About Our STEM Opportunities
Each month the Idaho STEM Action Center offers new opportunities for students and educators.
These opportunities include funding for professional development, instructional materials, competitions, internships, and scholarships.
The Superpower of STEM Challenge
Thor: Ragnarok is the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe film to empower girls interested in science, technology, engineering, and math!
Marvel Studios recently unveiled their Thor: Ragnarok - The Superpower of STEM Challenge. The challenge asks teenage girls in the United States to create do-it-yourself STEM projects that will help others.
For more information please go to: https://www.marvelstudiosstemchallenge.com/home
To see Cate Blanchet announce the challenge watch this video:
Upcoming Idaho STEM Events
What is the Global Cardboard Challenge?
Each fall, thinkers and makers from around the world join the Imagination Foundation for a day of creative construction. Inspired by the short film, “Caine’s Arcade,” the Global Cardboard Challenge is a worldwide celebration of child creativity and the role communities can play in fostering it.
The STEM Action Center is sponsoring up to 50 Cardboard Challenge events across Idaho with complete Makedo kits.
Join us on October 7, 2017 (or whenever you can make it happen in September/October), for an opportunity for kids to build whatever they can dream up out of cardboard, recycled materials and imagination!
Visit cardboardchallenge.com for more information. Watch the video for “Cain’s Arcade” on YouTube.
Apply at stem.idaho.gov/grants
Funding is available for publicly-funded and nonprofit organizations.
For more information or any questions, please contact Erica Compton at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Crispin Gravatt at email@example.com
The STEM Action Center is offering a set of Makedo cardboard construction kits to one lucky publicly-funded Idaho school or organization in September!
The deadline to enter is September 30, 2017. We will announce the winner on our Facebook page during the first week of October 2017.
Join us in celebrating Global Cardboard Challenge Day on October 7! Makedo kits are just the thing to take this celebration of creativity and imagination to the next level.
Click here to learn more and register to win before September 30, 2017.
(You can also receive more Makedo sets by applying for the Global Cardboard Challenge at stem.idaho.gov/grants!)
STEM News And Blog
Boise gets a piece of the Pi…Raspberry Pi that is
Computers have come a long way since their inception. They are constantly changing and it can be difficult to keep up with the latest developments. Can you imagine working on a computer back when they were first built? Think of their size, speed and their ability. Think of the innovations in computer technology from the beginning, even in the last 10 or even 5 years. Computers have gotten smaller and more efficient. We have laptops, tablets, cell phones and cool innovated things like Raspberry Pis. Raspberry Pis? Nope, not a food blog and this definitely isn’t something you eat. According to Raspberry Pi’s website, a Raspberry Pi is a debit card sized computer that plugs right into a computer monitor or TV. It is a really low cost way that enables people of all ages to explore computing! It also allows people to learn how to program in languages like Python and Scratch. It’s a mini computer! How cool is that?
We at the Idaho STEM Action Center are super excited about it too! In fact, we are so excited that we partnered with Picademy, Raspberry Pi’s Foundation, to bring one of four national trainings to Idaho. That’s one of four national trainings, right here in the Gem State. What an incredible opportunity for Idaho!
Idaho’s Picademy professional development sessions will convene August 7-8 and 10-11, the two-day trainings will be held at Jack’s Urban Meeting Place (JUMP, 1000 W Myrtle St, 83702) in Boise.
Each of the two training sessions has 40 educators (formal, librarians, after school educational programs, etc.) each. Picademy had total control of who was selected but 36 educators from Idaho were accepted into the 80 available slots, go Idaho (remember, it’s national)!
The Idaho STEM Action Center is happy to provide selected Idaho educators with travel funds to attend the Boise trainings. Educators that complete the training will be an official Raspberry Pi Certified educator, receive a swag bag full of goodies, and have access to a network of other certified teachers across the world, while building their skills and knowledge of creative computing and much more. To find out more information about Raspberry Pi, click here. To find out more about the Idaho STEM Action Center, click here.
"A two-year study found that 100 percent of women engineering students with female mentors stuck with the program, a surprising win in a field with a traditionally high attrition rate."
Christian Science Monitor
JUNE 6, 2017 —As a freshman, Stephanie Mula found the University of Massachusetts's engineering program "overwhelming." A first-generation college student, she wasn't sure what to expect, how to get the most out of her classes, or where to look for internships. Nevertheless, she went on to beat the odds of the famously leaky science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) pipeline that produces only three professionals for every 100 female students who begin studies in the field. Today, Ms. Mula is an industrial engineer at Raytheon Missile Systems.
She credits her success in part to the academic and professional advice of her upperclassmen mentor, a participant in a UMASS Amherst pilot program that's revealing significant benefits for same-gender peer mentoring.
Mula says that even in her mostly male classes she never felt like an outsider, but suggests that female-female mentor pairings bond faster. "It helps having similar things to talk about if you’re with a female, similar hobbies or activities," she says in a phone interview.
Read the entire article here.
Leaving Salmon, Idaho takes effort. So when asked to join MakerEd’s Convening 2017 located in San Francisco, I said yes, fully knowing the journey that lay ahead. Salmon sits nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains and is surrounded by sweeping landscapes of sagebrush to the south and pine forest to the north. Most locals enjoy the solitude and isolation that this remote region offers and I was wondering how my last two years here would affect me upon re-entering civilization. From the moment I stepped off the plane in Oakland, CA I quickly realized the gap in the technological world. Everyday citizens were using Uber and Lyft to mobilize and headphones attached to smartphones accompanied their morning commute. They had everything down to a science and it was a beehive of activity with each with person playing a part in the overall dance. At times I got caught up in it all. At times I longed for the slow pace of Salmon. But I refocused on why I was in San Francisco in the first place and that was to represent that very rural voice that had been missing.
