Thursday, March 31, 2011

Food Pyramid

Food Pyramid
For our exhibit, we will talk about nutrition and why it is important to eat a balanced diet. We chose this topic because we are Human Nutrition, Food, and Exercise majors at Virginia Tech and have strong backgrounds in the importance of nutrition. We will focus mainly on the Food Pyramid, discussing the importance of the food pyramid, as well as what the food pyramid means. We will show the kids examples of different types of food that belong in the different categories. We will provide a blank copy of the food pyramid and the kids will color or write their favorite foods in the correct categories. Allowing the kids the opportunity to relate their favorite foods to the food pyramid.


From 3D Printing to Additive Manufacturing

Why settle for printing pictures of your new ideas, when you can print them physically in 3D? At this booth, participants will get a chance to interact with 3D Printing technology.

Starting from a three-dimensional computer drawing, a 3D Printer creates objects by depositing material for the part one cross-sectional layer at a time. The technology is primarily used to help engineers to quickly create prototypes of new products that they are designing.

At the DREAMS Lab at Virginia Tech, we are researching how these machines can be used to make end-use products. How about a customized bicycle helmet? A custom iPhone cover? A set of braces? Only 3D Printing can make this a reality! Visitors will be able to see this technology in action. Two desktop 3D Printers will be on display along with a 3D Scanner. Examples of parts made by other types of 3D printers will also be on display for visitors to interact with.

Group Abstract:
The mission of the DREAMS Lab is to lead the transition from "rapid prototyping" to "additive manufacutring" through advances in product design, process and materials research, and engineering education. Dr. Williams, the director of the DREAMS Lab, is an Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech with a joint appointment in the Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Education departments. His joint appointment reflects his diverse research interests which include layered manufacturing, design education, and product design. The construction of the Fab@Home machine has been funded by a grant sponsored by the VT Arts Initiative. Through this project the team is exploring the integration of the 3D printing in schools to provide a context for teaching students basic math, science, and engineering principles.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How do we “feel” things around us? The Sensory System by VTCSOM

Touch is part of sensory system: it is mote than using our hands to feel things. Our skin helps us to recognized difference in temperature, vibrations, texture, pressure and pain. Why do we touch everything with our fingertips? It is not only because it is easy but it is due the presence of many “receptors” in our fingertips that are associated with large sensory areas in our brain. The cerebral cortex (external part of our brain) has a special area where the touch sensation is processed. Among the most sensitive “feelings” areas we have are the fingertips and the lips, so that means we can discriminate better sensations in these parts of our body.

In our exhibit, faculty and students from the medical school at VTCSOM, physician assistant students from Jefferson College of Health Sciences will show you some interesting aspects of the sensory system.

The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute joins the basic science, life science, bioinformatics, and engineering strengths of Virginia Tech with the medical practice and medical education experience of Carilion Clinic. The school seats small class sizes of around 42 students each, fostering a rich educational experience. Unique focuses on four value domains - basic sciences, clinical sciences and skills, research, and interprofessionalism - develop physician thought leaders through inquiry, research, and discovery. Virginia Tech Carilion is located in a new biomedical health sciences campus in Roanoke, adjacent to Carilion Clinic and near Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

Virginia Career VIEW is exhibiting on April 9th!

We're all about exploring . . . careers! Want to learn more about science and technology careers? Drop by our table to visit Career Town, our interactive game, pick up some "to-go" activities for kids, and get helpful information for parents.

Funded by the Virginia State Department of Education's Career and Technical Education office, all Virginia Career VIEW resources are supportive of Standards of Learning and Virginia Counseling Standards. Visit our site at: for more information.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bowling Green State University KTU!--inaugural semester- Spring, 2012

Making major improvements to one of the nation’s high-value food crops – from the lab, to the field, to the market – is the goal of a project awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to scientists at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute and Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The $9.28 million grant will fund the work of a multidisciplinary team representing a total of 18 institutions that will create new disease management technologies to improve the sustainability of soybean production. The team, which includes extension specialists and economists as well as biologists, will establish relationships with soybean farmers and crop production and research consultants to ensure the technologies are meeting their needs and to measure potential economic value. The research activities will focus specifically on oomycete pathogens of soybean including Phytophthora sojae, a deadly, soilborne plant pathogen that causes root and stem rot in soybean. Soybean production in the United States totals approximately 3.3 billion bushels annually, which has a value of almost $32 billion. However, damage to soybean crops caused by root and stem rot cause an estimated $300 million in annual yield loss for U.S. farmers.

