Friday, March 29, 2013

Saturday, April 27th- Virginia Tech at Kids' Tech University event- free, open to the public

We are excited to announce a free, open to the public event on Saturday, April 27th (10 am-3 pm) held at Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech (**On a campus map- building 119 and 120; cars can park right out front of the building. No Virginia Tech parking permits needed.)

**All are welcome- children must be accompanied by an adult!** Participate in the educational activities at your own pace.

Kids' educational activities include:
~Egg drop (kids will build an apparatus to protect an egg and then see if it works!)
~Straw rocket building activity
~Virginia Tech Police K-9 demonstrations
~Robotic arm (find out how scientists use robotics to preform moon mining)
~Quasar Instruments GO Lab- a full functioning mobile laboratory- This mobile lab is housed on a Mac truck! See what various scientific instruments do and participate in hands-on demonstrations for all ages! 

This event is co-hosted by:
~Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech
~Virginia 4-H
~Quasar Instruments
~Virginia Tech RASC-AL Design Team
~Virginia Tech Biochemistry Club
~Virginia Tech Lunabotics

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Teacher workshop- "Bright Lights, Big City" March 30th

Teacher workshop- "Bright Lights, Big City"
Sarah Foltz, Dept. of Biological Sciences, Virginia Tech

When: Saturday, 30 March 9am-1pm.
Location: Price House, 107 Wharton St. SE, Blacksburg. Parking in our driveway, on Wharton St., and within 2 short blocks on Clay St. @ spout spring parking strip & Church St. in the public parking lot. Admission is free. Engaging for all ages.
Urban areas are built for people, but animals make their homes here too. These activities explore differences between urban and non-urban habitats, the kinds of animals that move to town, the challenges (and opportunities!) of urban living, and how animals adapt to their new home. These activities are intended to help participants understand how human activities can alter habitats and thereby effect how and where wildlife lives.

Relevant Virginia SOLs
LS.9 c) Investigate and understand how organisms adapt to biotic and abiotic factors in an ecosystem.
Key concepts include adaptations that enable survival within a specific ecosystem.
LS.11 b - d) Investigate and understand the relationships between ecosystem dynamics and human activity. Key concepts include change in habitat size, quality, or structure; change in species competition; and population disturbances and factors that threaten or enhance species survival.
LS.13 c) Investigate and understand that populations of organisms change over time. Key concepts include how environmental influences can lead to diversity of organisms.
BIO.7 b) Investigate and understand how populations change through time. Key concepts include how environmental pressures impact the survival of populations.
BIO.8 d) Investigate and understand dynamic equilibriums within populations, communities, and ecosystems. Key concepts include the effects of natural events & human activities on ecosystems.

Activity 1: Urban vs. Rural
Participants will compare and contrast photos of urban and rural areas. They will choose specific characteristics of these habitats from a supplied set, and decide which habitat each characteristic best describes.

Activity 2: Who Lives Where?
Cards representing a variety of different animals, as well as clues about those animals’ natural history and resource needs, will be provided. Based on the information provided, participants will assign each animal to an urban or rural habitat.

Activity 3: Urban Challenges and Opportunities
Participants will match common characteristics of urban habitats to their potential effects on wildlife. They will then decide whether each potential effect is helpful or harmful to animals.

Activity 4: City Bird, Country Bird
Birds are one of the most visible and common groups of urban wildlife. Participants will examine data from research that compared urban and rural populations of birds and determine the differences between these groups. They will then explore possible long-term impacts of these urban-related differences on wildlife populations by matching the difference they’ve identified to potential effects on a provided list.

