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By: Debbie | May 24 2012 | Category: Science History, Science Lite, Tidbits for Teachers

National Museum of Health and Medicine LogoThe National Museum of Health and Medicine opened its doors yesterday, May 21st, for the first time in its new location on Fort Detrick’s Forest Glen Annex in Silver Spring, MD just 5 miles from the National Institutes of Health main campus in Bethesda, MD.

Founded as the Army Medical Museum in 1862, the Museum celebrated its 150th anniversary as it opened its doors at its new location.  The Museum spotlights three themed exhibit rooms that are organized around topics as diverse as innovations in military medicine, traumatic brain injury, anatomy and pathology, military medicine during the Civil War, and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.  The institution's 25-million object collection includes diverse artifacts as well as graphic specimens.  The Human Developmental Anatomy Center (HDAC), part of the Research Collections division of the National Museum of Health & Medicine, acquires and maintains collections pertaining to general developmental anatomy and neuroanatomy.  This collection provides any researcher or student access to a central location from which to obtain data about normal development for both human and common research species.  The HDAC maintains and archives the largest collection of human and comparative developmental material in the United States.      

A unique feature of the museum is its primary collections storage room that allows visitors to peer into the room where staff re-house artifacts and archival materials and prepare artifacts for future exhibits and study.  The room allows visitors to watch the Museum at work.

To view information on NMHM exhibits and programs visit:

To find more information about the historical understanding of biomedical research and the world check out NIH resources available at the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, the world's largest history of medicine collections at:

Written by Jennifer Gorman Wright

For timely updates about science education, STEM, NIH research, and health and medical science, you can follow the NIH Office of Science Education through multiple channels:
By: Debbie | February 7 2012 | Category: Issues in Education, Research & Technology, Science News, Tidbits for Teachers

Today (February 7), President Obama will host the second annual White House Science Fair celebrating the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country. The President will also announce key steps that the Administration and its partners are taking to help more students excel in math and science, and earn degrees in these subjects. You can watch the President’s remarks live at 11:25 a.m. EST at

Visit the live White House event at You can also join the live Facebook discussion at Web Site Policy and follow the White House Science Fair on Twitter via the hashtag #WHScienceFair

Over 100 students from over 45 states are heading to the White House with their robots, research and new inventions for the second ever White House Science Fair.

The White House is calling on folks across the country to join the Science Fair virtually! While students at the White House share their latest inventions--from a robotic arm to waste-reducing dissolvable sugar packets -- we want to hear about the projects you've worked on. They want you to share your favorite science fair project and share pictures on Twitter with the hashtag #WHScienceFair or through a form on They will display some of their favorite submissions on

Here’s how it works:

  • Starting now, you can ask your questions on Twitter with the hashtag #WHChat. We'll also be using the hashtag #WHScienceFair
  • At 2:00 p.m. today *February 7) Bill Nye the Science Guy (@TheScienceGuy) and Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Policy, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (@WhiteHouseOSTP) will answer your questions live on Twitter. Follow the Q&A through the @WHLive Twitter account.
The White House Science Fair celebrates the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country. At the fair, President Obama will view student projects and speak on the importance of STEM education. The President will also announce key steps that the Administration is taking to help more students excel in math and science, and earn degrees in these subjects.

The National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute Director, Dr. Harold Varmus is among the senior administrative officials who will be attending the science fair.

A sampling of the exhibits at the White House Science Fair include:

