Intel International Science and Engineering Fair: Volunteer!

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair is searching for volunteers.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a prestigious science competition for students in grades 9-12, is gearing up for the 2014 finals and is recruiting volunteers to help run the Fair or serve as translators in Los Angeles on May 13 and 14.

Opportunities are available for judging, translating, or general service, in a variety of time commitments. The greatest need for interpreters is both conversational and technical/scientific Spanish, Russian, and Mandarin, but many other languages are targeted as well. Volunteering offers an opportunity to help kids entering STEM  (scientific, technical, engineering, and math) fields, to learn more about it yourself, to soak up STEMthusiasm, learn about research projects, or simply to work towards your good deed quota.

You can learn more, get contact details, or print a volunteer information and recruitment flyer at Society for Science or watch a volunteer informational video.

GeekMom has written before about helping out at big events:

Interview: Running a Kid’s Track at a Geek Convention

From The Intel Science Talent Search: Meet Rachel Davis

501st Legion and Me

2012 White House Science Fair

Students, from left, Gaby Dempsey, 12, Kate Murray, 13, and Mackenzie Grewell, 13, read in the Red Room of the White House after setting up their science fair exhibit, Feb. 6, 2012. The three girls, part of the Flying Monkeys First Lego League Team from Ames Middle School in Ames, Iowa, will participate in the second annual White House Science Fair with over 100 students from 45 states. CREDIT: Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert

Nothing like flying marshmallows to keep the secret service busy protecting President Barak Obama. Tuesday was the second annual White House Science Fair. The president seemed to have a blast playing with science yesterday, he even caused a little bit of innocent trouble with 14 year old Maker Faire veteran, Joey Hudy of Phoenix, AZ, as they shot a marshmallow across the bustling East Room of the White House.

A hundred students from 40 different science competitions around the country were honored with an invite to this prestigious event to meet the president personally and show the commander-in-chief what problems the scientific youth today are tackling. He was joined by Bill Nye the Science Guy and Tom Kalil, of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, along with other government officals.

This year’s projects ranged from marshmallow cannons to homemade robots to targeted cancer treatment research. The president was surely excited to meet one particular participant, Samantha Garvey, an Intel Science Talent Search 2012 semifinalist. Samantha completed a study of the mussel life on Long Island while she was homeless. Obama used her project as a perfect example of how even under the most difficult situations, the study of science and engineering can improve ones circumstances.

The President talked with Samantha Garvey, 18, of Bay Shore, N.Y., about her environmental sciences project examining the effect of physical environment and predators on a specific species of mussel, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Feb. 7, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The White House Science Fair was started late 2010 as one of many initiatives to encourage STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education around the nation, fulfilling a commitment he made at the launch of his Educate to Innovate campaign. In an address to the students, the president explained that his administration and its partners are working to educate 100,000 science and math teachers and to train 1 million additional STEM graduates over the next decade, it will be known as the 100kin10 initiative.

“As an American, I’m proud of you, and as your president, I think we need to make sure your success stories are happening all across our country,” he said. “Let’s train more teachers, let’s get more kids studying these subjects.”

The president has asked for $80 million in the yet-to-be-approved Department of Education budget, to be invested specifically into STEM teachers. This would cover programs that allow undergraduates to get both a STEM degree and a teaching certificate (including time spent in the classroom honing their skills). An additional $22 million has been donated by 14 private companies, including the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Google and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As another part of the 100kin10 initiative public programs such as Teach for America and National Math and Science Initiative will recruit and prepare nearly 15,000 STEM teachers around the nation.

Google Science Fair 2012… What is your question?

Its time for the second annual Google Science Fair. Last year over 10,000 students submitted 7,500 entries from 90 countries from around the globe. The 2011 winner, American Shree Bose, discovered a way to prevent cancer cells from becoming resistant to the chemotherapy drug, cisplatin. With such amazing entries last year everyone is waiting in excited anticipation for this years entries to start rolling in.