“Soybean is a very important crop for the United States,” explained Virginia Bioinformatics Institute Professor Brett Tyler, who serves as the project’s principal investigator. “It is used in the foods that we eat, the oil that we cook with, and in animal feed. Soybean oil is also used extensively in biodiesel production. The main goal of this project is to improve the sustainability of crop production by mitigating several major diseases. This will benefit small farmers as well as larger commercial producers, and will strengthen our nation’s food security system by keeping food prices down.”

Over the past 10 years, information about the biology and genomics of P. sojae and other oomycetes (fungal-like microbes) has increased dramatically, due in large part to scientific advances and discoveries made by Tyler and his collaborators. The central aim of this project is to translate these discoveries into new disease management technologies that can be easily integrated with current farming practices to improve sustainable soybean production.

“This project isn’t as much about new discovery as it is applying our recent discoveries from the lab to make real-world improvements,” said Tyler.

Watch a video of Tyler discussing the work.

Destructive diseases caused by oomycete pathogens impact not only soybean but also a huge range of other plants important to agriculture, horticulture, forestry, and natural ecosystems. These include potato, tomato, peppers, squash, cucumbers, grapes, most fruit and nut trees, and many ornamental nursery plants. It is expected that many strategies the team develops to mitigate oomycete diseases of soybean can be applied to these other plant species.

“Plant genetic resistance is the most effective way to manage disease. We want to develop a disease-resistant, high-yielding, and environmentally-safe soybean crop,” said M.A. Saghai Maroof, professor of crop and soil environmental sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech and project co-principal investigator. “While this project involves mainly soybean, we expect spin-offs for other crops, as this research will be applicable to oomycete or fungi disease in many other plant species.”

According to John McDowell, associate professor of plant pathology, physiology, and weed science in Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a co-principal investigator on the project, “We have a diverse team with a real breadth of expertise bringing many useful perspectives to this disease problem, providing a synergism to help us put some controls on this disease. Most importantly, we will be making strong connections through our extension team with the growers at the beginning of the project to make sure our work will be meeting their needs.”

Education and outreach activities are key project components. A network of colleges and universities will provide opportunities for undergraduate students to contribute to the research. The project will also build on the popular Kids’ Tech University program sponsored by the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute and Virginia Cooperative Extension’s 4-H Youth Development Program, establishing a new Kids’ Tech University program at Bowling Green State University.

The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech is a premier bioinformatics, computational biology, and systems biology research facility that uses transdisciplinary approaches to science combining information technology, biology, and medicine. These approaches are used to interpret and apply vast amounts of biological data generated from basic research to some of today’s key challenges in the biomedical, environmental, and agricultural sciences. With more than 240 highly trained multidisciplinary, international personnel, research at the institute involves collaboration in diverse disciplines such as mathematics, computer science, biology, plant pathology, biochemistry, systems biology, statistics, economics, synthetic biology, and medicine. The large amounts of data generated by this approach are analyzed and interpreted to create new knowledge that is disseminated to the world’s scientific, governmental, and wider communities.

Why can dairy cows eat grass and I can’t?--April 9th exhibitor

Dr. Ben Corl, Assistant Professor, Dairy Science
Ms. Jamie Jarrett, Graduate Student, Dairy Science
Ms. Cathy Parsons, Laboratory Specialist, Dairy Science
Mr. Dave Winston, Extension Dairy Scientist, Youth

Virginia Tech Department of Dairy Science

The dairy cow is an amazing creature. She produces fresh, wholesome milk that is made into many different dairy products. She is a ruminant, meaning that she has a four-compartment stomach. Her four stomach compartments allow her to eat feeds that humans cannot eat like grass and hay. She is also able to make milk from by-product feeds, materials leftover after making other products. For example, whole cottonseeds are left over after removing cotton to make cloth. Whole cottonseed is a great feed for the cow because it is high in fiber, energy, and protein. Bakery waste (bread, pastries, donuts), citrus pulp (orange juice), corn hominy feed (flour) are a few examples of other by-product feeds that cows like to eat. Participants will have the opportunity to identify and handle many of the feeds that the dairy cow eats. They will also be able to learn more about the cow’s rumen by interacting with a cow with a “window” in her side.