  • Student “Making” and Starting Small Business to Sell his Invention.   Fourteen year old Joey Hudy from Phoe nix , Arizona is already a Maker Faire veteran.  He invented an Extreme Marshmallow Cannon and an LED Cube Microcontroller Shield, which he has exhibited at Maker Faires in New York, San Francisco, and Detroit.  He received 2 Editors Choice Awards from Maker Faire, and has started a small business selling the microcontroller (Arduino) shield kits on several websites.  As the World's Largest Do-It-Yourself Festival, Maker Faire is the premier event for grassroots American inn ovation.
  • Designing a More Efficient Way to Collect Solar Energy.  Aidan Dwyer, a middle school student hailing from Northport, New York, won first place in the American Museum of Natural History’s 2011 Young Naturalist Award for his study of a more efficient way to collect solar energy.  Modeling the natural design of tree limbs which Aidan predicted must serve a benefit for the trees to optimize sun collected to feed photosynthesis in the short, dark days of winter, Aidan worked to devise a potentially more efficient way to collect solar energy.
  • Seventeen-Year Old Girl Designing Targeted Cancer Treatment.  Angela Zhang, a seventeen year old senior from Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, California, won the $100,000 Grand Prize in the Individual category of the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology for using nanotechnology to eradicate cancer stem cells. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are responsible for initiating and driving tumor growth yet are often resistant to current cancer therapies.  In her research, Angela aimed to design a nanosystem to target drug delivery to these cancer stem cells, which could potentially help overcome cancer resistance, minimize undesirable side effects, and allow for real-time monitoring of treatment efficacy.
  • Teenage CEO Inventing Dissolvable Sugar Packets to Reduce Waste.  Hayley Hoverter, a 16 years old student from Downtown Business Magnet High School in Los Angeles, California, won first place at the 2011 Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship's National Challenge for her idea for patent-pending ecologically conscious dissolvable sugar packets.  Hayley, now CEO of Sweet (dis)SOLVE, started her business as a part of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s (NFTE's) business plan competition.
  • Improving the Environment One Community at a Time. Isabel Steinhoff, Rico Bowman, Genevieve Boyle, and Mina Apostadiro, of Kohala Middle School in Kapaau, Hawaii, took first place in the grade 6-8 division of the Siemens “We Can Change the World” Challenge, for their household battery recycling effort to collect 6,000 batteries in 60 days.  The team, named 6000 in 60, embarked on a campaign to improve their community’s use and disposal of batteries by giving local people information on the environmental harm of batteries disposed improperly along with providing local opportunities for recycling.
  • Fifteen-Year Old Student Modeling Brain Control of a Robotic Arm.  Anand Srinivasan, a fifteen-year old sophomore from Roswell High School in Roswell, Georgia, qualified as a top 15 Finalist in the 2011 Google Science Fair.  Anand used data recorded via electroencephalography (EEG) from his brain and, after coupling it with the custom software that he wrote, used it to control a home-built robotic arm.  Anand believes that this technology could be put to use for amputees and patients suffering from paralysis and muscular dystrophy.
  • Team of Girl Scouts Seeking Patent on Prosthetic Hand Device Which Enables a Young Girl to Write.  A group of middle school-aged Girl Scouts from Ames, Iowa, including Gaby Dempsey, Mackenzie Gewell, and Kate Murray developed a patent-pending prosthetic hand device, winning them the inaugural Global Innovation Award at the FIRST LEGO League competition, beating out nearly 200 other submissions.  Their invention was in response to the need of a little old girl in Du luth, Georgia, enabling her to write for the first time although she was bo rn without fingers on her right hand.  Their patent pending BOB-1 has earned the girls the Heartland Red Cross Young Heroes Award, scholarships at Iowa State University College of Engineering, recognition on the Floor of the Iowa and the US House of Representatives, and the title of finalists for the 2011 Pioneer Hi-Bred Iowa Women of Innovation Awards.
  • Using Genes to Improve Farming< /em>.  Dyersburg High School senior, Maryanna McClure, made Tennessee Future Farmers of America history by becoming the first student from the Tennessee FFA Association to win the National FFA Agriscience Fair, placing first in Division II of the Zoology event, for her study of Cotswold sheep genetics.  Maryanna breeds, raises, and markets sheep and their fleece and was inspired to do a project to research how to breed the natural color of sheep back into the industry.  The National FFA Agriscience Fair is a competition for FFA members grade 7-12 who conduct a scientific research project pertaining to the agriculture and food science industries.
  • Young Women Rocketing to Nationals.  Janet Nieto and Ana Karen of Presidio, Texas were members of the Presidio High School Rocketry Team that competed as a National Finalist in the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) in 2009, 2010, and 2011.  Gwynelle Condino, a 7th grade student at Lucy Franco Middle School, also of Presidio, Texas, is the leader of her TARC team this year.  All three girls have successfully competed in a number of rocketry challenges and have attended the NASA Student Launch Initiative Advanced Rocketry program.
  • High School Student Developing System to Detect Nuclear Threats.  The Davidson Academy of Nevada student Taylor Wilson, 17, of Reno, Nevada conducted research on novel techniques for detecting nuclear threats and developed an environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and highly sensitive system capable of detecting small quantities of nuclear material. Taylor’s system, which won him the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award and Best of Category in Physics, could be used as a monitor at ports to scan cargo containers for Uraniam-235, Weapons Grade Plutonium, and Highly Enriched Uranium.
  • Young Students Developing a Sanitizing Lunchbox.  Si xth graders Ma’Kese Wesley and Isis Thompson and their LEGO robotics team from the ACE Collegium Campus in Kansas City, Missouri researched ways in which they could improve food safety.  Their invention, a UV-light lunchbox, sanitizes food between when it is packed in the morning and a student opens to eat it at lunchtime.  A UV light, which is turned on by a darkness-detecting sensor when the lunchbox is closed, kills bacteria that could make the food unsafe to eat.  The FIRST LEGO League competition aims to engage kids ages nine to fourteen in engineering.
