Robot Dreams

Posted on March 31, 2006  Comments (0)

RAYERD-X robot

Video podcast of amazing robot:

One of the most surprising robots that appeared at the 9th Robo-One competition held here in Tokyo on March 18-19th, 2006, was RAYERED-X developed by Asurada. Its unique design allows it to reconfigure and transform itself into some amazing shapes. At first it looks like a short tower, then becomes a carousel, then a walking spider, then into a tall biped battle robot.

All sorts of robot news via the Robot Dreams blog, including RAYERD-X – The Magical Robot:

The robot really surprised the crowds, but may have puzzled the panel of judges to some extent. It’s hard to make a direct comparison between RAYERD-X and the more conventional robot designs. Nevertheless, it did capture the 24th position during the initial Demonstration phase of the Robo-One 9 competition and was awarded the Sunrise Special Prize.

RAYERD-X web site (Japanese).

2006 FIRST Robotics Competition Regional Events

Posted on March 30, 2006  Comments (1)

2006 FIRST Robotics Competition Regional Events in Philadelphia, Denver, Houston and more 30 March – 1 April.

Competition events are, in the words of our teams, “full of passion, excitement, joy, and sorrow…the thrill of success and the agony of defeat.” The FIRST Robotics Competition has grown to 33 regional events and the Championship.

Boston FIRST Robotics Event by Computer Science Teacher

I was amazed at how much interest in engineering and science FIRST generated. A lot of students were inspired to look at area of education that they had never ever thought about before.

One of the things I noticed this year was that the number of girls involved in FIRST continues to climb. At the Boston event three of the 44 teams were all girls. All of the teams seemed to have significant numbers of girls. People at FIRST say that there are upwards of 30% girls in the program. That could be better of course but it is growing.

I highly recommend you drop in on one. FIRST has to be seen to really be understood.

Students at FIRST Robotics competition

See previous post: For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST)

Middle School Science Teacher

Posted on March 29, 2006  Comments (1)

The Mrs. Frizzle is an wonderful blog following the adventures of a science teacher in a small public middle school in the Bronx.

Her recent post, 250,000 liters, is an enjoyable read:

I taught one of my favorite lessons today. I gave each group of kids two metersticks, a box of markers, and a piece of chart paper, and they had to measure/estimate the volume of the classroom in liters.

as they lined up to leave the classroom at the end of the period, a discussion began about whether we could really seal off the classroom and fill it with soda.

Apparently, during PE class, one of the girls claimed/joked that her shot did not go into the hoop due to the Coriolis effect. Awesome. Anything to create really geeky kids who will over-apply science concepts to explain away their lack of athletic prowess!

Great reading.

See our science education blog directory for more related blogs.

NSF Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education

Posted on March 29, 2006  Comments (4)

NSF Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education

To apply you must submit a letter of intent by 5 May 2006. Full Proposal Deadline: 19 June 19 2006. NSF estimates 25 awards will be given.

New awards (5 years/$600,000 per year) and continuing awards (3 years/$600,000 per year – to those projects that have received initial funding) are available.

This program provides funding to graduate students in NSF- supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines to acquire additional skills that will broadly prepare them for professional and scientific careers in the 21st century. Through interactions with teachers in K-12 schools, graduate students can improve communication and teaching skills while enriching STEM instruction in K-12 schools.

Through this experience graduate students can gain a deeper understanding of their own scientific research. In addition, the GK-12 program provides institutions of higher education with an opportunity to make a permanent change in their graduate programs by incorporating GK-12 like activities in the training of their STEM graduate students.

Expected outcomes include improved communication, teaching and team building skills for the fellows; professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers; enriched learning for K-12 students; and strengthened partnerships between institutions of higher education and local school districts.

Through the GK-12 program, institutions of higher education have an opportunity to make a permanent change in STEM graduate education programs and to create strong and enduring partnerships with K-12 schools.