The SEEDS – Blacksburg Nature Center
With Contributing Partners:
Town of Blacksburg Dept. of Parks and Rec. & VT Dept. of Biol. Sci. Outreach
107 Wharton St. SE PO Box 824 Blacksburg VA 24063-0824 • (540) 552-3914 •

Friday, March 22, 2013

Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology encourages teens to create at Make-to-Learn Workshop

BLACKSBURG, Va., March 22, 2013 – The Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology  invites area teenagers to share what they make with the world at Virginia Tech’s first Make-to-Learn Workshop. 
The free event will be held on Saturday, April 6, from 1-5 p.m. in STUDIOne, the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology studio, at 460 Turner Street NW, on the ground floor of Collegiate Square, Blacksburg, Va.
Organized and coordinated by IDEA Studio, one of five studios within the institute designed to structure organizational projects and initiatives for the institute, the event provides 13- to 18-year-olds the opportunity to create an instructable, which involves making something and documenting the creative process through photography, video, and written instructions.
The purpose of the Make-to-Learn Workshop is to encourage middle and high school students to identify themselves as makers. Makers create everything from engineering-oriented projects to traditional arts and crafts. Participants will complete a project, but will also learn how to identify, document, and explain the process.  
This event is one example of the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology’s community outreach efforts to bring maker technologies to children in the community with the goals of increasing their creative self-efficacy, expanding their technical skills, and teaching them how to move forward in the making process.
Participants may bring an existing project, finished or in progress, or start a new project at the workshop.  They do not need to bring any materials with them to the event. Materials will be provided and several stations will be available, including a maker space; areas for designing, writing, and scripting; photography booths; and video spaces. After completing a project, participants will have the opportunity to submit their creations to the Make-to-Learncontest.
This event is limited to 20 participants. To reserve a space for the Make-to-Learn Workshop,email Phyllis Newbill.
A university-level research institute sitting at the nexus of the arts, design, engineering, and science, the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology is uniquely partnered with the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech. By forging a pathway between transdisciplinary research and art, educational innovation, and scientific and commercial discovery, the institute works to foster the creative process to create new possibilities for exploration and expression through learning, discovery, and engagement. This includes preparing students in kindergarten through 12th grade and higher education environments to succeed in a world that demands teamwork and collaboration of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines; promoting new research domains that transcend institutionalized boundaries; and participating with people of all ages in the process of co-creation.

March 23rd VT KTU exhibit- "Mapping Home: The Importance of Place and Space"

Home is where the heart is.  Cultural definitions of place, space, and the natural environment govern how people across the world view their home.  When people travel, they first look for things that are familiar and remind them of home.   But with globalization, the definition of home changes as people are exposed to new things.  We will be using different maps and mapping techniques to explore students perceptions of home - what makes home home.  Is it the climate? It is physical features? How is home defined?   Can you find home from 6 blocks away? From 100 miles?  From 1000 miles?   Can you find home without technology?   What characteristics of new places would make it home?  

The Geographic Society at Virginia Tech is run by undergraduate students in the Department of Geography from both the Geography and Meteorology programs.  The primary goal of the Geographic Society is to promote geography education and awareness across the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Our primary activities include outreach to K-12 educators and students.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

March 23rd VT KTU program- "Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team (HEVT)"

The Hybrid Vehicle Team is a mechanical engineering team who competes in the EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future competition. Over three years, HEVT designs, builds, and refines a hybrid electric vehicle.

Presented by the Virginia Tech Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team

March 23rd VT KTU exhibit- "SeaPerch: Building an ROV"

Kids will be able to see the steps that go into building a simple Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV). There will be several hands-on activities related to building and operating a SeaPerch ROV. Topics that will be covered are ballasting, motor positioning, and controlling an ROV. Ballasting discusses how the density of an object affects whether it sinks or floats, and how the positioning of floats and weights affects the trim of the ROV. Motor positioning explores how the direction and position of the motor affects the movement of the ROV. Controlling an ROV examines how a simple control box is wired and how different inputs move the ROV.

Like autonomous land vehicles, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) are equipped with sensors and controls for navigation. These underwater robots also have propulsion and ballast systems. Founded in 2002, Virginia Tech’s AUVT has approximately 30 members representing several engineering disciplines. Each year, the team designs and builds an autonomous submarine to enter in the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Competition in San Diego. In addition to operating without human intervention, the AUVs are required to navigate underwater obstacles, identify targets visually, launch "torpedoes", and locate an acoustic beacon with passive sonar.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

March 23rd VT KTU exhibit- "Virginia 4-H Robotics"

4-H Robotics engages kids in critical math, science & programming skills.  Using this curriculum, youth will: Build an understanding of basic science concepts related to robotics; Apply the processes of scientific inquiry and engineering design; Build skills in science, engineering and technology; Use the tools of technology to enhance their learning; Explore related careers in these fields; Apply the skills and knowledge they are developing to new challenges.  The 4-H Robotics Curriculum is comprised of three tracks; each is designed to meet the diverse requirements of 4-H clubs, after-school programs, individual youth and school enrichment activities.  Participants will learn basic science and robotics concepts online through meaningful and engaging mediums including video simulations.