  • Succeeding at Science Even in Difficult Circumstances: Samantha Garvey, 18, of Bay Shore, New York, attends Brentwood High School -Sonderling Center in Brentwood, New York.  From a field of over 1,800 applicants, Samantha has been named a semifinalist for her Intel Science Talent Search 2012 environmental sciences project examining the effect of physical environment and predators on a specific species of mussel.  Despite personal obstacles, Samantha believes her education will bring her and her family a better life.
  • Student Designing a Robot to Connect Senior Citizens with their Families.  Concerned with the loneliness of seniors at his grandmother’s senior living center, fourteen-year old Salesianum High School (Wilmington, DE) student Benjamin Hylak of West Grove, Pennsylvania, built an interactive robot, which qualified him as a BROADCOM Masters 2011 Finalist.  His telepresence robot which moves around the center and allows seniors to connect via Skype with their family a n d friends when they are unable to visit in person, earned him second place in the BROADCOM Masters Engineering Category.
  • Building an Award-Winning Robot and Learning Entrepreneurial Lessons.   Morgan Ard, Titus Walker, and Robert Knight, III, 8th grade students at Monroeville Jr. High School in Monroeville, Alabama won high honors at the South BEST robotics competition.  BEST teams mimic industry by designing and developing a product and deli vering it to market, including a marketing presentation, engineering notebook, trade-show style exhibit booth and robot competition.   Through the experience, these middle school students not only learned the innovation and engineering  necessary to develop an award-winning robot, but the marketing and business  skills that spark true entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Writing a Video Game that Focuses on Saving the Environment.  Eleven year old Hannah Wyman who attends St. Anna's School in Leominster, Massachusetts, won the grand prize in her age group (9-12) for her video game Toxic, in Microsoft's first-ever U.S.  Kodu Cup. In Hannah’s game, which is now available for free on the Kodu Game Lab site, a player must solve puzzles and collect coins in order to remove soot from trees, zap pollution clouds to clean the air, and convince friends to plant more trees, all in an effort to save the environment.
  • Developing a Portable Disaster Relief Shelter. Jessica D’Esposito, Colton Newton and Anna Woolery from Petersburg, Indiana are representing the Pike Central High School InvenTeam, one of fifteen schools selected nationwide.  They won a grant from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to develop a lightweight, portable disaster relief shelter, designed to be complete with a water purification system and a renewable energy source to power an LED light, which could be used after disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, or tornadoes to house people who have been displaced.
  • Detroit Students Imagining the Energy Efficient City of the Future.  The Paul Robeson/Malcolm X Academy student team from Detroit, Michigan, competed in the Michigan Regional Contest of the National Engineers Week Future City Competition for the second year in a row.  Lucas Cain Beal, Jayla Mae Dogan, and Ashley Cassie Thomas, all aged 13, were part of a team that won the Excellence in Engineering Award at the 2012 Michigan Regional Competition focused on designing a city around the theme of "Fuel Your Future: Imagine New Ways to Meet Our Energy Needs and Maintain a Healthy Planet."   After being named Best Rookie Team in 2011, the students had to overcome losing their school to a fire.  Despite the adversity and having to merge with another school, the students were energized to take on the Future City challenge again, saying “(Future City) helps me make a better city to live in.”
  • Re-Designing a Helmet to Better Protect U.S. Troops.  Eleven-year old Jack Dudley of Stone Hill Middle School and Sydney Dayyani of Belmont Ridge Middle School are members of a Virginia team that designed a military helmet to protect soldiers from traumatic brain injuries on the battlefield due to improvised explosive devices (IEDs).  Both young students have previously competed in national science competitions and this past year won first place in the 2011 Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision competition with their HEADS UP! Helmet. The helmet is a redesign of the standard-issue military helmet and is equipped with bullet and shrapnel-stopping gels and highly sensitive temperature and air pressure sensors to notify medical personnel of the presence and level of brain injury.
  • Designing a Mine Detecting Device.  Marian Bechtel, a 17-year old Hempfield High School student from Lancaster, Pennsylvania was inspired to take on the serious issue of abandoned landmines which are still found in many place s around the world and investigated an innovative method for safe demining. Mar ian’s design could lead to a simple, cheap, and reliable humanitarian demining tool and earned Marian honors as a Finalist at the 2011 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.  Marian also won a second place award from the American Intellectual Property Law Association, a merit award from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, a $1,000 award from the U.S. Army, and has recently been name d an Intel Science Talent Search 2012 finalist.
  • Developing A Concussion-Detecting Helmet to Combat Sports Injuries.  Fifteen year old Peninsula High School (Rolling Hill Estates, CA) freshman Braeden Benedict from Rancho Palos Verdes, California developed a low-cost impact detection device for use on youth and high school contact sport helmets.  Braeden’s invention, winning him the top prize of America’s 2011 Top Young Scientist  at the 2011 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, will allow coaches and trainers to be alerted that a player has received a hit with enough force to cause a concussion.
  • Student Programmer Creating Dynamic Educational Video Game.  Jasper Hugunin, a thirteen year old eighth grade student from Island Middle School on Mercer Island, Washington, developed a video game which introduces players to programming concepts as they provide instructions to guide a robot through increasingly challenging mazes.   This clever design of “Robot Commander” won Jasper the Playable Game, Open Platform and Playable Game, and Incorporating STEM Themes categories at the National STEM Video Game Challenge.
  • Exploring Improvements to Cancer Treatments by Overcoming Chemotherapy Resistance.  Shree Bose, a 17-year old senior at Fort Worth Country Day School in Fort Worth, Texas, took top honors at the 2011 Google Science Fair for her discovery of a way to improve ovarian cancer treatment for patients when they have built up a resistance to certain chemotherapy drugs. Her conclusions hold tremendous potential for the improvement of cancer chemotherapy treatment and for future research. Shree has presented her research at numerous international competitions and has been honored as one of Glamour Magazine's 21 Amazing Young Women of 2011, spoken at TEDxWomen 2011, and served as a panelist at Google Zeitgeist.