Monday, March 28, 2011

April 9th KTU program!

Hi everyone,

Over the next 2 weeks we will be posting information about the upcoming KTU event on April 9th. Check back every day, at different times, for exhibitor information!

“Why do we want to touch everything with our fingertips? And more ‘why’ questions about how our bodies communicate with the world.”

A storytelling session led by Dr. Helena Carvalho

Assistant Professor of Basic Sciences, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute

Are you the type of person that needs to touch everything? Sometimes it feels like we must touch to see better...doesn’t it? It’s fascinating to learn about how our human bodies connect to the world. Do you think the world is what we see? The answer is, “NO!” There are many more “things” in the world than our senses could possibly detect! In this storytelling session we will be discussing and experiencing the Special Senses. Have you ever wondered: Why do we have two eyes on our faces? Or, why do we have two ears on our heads? And why do we stop feeling our clothes after a while? Or why can we not smell our perfume all day? Those and more questions will be answered in our interactive session. Let’s explore together how our human body connects to the outside environment and learn more about the intriguing world of Human Function.

Dr. Helena Carvalho is a Physiologist with many years of experience in basic sciences and worked with microcirculation research for more than 20 years. She was the recipient of Pappenheimer Postdoctoral Fellow Award offered by American Physiological Society and the best presentation at ENCENF (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).

After teaching medical students and undergraduate for many years she turned her interest on How People Learn (HPL) with emphasis on teaching strategy that promote a lifelong learning experience for all levels of students. She is currently writing a Physiology manual with practical exercises with focus on Hands-on activities. The goal is to explore the student natural curiosity and achieve a genuine interest on science.

Dr. Carvalho is currently an Assistant Professor in Basic Sciences at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research.

The Sustainable Food Corps is exhibiting at KTU on April 9th!

The Sustainable Food Corps will be doing basic paper chromatography with local spinach leaves to illustrate the beneficial compounds, such as lutein and beta-carotene, in fresh fruits and vegetables.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Belden Lab

The Belden Lab from the Department of Biological Sciences will have several native amphibians to see. Many amphibian populations around the world have disappeared in recent years. One of the primary causes of these declines is a fungal infection. In our lab, we are working to develop a treatment that prevents fungal infection by using natural bacteria that can live on amphibian skin and that produce compounds that inhibit fungal growth.

American Water Resources Association student chapter at Virginia Tech

The Student Chapter of American Water Resources Association will be hosting an exhibit with locally caught macro-invertebrates (“bugs”) in containers for students to try and spot. They will show how each animal is used in stream monitoring techniques and which ones are worth more "points" than others. The exhibit will allow for kids to explore what life on the bottom of a river looks like and how our everyday activities can affect what they’ll find. This will allow kids to see how stream monitoring works, what factors are used to test stream quality, how to use a bug identification key, how bugs can be an indicator of water pollution, and how learning about streams can be fun!

*About AWRA:*

The American Water Resources Association (AWRA) is a multidisciplinary student organization. Student members come from many different fields and backgrounds (engineering, education, forestry, soils, biology, ecology, geography, management, regulation, hydrology, etc.) but share a general interest in our water resources. Group activities include co-sponsoring seminars, participating in volunteer/outreach activities, providing support in water education, stream monitoring with Save-Our-Stream techniques, and supporting Amman Imman—a non-profit organization that works to supply safe-drinking water to African communities. Overall, AWRA’s mission is to support the *education, management, and research* of our water resources.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Exploring groundwater with Geology Club!

