Friday, April 27, 2012

BGSU Kids' Tech University April program

"What can fossils tell us about our planet’s past, present, and future?"

An interactive session led by Dr. Peg Yacobucci

Associate Professor in the Department of Geology at Bowling Green State University.
Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Paleontological Society.

Life has thrived on Earth for billions of years. The fossilized remains of these life forms are clues to how life on Earth has adapted to changing environments over time. We will explore some of these life forms—from single-celled plankton to giant dinosaurs—and the evidence their fossils give us for how our planet has changed over time. How can we use fossils to better understand what Earth was like in the distant past? What do fossils reveal about the processes of evolution? Why are mammals here today instead of dinosaurs? Can studying how life reacted to ancient climate change tell us how we might respond to future climate change? Let’s investigate the fossil record to reveal answers to all these questions and more!

Dr. Peg Yacobucci is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geology at Bowling Green State University. She also currently serves as the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Paleontological Society. Peg received her Bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and her Ph.D. from Harvard University. Peg has been fascinated by fossils since she first read a book about dinosaurs when she was in kindergarten. Today, much of her research focuses on cephalopods, the group that includes modern squid, octopus, and nautilus. Cephalopods have played important roles in ocean ecosystems for 500 million years, and over that time evolved into a wide variety of forms. One group, the ammonoids, are particularly interesting because they evolved very quickly but were prone to extinction as well. In fact, the entire group of ammonoids died out for good at the same time as the dinosaurs. One of the questions Peg is trying to answer with her research is why the ammonoids show this "boom and bust" pattern of evolution.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

L2Ork’s Final Performance of the 2011-2 Season

L2Ork -- World's First Linux Laptop Orchestra ( ) will be performing a special concert on April 30th ( As a partner with L2Ork for this concert, we are announcing this opportunity to Kids' Tech University students, their siblings, friends, and parents. Imagine an orchestra where performers instead of playing traditional instruments perform using networked laptops, wiimotes, nunchuks, and hemispherical speakers fashioned out of IKEA wooden salad bowls. While this may sound like a truly odd combination, laptop's ability to fulfill many different roles has enabled us to design an entirely new kind of an ensemble as well as to explore novel ways on how to combine Arts, Sciences, and Education. The program will also feature performances by guest artists Jillian Harris, Benjamin Knapp, and Gascia Ouzounian, as well as DISIS students. 

If you were ever curious about how a L2Ork Taiji choreography might mix with contemporary structured dance improvisation, or how audience's emotional response might shape interactive music performance, or simply to mess with Kinect installation to make some wicked sounds, you will not want to miss this exciting evening of experimental computer music. 

Admission Free

Facebook page:

WHAT:   Spring DISIS Event featuring L2Ork
WHEN:   April 30th, 2012 @ 7:30 pm
WHERE: Squires Studio Theatre

Thursday, April 12, 2012


A college transition program <> for rising high school seniors with disabilities and their parents. While on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia, students will participate in engineering, technology and science learning activities designed to enhance success in the college and work environment :

~Explore career majors in engineering and sciences
~Engage in hands-on learning activities with faculty and students
~Try out assistive and learning technologies
~Use self-advocacy skills to plan for accommodations

We are seeking rising high school seniors with disabilities who a) expect to attend a 2 or 4 year college, b) are seeking a Virginia Advanced Studies or Standard Diploma, c) have a letter of recommendation from a teacher or counselor, d) are able to function independently on a college campus, and e) want to explore science, engineering and technology related career fields.

We highly encourage parents/guardians to attend to help prepare for their changing roles. Parent sessions will include topics such as moving from IDEIA to ADA, assistive technologies, college accommodations, career possibilities and networking.

Applications will be taken until APRIL 30 and selections made by May 4,
2012. Space is limited to 10-12 students

$100 per student (includes programming, lodging, meals, snacks, & materials)
$40 1 Parent/ $60 2 parents (Lodging NOT included)

For information contact Andrea Sharpe <>, Program Director.