For timely updates about science education, STEM, NIH research, and health and medical science, you can follow the NIH Office of Science Education through multiple channels:
By: Debbie | January 31 2012 | Category: Research & Technology, Science and the Arts, Science Lite, Tidbits for Teachers

National STEM Video Challenge logoInspired by the Educate to Innovate Campaign, President Obama’s initiative to promote a renewed focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education, the National STEM Video Game ChallengeExternal Web Site Policy is a multi-year competition whose goal is to motivate interest in STEM learning among America’s youth by tapping into students’ natural passion for playing and making video games. Submissions will be accepted through March 12, 2012.

The 2012 National STEM Video Game Challenge is launched in partnership with Digital PromiseExternal Web Site Policy, a new initiative created by the President and Congress, supported through the Department of Education. The initiative is designed to unlock the promise of breakthrough technologies to transform teaching and learning.

To learn more about this exciting challenge, visit the National STEM Video Game Challenge Web siteExternal Web Site Policy.

For timely updates about science education, STEM, NIH research, and health and medical science, you can follow the NIH Office of Science Education through multiple channels:
By: Cynthia | January 26 2012 | Category: NIH Resources, Science Lite, Science News, Tidbits for Teachers

NIH LAB Challenge LogoThe Office of Science Education begins to review submissions to the NIH LAB Challenge

When we issued the NIH Lessons About Bioscience Challenge, we had no idea how many submissions we’d get. After all, it was our first online challenge and the first of its kind at the new site. We wondered whether it was too broad, or too narrow. Were our instructions clear? Would submitters understand that we wanted an experimental procedure rather than a write-up of a completed research project? It looks like we did a pretty good job, because most entries were right on target.

We received more than 100 submissions from 20 states and Puerto Rico by the December 15 deadline. People heard about the challenge mainly through word of mouth and email listservs, and some cited Twitter and as their source. The experiments cover a wide range of topics, from osmosis in chicken eggs to dragon genetics, and they target all grade levels.

Right now, we’re using a rubric to check that each submission meets our basic requirements. The ones that do will move on to the next phase. Some will be tested, and others will be reviewed by teachers and scientists before we announce the winners in March.

We want to send a hearty thank you to our several hundred submitters (most entries were by more than one person). We appreciate your efforts to help us bring the best science experiments to classrooms across the country. Stay tuned for updates!

The Numbers

Number of submissions: 108

How submitters heard about the challenge:, 10; Twitter, 5; word of mouth, 33; other, 60
Geographic origin: Texas ,39; Maryland, 26; California, 6; Maine, 4; Colorado, 3; Iowa, 3; North Dakota, 3; Massachusetts, 2; Missouri, 2; Ohio, 2; Pennsylvania, 2; Tennessee, 2; Virginia, 2; and Puerto Rico, 2; and 1 each from Arizona, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, and Washington (105 entries identified their state)
Targeted grade level of experiment: elementary grades K to 5, 42 (45%), middle school grades 5 to 8, 26 (28%), middle and high school grades 7 to 12, 13 (14%), and high school grades 9 to 12, 13 (14%)
By: Cynthia | December 7 2010 | Category: Science News, Tidbits for Teachers

pictorial life cycle of bedbugLearn how to deal with bedbugs by using online resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Just the thought of sharing a bed with creepy-crawly critters is enough to give most of us the willies. But with the current epidemic of bedbug outbreaks, it’s becoming a living nightmare for people all across the country. Many of us will be traveling to visit family and friends over the holidays, making this an ideal time to learn how to protect ourselves from these pesky bugs. The CDC and EPA have come up with some great online resources for helping us prevent and deal with infestations, and life science teachers can use the sites to add a timely topic to their core curriculum. 

