Monday, September 12, 2016

Virginia Tech Kids' Tech University information available

Please feel free to tell colleagues and friends about Kids' Tech University! 

Kids' Tech University (KTU, ) is a semester-long educational research program developed by the Biocomplexity Institute and Virginia 4-H, that puts scientists and engineers in front of children to encourage the exploration of intriguing topics in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). 

On Jan. 21, Feb. 18, March 18 and April 1, 2017, 450 kids (ages 9-12 by Sept. 31st 2016) and their parents will come to Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA) to watch Interactive Sessions by renowned research scientists and participate in hands-on activities. Each day's events will center on common themes related to everyday life. 

Registration will open on Oct. 24, 2016 at 6 pm. There is a $100 registration fee and scholarships are available. Please see-

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Free STEM summer workshop for 7-10th grade students

The 2016 STEM Summer Workshop is a FREE program for qualifying 7th, 8th, 9th, or 10th grade students (in the upcoming 2016-2017 school year) interested in the science, technology, engineering, and math related fields. This FREE program will take place on Saturday, June 4, 2016 from 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at the Biocomplexity Institute (formerly the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute) of Virginia Tech.

The STEM Summer Workshop aims to expose interested students (Grades 7-10) to activities and experiences in the biomedical sciences and engineering. Students will participate in activities that provide hands-on experience working with basic concepts and features of these fields in the hopes of instilling an interest and possible career aspirations in the biomedical sciences or engineering. This workshop is intended to provide activities in a college environment as well as exposure to professionals who have made careers in these areas of study. Evidence suggests that the next wave of jobs in the American economy will be in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  This summer program intends to cultivate an interest and greater understanding of STEM as students continue their educational pursuits.

This program is sponsored by the Tau Mu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and is supported by of our partners including the Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech and the VT PREP/IMSD program. Since its charter in 1992, The Tau Mu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. is committed to the development of America’s youth and committed to service in the New River Valley and surrounding areas. This year marks the 4th year of the STEM Summer Workshop for qualifying students in the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th grades.

*Event Details*
*Date*: Saturday, June 4, 2016

*Time*: 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

*Location*: Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech
1015 Life Science Circle
Blacksburg, VA 24061-0477

*Number of Students*: approximately 50

*Program Eligibility*
A student is eligible for participation if he/she

   - Is a rising  7th, 8th , 9th,or 10th grade student in the upcoming
   academic year (2016-2017).
   - Demonstrates an interest in learning more about experiences in the
   fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.
   - Submits the following documents:
      - an application
      -  a personal Statement (500 words or less)

To Register:

Registration ends Wednesday, May 25th at 11:59 p.m. EST

*Participants are chosen on a first come, first served basis.*

The contact persons for this event are Dr. Shernita Lee, 2016 STEM Summer Workshop Planning Coordinator or Dr. Gena Chandler-Smith, President, Tau Mu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. They can be reached at To register and find out more about the program, consult the following web address:

Friday, March 11, 2016

March 19th Virginia Tech KTU exhibitor

"Musical Arduino Orchastra"
The first "Musical Arduino Orchastra" focuses on taking real time measurements of light (as input) and programming those values to create tones or music (output). So in this "Arduino Orchastra" YOU are both the composer (through writing code) and the conductor (through shining different lights into the arduino musical device). Sound fun? To get a preview, google the term Theramin.

The second robotic activity starts off with a ready to program robot equipped with a real shooting laser! (safe laser pointer) You can either program him to scurry around the floor to make patterns, intelligently detect obstacles and avoid colliding into them, or use the killer laser attachment detect and shoot things in the room! Come check out and program our killer laser robot!

Rackspace Hosting is the leader in Hybrid Cloud Hosting, the Open Source OpenStack cloud technology suite and is the home of Fanatical Support. The Rackspace offices here in Blacksburg is a Developer center where our programmers create the cloud technologies that power the Internet and the back end of many of the most popular Apps and Internet technologies. Rackspace believes in Open Source and Fanatically supporting the STEM and tech communities in which they reside.
Sharing makes us all smarter.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

March 19th Virginia Tech KTU exhibitor!

