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Kathy Wirtanen
Administrative, Facility
& Conference Assistant

P:  (540) 464-7361
F: (540) 464-7396

Center for Leadership & Ethics
VMI, Marshall Hall
500 Anderson Drive
Lexington, VA  24450

Please check back regularly for more information on workshops at the 2014 VMI STEM Education Conference. 

Workshop sign-ups will begin on September 2, 2014.

Pre-Conference Workshop

Making Waves: Easy Demonstrations and Experiments - Col. Jim Squire

Our most important senses, sight and hearing, are entirely wave-based, and yet the abstract nature of waves can make them difficult to teach. In this pre-conference workshop participants will examine several simple demonstrations, both computer-based and physical, that will make understanding wave properties fun and intuitive, as well as directly address the Virginia Grade 5 SOL science requirements. Participants will also experience how our senses can be electronically enhanced to explore, for instance, the radio signature of lightning strikes on the other side of the earth, view sound waves using Ooblik and oscilloscopes, or view the thermal images we leave behind as we walk down a carpet, and discuss ways to attract guest speakers to your classroom that can provide these types of more complex demonstrations. 

Workshop attendees will be given a USB key with all computer software used, as well as sources and instructions to build the more complex demonstrations.

Workshop registration is limited to 16.

 

Conference Workshops

Algebra for Engineers - Col. Michael Hardin
Please check back soon for a detailed workshop summary.
An enLIGHTENING Experience: The Electromagnetic Spectrum - Lt. Col. George Brooke
Please check back soon for a detailed workshop summary.
Building a LEGO® Clock - Maj. Joyce Blandino
Please check back soon for a more detailed workshop summary.
Building Truss Bridges - Lt. Col. Chuck Newhouse and Maj. Matthew Swenty

Truss bridges are one of the oldest and most recognizable forms of bridges. They have a rich history and continue to be used in transportation systems today. This activity will introduce the background on what makes trusses unique and the engineering behind them. Numerous demonstrations will be shown ranging in cost and difficulty level. The session will culminate in two practical activities that are cost effective: one using a readily available, free computer program and one using household materials. 

 
Concrete for Kids - Maj. Matthew Swenty and Dr. Kacie D'Alessandro
Concrete is one of the most common building materials in the world. We use it on a daily basis in our bridges and roads, but the question remains: do we really know anything about this highly engineered material? Concrete for Kids is a basic set of lessons that allows students to learn more about why concrete is important, where it is used, and how it is made. Included are demonstrations and activities that can be used in a classroom.  Students can design, build, and even test their very own concrete for a minimal cost. The lessons can be easily arranged for a lab or classroom setting, single or multiple lessons, and various age groups. 


Developing and Leading a Trebuchet Project - Col. Grigg Mullen, Col. Willard Neel, Mr. Grigg Mullen III

Will include trebuchet demonstration.

Please check back soon for a more detailed workshop summary.

Engineering is Elementary: Integrating Elementary Science and Engineering into the Elementary Curriculum - Ms. Judy Fitzpatrick
Using the Engineering is Elementary unit “Hand Pollinators” as a model, teachers will engage in project-based engineering activities that integrate with science instruction and all areas of the curriculum. Through the use of storybooks and design challenges, participants will use the engineering design loop (ask, imagine, plan, create, improve) to solve a real-world problem. Participants will go through the steps to successfully introduce engineering activities into the classroom.
Engineering Our Way with Math and Science - Ms. Diane Leighty

Grades 3 - 5

This workshop will stress the importance of encouraging creative thinking, problem solving, and working collaboratively. Simple design/build activities will be undertaken, including creating a cube out of a cereal box while keeping the same volume as the box itself, and activities including measurement and geometry. Throughout the workshop, assisting students with reasoning through problem and applying math in practical ways will be stressed.

Engineering Our Way Through Middle School Mathematics - Ms. Diane Leighty

Grades 6 - 8

This workshop will stress the importance of encouraging creative thinking, problem solving, and working collaboratively. Simple design/build activities will be undertaken, including creating a cube out of a cereal box while keeping the same volume as the box itself, and activities including measurement and geometry. Throughout the workshop, assisting students with reasoning through problem and applying math in practical ways will be stressed.

Exploring Chaos Through Games - Maj. Meagan Herald
Participants will begin to explore the mathematical theory of chaos through physical and mental experiments and determine if seemingly random events can lead to well-defined patterns. The goal is to motivate students to look for mathematics outside the classroom and to better understand the interaction between mathematics and engineering.
Harnessing the Wind - Ms. Kim Dye
Participants will explore energy as they build their own generators to do work. Using the book "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind," teachers will leave with literature connections to science and engineering through the story of William Kamkwamba from Malawi, which will no doubt inspire students as they explore his story to see how reading a book on windmills gave William the idea to build one in his village which struggled from the effects of drought and hunger. Participants should be prepared to build, make connections and imagine the possibilities for upper elementary students.
Introduction to Electrical Engineering - Col. Shawn Addington
Please check back soon for a more detailed workshop summary.
Introduction to Physical Computing & Arduino - Col. David Livingston
Please check back soon for a more detailed workshop summary.
Introduction to Programming - Lt. Col. Chuck Newhouse
Please check back soon for a more detailed workshop summary.
Introduction to Robots - Col. David Livingston
Please check back soon for a more detailed workshop summary.
Kicking Machines: Force and Motion - Ms. Tina Coffey and Ms. Lynda Graves
Please check back soon for a detailed workshop summary.
Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream - Dr. Cindy Klevickis
Please check back soon for a more detailed workshop summary.
Observing the Night Sky from the VMI Observatory - Lt. Col. Gregory Topasna
Please check back soon for a more detailed workshop summary.
Rockets to Racecars: Drag Race to Mars - Mrs. Marilé Colón Robles and Mrs. Tracy Proffitt
Does Mars have an atmosphere? Why does it matter? Accept the challenge to learn more about Mars and build a capsule that could land safely on the surface of the Red planet just as NASA engineers did with the Curiosity rover. As the capsule went rushing through the atmosphere it was speeding toward the Martian surface, headed for a crash landing.

In this hands-on workshop, participants will put on their engineering hard hat and design an apparatus that uses drag to slow down the capsule and allow for a safe landing. Then they will learn how racing engineers use those same principles to hold cars tight to the racetrack as they travel at amazing speeds. Mrs. Tracy Proffitt will share her experiences of doing this activity in her fourth grade classroom.
Teaching Electrical Circuits is a "Snap"! - Col. Shawn Addington
Please check back soon for a more detailed workshop summary.
Teaching the Basics of Computer Programming Using SCRATCH - Lt. Col. Chuck Newhouse
Learn why it is important that all engineers should learn some computer programming. During this hands-on session participants will learn the how to do some basic computer programming using the free software SCRATCH. Some of the Computer Mathematics SOLs will be addressed.
The Sun, Earth, Moon Connection - Lt. Col. Daniela Topasna and Lt. Col. Gregory Topasna
This workshop discusses the interplay between the Sun, the Earth and the Moon. Topics covered include the phases of the moon, eclipses, tides, the seasons and climate. Part discussion and part hands-on activities, this workshop melds the two together for a total learning experience. Activities and resources to help students understand these topics will be presented.
Wind Turbine Blade Design Challenge - Ms. Remy Pangle
Teachers will participate in a design challenge involving wind turbine blade design. Participants will work through the research phase and then brainstorm design ideas and create a prototype to be tested. Other wind energy resources will be reviewed and the session will end with a discussion on how the design challenge can be integrated into the classrooms.