Experts believe we’re experiencing a resurgence of bedbug outbreaks because people are traveling more, most of us don’t know how to prevent or handle infestations, and the insects are becoming resistant to many pesticides. Bedbugs are a problem, but if we do the right things, we can prevail!
Check out the CDC and EPA resources to learn how to
Let’s enjoy our holiday travels but leave the bedbugs behind!
By: Cynthia | September 7 2010 | Category: NIH Resources, Tidbits for Teachers

boy getting flu shotThe flu season is nearly upon us, and schools across the nation are just getting back in session. It seems like a perfect time to use the seasonal flu as a focus for understanding basic health and science concepts. Consider the questions classrooms can explore:  Where do flu viruses hang out? If you get the flu, how long are you contagious? Why do some people get the flu and others do not? What is the difference between bacteria and viruses? Can you get the flu from the vaccine? Why do some people get the flu even though they got the vaccine?

Students can find answers to these questions and much more at, a Web site managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. At the site you can
  • learn basic facts about seasonal flu
  • find out what to expect for the upcoming 2010-11 season
  • get clear on common misconceptions about the flu
  • track the flu across the United States (the new season tracking starts October 15)
  • watch videos on flu-related topics like vaccine safety
  • explore school resources and checklists for pandemic flu planning
Also check out the activity-rich Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases curriculum supplement for grades 9 – 12. The “Protecting the Herd” activity is a fun way to discover the value of vaccination programs. The unit includes a teachers guide and was developed by the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
By: Gina | August 12 2010 | Category: Science History, Tidbits for Teachers

Vegetable garden at Mount Vernon  

Most people don't think of farmers as scientists, but many are. In fact George Washington used science to become a successful farmer. Our first president’s farms in Mount Vernon were outdoor laboratories for testing new farming practices.

In Virginia in Washington’s day, most farmers grew wheat and tobacco for one year each and then let the fields lie fallow for a year. After doing a lot of research on European methods and doing his own controlled experiments, Washington came up with a much more efficient seven year crop rotation. It included wheat and corn, but not tobacco because the British taxed farmers a lot for that. He added clover and grasses to his cycle to replenish the soil and provide grazing material for his livestock. 

It’s hard to imagine farming today without fertilizers, but in Washington’s time fertilizers weren’t always of good quality, were applied haphazardly, and weren't used much, anyway.  Washington worked with manure, creek mud, selected clays, plaster of Paris, and fish heads to create high-quality fertilizers and figured out the best times to apply them. He even designed a "dung repository", thought to be the first in the country. There, he mixed and aged different combinations of fertilizer ingredients for testing.

Our first president was a great innovator. He improved the efficiency of basic farming implements, including the barrel seeder and the plow but his crowning technological achievement was the invention of the 16-sided treading barn for threshing wheat.  Before he built the barn, separating grain from straw had to be done by hand, a slow and backbreaking process.  Wheat could also be "treaded out” by horses, but dirt and horse excrement became mixed in the grain, and it was inefficient because grain was tramped into the ground and ruined if it rained. With the new barn design, grain was threshed more efficiently and it could be done indoors, and (fortunately) the horses weren’t able to contribute any unwanted items to the mixture.

How important were these science experiments? In 1765, before George Washington switched from tobacco farming and adopted his new ideas, he owed money.  By the time he he died in 1799, Washington had estimated his worth at $530,000. This is more than $6 billion in today's currency.  Washington may have been the richest man in American history!

By: Gina | January 8 2010 | Category: Science Lite, Scientists in the Community, Tidbits for Teachers

National Lab Day logo

What is National Lab Day?

National Lab Day (NLD) is more than just a day. It’s a nationwide movement to bring more high-quality, hands-on, discovery-based lab experiences to students in U.S. middle and high schools. To accomplish this, NLD fosters collaborations of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals with educators and students both in and out of school. Activities go on throughout the year, culminating in a May NLD celebration to recognize the projects and their achievements.

Who is National Lab Day?

National Lab Day is a partnership among federal agencies, foundations, professional societies, and other STEM-related organizations. Involved federal agencies include the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy. Supporting foundations include the Gates Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation. Over 200 professional organizations—with a combined membership of 6.2 million—are working to make National Lab Day a success. The National Science Teachers Association and the American Chemical Society are coordinating the professional organization efforts.