Hosted by- Virginia 4-H, Virginia Cooperative Extension, CALS

4-H is the youth development education program of Virginia Cooperative Extension. 4-H is rich with learning experiences where young people partner with caring adults and volunteers in a fellowship unlike any other program available to youth today.  Through 4-H, young people are encouraged to participate in a variety of activities that emphasize 4-H's "learning by doing" philosophy of youth development.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March 23rd VT KTU exhibit- "Sail On"

Do you want to make a sail to propel a boat? Come by our booth to make a sail and learn how make a boat out of ordinary equipment that you could duplicate at home! We'll test the sails and see if yours can win the race!

In addition to making a sail, you will be playing with lots of other fun physics toys!

Enriched Physics Outreach is a class that undergraduate physics students take to learn how to make interactive physics lessons for students at the K-12 level. We focus on age-appropriate hands-on lessons which promote making predictions and experimenting with both high-tech and low-tech equipment.

March 23rd VT KTU exhibit- "Virginia Tech Formula SAE"

The Formula SAE competition is for SAE student members to conceive, design, fabricate, and compete with small formula-style racing cars. The restrictions on the car frame and engine are limited so that the knowledge, creativity, and imagination of the students are challenged. The cars are built with a team effort over a period of about one year and are taken to the annual competition for judging and comparison with approximately 130 other vehicles from colleges and universities throughout the world. The end result is a great experience for young engineers in a meaningful engineering project as well as the opportunity of working in a dedicated team effort.

The 2012 car which is on display goes from 0-60 in less than 4 seconds and out handles Porsches.

For the purpose of this competition, the students are to assume that a manufacturing firm has engaged them to produce a prototype car for evaluation as a production item. The intended sales market is the nonprofessional weekend autocross racer. Therefore, the car must have very high performance in terms of its acceleration, braking, and handling qualities. The car must be low in cost, easy to maintain, and reliable. In addition, the car's marketability is enhanced by other factors such as aesthetics, comfort and use of common parts. The manufacturing firm is planning to produce four (4) cars per day for a limited production run and the prototype vehicle should actually cost below $25,000. The challenge to the design team is to design and fabricate a prototype car that best meets these goal

Monday, March 18, 2013

March 23rd VT KTU exhibit- "Ware Lab and Engineering Education Tablet PC Demonstration"

Ware Lab will have several of its award winning undergraudate teams on display at the March 23rd Kids' Tech event. General information on these teams and others not on display will be featured at this table.

The College of Engineering requires tablet PC technology for entering freshmen. A tablet featuring stylus sketching and graphic capabilities will be on display for participantes to use.

Ware Lab is home to over 18 undergraduate engineering teams including Hybrid Electric Vehicle, Human Powered Sub, Formula SAE and BAJA SAE. Recent additions include the all electric BOLT Team and Human Powered Vehicle.

The Engineering Education department serves incoming freshmen to the college of engineering by providing comprehensive introductory courses in engineering exploration, digital design and an overview of the engineering design process. The department also offers graduate certifications and a doctorate in Engineeing Education.

March 23rd VT KTU exhibit- "Atmospheric Fun For All"

How does weather change as you go up towards space? What are things like in the upper atmosphere? These are questions that Atmoshperic Teaching Experiment at Virginia Tech is trying to answer!

We will have examples of the different equipment that scientists use to take data in the upper atmoshpere.  We will also have games and activities that will get kids to start thinking like engineers!