“Purple Up! For Military Kids”

April marks the nation's "Month of the Military Child," a time to honor youth impacted by deployment. In celebration, Virginia Operation: Military Kids (OMK) is partnering with New Hampshire and many other OMK States to invite you to take part in the 2nd annual "Purple Up! for Military Kids."

We are encouraging everyone across the state of Virginia to wear purple on Friday, April 13th, as a visible way to show support and thank military children for their strength and sacrifices. Purple is the color that symbolizes all branches of the military, as it is the combination of Army green, Coast Guard blue, Air Force blue, Marine red and Navy blue. OMK hopes everyone will take this opportunity to appreciate and celebrate these young heroes.

We ask schools and organizations to be creative! The goal is for military youth to actually see the support of their community! Need some ideas to get you started?

~Ask local, regional, and state officials to wear purple on April 13th

~Spread the word by inviting newspaper and media outlets to feature a story about Purple Up! For Military Kids

~Involve area schools, sports teams, youth organizations and clubs, after school programs, and recreation departments

~Engage the Chamber of Commerce, fraternal organizations, social clubs, and Rotary groups

~Request local businesses post a Purple Up! message on their roadside signs, and ask their employees to wear purple

~Ask stores and restaurants to offer a discount to all patrons who wear purple

~Invite coworkers, members of your spiritual community, exercise class, or golf league to join you in showing support for the military youth in
your town.

Virginia Operation: Military Kids would like to honor each organization that gets involved!! So, how can YOU help paint the State PURPLE??

First, send an email to Megan Baker, Virginia OMK Director at<> and let us know you will be participating in Purple Up!

Include your (1) name, (2) organization, (3) address, (4) phone number, and (5) what you are going to do to get involved.

Next, remember to send us your photos to post on the VA OMK website, where military youth and families from across the state will see them. All photos and/or questions can go to: Megan Baker at 301-401-4878,<>

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Kids wanted for Lunabotics program


Students will design, build, and test a lunabot which will be made of Legos. This will help the students use their imagination and expose them to skills that will help them in the fields of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Date: Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Time: 9 A.M. – 1:00 P.M.

Location: 221 Randolph Hall, Blacksburg, VA

Fee: Free


Preferrably 3rd to 5th grade.

Note: We would like as many students as possible to attend the program. But we will be allowing students to attend on a first come – first serve basis and cap the total amount of students at 50.


8:30 AM – 9:00 AM

Students will arrive to Randolph Hall. Doughnuts and orange juice will be provided.

Note: Lunabotics representatives will be waiting outside of Randolph Hall to guide students. Parents are welcome to stay or pick up their kids after the program is adjourned.

9: 00 AM – 10:00 AM

Lunabotics Team will give an overview about the Lunabotics program, presentation of the lunabot LARR-E and the demonstration of building a LEGO Lunabot.

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Students will be put in groups of five, where they will build their own LEGO Lunabot by using the design, build and test technique.

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Break: Students will be provided with pizza and capri sun drinks.

Note: If students have any type of allergies please complete “Allergy Information” on the permission slip.

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Students will present their final LEGO Lunabot and a competition among the groups will be conducted.

See here for the application- or email Rosa Avalos at rosa.avalos (at)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival

Come experience intriguing puzzles, problems and activities for:

*Primary School Students *Middle School Students *High School Students *Teachers This free mathematics festival will take place 10:15 - 4:00 Saturday, April 14, 2012 in the concourse outside of the MathAlive! exhibit on the third level of the Ripley Center at the Smithsonian Institution (Washington DC). Registering will insure that we have enough activities for everyone who comes. We provide the mathematics, and mathematicians to work with the students on the activities; you need to bring enough adults to provide adequate supervision of your students. If you have any questions, contact us at . Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you on April 14.