How does National Lab Day work?

Step 1 for requestors. Teachers, museums, and after-school programs post their needs on the NLD websiteExternal Web Site Policy.
Educators set the agenda for NLD. They know their students and their needs. Requests might be for lab equipment, one-on-one mentoring from a scientist, a visit to a working lab, tech support, help with a lesson plan, up-to-date career information, help with a science fair project, chaperones for a field trip, or just an extra set of hands for a class project.

Step 1 for volunteers. Volunteers register and list their skills, expertise, and access to resources on the NLD websiteExternal Web Site Policy .
While all kinds of volunteers are needed, scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematics undergraduate and graduate students and professionals are particularly encouraged to participate.  They can convey the challenges, rewards, and promise of their careers, and inspire the next generation of scientists and innovators.

Step 2. Requestors and volunteers receive a list of potential partners and connect with them.
After posting a request for volunteers or resources on the NLD websiteExternal Web Site Policy , the requestor will be emailed a list of local volunteers. Requestors can contact the volunteers on the list or browse for others and begin to form a local community of support —university students, scientists, engineers, professionals, and others—who will work with them to achieve their objectives.
Volunteers will also be emailed a list of local opportunities and will be able to browse requests and respond with offers to help according to the needs of the re questors.

Step 3. Have fun together helping students learn.
By: Gina | January 7 2010 | Category: Science Lite, Scientists in the Community, Tidbits for Teachers

Festival Name surrounded by icons representing different aspaects of science 

USA Science & Engineering Festival coming soon, the first national event

What is the universe made of? Why did dinosaurs go extinct? What do magic tricks and hip-hop have to with math? What can amphibians and reptiles tell us about the environment? What do engineers have to do with baseball? Kids (and adults) will have a chance to find out at the first ever USA Science & Engineering FestivalExternal Web Site Policy Expo on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 23 & 24th, 2010.

The Expo is the pinnacle event of the inaugural USA Science & Engineering FestivalExternal Web Site Policy that will be celebrated all over the United States. The Festival is a collaboration of over 500 of the nation’s leading science and engineering organizations.

You can help make the USA Science & Engineering FestivalExternal Web Site Policy a truly national experience by hosting a Satellite Event in your area. Whether you are a student club, school, university, community organization or company, you can put on your own celebration of science the same weekend that thousands of people celebrate science in the National Mall. The organizers are working to have hundreds of Satellite Events throughout the country, anchored to the Expo on the Mall. You can make your Event as small or as big as you want. It can be a single activity put on by your student club, a small celebration at your school or company, a larger event that involves organizations from your community, or a full fledged Festival modeled after the USA Science & Engineering FestivalExternal Web Site Policy .

You create it, and the festival organizers will help you market it by including your information on their website and in their newsletters. That way, anyone in the nation can check our website to see what’s happening in their backyard the weekend of the Expo. It’s a great way to get your community excited about science, and to put your organization on the national map. Check out the USA Science & Engineering FestivalExternal Web Site Policy website for more information.

By: Cynthia | December 29 2009 | Category: NIH Resources, Science News

NIH Radio logoUnique audio programs covering current health topics and medical research

Do you prefer to get your news by watching videos, listening to podcasts, or reading? For me, the answer would be listening or reading. Listening to news, an audio book or music is my favorite way to make good use of a long commute. For all the listeners out there, you can tune into some great NIH resources and hear about research discoveries, hot health topics and inside information from the scientific experts themselves.

The NIH Radio News Service, provided by the NIH Office of Communications & Public Liaison, offers three unique audio programs:

  1. NIH Audio Reports – short (one to four minute) reports, posted twice a week, based on an NIH press release and/or a health related topic, often including comments from NIH experts.
  2. NIH Research Radio – biweekly podcasts of 15 to 25 minute episodes, each covering several topics and often including an interview with a prominent NIH researcher.
  3. NIH Health Matters – 60-second health reports for each day of the month, targeting all Americans and made broadcast ready for radio stations nationwide.

These audio files are available for listening online at the Web site, or to download. Spanish versions, archived files, transcripts and podcast episode notes are also available online.
By: Gina | November 24 2009 | Category: Issues in Education, NIH Resources, Scientists in the Community

Cartoon people holding interlocking puzzle pieces.  One is labeled scientist.  The other educator.In response to President Obama’s new Educate to Innovate initiative and to support National Lab Day, the NIH Office of Science Education has added a new section to their Website - NIH Science Education Nation (SciEd Nation).  

SciEd Nation is designed for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics students and professionals interested in learning more about or becoming more involved in K-12 education in the United States.