Atmospheric Teaching Experiment at Virginia Tech is a design team that has a strong emphasis on educational outreach.  We design a weather balloon, and using that weather balloon we create a curriculum to teach kids about what's happening in the upper atmosphere.  We then take this curriculum to elementary and middle schools around Virginia.  To make it even more exciting, we launch our weather balloon on Virginia Tech's Drillfield, and invite all the kids we have worked with to come.  It is our hope that by doing this, kids will become more interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

This year's launch will be on April 14th.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

March 23rd VT KTU exhibit- "The Secret Lives and Many Talents of Good Bacteria"

Bacteria are everywhere. They are in the soil, the air, on your skin, and inside your body. In fact the cells that make up you are actually only 10% you, and 90% bacteria. Most bacteria you hear about are the pathogens that make people sick like Salmonella and Listeria, but those are only a small group of troublemakers. Most bacteria are harmless and many are even beneficial. Come visit our table to learn about how good bacteria are in many everyday items that you may not realize. Plus, you can practice being a microbiologist! Take a look inside the secret lives of ordinary microbes with some amazing abilities.

Hosted by: Adam Nelson, PhD., Senior Scientist, Novozymes Biologicals.

Company Information:
Novozymes Biologicals
5400 Corporate Circle
Salem, VA 24153

March 23rd Virginia Tech KTU exhibit- "Virginia Career VIEW, School of Education"

What careers are related to today's session? Where can I learn more about being an Aerospace or Ocean Engineer?  What schools in Virginia offer these programs? What are the requirements to become an Aerospace or Ocean Engineer? What do they do?  Find out answers to these questions and more at the Virginia Career VIEW table.  Relate what you learned today to careers for tomorrow.

Virginia VIEW is the state's K-8 Career Exploration and Educational Planning System.  VIEW has been promoting career development in the Commonwealth for over 32 years.  Our website, is designed to give K-8 students an interactive experience with games, resources, and assessments that promote career exploration and planning for post-secondary education. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

VT Geosciences is exhibiting at VT KTU on March 23rd.

Due to weather in Jan. the teacher workshop was rescheduled for March 22-23rd. This is great news to kids at KTU who want to revisit the VT Geosciences booths. There will also be 28 other booths in addition to these hosted by various companies and VT departments! It's going to be an exciting day!!

Recap of the VT Geosciences booths:

Title: "Shelling Out the Shapes: The Incredible World of the Mollusca Phylum"
Abstract: This exhibit demonstrates the amazing diversity of marine creatures from the important phylum— the Mollusca.   Explore the wide variety of shapes and colors of calcium carbonate skeletons that are made by many, but not all, of these organisms.  The biogeochemistry research group in the Department of Geosciences investigates the biochemical processes that control how biomineralized structures are formed. In this remarkable collection you will experience the many shapes and sizes of mollusks from around the globe!
Hosted by: Department of Geosciences, Biogeochemistry of Earth Processes Group
The Biogeochemistry of Earth Processes (bgep) group conducts interdisciplinary research into the physical basis for biomineral formation and the complex patterns of mineralization that are observed in modern and ancient organisms. 

Title: "How Crystals Grow: An Interactive Illustration"
Abstract: Much like we use blocks to build fantastic shapes and structures, nature uses its own building blocks to make the crystals that we see in rocks and in skeletal structures. What better way to demonstrate this wonderful occurrence than with Lego blocks! This exhibit shows a “zoomed-in” view of a growing crystal face that is made of Legos and explains the step-by-step process that occurs as the crystal grows— and how a crystal dissolves! Students can “grow” their own crystals by playing with the different pre-made examples. Come to learn and play with geology on the nanoscale!
Hosted by: Department of Geosciences, Biogeochemistry of Earth Processes Group
The Biogeochemistry of Earth Processes (bgep) group conducts interdisciplinary research into the physical basis for biomineral formation and the complex patterns of mineralization that are observed in modern and ancient organisms. 