Accepting the proposal to speak in front of a group of 250 educators can certainly seem daunting, but knowing that most people in that room know more about making than me, having only started this journey a short 1.5 years ago, elevated that stress level. Having to wait around through keynotes, workshops, and demonstrations on the latest approaches to Making was the hardest part. How can one enjoy oneself at a conference like this knowing your moment is still to come? Deep breathing exercises and frequent walks around the building definitely helped ease the overwhelming feelings I experienced.
Prior to my 5 minutes of mini-fame, I made best use of my time and engaged. I had the good fortune of being toured around Autodesk’s 2nd floor display in the Landmark building where our conference opening reception was held.
Daniella Shoshan from MakerEd, pointed out the hack your name tag display as well as potential connections I should make during the evening’s soiree. I’m grateful to have received this inside information as it allowed me to connect with Nation of Maker’s Executive Director Dorothy Jones-Davis who has a passion for helping and doing, not to mention her resume is packed with years of experience. I got educated by Peter Wardrip from the Children’s Museum in Pittsburgh on how to become a better facilitator. He helped break down different learner types that enter your Makerspace and identify strategies with which to engage them. You can find out more by playing the “Making Connections” card game yourself. I got to meet with Tim Carrigan from the Institute of Museum and Library Services who taught me some core Makerspace framework principles to think about before creating one myself. I learned quick maker hacks for children’s books from Nora Peters, a librarian from the boroughs of Pittsburgh, which I’m excited to bring back to Salmon. All of that led up to the moment at the end of the conference when the 12 brave souls who signed up to speak would unveil their stories.
I was sixth to speak, right in the middle of the pack. I listened to the professionalism and poise of the first few speakers as they gracefully took the stage. An in-house facilitator, trained as a graphical artist quickly drew each talk as it happened. Then it was my turn. Knowing full well my talk deviated from the norm I was nervous. I was not up there to educate as a Maker Educator, but instead to tell them how I’ve been educated from Making. My story must have rung true as I felt the room’s applause. No matter where you’re from or what your experience, a simple story can still resonate. And that’s what I did, I told my story.
The simple lesson I shared was that through Making we’re learning to listen. If we listen, if we create a dialogue between two people, then we have a chance at discovery despite politics, experiences, race, gender, or any other pre-judgements we might enter with. It was with this that I felt joy in my heart, for I knew that my trip was a success. I felt I gave something of myself on the floor and someone in that room walked away a bit more empowered, a bit more inspired, a bit more ready to engage. That is all I could hope for. It’s the same when we approach Making, one child at time, one mind at time, one change at a time. I’m grateful to be on this path.
For more information on how you can help the Salmon Public Library on their Making adventure check out bit.ly/SalmonMakerspace For more information on our current happenings check out our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accts @SalmonPublicLib
We have exciting news for Idaho’s Computer Science community! Idaho legislators unanimously passed Idaho Content Standards in Computer Science (IDAPA 08.02.03.1601) during the 2017 session. The development committee for the Idaho Computer Science Standards was comprised of State Department of Education staff, Career-Technical-Education staff, STEM AC staff, K-12 educators and administrators, higher education, and industry experts invested in creating guidelines and a roadmap for K-12 CS education offerings and ensuring a common tool that could be used across the state.
Computer Science is a rapidly growing field and according to the Idaho Department of Labor, Idaho has 1,300 unfilled computer science-related job openings. Therefore, the intent of the CS standards is to help clarify student learning outcomes and to provide guidance to districts and educators that choose to implement CS for their students.
The STEM Action Center recognizes that CS might be unfamiliar for some educators, so we have teamed up with several organizations to provide high-quality statewide CS professional development workshops. K-12 educators are encouraged to apply for a variety of opportunities that will teach innovative ways to incorporate CS into classroom instruction and provide the ongoing support they need to be successful.
Here are a few grants currently open that are aligned with the new Idaho CS Standards:
- C-STEM Center Professional Development
- AP Computer Science Principles Training
- Code.org’s Professional Learning Program
- University of Idaho’s Dual Credit Training
- Picademy USA PD Training
- iSTEM Summer Institute
Today was budget setting for the Idaho STEM Action Center.
In reference to Idaho Code 67-823 (STEM Action Center legislation), the Governor recommended an increase in ongoing funding from $1.5M to $2M plus the addition of a team member. The JFAC appropriation matched the Governor’s recommendation and the Center will be appropriated $2M ongoing in FY18 and add a grants and contracts analyst position.
In reference to Idaho Code 33-1633 (The Computer Science Initiative), the Governor recommended $2M ongoing from the general fund. JFAC appropriated $2M in one-time money, encouraging the Center to continue to leverage industry partnerships and to raise external funds. The Center maintained spending authority over the STEM Education Fund which will allow us to bring in up to $2M from external sources. We will continue to implement statewide STEM + CS programs and projects and we truly appreciate the partnerships and support that we have gained thus far. To follow our progress, please like us on Facebook, sign up for our monthly newsletter, and learn more about our opportunities at STE