago is a sponsor, so I'm sharing the news. The third annual Listen to You Mother - Chicago will take place on May 4 at the Anthenaeum Theatre. The show features Chicago area writers reflecting on all that is good--and not good-- about motherhood. You'll laugh, you'll cry. It's always a wonderful time.




May 10: TechSavvy, a day-long program for 6-9 grade girls sponsored AAUW held out at IIT's Rice Campus in Wheaton.



May 17:  Scratch Day Chicago Whether you want your child to learn about Scratch or be inspired to take her/his skills to the next level, this free event is for you. I'll be giving opening remarks, Old Maker Teen will be taking about programming in Unity and Young Maker Teen will be showing off our VEX robot and talking about competing in the league. It's a techy family affair! Read about last year's event here. It will be even bigger and better in 2014!


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Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Kid's Pavilion and More at the USA Science and Engineering Festival

USA Science and Engineering FestivalThis weekend! This weekend is the USA Science and Engineering Festival. So very much STEM awesomeness in one place! Sure, there's a Chicago version and I'm certain it took a lot of work to plan it, but what can compare to the line-up of stage showsauthors and exhibitors in Washington, DC?

Picture me rigging up a Rube Goldberg device that kicks me for not going to DC this weekend. (I'll be here, though.)

Take a peek at the Kids Pavilion: You'll see a giant felted Godzilla, science magic, plankapalooza, painting with maggots!

There are 15 other pavilions as well. Everything from Astronomy to Sustainability and other STEM themes. And if maggot painting doesn't float your kids boat, there's always a change to pilot a plane at one of Lockheed Martin’s flight simulators,watch 3D printers in action, and other diversions.

Those of you with bigger kids might want to check out the college and career areas.

The Festival takes place April 26 and 27, 2014  from 9-6 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Entry is free!

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Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Science Fun for Kids: Parting the Red (Pepper) Sea:

Science Fun for Kids with Pepper from TheMakerMom.com
Yesterday I shared my recipe for the insanely addictive Matzah Crack, and now that we're even closer to the Pesach finish line I'm sharing a idea for the seder. A seder is a festive holiday meal held the first night (or two) of Passover. (Yes, that was last week if you're counting.) The term seder means "order" and there is a special order to the meal. Some version of the story of the Exodus from Egypt is told, which can last anywhere from five minutes to five hours. For children, the seder often feels like it lasts for five hours regardless of how brief it may be.

In recent years, many efforts (at least outside of Orthodox Judaism) have been made to make the seder more engaging for the younger crowd. So when our family had a gaggle of cousins in the under-10 set, I tried this out one year.

It's super easy and quite dramatic, even if you leave out the story of the Exodus. That said, it does pair well with a story if you've got a knack for spinning yarns. And you can use your finger instead of a popsicle stick Moses.



If you want to turn this from science fun into a science experiment, think of variables you can change. For example, will the effect change depending on the type or brand of soap you use? Is the effect more dramatic in a small bowl or large one? Does this work with other spices?

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Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

How to Make Matzah Toffee

How to Make Matzah toffee or matzah crack from TheMakerMom.com
Passover is almost over. Sort of. Thank goodness for long Jewish holidays that allow slackers like me to post relevant content before they're done. Last night one of my boys was begging me, "Will you please make matzah (matzo) crack?" Technically, he meant matzah toffee, but the fact that a full batch is gone less than 24 hours after it was made provides insight to this sweet's nickname.

It's totally addictive.

Now, with the nickname of "bread of affliction" you can understand why matzah isn't typically a food one craves. It's just flour and water, mixed and baked in under 18 minutes, but when you cover smother it with a gooey buttery, sugary mixture, it's tasty!

Okay, that's a lie. I think the trick is that you can't taste the matzah at all.

I copied the original recipe out of a cookbook a decade or so ago. I'm pretty sure this tired and true recipe is adapted from Marcy Goldman's A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking.

Preheat the oven to 375.
Line your baking sheet or pan with foil and place 6-7 matzah boards (total) in them. I had two large baking sheets that looked like this:


Comibine one cup of brown sugar and 1 and 3/4 sticks of butter in a sturdy pot. I use a low flame keeping a "slow and steady wins the race" outlook. Stir often and do not step away to check your Facebook status. When everything melts and begins to boil continue stirring for another 3-4 minutes.



Quickly, but safely, take your dangerously hot, bubbly mixture and pour it over the matzah boards. You may use a spoon to help spread and distribute it more evenly, but don't be slow about it. 


Place the baking sheets in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 350. It will cook for about 15 minutes, with the toffee mixture bubbling up again, but as before, don't let you attention wander lest it burn.

Take care when you remove this from the oven. If your children are as spazzy as mine when it comes to removing hot items from the oven, do this yourself. The toffee mixture will still be somewhat liquidy and is dangerously hot.

When they are resting on top of the stove or on a cooling rack, sprinkle a handful or two (or three) of chocolate chips over the hot surface. Let them sit for a moment until they melt and then spread them around in a manner that pleases you. Maybe you like a thick layer of chocolate? Maybe you're going for a drizzled effect. Sprinkle with walnuts or pecans if you like.



Let cool. Stick them in a fridge or freezer if you're in a hurry for the chocolate to harden. Break or crack the boards into pieces and enjoy.




Whether as a snack, dessert or hostess gift, matzah crack is a hit!

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Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

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