The Geology Club at Virginia Tech is a group of students dedicated to educating ourselves and you about our planet. Water covers 70 percent of the Earth, so hydrology (the study of groundwater) is an important part of earth science. Chemicals, including pollutants, can stay in groundwater for hundreds of years. This affects vegetation, wildlife (including frogs), and humans! This year at KTU, we will look at how groundwater flows, what's in groundwater, and what problems come from polluted groundwater. Most importantly, we will learn about how we can protect our favorite resource: water. Get your hands wet at our hands-on exhibits!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

CanSat @ VT is exhibiting on March 26!!

Ever wondered what goes into the science of a parachute? Virginia Tech's CanSat design team is presenting a hands-on activity where kids can learn about aerodynamics while creating and designing their very own parachute!

CanSat @ VT is in its third year at Virginia Tech. We compete in a year-long annual design competition where we have to design a rocket payload to carry a raw hen egg that is launched and recovered while completing a variety of tasks upon descent. CanSat has three Virginia Tech teams to compete in this year's international competition in Texas.

The Poultry Club will be exhibiting "Rainbow eggs"

The yolk, which is mainly composed of fat, is responsible in providing the embryo with the nutrients needed for development. The hen converts part of the feed she consumed into a layer of yolk. The development of the yolk takes place inside the hen and is performed daily until the yolk has reached the required size for ovulation. It should also be noted that during this time more than one yolk is being developed. By providing fat soluble dyes to the hens, we shall be able to see the development of the yolk indicated by the ring/layer colors.

The purpose of the Poultry Club is to help bridge the gap between poultry students and the poultry industry.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Virginia Tech's Wildlife Society will be exhibiting at the March 26th KTU!

Members of Virginia Tech's Wildlife Society will be sharing information about wildlife, natural resources, and our fun projects. Come learn about deer,and bobcats, and bears, oh my! Several of our reptile friends will be on display, including a ball python and snapping turtle!

Project Butterfly Wings hosted by Theresa Haskins from Virginia 4-H

This hands-on exhibit will encourage interest, understanding and long-term involvement in science. Youth without previous knowledge of butterflies can participate in activities to transform them from beginner to engaged citizen scientists. Youth will be given the opportunity to learn characteristics of butterflies and return home to collect butterfly information in their communities. They can enter the data they collect on the WINGS web site, where Scientists and the public use the information to further scientific knowledge and view the distribution and population trends of common butterfly species.

WINGS, Winning Investigative Network for Great Science is a partnership between 4-H youth and professional scientists, providing participating youth information to transform them into “citizen scientists” who collect data on butterflies to help professional scientists.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Electricity, Magnetism, Mechanics, Optics and Pressure Demos

About the Physics Outreach program
Our program consists of undergraduate students in physics who have a passion for teaching physics to kids of all ages. They present hands on experiments in mechanics, electricity and magnetism, optics, and pressure.

Richlands High School T2H (Trees to Hug) will be exhibiting on March 26th

Exhibit Title: Our Role in Conservation: Building a Better Tomorrow

At the Kids’ Tech University Exhibit, T2H would like to discuss what students can do to conserve and better the enviornment. There will be a foucus on what students can do individually, or as a group, to improve their schools, homes, or parks. Many students want to help the environment but do not know what they can do to help. T2H students have first hand experience on this topic and would like to share what they have learned with students from other schools.

Club Information:

T2H (Trees to Hug) was start in Fall 2008 by Mrs. Melissa Addison and Mrs. Tiffany Stillwell, teachers at Richlands High School. Our members come from a variety of social and economic backgrounds that have banded together to promote conservation and sustainable living. The purpose of the club was to bring green ideas and practices into the school setting. Richlands High School now has a recycling program, participates in the science fair, sponsors school run activities, and promotes green living practices by being examples for the rest of the student body. During Earth Week we sponsor week long activities, including fundraisers, presentations, and school and town improvement projects. We work with the surrounding middle and elementary schools to teach younger students ways they can make a difference in their schools and homes by recycling, conserving water and electricity, and working together to make a better tomorrow. Our T2H members realize that small differences now can mean a better future for us all.

Andrea Boyette, Katelyn Melton, and Tara Meredith are exhibiting at KTU!