Title: "Ocean Acidification: Dangerous Changes in Earth's Seas"
Abstract: In this activity you will learn about the pH of the ocean and why humans should be concerned that the oceans are becoming more acid. By testing the pH of different liquids, you will learn the concept of acidity and understand why the rising level of carbon dioxide in atmosphere is making the  oceans more acid.  This may be dangerous for the ocean’s inhabitants that make their skeletons of calcium carbonate.  Explore how changing environments may affect the production of biominerals worldwide. 
Hosted by: Department of Geosciences, Biogeochemistry of Earth Processes Group
The Biogeochemistry of Earth Processes (bgep) group conducts interdisciplinary research into the physical basis for biomineral formation and the complex patterns of mineralization that are observed in modern and ancient environments. 

Title: "Turning and flipping: How to find point symmetry in minerals"
Abstract: Have you ever noticed how ceiling tiles are laid out in repeating patterns, how your body looks the same on both sides or how mineral crystals in museums have complex but beautiful and equal shapes? These are a few simple examples of symmetry in our everyday world! This exhibit shows you how to identify symmetry and the different types of symmetries that are observed in nature. By building two types of polyhedra and 'decorating' them with different kinds of symmetry, you will learn how to find and identify 'elements of symmetry'. You will also learn the types of symmetry that are in specific molecules and in minerals. Build two types of symmetry elements to take home and learn how these polyhedra also represent how atoms are assembled to form crystals!
Hosted by: Department of Geosciences, Mineralogy and Petrology Group
The Mineralogy and Petrology group conducts interdisciplinary research on mineral formation and high-temperaure igneous and metamorphic rocks and processes.

Title: "Know Your Roots: Shells, Scales, and Skeletons"
Abstract: Come find out how you are related to a worm!  At this exhibit, you will learn how all organisms on earth are connected by the tree of life.  Are the wings of flies the same as those of eagles?  Have you ever seen a tree eat mosquitos? What are the differences between seashells and dinosaur teeth?  Some creatures have shells and others have bones made from very different crystals. Learn all about structures and skeletons we call biominerals, from large bones to microscopic shells!
Hosted by: Department of Geosciences, Biogeochemistry of Earth Processes
The Biogeochemistry of Earth Processes (bgep) group conducts interdisciplinary research into the physical basis for biomineral formation and the complex patterns of mineralization that are observed in modern and ancient organisms.

March 23rd VT KTU exhibit- "Redesigning our World Before it Fails"

We will cover four areas of human factors.  ‘Safety’ will consist of numerous pictures of people performing hazardous tasks and participants must play a ‘Where’s Waldo’ type finding game for the hazards (not all are so obvious).  ‘Accessibility’ will have participants trying to do a fine motor task while wearing gloves.  ‘Biomechanics’ will display the electrical activities of participants’ muscle movements in real time using an EMG test.  ‘Cognitive’ will have two simple simultaneous tasks to do which will tax attentional resources and teach them about what multitasking really is.  

Hosted by:  Human Factors and Ergonomics Society

The Society's mission is to promote the discovery and exchange of knowledge concerning the characteristics of human beings that are applicable to the design of systems and devices of all kinds.  We further serious consideration of knowledge about the assignment of appropriate functions for humans and machines, whether people serve as operators, maintainers, or users in the system. Furthermore, we advocate systematic use of such knowledge to achieve compatibility in the design of interactive systems of people, machines, and environments to ensure their effectiveness, safety, and ease of performance. The VT student chapter is one of the largest in the nation; winning gold chapter status continuously for numerous years.

March 23rd VT KTU exhibit- "Explore Our World by Investigating Materials"

We invite you to stop by our booth and become a materials scientist by investigating the properties of some materials! Through hands-on activities, you’ll discover why oil and water don’t mix, what magnetic fields look like, what causes silly putty to act the way it does, and more!!

Hosted by Prof. Lou Madsen’s research group - Chemistry Department.
We study how molecules interact to determine properties of the materials humans use, and
we use this knowledge to design all new materials. We work on materials used in advanced 
technologies such as lithium batteries, water purification, and hydrogen fuel cells.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

March 23rd Virginia Tech KTU exhibit- "Traveling to Mars"

Have you ever realized that you could be a part of the first human generation to travel to a different planet?  Sending a human to Mars is starting to become extremely feasible and it’s time for us to start getting excited about the possibility of this happening in the near future.  At our booth we will be teaching about the surface of Mars, current and possible future missions to Mars, and we will be explaining why it is that humans should want to explore the Martian surface as well.  We will be helping students participate in a variety of hands on activities such as instructing students through building their very own paper rockets.  Make sure to come stop by and learn about the next “giant leap for mankind” at our Manned Mars Mission booth!