In essence, fellows will bring their scientific research experience to the schools, so that teachers and K-12 students are exposed to what science is all about, how science is done, how discoveries happen and what scientists do.

The GK-12 program is an opportunity to bring the excitement and the results of science to schools and to create cultural changes both in K-12 schools and in institutions of higher education. It is also an opportunity for fellows to acquire skills that normally are not emphasized in a more traditional STEM graduate program so that they can have additional career options as professional scientists and engineers.

Read more about the opportunity and more details on how to apply.

Science Magazine for Young by Japan’s Education Ministry

Posted on March 27, 2006  Comments (0)

Science Walker magazine cover
Government hopes free science magazine will add chemistry to young lovers’ dates

Japan’s Education Ministry plans to publish and distribute a free magazine called “Science Walker” packed with scientific topics that young people can chat about with their sweethearts while on dates.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology publishes the magazine to promote science knowledge, because a governmental poll has found that only 40 percent of pollees in the 20s or younger take an interest in science and technology.

At a cost of 70 million yen, the ministry plans to print some 1.1 million copies of the magazine. The copies will be inserted into “Tokyo Walker” magazine published by Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Co. and other publications.

Officials said “Science Walker” also contains information on topics such as soccer, music, food, and scenic drives.

Obviously many countries believe there is a benefit in science education and they are willing to try new ways of improving their scientific literacy.

U.S. Slipping on Science

Posted on March 27, 2006  Comments (10)

U.S. Slipping on Science by John Aloysius Farrell, Denver Post:

As recently as 1970, Freeman discovered, more than half the world’s science and engineering doctorates were granted by U.S. universities. And China produced almost no scientific Ph.D.s.
But by 2001, the European Union was graduating more scientists and engineers than the U.S. — and Asia about as many.

There has been a Science gap between the United States and the rest of the world. That gap has been between the USA, in the lead, and the rest. That gap has been shrinking for at least 10 years and most likely closer to 20. The rate of the decline in that gap has been increasing and that seems likely to continue.

The question now, is to what extent the US relinquishes that past scientific leadership. The answer will have large economic consequences. And that answer is defined by action not wishes. If the US wants to remain in the mix with others looking to lead scientific advances in the next 50 years then policies will have to change and resources will have to be re-directed (money will have to be spent).

The recent Duke University study, USA Under-counting Engineering Graduates, has important details on the comparison between India, China and the USA on science and engineering education.

We have discussed these ideas many times in previous posts:

And many more – see posts on science and the economy, science and technology higher education and engineering.

What’s Up With the Weather?

Posted on March 26, 2006  Comments (3)

image of Time cover

No one can say exactly what it looks like when a planet takes ill, but it probably looks a lot like Earth. Never mind what you’ve heard about global warming as a slow-motion emergency that would take decades to play out. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the crisis is upon us.

Time’s cover story – Be worried, be very worried – starts out with this provocative paragraph. Other recent stories on the effects of climate change, rising ocean levels etc.:

Expanding Your Horizons in Science and Mathematics

Posted on March 24, 2006  Comments (2)

photo of science presentation

Expanding Your Horizons in Science and Mathematics (EYH)

EYH facilitates conferences for middle school and high school girls on science and math and information on careers involving math and science.

Over 625,000 young women have participated in the these conferences so far. Many of these conferences conduct concurrent programs for parents and educators so they may more effectively support young women and their technical aspirations.

A typical conference takes place on a Saturday at a local college or university and is attended by 200-500 young women from nearby middle schools and high schools. The schedule includes a keynote address encouraging girls to persist in mathematics and science courses, and two varieties of workshops.

In most of the workshops, young women participate in hands-on learning experiences led by women scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. In other workshops, role models share career awareness information and discuss job satisfaction, necessary education, and descriptions of a typical day on the job.

List of conferences with contact information

Related Posts: Wow! That’s Engineering?Science Camps Prep GirlsInspire Students to Study Math and ScienceEngineering is ElementaryThe Future is PlasticsIntel Science Talent Search ResultsMath in the “Real World”

What Happens at an EYH Conference?