Noise Pollution

For our exhibit on March 26th, Andrea, Tara and I will talk about noise pollution and how it affects different animal populations. These include owls, bats and Zimbabwe elephants. We have decided to discuss this topic because we find it interesting since most people do not think of noise as pollution. Our exhibit will consist of a poster with information and we will talk about the information then ask the kids questions on what we discussed. We will discuss facts such as, the definition of noise pollution and examples, different types of animals that are affected and could possibly be affected in the future and what people can do to help decrease noise pollution.


Environmental Student Organization is hosting an exhibit on March 26th!

Synopsis: Have you ever thought about what happens to water once it goes down the drain? If you said YES come by the Environmental Student Organization booth to make your own "wastewater" and to learn how wastewater is treated in the United States.

The Environmental Student Organization is hosting an activity on wastewater treatment. We plan on having a few posters to describe some of the basics of how water is treated. We also will have an activity where the kids mix "waste material" (such as coffee grounds, soil, food scraps, etc) into water and then they will have to figure out the best way to make the water clean again. For cleaning the water we will use spoons, straws, coffee filters, etc. Once the kids try to figure out on their own how water is cleaned we will talk about how the water is actually treated.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Virginia Tech Lunabotics Team

The Virginia Tech Lunabotics Team is a senior design project tasked to build an excavating robot for submission into the NASA Lunabotics Mining Competition. At competition, the robot will have fifteen minutes to traverse the play field and excavate simulated lunar regolith. The collected regolith must then be deposited into a collection bin. The team to deposit the most regolith will be determined the winner.

This year’s team is competing in the competition for the second straight year. Their project, named T-REX (Telerobotic Regolith EXcavator), is a culmination of the design and analysis of eleven undergraduate engineering seniors. Seven of these students are aerospace engineers lead by Dr. Kevin Shinpaugh, and four of the students are mining and minerals engineers guided by Dr. Erik Westman.

SEEDS Blacksburg Nature Center is exhibiting at KTU.

What can you tell from the skull of an animal? What did it eat? How big was the animal? What kind of animal was it? In this hands-on exhibit, kids can use their own skulls (and the brains inside) to figure out more about a variety of animal skulls that are among the collection at the SEEDS Blacksburg Nature Center. SEEDS is a local non-profit with a mission to develop future leaders as people conducting themselves with civic responsibility and accountability in a sustainable society. Visit the SEEDS Blacksburg Nature Center at the Price House, 107 E. Wharton Street, or find us online at or on Facebook.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

New River Valley Chapter of Virginia Master Naturalists will exhibit on March 26th

This exhibit is a Watershed/Nonpoint Source EnviroScape. We all live in a watershed where water pollution comes from many sources. Nonpoint sources contribute a great deal to the pollution in our water bodies. The combined effect of pollution from many small sources can have a real impact on the quality of our shared water resources.

EnviroScape® Watershed/Nonpoint Source tracks pollution from nonpoint sources, including residential areas, storm water, forestry areas, transportation, recreation, agriculture and construction, as well as point sources such as a factory, a sewage treatment plant, and storm drains. As "rain" falls on the landscape, pollution and runoff are visually apparent as the water flows through the watershed to a body of water.

The model teaches the concept of a watershed and shows steps everyone can take to help prevent environmental contamination.

This exhibit is hosted by the New River Valley Chapter of Virginia Master Naturalists which is part of a state-wide corps of volunteers. After basic training in natural resource topics, we volunteer as educators, citizen scientists, and stewards helping Virginia conserve and manage its natural resources.

Currently, the newest class of volunteers is being trained through spring 2011. After training and certification, our volunteers work in their local communities to benefit natural resources and care for the environment as a whole.

Aiden McHugh from the Center for Student Engagement and Community Partnerships Virginia Tech

NASA's Kepler space probe is searching for exoplanets (planets that orbit other stars). The Kepler Space telescope is in an earth trailing orbit and looks for planets by observing dips in the luminosity emitted by stars as planets pass in front of them. If these dips in luminosity are regular, they can indicate the presence of a planet or multiple planets orbiting a star. This demonstration will give information on how the Kepler space probe works, as well as what it has found and could find. There will also be a simplified mechanical model demonstrating how Kepler detects light dips associated with planetary transits.