About Us: We are a senior design team at Virginia Tech participating in the RASC-Al Senior Design Competition, which is taking place in Coco Beach, Florida in June.   For the project our seven man team is designing a manned mission to mars. This involves designing the launch of 4 crew members onto our own innovative trajectory to Mars, the landing and multiple-month stay on the surface of Mars for scientific research, and the trip back Earth.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

KTU Teacher/Educator Workshop Available!

Due to the weather, we had to cancel our January KTU educator workshop.  It has been rescheduled for March 22-23.  See the event information and register at the link below.  Agents, teachers, educators, etc. are all welcome to attend!  Funding for half-day substitutes for the first 15 participants to register.  Please contact Dr. Kathleen Jamison ( ) with any questions or concerns!

The Workshop:
  Virginia 4-H is helping teachers make STEM learning fun and engaging for students through a hands-on, experiential workshop offered as part of Kids’ Tech University.
• provides opportunities to build STEM knowledge and skills in the area of crystal formation
  and composition
• encourages student interest in geoscience-related fields.
• explores essential questions: "How are bones and skeletons formed from crystals?" and
  "How do organic and inorganic crystal structures compare?"
    Workshop leaders will work with graduate students to deliver relevant and interesting science activities using best-practice education strategies:
• Dr. Kathleen Jamison (4-H Youth Development and Informal Learning Specialist) • Dr. Patricia Dove (Renowned Geosciences Professor) • Dr. Lindsey Kolbus (Professor of Minerology) • Llyn Sharp (Geosciences Outreach Coordinator)

Who: Teachers of 3rd- 7th grade interested in STEM and Earth Science topics
When: Dates & Times
  FridayMarch 22, 2013, 1:00pm - 5:00pm
• receive coaching on the research topic and an introduction to activities during teacher-
   training session
   SaturdayMarch 23, 2013, 8:30am - 4:30pm
• participate with the children and researcher in an interactive discussion 

• debrief with researcher • practice hands-on learning activities with children and their parents. Geoscience professors/grad students will serve as coaches and mentors at this time. 
• make activity modifications based on classroom needs • develop plan for classroom application As a result of the workshops, students have the opportunity for exposure to current and relevant research. They will benefit from their teacher’s ability to connect research back to classroom content standards through intentional programming.
Where: Campus, Virginia Tech; Meet at Virginia Bioinformatics, Room 325

• Cost: No cost to participate! 12 recertification points offered. Funding for half-day substitutes available for the first 15 participants to register.

• Deadline: Registration ends March 17, 2013- see registration link:

Teachers will be given a take home packet of activities with which they will have had practice with and be able to implement immediately.

SOL’s reinforcement that we have targeted thus far – teachers will have an opportunity to make additional connections to extend application of standards. The activities fit especially well with third grade, but could be used as a review as an anchor for expansion in later grades.

3rd Grade
§  3.1 and  a,b,g,j,l,m; emphasize the development of inquiry skills with context of topic and processes used 

§  3.3 a,b,c Matter 
§  3.4 b. Life Processes

4rd Grade
§  4.1 a, b, m
§  4.5 Will touch on community –ecosystem-habitats and niches

5th Grade
§  5.1 a. classification
§  5.5 b,c

6th Grade
§  6.4 g (oceans)

Research Experience for Teachers- Innovation-based Manufacturing

Virginia Tech’s Center for Innovation-based Manufacturing ( is hosting a summer research program for middle and high school STEM teachers that is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. In this 5-week program (June 24 – July 26, 2013), teachers will work alongside faculty and students in Virginia Tech laboratories to explore cutting-edge topics in advanced manufacturing such as 3D Printing, robotic assembly, metal casting, and bio-manufacturing. In addition to research projects, participants will engage in weekly professional development activities to assist them in creating SOL-relevant curriculum that uses manufacturing as a context for teaching fundamental STEM concepts.

