Friday, December 21, 2012

NASA Education Lauches New Clubhouse

A new room awaits kids on the NASA Kids' Club website. Find your way to the new Clubhouse from the mission control console on the NASA Kids’ Club page. Journey with Nebula, the Clubhouse commander, and explore games and interactive features designed for K-4 audiences. Look through the porthole in the floor to see pictures of Earth taken from space; read about why NASA explores; play a game about what astronauts eat in space; discover what your age and weight would be on a moon or another planet; color pictures of wildlife living on NASA centers; assemble a polygon featuring NASA aircraft; and check out the “hot spots” that come to life upon contact.

In addition to the many games NASA Kids' Club offers, its “Now in Space” area provides current and past information about the astronauts on the International Space Station. Look in the “More Pictures” section for incredible NASA images.

NASA Kids’ Club is an award-winning educational website designed for children in kindergarten through fourth grade. Content is based on education standards and designed to engage young children in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Click the link below to begin your NASA Kids' Club adventure.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Activities & Challenges Boy Scouts Merit Badge College

Merit Badge College 2013 will be taking place February 9, 2013. This is an annual, day-long event during which Boy Scouts from across the Blue Ridge Mountains Council and beyond come to Virginia Tech to work on a variety of merit badges. Since we have access to university resources, we are proud to offer merit badges that are often hard to find, such as Chemistry and Engineering. We also offer more typical badges, including those required for Eagle rank, such as First Aid and the Citizenship merit badges. 

Registration information for Merit Badge College 2013 is available here.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Better World by Design Teen Challenge

The Better World by Design Teen Challenge is offered in collaboration with the Science Museum of Western Virginia. Students aged 11 to 18 are challenged to design and build an exhibit or experience for the Design Faire on February 9, 2013, at the Science Museum of Western Virginia.

They are looking for experiences that communicate a science, technology, engineering, and/or math idea make the world a better place, give visitors something to do, and have good visual design.

Proposals are due December 20, 2012

Please contact Phyllis Newbil; if you have any questions.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Bowling Green State University 2013 KTU program- Registration opens Dec. 10th at 6 pm!

KTU is a semester-long educational research program developed by the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech in partnership with the 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.

After the success of KTU in 2009-12, we are excited to announce the 2013 spring semester event at Bowling Green State University for kids between the ages of 9 and 12 (on September 30, 2012). KTU is held in the same campus lecture halls used by BGSU students. Hands-on activities follow each interactive session and an online component continues the interest and excitement after the campus activities have been completed.

Spring 2013 Registration Procedure
• Online enrollment begins at 6 p.m. on December 10, 2012
•150 children will be accepted into the program
•Those accepted will represent a geographically diverse area.
•For enrollment information, please visit
•Registration is on a “first-come, first-served” basis that is open to children satisfying the age restriction, regardless of place of residence or academic achievements. A waiting list will be available after registration is full for a county or for the program.
•In order to keep up with the costs of providing a quality program, there will be a registration fee of $25.00 per child, payable upon registration (no refunds). Scholarships are available. Lunch cards and a KTU t-shirt will be given to all children who attend.

Registration Fee- In order to keep up with the costs of providing a quality program, there will be a registration fee of $25.00 per child, payable upon registration (no refunds). The registration fee must be paid for by check; further directions will be given at the time of enrollment. Scholarships are available. Lunch cards and a KTU t-shirt will be given to all children who attend KTU.

February 9, 2013
 “Bright Blankets And Boating Bonanzas: How Do Clouds And Ice Affect Our Planet?”

An interactive session led by Dr. Jennifer Kay
Project Scientist, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Climate and Global Dynamics (CGD) Division, Boulder CO

I often get curious stares when I mention that I study clouds and ice for a living. Most people want to know: Why are clouds and ice important? Clouds influence Earth's climate because they are bright blankets. Clouds cool outside temperatures because they are bright and they reflect the suns rays, but clouds also warm outside temperatures by keeping heat in like blankets. Perhaps you have noticed the competing effects of bright blanket clouds on the climate around you? Why is a clear day warmer than a cloudy day, but a cloudy night warmer than a clear night? The relationship between Earth's climate and ice is pretty simple. When the Earth's surface warms, ice melts, and the ocean expands. Why does a warming climate lead to a boating bonanza? If all the ice on our planet melted, sea level would rise over 200 feet. With that much more water in the ocean, coastlines would move inland and the area of the ocean would expand. Sea ice, frozen ocean water that floats, is different than a glacier, which consist of ice formed on land from compressed snow. Unlike melting glaciers, melting sea ice doesn’t increase sea level. But, when sea ice melts, you don't need an ice-breaker to navigate the polar oceans. Where could you go in a boat in a warmer world that you couldn't go now? We’ll use hands-on demonstrations to explore the influence of clouds and ice on Earth's climate and I’ll take all as many questions as time allows. Hope to see you there! 

February 16, 2013

"How can I choose the best strategy in a game? What's my best move?"
An interactive session led by Dr. Craig Zirbel

Professor Mathematics and Statistics, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green OH.

People all over the world have played thinking games for thousands of years. Some of these are two-player games of pure strategy, like chess and tic-tac-toe, others are games of chance like lotteries and roulette, while others are a mixture of the two, like Monopoly and blackjack. Many of the games that kids play today on i-pods or phones are thinking games as well. We'll play some games and learn some ways to find the best moves. We'll see that some two-player games are now completely "solved" in the sense that we know what will happen if both players make the best moves throughout the game. We'll talk about how to play the lottery, and whether to play the lottery at all! We'll explore some mathematical ideas that are often used to analyze games, but which can also be used to solve a variety of real-world problems where you are looking for the best solution.

April 6, 2013
“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.

April 13, 2013
"What Can Flies Tell Us About Human Health and Evolution?"
An interactive session led by Dr. Ronny Woodruff

Distinguished Research Professor, Biological Sciences, Bowling Green State University, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Joint Editor in chief GENETICA

Flies are everywhere! But did you know that flies have been used in scientific research in labs all over the world for the last 100 years. Not just any fly, but fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster, which means black-body dew lovers) that you see around bananas in your kitchen in the summer. These fruit flies are used as a model to help us understand how changes in our genes can make humans sick and can tell us how organisms, including humans, change over time—how they evolve. For example, you can place a human gene, which causes seizures in humans, into flies and the flies have seizures. Or you can change genes in flies that make them have four wings and extra bristles and the same genes when changed in humans cause extra toes and neurological diseases. During this session you will see mutants of flies that have changed eye colors and bristles, and will see how they are grown in a fly lab