The festival is free to the public, but advanced registration is requested. For more information, go to:

You can use this form to register up to 5 participants and 1 primary contact. If you would like to register more students/teachers, simply fill out the form again.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Virginia Tech Kids' Tech University April session

“Why Doesn’t My Banana Get the ‘Flu?”

An interactive session led by Dr. Brett Tyler

Director of the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing and Stewart Professor of Genome Research at Oregon State University

We are surrounded by microbes. In fact human bodies contain more microbe cells than human cells. Most of these microbes live peacefully with our bodies, but a few cause nasty diseases and make us ill. Why is that? Plants are also surrounded by zillions of microbes. Most of these microbes live peacefully with those plants, but a few make plants really sick too, and can cause famines. But the microbes that cause diseases on humans almost never cause diseases on plants. Thus bananas don’t get the ‘flu'. Similarly, humans mostly don’t suffer from plant diseases. Why is that? I’ll be talking about how the immune systems of humans and plants work, and how they are different. I’ll also talk about how some microbes can defeat human and plant immune systems to cause disease.

Dr. Brett Tyler is the Director of the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing and Stewart Professor of Genome Research at Oregon State University, and until recently was a Professor at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech and a member of the Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology and Weed Science. His research career has spanned both human and plant infectious diseases. His current research interests center around using genome projects to understand how microbes co-exist or cause disease on plants and humans. He has created computer games for middle school students about people, plants and microbes.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

VT KTU April 7th- "Osmosis"

Participants will learn how plants utilize the diffusion of water (osmosis) to bring water into their roots. After placing food dye in water and watching diffusion, an analogy will be drawn to water and plant roots. Participants will be able to view toy "crabs" that have been undergoing
osmosis for different lengths of time and be challenged to put them in order as to which has been in the longest. A artfully illustrated poster-board will complement the activities.

Name of group hosting: Franklin County High School Science Club

About the club: The Franklin County High School Science Club is sponsored by the Bryan Neuswanger at Franklin County High School in Rocky Mount, Virginia. Students join to grasp a better understanding of science and to learn how science can be cool. The Science Club sponsors a monthly lab that allows its participants to play and experiment with anything from advanced science to something you can do in your own house.

VT KTU April 7th- "Killer Plants: The World of Carnivorous Plants"

Carnivorous Plants trick insects into thinking they will get a sweet nectar treat, but, to the insects' surprise, they are making a visit to a death trap! These plants have several methods by which they attract insects and also have several mechanisms by which they capture and devour their prey. These plants evolved their carnivorous habit as a way to gain supplemental nutrients since their native soils are often bog-like and very low in essential elements that are needed by plants. There are many intersting facts to learn about these mysterious predators of the plant world.

By- Department of Horticulture's Indoor Plants Course

Students in the Indoor Plants course will share what they have learned in class about carnivorous plants.

VT KTU April 7th- "Aging Farm Animals by Their Teeth"

Ever wonder how veterinarians age animals just by looking at their teeth? Come learn the art of aging cattle, sheep and horses by the characteristics of the animals’ dental pattern. Veterinary students will give instruction on how to examine teeth of these three animals and how to estimate the relative age of the animal. Specifically, information and examples will be provided to estimate the age of young ruminants, cattle and sheep, and the dentals patterns associated with horses ages 0 to 8 years of age. Abnormal dental characteristics and vices, or bad habits, can also impact the wear of animals’ teeth. Learn how something that commonly goes unnoticed can matter and tell us so much!

Hosted by - VMRCVM Food Animal Practitioner's Club

The Food Animal Practitioners Club of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine is a group of students with an interest in food animals. The club holds weekly rounds where various veterinary cases and farm management issues are explored. At club meetings, outside speakers discuss a variety of aspects ranging from career opportunities and practicing food animal veterinary medicine abroad to new products and field experts. The club also participates in service activities including Heifer International to raise money for the development of cattle herds in other countries. Members participate in wet labs to gain experience with food animals which includes palpation, hoof trimmingand many other activities.