This year Google  has partnered with CERN, The LEGO Group, National Geographic and Scientific American. Together they are striving to make the fair even more global then last year. Google Science Fair 2012 can now accept submissions in 13 languages (Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Spanish and Russia). Google plans to recognize 90 regional finalists (30 from the Americas, 30 from the Asia Pacific and 30 from Europe/Middle East/Africa). From those 90 finalists (to be announced in May) 15 will be selected to present their projects live at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California on July 23, 2012, before an international panel of distinguished judges. Winners will be selected in each age category (13-14, 15-16, 17-18) as well as an overall winner.

Scientific American has signed on as a partner this year. Inspired by 2011 finalist Harine Ravichandran’s project, which attempted to solve energy surges in rural villages, the magazine has added an additional award to this years competition. The Scientific American Science in Action award recognize an outstanding project that addresses a social, environmental or health need to make a difference in the lives of a group or community. The winner will also join the 15 finalists at the finals, earn $50,000 and year-long mentorship to make their project goal a reality.

Science fair season might be over for you, or it might be just beginning, all it takes is one moment of curiosity to create the perfect project. So how do you enter? What are the rules? Here is just the basics.

  • Entries accepted online from January 12 until Sunday, April 1 at 11:59pm GMT.
  • Entrants must be between 13-18 years old and have parental consent.
  • Full rules can be found on the Google Science Fair website.
Prizes include (but are not limited to):
  • $50,000 college scholarship from Google
  • a 10-day trip to the Galapagos Islands with a National Geographic Explorer
  • an internship at Google or any one of our partners
  • a personal Lego color mosaic and Lego Mindstorm set signed by the design team, the CEO and the owner of LEGO
Winning the Google Science Fair has turned regular high school kids into scientific celebrities over the last year. All of their hard work was finally over, but these teens never rested on their laurels, Shree Bose, Naomi Shah and Lauren Hodge met with President Obama, were invited to speak at massive events like TEDx Women and were featured in Wired magazine. Shree, the grand prize winner, was named one of Glamour magazine’s 21 Amazing Young Women of the Year.
Every GeekMom knows that a great project starts with a great question. What’s yours?
Let us at GeekMom know if you or your child are submitting an entry so that we can stand in the background and cheer you on, or contact us if you are interested in some expert advice. We would love to be part of the proud moms who can say “We knew him/her when…”.

The GeekMoms Podcast #10 Science Fairs

The season of the school science fair is fast approaching.  How do you pick a project? How much should you help your kids? And when do you put on the brakes and keep them from accidentally blowing up the neighborhood?  Nicole Wakelin is joined by fellow GeekMoms and science aficionados Patricia Vollmer and Helene McLaughlin to help guide you, and your child, in the right direction.

Nicole: Twitter and Total Fan Girl
Patricia: Twitter and Ground Control to Major Mom
Helene: Twitter and Lady Astrid’s Laboratory
Music: Rebecca Angel

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Comments, questions, suggestions? Email podcast@geekmom.com.

 

The GeekMoms Podcast #8: GeekDad Ken Denmead Interview and Encouraging Kids in Music

First up is an interview with Ken Denmead, Editor and Publisher of  GeekDad.com and Publisher of GeekMom.com about his latest book The Geek Dad Book  for Aspiring Mad Scientists. Then Nicole Wakelin is joined by GeekMom Rebecca Angel who  wrote the show’s theme music!  She talks about how to encourage kids in their  musical explorations and how it’s never too late to give music a try.

Questions?  Thoughts? Suggestions? Email us podcast@geekmom.com

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Nicole Wakelin: TotalFanGirl and Twitter
Rebecca Angel: Website and Facebook

 

Review:The Geek Dad Book For Aspiring Mad Scientists by Ken Denmead

I don’t think there’s anyone out there that hasn’t imagined themselves a mad scientist at least once. For me, it was every time they made me wear those crazy goggles in science class while I waited for something to bubble over or change color or let out noxious fumes. I couldn’t help but hear an evil little laugh in my head. Muah ha ha ha! Okay, not everyone heard the laugh, but now everyone does have the chance to go all mad scientist and laugh out loud right along with their kids.