At SciEd Nation science, technology, engineering, and mathematics students and professionals can:
•    Find out how U.S. students stack up to students around the world in reading, mathematics, science, and problem solving skills
•    Learn about contemporary K-12 schools and the typical day in the life of a teacher
•    Discover how to partner with teachers and schools to improve U.S. science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education
•    Learn how to enhance tangible support for science education among colleagues, managers, and administrators
•    Locate reference materials on education, education policy, communicating science, and partnership funding sources
•    Read about successful partnerships and their strategies for success as well as download “How-To-Guides” for common partnership activities

Stay tuned as more tips and resources are added to SciEd Nation over the next few months.
By: Cynthia, Gina | November 23 2009 | Category: Issues in Education, Science News

photo of President ObamaNLD connects teachers, students, scientists and community volunteers for hands-on learning. (See White House release.)

U.S. students will now have more chances to do what comes naturally -ask questions, explore, and test life's boundaries to better understand their world when President Obama announces a National Lab Day today.

The first NLD, scheduled for May, 2010, will celebrate community hubs - collaborations among volunteers, students and educators.  But it doesn't end there.  NLD is a nationwide initiative to build new and foster ongoing hubs for the long-term. Through these hubs, students can design, build, experiment, and explore in a real laboratory.

What is a real laboratory?  It's any place a student can explore, experiment, and test. We're not just talking about test tubes and beakers. A lab could be a laptop to a software designer, a mountaintop to a geologist, a computer link to a distant particle accelerator to a physicist, or a factory floor to an industrial engineer. It's a place where lessons in science, engineering, and technology can be designed to happen, or where math can come alive.  It could be anywhere in the physical or virtual world.

The NLD WebsiteExternal Web Site Policy will support hands-on learning across the country by serving as a place where educators and scientists will be able to connect to potential partners in their area and to find out what is happening around the country.  The site will also help them find resources to support, improve, and streamline their efforts.

In April '09 President Obama said "I want us all to think about new and creative ways to engage young people in science and engineering, whether it's science festivals, robotics competitions, fairs that encourage young people to create and build and invent -- to be makers of things, not just consumers of things."  NLD does just that.
By: Gina | October 29 2009 | Category: Science Lite, Scientists in the Community, Tidbits for Teachers

A photo of a sign with text 'University Road'Like I said, I get bored easily. After a while, I got tired of investigating things that my boss wanted to study and wanted to try out some new ideas of my own. That meant I needed my own lab, which in turn meant I needed my own faculty position at a university. Getting one of those is not as easy as it sounds, but I worked hard and succeeded.

Great! Now all I needed was money. To get that, I needed to write a grant. Who would have thought that I would have to be a good writer to be a scientist? Between writing articles for scientific journals and applying for grants, I spent a lot of my time writing. Worse yet, my research involved doing experiments with mice and collecting blood from people. Both require special approval. I did lots of paper work to explain why it made scientific sense to study mice and collect human blood. I had to show how I was going to minimize any possible distress for the mice and protect the health and privacy of my human volunteers. As a new kid on the block, it was all pretty overwhelming, but I survived and got my lab going.

Of course, professors teach, too, so I spent a lot of my time doing that. I taught undergraduate and graduate courses and had students and postdocs in my lab doing research. In the summer, I even worked with some high school students. One fun thing about being a scientist is meeting people from all over the world. I had people from India, Iran, Egypt, Mexico, Russia, Serbia, and China working in my lab. I worked with other faculty from Nigeria, Romania, Germany, Canada, and Brazil, among others. Today, my three closest friends are a German, a Bulgarian, and an American.

There is a third part of being a university professor, but more about that next time.
By: Gina | October 28 2009 | Category: Science Lite, Scientists in the Community, Tidbits for Teachers

Photo of two feet standing amongst a number of arrows pointing to different paths to chose from.When it came time to leave my fellowship, I was still crazy about doing experiments in the laboratory. To keep doing lab work, I could choose between an industry and a university lab. (I didn’t know it at the time, but I could have considered one of the many government labs, too.) I decided on an academic job because, frankly, I still liked being able to play basketball in the middle of the day. I found a job working in a lab with a professor who was studying how genes get turned on and off. Oops! Did I change research areas again? Well, I get bored easily!

One of my best friends who also loved working in the lab took a job in industry. No more midday sports, but he had kids and wanted to work regular hours. It was perfect for him. Besides, industry usually pays better than academia.

Another friend still loved science but just didn’t want to work in a laboratory any more. She got a job in a university office that helps scientists patent and commercialize their discoveries. Her job was to work with the lawyers in the office to help them better understand the science behind the products and devices they were helping commercialize.