Participants will receive a $5,000 stipend, continuing education credit, allowances for meals and travel (and housing if need), and a MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer for their classroom. Middle and high school teachers of science, technology, engineering, and math are encouraged to apply. No prior research experience is required. This is a great opportunity to see how the STEM principles you teach in the classroom are applied in university research and in the manufacturing industry.

Please see the “Research Experience for Teachers: Innovation-based Manufacturing” program website for more details on the program, stipend, and sample projects:

Please complete the online application ( by April 22, 2013.

Applicants will be notified of their acceptance by May 3, 2013.

Please direct questions to Dr. Chris Williams:

March 23rd Virginia Tech KTU exhibit- IALR's Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math Mobile Learning Lab - STEM ML2

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) in Danville, Virginia will be transporting its STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math Mobile Learning Lab - STEM ML2) to Virginia Tech on Saturday, March 23rd to participate in the 2013 Kids’ Tech University.  The goal of the GReEn Jobs (Gearing-up for Renewable Energy Jobs) project is to provide professional development opportunities to teachers and hands-on activities for K-12 students that increase their knowledge and understanding of clean energy and the emerging green economy.  The unit will include photovoltaic cells, a wind turbine, a human power generator, the House of Pressure, and a vegetable oil processing unit (reclaimed fuel will power the truck that pulls the STEM lab. The hands-on lab activities that connect to the demonstration technologies will reinforce STEM concepts.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Applications are being accepted for the Modeling of Infectious Disease High School 2013 Summer Internship at Virginia Tech!

Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) offers summer internships to high school students interested in computer science, mathematics, infectious diseases, the environment, and bioinformatics. This week-long program includes research activities and tours, and a discussion/lecture series.

High school students interested in math and science, who are able to provide their own reliable transportation to VBI each morning, are eligible for participation in the program. The main objective of this high school internship is to show students the fun and excitement of scientific research. Students will have the opportunity to explore the world of genomics and the environment with world-renowned research scientists in professional labs.

Dedicated work is key for success in any career, especially one in bioinformatics research. The internship experience will strengthen the principle of dedicated work through intensive laboratory research and journal keeping exercises given throughout the week. A highly motivated attitude is encouraged throughout the program!

Program Dates- July 8-12, 2013
Application Deadline- May 3, 2013

For more information see-

March 23rd Virginia Tech KTU exhibit- "Lunabotics"

We will have a robotic arm that can be used to pick up candy in order to display a use of robotics in a fun way.  We will also have another small autonomous robot (such as a BoeBot or LEGO NXT) to display autonomous navigation of a field of obstacles.  We will hopefully have at least a prototype of our team's competition robot with a display to tell kids a bit about our team.

NASA sponsors a competition every year called the Lunabotics Mining Competition.  We have a team of seniors in Spacecraft Design and several underclassmen who design and build a robot that mines a Lunar Regolith simulant and navigates a field of obstacles.  Dr. Kevin Shinpaugh is our advisor.

March Virginia Tech KTU Exhibit- "Exploring When to say Happy Birthday to a Fish"

All living things including fish, insects, amphibians, and even trees grow old and age just like you. Think about if you did not know when your birthday was.  How would you know your age? You might guess you are between 8-12 years of age, but would you know for sure? We face the same problem when aging other living things.  How do we know how old animals are if we do not know their birthdays?  

You might ask why we would care about the age of fish, trees, or even you. Well, it helps us understand animls are growing faster or slower than expected, which helps us determine if enough food is available. Knowing a fish’s age helps us know if there is disease, pollution, or too many fish and not enough food occurring in a lake or river. One way we age fish is looking at a bone called the “otolith”, which is found in fishes’ inner ears. By counting rings on the otolith much like counting rings on a tree, we can determine what year the fish was born, which could help us answer many questions about the health of the fish community.

During this hands-on learning experience, you will learn to identify certain fish species and to verify their ages by looking at otoliths and other structures.

