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2017 READesign with FMBGC – Part 2: Daisy Dawson on the Farm

The READesign program was introduced in the Wood Buffalo region at the Fort McMurray Boys and Girls Club (FMBGC). This program is based on the Novel Engineering program by Tuft’s University Center for Engineering Education Outreach and was sponsored by the Canadian Red Cross, the APEGA Education Foundation and the Alberta Women’s Science Network (AWSN).

This session ran for 4 weeks from March 18th to April 8th and hosted a total of 10 students aged 12-15, four girls and six boys. The students were tasked to read a book, identify the problems the characters in the book encounter, and use engineering design to come up with solutions to those problems. The students had the choice of two book options; A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket and Daisy Dawson on the Farm by Steve Voake.

This post is about Daisy Dawson on the Farm. To see the blog post summarizing The Bad Beginning, see Part 1.

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2017 READesign with FMBGC – Part 1: The Bad Beginning

The READesign program was introduced in the Wood Buffalo region at the Fort McMurray Boys and Girls Club (FMBGC). This program is based on the Novel Engineering program by Tuft’s University Center for Engineering Education Outreach and was sponsored by the Canadian Red Cross, the APEGA Education Foundation and the Alberta Women’s Science Network (AWSN).

This session ran for 4 weeks from March 18th to April 8th and hosted a total of 10 students aged 12-15, four girls and six boys. The students were tasked to read a book, identify the problems the characters in the book encounter, and use engineering design to come up with solutions to those problems. The students had the choice of two book options; A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket and Daisy Dawson on the Farm by Steve Voake.

This post is about The Bad Beginning. To see the blog post summarizing Daisy Dawson on the Farm see Part 2.

(more…)

High River READesign – Past Program Sessions

Check out some photos and brief overviews below from past READesign sessions at the High River Library!


October 2016 Program

“Matthew and the Midnight Tow Truck” – by Allen Morgan

Our first time offering the READesign program! We had four participants in our first program, with four evening sessions every Tuesday night in October at the High River Library.

Session 1 – What is an engineer and what does and engineer do? We practiced using the engineering design process to save an egg from smashing when dropped  to the library basement! We also read through “Matthew and the Midnight Tow Truck” by Allen Morgan – our book for this program.
Session 3 – Car lowering system. We reviewed six simple machines, and tried to incorporate them into a device for lowing cars from the table top to the floor, to get “Matthew’s” plate clear so his mom could serve supper – materials: K’NEX.
Session 4 – Theft-prevention system for Matthew’s Mom’s car (to prevent midnight tow truck drivers from accidentally stealing it) – materials: craft supplies and littleBits electronic building modules.

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November 2016 Program

“Weslandia” – by Paul Feischman

Our second run of the program! We had another four participants, with one returning, and held sessions on Wednesday evenings through November 2016 at the High River Library.

Session 1 – What is an engineer, and what does an engineer do? We practiced our new engineering design skills by using the engineering design process to build a device to hold a cell phone 3 inches off the table using only marshmallows and toothpicks! We also read through “Weslandia” by Paul Felischman together.
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Session 2 – Wes builds a platform outside to keep cool during the summer. Students built a place for Wes to sleep out of Lego, with a few requirements…The device must: be comfortable; have bully-protection devices in place; have a platform 6 inches off the table; and finally, support the weight of several books (incl. the largest book we could find in the library!) – materials: Lego
Session 3 – Students built wearable devices to deflect projectiles thrown by Wesley’s bullies – materials: craft supplies, Lego & K’NEX
img_20161116_191318367copy deflector
Session 4 – Gardening was hard work! Students built a device to help Wes garden his swist plants – materials: craft supplies, Lego, K’NEX, and littleBits electronic building blocks.

February 2017 Program

“Curious George Discovers Space” – H.A. Rey

Eight enthusiastic students participated in four evening sessions throughout the month of February at the Library. We had a blast, and learned a lot about the International Space Station, Mars Rover, and Canadarm along the way!