VT KTU April 7th- "Why do cows dine on donuts?"

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. 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.

Hosted by- Virginia Tech Department of Dairy Science

The mission of the Department of Dairy Science is to educate students, create and disseminate knowledge, and develop applications of technology through study of dairy and related biological systems.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

VT KTU April 7th- "Effective Stress and Soil Strength"

The strength of soil is proportional to the pressure between the soil grains. Negative pressure (vacuum) pulls the soil grains together and increases strength. Similarly, positive water pressure pushs the grains apart and reduces strength. These concepts are illustrated by 3 simple demos.
1) Sliding Knuckles - How does the pressure on your knuckles change the resistance to sliding?
2) Iron Glove - How does a vacuum change the strength of sand in a rubber glove?
3) Liquefaction Tank - Vibrations cause positive water pressure in a tank of sand, loss of strength, and extreme settlement. Kids can make buildings from blocks and then watch them sink.

Hosted by- Geotechnical Student Organization (GSO)

The Geotechnical Student Organization (GSO) is a student-led body that functions to enhance the educational and personal experience of students in geotechnical engineering at Virginia Tech. The organization is committed to increasing student awareness of the geotechnical engineering profession as well as Virginia Tech’s reputation as a leader.

The GSO at Virginia Tech was founded in 2009 by the graduate students to enhance the student experience, promote the field of geotechncial engineering to undergraduates and the community at large, and connect with our national professional organization, the Geo-Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The GSO receives generous support from the Center of Geotechnical Practice and Research (CGPR).

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

VT KTU April 7th- "Wildlife in your own backyard!"

Some people are under the impression that fascinating wildlife can only be viewed in places like Yellowstone National Park. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Come learn about the wildlife around us right here in Montgomery County! At our station children will be able to examine and touch a wide array of specimens that can be easily seen on a day hike through their community or can only be spotted in extremely rare circumstances. We will have birds, reptiles and mammals alike. Some of them will be preserved specimens, but others will be alive! Not only will kids get to see these animals close up, but they will be encouraged to ask questions. Many of our society members plan to study these animals in their future careers and will be knowledgeable interpreters.

Hosted by- The Virginia Tech Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society

The Virginia Tech Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society is an organization consisting of students with a career interest and/or a passion for wildlife. Our organization is involved with training future professionals through seminars and workshops, getting involved in on and off campus wildlife research, participating in community events and service, and educating the local community about wildlife.

Monday, April 2, 2012

VT KTU April 7th- "Grow Your Own at Home"

The New River Valley Master Gardener Association's booth will have information and hands-on projects which show how you can grow your own food at home. Students will learn about worm composting (vermicomposting), beneficial insects, and the way they help the home gardener. There will be some hands-on projects that students can work on and they will be able to investigate a real worm compost bin.

The mission of the NRVMGA is to provide service to the community by promoting good horticultural practices in accordance with standards approved by the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) and its Master Gardener program and to foster communication, education, and fellowship among its members. We do this through service projects to the community as well as fielding queries through the VCE office and booths at local events.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

VT KTU April 7th- "Water To Power the World"

Hydropower is a form of generating electricity that has changed the world. We will be taking a look at where this started and how it has changed through human ingenuity. Also how has Hydropower taken on such a big role in the world?We plan to go over the inner workings of the plants including its turbines, power transformation process and the damns that are used to do this. Although Hydropower may be clean and renewable it does have its draw backs like all power plants. The world is looking to improve this clean energy source by making it more efficient and friendly to local ecosystems.

Hosted by- Theta Tau

Theta Tau is a Professional Engineering Fraterity that regularly engages in outreach programs designed to increase awareness and interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Our target audiences range from young children in pre-school to the entire community. One of our main goals is to debunk common misconceptions, and educate people about certain technologies and practices that have an unwarranted reputation in public opinion. Our mission with this booth is to both highlight the advantages of hydropower and also point out its limitations and environmental impact.