Hosted by: Bonnie Myers/Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation

I am a Master's student in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation studying variations in community fish production along a temperature gradient.  My project focuses on possible effects of climate change on fish communities. I along with a couple undergraduate students in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation will be conducting this hands-on experience.  We are dedicated to the conservation and management of fisheries in the U.S. and beyond. We are also aiming to educate the public and future scientists in the making in understanding the importance of maintaining healthy lakes and streams and tools that help fisheries scientists address these concerns.

Bonnie is a recipient of the KTU Undergraduate/Graduate Student Research Connections  grant.

Monday, March 11, 2013

March 23rd Virginia Tech KTU exhibit- Alpha Pi Mu (Industrial Engineering)

Tower design:  Groups of students will design a skyscraper using supplies such as marshmallows, gum drops, spaghetti, and toothpicks.  They will have an allowance to "purchase" supplies and the goal of the activity is to design the tallest skyscraper.

Alpha Pi Mu is the Industrial Engineering Honors Society at Virginia Tech. 

March 23rd KTU exhibit- "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 their dental pattern. Veterinary students will give instruction on how to examine teeth and estimate the relative age of the animals. 

Information and examples will be provided to estimate the age of cattle and sheep, and the detailed dental patterns associated with horses will also be explained. Abnormal dental characteristics and vices can also impact the wear of animal teeth. Learn how something that commonly goes unnoticed can tell us so much!  

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.  

Friday, March 8, 2013

March 23rd Virginia Tech KTU exhibit- "VT Baja SAE"

Baja SAE is a collegiate design competition sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) which pits undergraduate students across the globe against each other. These teams compete to produce a prototype unit of a single passenger off-road vehicle. This vehicle must be made to withstand extreme operating conditions; including jumps, rocks, mud, hills, logs and anything else that SAE might throw at it. These highly spirited events emphasize all aspects of the engineering design process. Each team must abide by the rules set forth by SAE, which stress safety above all. They also introduce a challenge; leveling the playing field by requiring all teams to use one standard engine which cannot be modified. 

Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of physics and materials science for analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the design, production, and operation of machines and tools. It is one of the oldest and broadest engineering disciplines. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

March 23rd Virginia Tech KTU exhibit- "Weightless Wonder"

The team will have a poster explaining what we do in the microgravity environment and what the environment is like. We will have our previous experiment set up to show how the equipment works and the kids will be able to get hands on with some of it! 

The Microgravity team is a group of undergraduate students with the goal to propose, design, and fly an experiment aboard NASAs Weightless Wonder plane. The team has successfully submitted two proposals that have both been accepted. The first experiment flew last June and the next experiment is currently under work to be flown this summer.

Monday, March 4, 2013

VA STEAM Academy- Applications due March 15

The VA STEAM Academy is pleased to announce its free, one-week, residential summer camp for rising 6th - 8th graders who have interest and ability in math, encryption or physics. Summer STEAM will be held July 7-13, 2013 on the campus of Old Dominion University. Students will be drawn from across the Commonwealth of Virginia. There are 50 seats available. Please visit our website at and click on Summer STEAM for camp description and application. Applications are due by March 15.

March 23rd Virginia Tech KTU exhibit- "Make-Your-Own Play Dough"

Kids will be given a short explanation of how the process of making high quality play dough requires using an engineer's design approach. They will learn to make a plan, test it, analyze the result, and make changes to their plan in order to reach their desired result.  Each child will receive a plastic baggy filled with a small amount of flour. They will have to add water and salt to their baggy in different amounts in order to make play dough that is the consistency they want. It is difficult to get the right consistency on the first try, so the kids will need to keep adding flour, water, and salt until their mixture is perfect.  Volunteers will be available to adjust mixtures, if needed. In the end the kids will have a handful of safe play dough to shape into anything!

The Virginia Tech chapter of Society of Women Engineers (SWE) contributes to the campus, the community, and its members. SWE participates in many service projects aimed at encouraging young women to consider a career in engineering as well as projects that help the environment and the New River Valley community. SWE creates a network of women engineers throughout Virginia Tech and demonstrates the value of diversity on this campus. SWE also offers scholarship, career advice, mentoring, and professional, social, and service opportunities for its members.