While I was looking for my job, I heard from a friend from my old theoretical chemistry days. He had become a full-time musician. He was applying all his computer skills to making electronic music.

Whew! We all got jobs, said our goodbyes, and moved to Seattle, San Antonio, Los Angeles, and Boston.
By: Gina | October 20 2009 | Category: Science Lite, Scientists in the Community, Tidbits for Teachers

Crossword cubes photoEver wonder what a scientist does all day? As a scientist, I have a pretty good idea. OK, at least I know what some of my scientist friends and I do. And what I do now is very different from what I did 10 years ago, which was different from what I did 10 years before that. There’s clearly plenty of room for growth and change as a scientist. Becoming a scientist does not mean you need to spend the rest of your life in the lab, but you can if you want. Some of my friends still do just that – working in the lab is their passion. But I, like many other scientists, have taken a career path that uses my scientific training not just to make new discoveries in the laboratory but also in ways you might never have imagined.

I want to share my story and those of a few of my friends and show you that being a scientist can be fun and challenging and take you in many directions. Look for my blogs on the next few Tuesdays and Thursdays:

  • Work Hard, Play Hard: Life as a Postdoc
  • Get a Real Job!
  • A Day in the Life of a Professor
  • Moving to Washington
  • Retirement: Girls Just Want to Have Fun
By: Dave | July 28 2009 | Category: NIH Resources, Science and the Arts, Science History, Tidbits for Teachers

Harry Potter's World homepageI was surfing the NIH National Library of Medicine's Website looking for visitor information, when I stumbled onto:

Harry Potter's World - Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine

Even if you haven't seen the latest movie, this online exhibit provides an interesting contrast between life at Hogwarts and the science of the 15th and 16th Centuries.

There are resources for teachers, too.

This exhibit will be traveling to librariesExternal Web Site Policy nationwide from September 2009 to January 2011, hopefully to a location near you.

BTW - if you're in the DC area, there are three more chances to see this sort of science fact versus movie fiction discussion live at Science in the Cinema.
By: Cynthia | July 2 2009 | Category: Science and the Arts

A mixed-media artwork showcased at the NIH juried art show by National Cancer Institute’s Jorge Bernal.”]Hi, Cynthia is here. I have a fabulous job as a writer and editor for the Office of Science Education. Besides writing, I get to work on lots of other great science education projects in the office. My work is expanding now into Web site usability and development. Before this job, I worked as a biologist for several different NIH labs.

Art, in its myriad of forms, is a great passion of mine. For this blog, I will be posting on the merging of science and the arts. I especially enjoy exploring the many ways that the arts can enhance science education.

I’m certainly not the only scientist who loves art! Right now, the halls of the NIH Clinical Center are filled with art created by scientists and other NIH employees and some local artists for the 2009 NIH Juried Art Show. More than 500 artworks, including paintings, photographs, pottery, and textiles were submitted for the show. The article “NIH Juried Art Show Returns in May” published in the March-April issue of The NIH Catalyst describes the opening event, the art and the artists.

Princeton UniversityExternal Web Site Policy has recently opened its third “Art of Science” exhibit. At the Web siteExternal Web Site Policy, you can cast your vote for your favorite images. In this show, the artworks were not created for art’s sake; rather, they emerged directly from scientific research.
By: Paul | June 19 2009 | Category: Issues in Education

With the new Secretary of Education Arne Duncan leading the way, the call for reform of the United States education system is resonating throughout the country. Teachers, unions, politicians, industry leaders, and interested citizens are voicing their ideas and concerns.
Last week, the Carnegie-Institute for Advanced Study Commission on Mathematics and Science EducationExternal Web Site Policyreleased its new report, The Opportunity Equation: Transforming Mathematics and Science Education for Citizenship and the Global EconomyExternal Web Site Policy. In the report, the Commission argues the need to embrace a new reality in which the world has dramatically shifted, and as a result, an equally dramatic shift is required in educational expectations and design. The Commission points out that, knowledge and skills from science, technology, engineering, and mathematics ­ (often referred to as the STEM fields) ­ are crucial to virtually every endeavor of individual and community life.  They reason that every American student should be STEM capable through a reformed education system.
Education reform is not a new concept, but the suggestion that math and science be placed at the center of a reformed education system is ground-breaking and encouraging news. Certainly it would be a unique strategy to have math and science laced throughout a school¹s curriculum and not restricted to one period every other day.
The Commission makes several recommendations and challenges to the nation include:
  • Establish common standards for the nation in mathematics and science standards that are fewer, higher and clearer ­ along with high-quality assessments
  • Improve math and science teaching
  • Redesign schools and systems to deliver excellent, equitable math and science learning
 This is a sizeable challenge. Do you think it is an achievable one?
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