The latest in the Geek Dad books, The Geek Dad Book for Aspiring Mad Scientists: The Coolest Experiments and Projects for Science Fairs and Family Fun hits shelves on November 1st and is now available for pre-order. I was fortunate to receive an early copy to check out, and now I’ve got a very long list of experiments my kids have planned for every weekend through next year.

Much like the previous Geek Dad books by Ken Denmead, publisher of GeekDad.com and GeekMom.com, this one will inspire you and your kids to try new things as you explore and learn. And although it’s a GeekDad book, you’ll find plenty of projects based on ideas from our very own GeekMom editors Kathy Ceceri, Natania Barron and Jenny Williams, so don’t think it’s exclusively for the dads of the world. The projects are rated for cost, difficulty and duration so you know exactly what you’re in for before you start. It’s especially helpful to look at the duration, as although some of the projects can be completed in an hour, like Exploring Fluid Dynamics: The Magic of Mentos and Soda, others can take weeks like Growing Crystals For Power.

There is a range of difficulties covering primary school kids right on up through high school, which makes this ideal fodder for science fair projects. Although the ideas and the how-to are all laid out, the book never loses sight of the fact that science fair projects are supposed to leave kids guessing, at least a little, right until the end.  To help parents with this, there are even handy spoiler warnings where appropriate, pointing out key bits of information that you should hold back from your kids so they learn to discover the answers for themselves.

I think one of the things that I like best about the book is that it isn’t a dry instruction manual.  It’s not just, here’s a project, here’s how you do it, move along.  It actually reads more like a mad scientist’s handbook.  The very first project, Extracting Your Own DNA, is written with an eye toward creating loyal minions to help in your plans for world domination.  Really, who hasn’t wished they could do that, and what kid wouldn’t jump at the chance to see how it might be possible?

And perhaps my favorite section, which I intend to make my kids study, highlight, and study again, contains experiments under the heading Apocalypse Survival Science.  Once we’ve started messing with DNA and creating our own clones, you know the zombie outbreak is just around the corner, and this group of projects nicely addresses that problem.  You and your kids will learn how to save the world together!

Whether you’re looking to inspire a love of science in your young child, or to encourage an older child to hold on to their curiosity about how things work, this book is sure to give you ideas galore and hours of fun and educational entertainment. You can pre-order your copy now at Amazon, B&N, Indiebound, Powell’s, Books-a-Million or iTunes.

Enter the Google Science Fair!

I never got to enter a science fair as a kid. My local school district never sponsored one and I was a kid long before the days of instant mass communication. If you couldn’t find it in the phone book and it wasn’t posted on the bulletin board at the library or a commercial on TV, 98% of my hometown didn’t know it was happening.

Children of today don’t have that problem. Thanks to the internet and Twitter most can tell you what Miley Cyrus ate for lunch on September 22nd, 2008. Here’s another thing to add to the free exchange of information. (This one’s worth a little something…) Google has officially announced the opening of their global science fair. Your teenagers, ages 13-18, can enter a science fair competing against kids in the US, Brazil, Russia, and Cote d’Ivoire.

This is no small biscuits either. Lego, CERN, National Geographic, and Scientific American have partnered with the search engine giant to put on the world’s most awesome science fair. Ok, so that might be just a touch biased but still, they have a Rube Goldberg of science for a commercial. That’s an automatic gold-star in my book!

Sign your kiddo up. They accept group and individual entries. If your child is in school, check with the office first, they may already have something arranged. The instructions are comprehensive on how to submit entries and what is expected. Judging divides the ages so your 13 year old won’t necessarily compete against an 18 year old. The prizes are downright amazing and include a National Geographic Expedition, a $50k scholarship, and a personalized Lego mosaic.

I could pass for 18…right…fo’ shizzle?

I’m still bitter I never got to enter a science fair.