Session 1 – What is an engineer and what does and engineer do? Students practiced using the engineering design process to save an egg “rocket” from smashing to the “earth” after re-entry!
Session 2 – Challenge: Curious George has taken all of the supplies for the astronauts out of the container to play with them in the shuttle. George must get the supplies back into the container in time to launch them to the Space Station! Participants built devices attached to a container to put “floating” supplies back in the container without using their hands. Materials: k’nex, LEGO, craft supplies
Session 3 – Challenge: Curious George is riding on a runaway Mars rover that gets stuck because someone has left chewing gum in the control panel! Solution: Participants built their own ‘new’ Mars Rovers to navigate a course complete with features of the Martian landscape (Olympus Mons, Valles Marineris, etc). Materials: k’nex, LEGO, magnets, tape.
Session 4 – Challenge: Curious George must push four buttons at the same time in order to launch the supplies to the Space Shuttle. Solution: Participants designed a device to push four buttons on a control panel at once, dropping candy for each button pushed. After the challenge, students took turns experimenting with littleBits and a Robotic Arm.

5 years for Operation SMART!

2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and now 2016!

2016 SMART poster

This year’s 2016 Operation SMART Program will mark the 5th year that we have partnered with Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta to encourage young girls in the Wood Buffalo area to use SMART tools (Science, Math and Relevant Technology).

Supported by the Suncor Energy Foundation, APEGA Education Foundation, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and the United Way of Fort McMurray this program has grown over the 5 years from 12 girls to over 30!

After the recent wildfires we are looking forward to #rebuildymm through the continued programming with Girls Inc as we encourage these girls to be #ymmstrong!

Some of the highlights of this program can be found in a recent article by Fort McMurray’s Child Magazine.

Read the full article here: 2016 Operation SMART Program

Welcome Gillian to the BrainSTEM Alliance Team!

We would like to welcome the most recent addition to the BrainSTEM Alliance team, Gillian Hurst!

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Gillian was born and raised in the small town of High River, Alberta. She moved to Edmonton in 2002 to pursue a BSc. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Alberta. Through the Co-op program at the U of A, she gained valuable work experience in a variety of sectors, including the automotive, telecommunication, manufacturing and petrochemical industries. Her final work placement was at a plastic injection mold manufacturer in Japan in 2006 where she gained experience in multiple trades including CNC milling, surface grinding, and Electric Discharge Machining (EDM).

Gillian has previously been involved with multiple outreach organizations including the Classroom Agriculture Program, Alberta Science Network (ASN) “Scientists & Engineers in the Classroom”, Central Alberta Radio Fun Flyers (CARFF) and the Red Deer Air Cadets.

Her experience, passion, and drive makes her the perfect fit to our team and she will be leading our SETT Up for Success initiative, looking at the intersection of Science, Engineering, Technology and Trades with a focus on encouraging girls to pursue careers in those areas. Gillian will also be piloting our province-wide READesign initiative in the High River area.

Welcome Gillian!

 

APEGA Foundation supports our programs!

The Operation S.M.A.R.T (Science, Math, and Relevant Technology) program is one of our flagship programs developed for our client Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta.

We have run this program since 2012 and each year we have managed to improve this program for our client, by continually enhancing the curriculum.  For the 2015 program, APEGA (the Association for Professional Engineers & Geoscientists of Alberta) took notice and supported this program to help us increasing the class size to over 30 girls and adding exposure to new engineering disciplines like industrial engineering and computer science. The APEGA Foundation featured this program in their Winter 2015 edition of the PEG, their quarterly magazine. Excerpts of the article on the SMART program can be found below and the full magazine can be read here.

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This contribution from the APEGA Foundation has made a huge impact on the girls of Girls Inc. and the partnership that BrainSTEM Alliance has with APEGA is strengthened. APEGA engineers, EITs and student members are a strong volunteer resource for all BrainSTEM Alliance programs and we appreciate their continued support.

Thank you!

Feature in New Learning Times

Our founder, D’Andre Wilson-Ihejirika was featured in New Learning Times, an online publication by the EdLab at the prestigious Teachers College of Columbia University.

D’Andre was interviewed to discuss her perspectives on the learning landscape in upcoming years and how the work of BrainSTEM Alliance with impact that. View the full article on the New Learning Times website here.

dee new learning times