Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What if Special Education Students got Gifted Education Treatment?

When I first saw this post, What if Special Education Students got Gifted Education Treatment, in my Facebook feed I thought, "They're asking the wrong question." After reading it, I see what they did. It's a must-read for parents of gifted kids. Bonus if you can convince teachers or school administrators to read it.

I'm so very glad to have the K-8 years behind us. I will assure you as I was once assured, it gets better in high school. This is not to say it's all smooth running, but it's so much better.

At any rate, go read that article over at Rochester SAGE, Supporting Advanced and Gifted Education. You can also look through the archives at the dozens of posts I've written about parenting gifted children. Local folks should check out the Chicago Gifted Community Center for articles, resources and local gatherings.



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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, July 28, 2014

Discovery 3M Young Scientist Challenge 2014 Finalists Announced

Discovery 3M Young Scientist Challenge 2014 finalists
In April I partnered with the Discovery 3M Young Scientist Challenge to promote the competition. We also joined forces for a #STEMchat to share ideas for raising America's next top young scientist. We had such a lively chat that the summary was broken into two parts.

The Young Scientist finalists were announced a earlier in July and, wow, are they an impressive lot! Click through to learn more about their impressive projects. You don't even have to read. Just watch the video summaries.

The students are now meeting with scientist mentors at 3M, tweaking their projects and possibly coming up with new ones in preparation for the final round of competition this fall. Check out their student blog to learn more about life as a young scientist.


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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.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Meet the Miss Possible Founders. It's STEM Girl Friday!

Meet the founders of Miss Possible Supriya Hobbs and Janna Eaves
Founded by University of Illinois Engineering students Supriya Hobbs and Janna Eaves, Miss Possible strives to give young girls strong role models and valuable experiences through play. They are currently running an IndieGogo campaign to bring a line of dolls and apps for 5-10 year olds to fruition. The Miss Possible line will feature famous women in STEM with the first doll representing Marie Curie. They plan to add dolls for Bessie Coleman, Ada Lovelace before the end of 2015.

Supriya is a recent graduate in Chemical Engineering at the University of Illinois, and a long-time STEM advocate, especially for women. Janna is a rising senior in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois and has engineering work experience at two major aerospace companies.


On your IndieGogo page you quote Marie Wilson, founder of The White House Project as part of your inspiration for Miss Possible Dolls, "You can't be what you can't see,." she said. What role models or mentors inspired you two to study engineering?

Janna: I come from a family of engineers and entrepreneurs. I grew up in an environment where problem solving, experimentation, and creativity were valued.

Supriya: With two chemists for parents, I grew up surrounded by science. I don’t remember a time when I aspired to be anything outside of STEM fields, because that was much of what I saw. My greatest role model growing up was my mother. She has been my biggest mentor, supporter, and cheerleader throughout my life and was a big part of my decision to study engineering.


A doll is great and an app is great. Why did you decide to blend real and virtual with Miss Possible?

Supriya: We thought this was a great way to join imaginative play and education. The doll brings a very human element to the toy, making it easier for girls to connect to the role models. We want them to recognize that this woman was once just like them, and that they could grow up to be just like her. The app takes the connection a step farther. Now that girls recognize these career paths as options, we want to give help them build the skills and confidence necessary to pursue them.




On your Indiegogo page you mention Innovation, LLC,a special dorm for would-be entrepreneurs. What's it like living there? What kind of formal and informal assistance do you receive?

Supriya: Living in Innovation, LLC was great! The best part was being surrounded by other students with similar goals and passions. That meant that engaging conversations could come up in the lounge at midnight or while you were brushing your teeth. The programming was excellent, too. One of the highlights was a series called “How I Failed,” in which successful entrepreneurs would come and talk to us about a time when they failed and how they reacted to it. It took away some of the fear associated with failing as an entrepreneur and showed us that failure isn't necessarily final.

We had access to lots of resources -- books, building materials, 3D printers, etc. -- and the advice and mentoring of Jennifer Bechtel, the program coordinator for the community. She has been one of our greatest advisers and advocates through the process of developing our idea and launching our company. We likely wouldn't have made it this far without her! I hadn't considered entrepreneurship as an option for me until I reached that community, so it made a big difference in my life and career goals.

Janna: My favorite part of Innovation, LLC was the culture. It cultivated an attitude of solving problems rather than just identifying them, and helped connect us with the tools to get started.


Engineering is a pretty tough major as it is. How do you find time to stay involved in your studies and build a business from the ground up?