Friday, March 18, 2011

"Polymer Bouncy Balls" exhibit on March 26th

Alpha Chi Sigma, the Professional Chemistry Fraternity, is hosting a presentation on polymers by demonstrating how to make bouncy balls. Kids will be able to make and take home their creation!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

New River Valley Master Gardener Association is exhibiting at KTU!

The New River Valley Master Gardener Association's booth will have information and hands-on projects which show the connection between life in the home and life in the garden. Students will learn about worm composting (vermicomposting), which food items and packaging can be recycled and in what ways, and how composting and recycling work to build gardens in the backyard. We'll have directions for easy experiments and projects that can be done at home and students will be able to investigate a real worm
compost bin.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Soil and Water Conservation Society is exhibiting at KTU!

Soil and Water Conservation Society

Department: Biological Systems Engineering (BSE)

Host: Lisa Janovsky (President of Virginia Tech Chapter)

The Soil and Water Conservation Society promotes soil and water sustainability through save our streams activities, educational workshops, water education training and outreach in local schools and the surrounding community. At Kids' Tech University, we proudly present our activity:

H20 Olympics!

The students will compete in Water Olympics to learn about two important properties of water: adhesion and cohesion. The unique properties of water allow essential processes to occur in everyday life including movement of blood throughout the body and a water striders ability to skate on water! In four interactive activities titled Balance Beam, Pole Vaulting, Backstroke and Slalom the students will explore and learn how precious water really is to the environment and more specifically to their everyday lives!

Theta Tau is exhibiting at the March 26th KTU!

Surface water runoff can contribute to pollutants leaking into major water bodies that can be detrimental to human health. Understanding how infiltration affects soil runoff is important to controlling the quality of runoff. It is important that the soil can retain enough water to maintain a strong soil structure to reduce the amount of runoff. Storm runoff can cause soil erosion and wash away important nutrients, sediment and organic matter, therefore reducing water quality in rivers, streams and lakes. Extreme runoff can result in flooding which would damage roads in more urban areas and be a safety hazard for the public. In this demonstration, a few small tubs of different surface cover (grass, hay, mulch, trash, etc) will be subject to “rainfall” (probably just pouring some water) and runoff water will be collected and observed. Discussion will follow about the turbidity
and quality of water.

Theta Tau is a professional engineering fraternity which provides a chance for engineering students to meet up with people of similar interests and participate in acts of brotherhood, professional development, and engineering outreach.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Microbiology Club of Virginia Tech will host an exhibit on March 26th!

Microbiology Club of Virginia Tech will host an exhibit that will focus on the role microbes play in our daily lives both good and bad. They will have microscopes set up so that individual bacterial cells may be seen and bacterial cultures from different environments available for observation. The small size of bacteria will be emphasized as well as the importance of hand washing before eating.

The Microbiology Club of Virginia Tech is a student chapter of the American Society for Microbiology. Its memberships consists primarily of undergraduate students from across campus with an interest in microbiology.

Monday, March 14, 2011

"DNA Structure" by GenBioOrg

In this Hands-On Exhibit we will teach the kids about helical structure of DNA molecule. We will use a Ball-and-stick model to teach the kids how four different nucleotides work together to make a double helix in DNA molecules. In general kids will learn about the importance of DNA in cells, its roles and its structure.

Founded in 2006, GenBioOrg was established to help provide academic, educational, and social cohesiveness for Genetic, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology graduate students. The group works to promote the program and field of study to the Virginia Tech community by inviting external speakers to give campus-wide seminars at the university and by participating in outreach activities such as KTU.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Plant your own basil!- Presented by the Horticulture Graduate Student Organization

The Horticulture Graduate Student Organization has prepared a booth where kids can plant their own basil to take home. We will talk about the needs of plants and the benefits that plants give back to us. Have fun potting your small basil plant and take home a recipe that you can use to make a tasty dish with your edible plant!

The Horticulture Graduate Student Organization is composed of graduate students with a love for plants. Our goal is to create a community that encourages one another in our current educational stage and to serve the local community. We love sharing our interest in plants with others.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Virginia Career VIEW is exhibiting on March 26th!