Liquefaction – How Earthquakes Sink Structures
Liquefaction is a geotechnical phenomenon that can occur during an earthquake, causing the soil that supports a structure to loose structural integrity. This phenomenon can lead to damaging effects on buildings, bridges and other structures that bear on soils. For liquefaction to occur, a set of three conditions are required: the soil must be loosely packed, the soil must be saturated, and there must be significant ground motions. This booth allows for interactive involvement of the EERI chapter and curious and motivated participants to build a structure from blocks/Legos. With the guidance of the EERI Officers, the three liquefaction conditions are replicated and the participant’s observe how their structure responds to an ‘earthquake’.

Virginia Tech’s Earthquake Engineer Research Institute (EERI) Student Chapter/ Civil and Environmental Engineering Department

EERI is a global, non-profit society dedicated to advancing the science of earthquake engineering and reducing the adverse effects of earthquakes through research and education. The organization is made up of engineers, architects, city planners, public officials and all other professions that incorporate the responsibility to help reduce the risks of earthquakes.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

March 19th Virginia Tech KTU exhibitor

Heat-Sensitive Color Changing Slime!
Slime schwime! Who wants to play with the same old slime, been there, done that right? Well, what if you could make it change color with nothing but your bare hands? That’s right, we shall demonstrate the color changing capabilities of thermochromic pigment suspended in a gooey solution of non-toxic glue, food dye, liquid starch, and water. Slime so fun it’s a crime.

CurVinci Living Learning Community

Curvinci encompasses Curie and Da Vinci, two living/learning communities that reside in Lee Hall on campus. Curie and Da Vinci students study physical, quantitative, biological, and life sciences. See for more details.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

March 19th Virginia Tech KTU exhibitor

Candy Crystal Structures
Hand-made crystallography ball-and-stick models created using marshmallows and toothpicks. This activity will allow students to understand the different structures and geometries of the crystals and the minerals associated with them. Additionally, there will be a mineral and crystal structure matching game so that students can use their own candy-and-toothpick structures and ones provided to determine common mineral crystal structures.

Mineral matching with their crystal form to win a prize!
We will be making candy and toothpick models of crystal lattices matching mineral specimens we have on display.  When scientists buy these “ball-and-stick” crystal models they may cost hundreds of dollars!

Using paper cut outs and minerals, kids will play a matching game that matches a mineral to its crystal structure. If they are correct, they will receive a lucky rock!

This booth uses a combination of visual aids and guides to teach the kids about crystal symmetry and structure using minerals, paper cut outs and hand-made ball and stick models (marshmallows and toothpicks).

Museum of Geosciences with SGE Honor Society
The Museum of Geosciences is housed in the Department of Geosciences located at 2062 Derring Hall.  The Museum provides materials, activities, tours and programs.  Exhibits include beautiful minerals from all over the world, and some great examples from Virginia.  There are also interactive teaching stations: an OmniGlobe spherical projection system that shows global earth systems data. There is also an EmRiver Stream Simulation Model; a real-time earthquake display; a large collection of high quality minerals, rocks, and fossils; an Allosaurus dinosaur skeleton; and information about Virginia and local geology. Come visit!
Sigma Gamma Epsilon (SGE) is the national honor society for the Earth Sciences. with objectives of scholastic, scientific, and professional advancement of its members.  SGE members value friendship and assistance among colleges and universities, which are devoted to the advancement of the Earth Sciences.

Monday, March 7, 2016

March 19th KTU exhibit!

Design a sports car with EcoCAR 3 
EcoCAR 3 is a competition in which students transform a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro into a hybrid electric vehicle. While we want the car to be fast and safe, we also want it to be a job to drive and ride. That's where design comes in. The kids will design the "interface" of the Camaro, or how the car will interact with the driver and passengers. They can brainstorm whatever they like, from images of nature that only appear on the car's door when it's in "electric" mode to a Siri-esque voice that chats with the driver. After the brainstorming and drawing session, the team will chat with how engineering can bring their ideas to life.

EcoCAR 3 at Virginia Tech
EcoCAR 3 is a four-year competition headlined by General Motors and the Department of Energy. Sixteen university across North America are challenged to convert a 2016
Chevrolet Camaro into a hybrid electric vehicle. EcoCAR 3 provides students with hands-on, real world learning impossible to find in a conventional classroom
setting. In the first year of the competition, Virginia Tech placed second overall.
To learn more, contact or visiting our Facebook page.