At an EYH conference, you will attend talks, participate in hands-on workshops, and meet with women scientists and engineers. You will also spend time with other girls who are thinking about their futures. Through these activities you will:

  • Experience the fun of math, science and engineering;
  • Learn about math and science-based careers;
  • Find out about the education required for these professions;
  • Discover what scientists do in a typical day;
  • Obtain first-hand information about the lives of women in science and the various paths leading to careers in the sciences.

Podcasts of previous events

Via: Expanding girls’ horizons

Directory of Science and Engineering Education Sites

Inspire Students to Study Math and Science

Posted on March 23, 2006  Comments (1)

Light a fire under students for math, science programs by Lisa Burdette – a student at Horseheads High School:

Upon reviewing the major points of the bill, however, I failed to find a specific focus on improving science and mathematics education in grades K-6. The bill seems to be geared toward secondary school students – those in junior high and high school – and even college students.

However, interest in science truly begins at the elementary level. A key component of improving the number of American scientists and engineers is igniting interest at a young age and nurturing that interest throughout a child’s education.

Educational television can help to interest a child in a subject. When I was young, I watched “Bill Nye the Science Guy” and “Magic School Bus,” and I learned much from those shows that I remember and utilize today. High school science teachers often use “Bill Nye the Science Guy” in their classrooms because it is such an excellent resource.

She does an excellent job presenting her position. And you have to love statement like “when I was young” from a high school student.

Related posts:

UW-Madison Scientist Solves Bird Flu Puzzler

Posted on March 23, 2006  Comments (0)

UW-Madison scientist solves bird flu puzzler by David Wahlberg:

Before the H5N1 virus can cause a human pandemic, the new findings suggest, it must mutate and become able to recognize human flu virus receptors, Kawaoka said.

The virus, which has led to the death or slaughter of millions of birds in Asia, Africa and Europe, has killed 103 of the 184 people known to be infected since 2003, nearly all of them thought to be sickened by birds.

If the virus starts spreading from person to person, health officials say, it could cause a pandemic like the one in 1918 that killed up to 50 million people worldwide.

Modern Marvels Invent Now Challenge

Posted on March 23, 2006  Comments (1)

Shift Bicycle photo

The History Channel and Invent Now, announced the 25 semi-finalists of the Modern Marvels Invent
Now Challenge, a national competition that provides an opportunity for independent inventors to be recognized and to influence the ever-changing face of invention.

The semi-finalists, who hail from 17 states across the U.S. and range in age from 19 to 80, were chosen from nearly 4,300 submissions entered, a number that confirms that the inventive spirit in America is alive
and well. This spring, the Challenge will ultimately name the invention of one of these 25 semi-finalists as the 2006 Modern Marvel of the Year during Modern Marvels: Great Inventions Week on The History Channel May 24-27th.

Innvetions include:

Matthew C. Grossman, Student, Austin, TX – Shift Bicycle (shown in photo): This bicycle is intended to help small children learn to balance on their own without the crutch of training wheels and the worry of skinned knees. The bicycle features two rear wheels that are spread apart at slow speeds to provide critical stability, and as the rider gains speed, the two rear wheels merge together to act as one wheel until the rider reduces speed and consequently returns the bicycle to the two wheel configuration. More information on the bike: new bike design for toddlers wins international competition

Russell D. Keller, Truck Driver, Oklahoma, OK – Drag Vent: An air diversion device captures a flow of air from above a roadway vehicle and forcibly diverts the captured air to the center of the low pressure area at the rear of the vehicle, thus reducing the amount of drag force applied to the vehicle and increasing the vehicles efficiency of operation.

Randal J. Kwapis, Computer Engineer, New Boston, MI – Typhoon: The Typhoon is an everyday manual wheelchair that utilizes shock-absorbing technology to make the chair easier to propel over rough terrain like grass and gravel.

Find more information on the semi-finalists and the Modern Marvels Invent Now Challenge

via Make