Janna: We don't find the time. We make the time. You have to do what you love and define your priorities accordingly, which sometimes means giving up a movie night or a few hours of sleep. Supriya and I both pursued engineering because we wanted to make an impact on the world. We could devote all of our energy to academics and really excel in just that area, or we could take some of that energy and throw it into solving a major problem. Which of those is going to get us closer to our goals? It's clear what we chose.



As of this interview, you have 439 contributors and are 38% of the way to your $75,000 goal. What have you learned from your campaign so far?

Janna: This occurred to me today when I was discussing the campaign with a friend. I was lamenting over how far we still have to go, and he, flabbergasted, said, "You convinced more than 400 strangers to give you money. That’s a big deal!" What I’ve personally learned is that a crowdfunding campaign unites strangers in favor of a common goal. For contributors, this isn't just about funding a start-up. This is about inspiring girls to dream bigger, and we have a responsibility to be open and honest about how we are doing it.

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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, July 23, 2014

Sticky Fingers: DIY Duct Tape Projects. A Book Review

making and crafting with duct tape TheMakerMom.com
I received a review copy of the DIY Duct Tape Project Book, Sticky Fingers. Author Sophie Maletsky provides dozens of DIY duct tape projects along with advice on how to make them.

The book starts off with an introduction to making things, or crafting, with duct tape. She's pretty clear on the three basics: a place to work, tape and a good pair of scissors, but she rounds off what would otherwise be a very short chapter with loads of helpful tips. For example, don't use cardboard or a plastic tablecloth as you work surface. She also provides a breakdown of the different brands of duct tape, along with their pros and cons.

Learn to make things with duct tape or duck tape with the book Sticky Fingers

After sharing a few tips on creating a workstation, Maletsky guides the reader through basics, like how to create "duct tape fabric," sticky strips and more, that serve as the foundation for later projects.

Those later projects are broken down by chapters: quick crafts (bows and flowers), wallets, purses and cases, wearables, items for school, and items for home. Fittingly, the book closes with tips on how to use those end bits of tape and even the core of the roll itself.

Speaking of projects, my friend Mary Anne came over while our boys were at the pool. While my younger son was in the process of making plans with his buddy, I told him to relay a message that I wanted the boy's mom to come over for a playdate. "Adults don't have playdates," he replied rolling his eyes.


Oh yes, they do. I had to call her myself, but she came over and made lanyard, a belt and a collar for her dog (alas, it was too small for Tesla to model), while I made us ice cream sundaes and experimented with a (non duct-tape) glow in the dark Frisbee project (coming in another post).




See what else is on The Maker Mom's bookshelf.



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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, July 21, 2014

Future City Announces 2014-15 Competition Topic

Future city engineering competition 2014-15
Future City announced their 2014-15 Competition Topic! Earlier this year I had the privilege of reporting live from the Future City 2014 finals in Washington, DC. It was exciting to see the engineering competition in progress. It was clear that the students in DC, all winners from their regions across the United States, worked hard to create their vision of a city of the future. They put in just as much effort to understanding and describing the technologies necessary to make their city function and some of the teams had pretty spiffy marketing materials for their cities, too.

The 2014-15 Competition Topic is...Feeding Future Cities!


From their site:  Choose two foods (one vegetable and one protein) and design a way to grow enough of each within your future city borders to feed all of your citizens for at least one growing season. Taking into account your city’s size and location, you must consider the critical elements needed to grow food including light, climate, air quality, space, water, soil, and nutrients.  

What a timely topic. I've seen several recent articles devoted to urban agriculture. Hubs even wants to put one of these in our basement. For now we have one of these. At any rate, I think it's pretty exciting and I'm a fan of Future City.

I like Future City because:

  • It's an exciting event that bring invites research in science and technology as well as engineering.
  • It encourages kids to think about their role in shaping an awesome and sustainable future.
  • There are a lot of girls involved- perhaps they are drawn by the creative and narrative elements?
  • It's a relatively low-budget event. Teams are supposed to creatively upcycle materials for their model and are limited to a budget of $100.
  • Related to other team STEM competitions, there's a low barrier to entry. It's only $25 to register a team!
  • Teams get paired with actual engineers to mentor them.
  • Generous sponsors ensure that most expenses are covered for teams that make it to the national competition--we're talking airfare, hotel and many meals.
Here's an overview of the 2014 competition that focused on transportation.


 
Like The Maker Mom on Facebook. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter. Follow us on Pinterest and YouTube. Follow The Maker Mom on Google+.

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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