We're all about exploring . . . careers! Want to learn more about science and technology careers? Drop by our table to visit Career Town, our interactive game, pick up some "to-go" activities for kids, and get helpful information for parents.

Funded by the Virginia State Department of Education's Career and Technical Education office, all Virginia Career VIEW resources are supportive of Standards of Learning and Virginia Counseling Standards. Visit our site at: for more information.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Entomology Tour --- exhibit on March 26th

Insects, as small as they are, might be ignored by many people. However, giving their enormous number, far outweighing the population size of human beings, insects have tremendous impacts on our livings. Why are some of their normal activities beneficial to us, while others cause tremendous problems to our welfare? The Virginia Tech Department of Entomology is proud of providing extension services to the community. Our graduate students, working on various aspects of entomology, will be very delightedly to share with the kids their knowledge and their experiences working with insects. In addition, we will exhibit specimens of various insect species, and will also have hands-on activities with live insects available for the kids.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Biochemistry Club of Virginia Tech is exhibiting in March!

DNA is the genetic material that gives living organisms their characteristics. The Biochemistry Club of Virginia Tech invites all KTU participants to engage in a hands-on DNA extraction from strawberry. We use strawberries as a source for extracting DNA because they are soft and easy to pulverize, and they produce enzymes which aid in breaking down the plant cell walls. Strawberries have enormous genomes. They are octoploid, which means they have eight of each type of chromosome (which equals abundant DNA). At the end of this experiment participants can take their strawberry DNA home.

Monday, March 7, 2011

March 26th exhibits!

Hi everyone,

Over the next couple of weeks we'll be posting information about the March 26th KTU event! Check back each day for information on the exhibits!!

"Why do we care about frogs' health?”

A storytelling session led by Dr. Tyrone Hayes

Professor of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley
We live in a world full of chemicals. They’re used to preserve and flavor food, help plants grow, kill bugs and other pests, dye fabrics and clean our homes. Chemicals help us in many aspects of our everyday lives. While some chemicals are not harmful to us, our pets, or the Earth, some can actually hurt our environment if not used properly. Our program will explore the world of chemical pollution and the many ways chemicals can be both helpful and harmful. We will examine the impacts chemicals can have on people, animals. Where are these chemicals coming from? How have frog populations, other animals, and humans suffered? And what can be done to help the frogs and improve our own health?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Kids' Tech University is hosting a Climate Change Student Summit (C2S2)

Local Students Discuss Climate Change with Scientists and Peers

Kids' Tech University, a partnership between the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) and Virginia 4-H, will host the ANDRILL (ANtarctic geological DRILLing) Climate Change Student Summit (C2S2) on March 5, 2011 at VBI. The summit will bring middle and high school students together at sites in four states: Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL; Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA; University of Nebraska State Museum, Lincoln, NE, and Juneau School District, Juneau, AK.

Students will share their research and science experiments with their peers and interact with climate scientists. Climate issues that impact the students’ lives presently and in the future will be discussed as they share ideas and address questions to the scientists. During a live videoconference connecting all four sites, the dialogue will continue with a broader conversation about climate change topics across latitudes and cultures.

Virginia students from Auburn High School, Blacksburg High School, Christiansburg High School, Gildersleeve Middle School, Graham Middle School, John S. Battle High School, King & Queen Elementary School, Montgomery County 4-H, Richlands Middle School, and Tazewell Middle School are participating.

“It gave me a new perspective that nobody is in this alone, and we're all working towards the goal of reducing global warming and protecting our future,” said a middle-school student at the Summit in 2010.

C2S2 is the capstone event after a yearlong study by students and their teachers sponsored by ANDRILL, a National Science Foundation science research project, and funded by an Environmental Literacy grant from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Sponsors for the program include VBI, Virginia 4-H, University of Nebraska State Museum, and the Museum of Science and Industry. Approximately 200-500 students are involved in the Summit each year, and more than 2,000 students are introduced to the climate change materials in their classes.

For more information:

Ms. Louise Huffman, ANDRILL,
Dr. Kristy Collins, VBI,