Vera

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Check out what’s new at the Marion County SWCD!

Check out what’s new at the
Marion County SWCD!

Our Fall Newsletter is out with information on our upcoming Nutrient Management for Veggie Growers workshop (November 29th), our River Friendly Farmer award winners, and updates on conservation work in our county.

Also SAVE the DATE for our 49th Annual Meeting coming February 19th! We are very excited to be celebrating the beginning of our 50th year of actively working to conserve our county’s natural resources. We hope all our friends – old and new – will be able to attend.

Check our our latest newsletter here:

Fall 2018 Newsletter

STEM Educator Empowerment Newsletter


STEM Educator Empowerment Newsletter
STEM Educator Empowerment Workshop: Soil with STEM Expert: Harold Thompson, Earth Team Volunteer, from Marion County Soil & Water Conservation

 

Tuesday, 9/11/18,  5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at Moore Road Farm

Registration fee – $15 Register here.

Parents and Educators:  Leave with new content knowledge, ideas for the classroom, and “ready to teach” lesson to implement tomorrow

PGP and CYC points offered.

 

Meet Harold Thompson

Harold has an extensive background in the conservation field. He worked for many years as a District Conservationist with NRCS. Recently, he has assisted the SWCD’s soil health and cost share programs in his capacity as an Earth Team Volunteer.

STEM Connection Upcoming Events:

STEM@Night: Friday, September 14, 2018 6:00 – 9:00pm

STEM@Night: Saturday, October 13, 2018  5:00 – 8:00pm

Family STEM Night: Saturday, November 10, 2018, 5:30-7pm

STEM@Night: Saturday, December 8, 2018, 5:00 – 8:00pm

Year-round field trips: Come explore the farm with your class or group!  Field trips run year-round and include a guided hike and two STEM activities.

More information can be found at https://thestemconnection.org/field-trips/

The STEM Connection Content Specialists – Soil

By Andrea Elstro
STEM Connection Facilitator
Content Specialist

One of the best things about working with youth is all the questions you encounter. On our farm, we run an experiment that allows children to determine what type of soil has the most organic matter in it. We provide them with three samples: soil from our garden, soil from our creek, and potting soil purchased from a hardware store. After observing differences and presenting a hypothesis, we have them add drops of hydrogen peroxide to each sample see what happens. The more bubbles you see, the more organic matter.

Question 1: Why does the hydrogen peroxide bubble when it comes into contact with organic matter?

Hydrogen peroxide contains two hydrogen molecules and two oxygen molecules. It is unstable and ready to give away that extra oxygen so it can become the more stable compound, water. When hydrogen peroxide comes in contact with living or dead organic matter, an enzyme called catalase begins the reaction that allows it to release that oxygen. Therefore, the bubbles you see are actually oxygen being released. The more organic matter there is, the more enzymes there are to release the oxygen.

Question 2: Why doesn’t the potting soil have organic matter in it? Does this mean it isn’t good for planting?

Although potting soil contains many things that can help plants grow – peat, bark, plant husks, rocks, nutrients – manufacturers can’t quite replicate the conditions of garden soil that has naturally broken down rocks, sediments, and dead plants and animals over hundreds or even thousands of years. They also can’t replicate the living matter that occurs in nature, such as worms, insects, microorganisms, bacteria, etc. Potting soil is good for plants and your plants will grow, but it simply can’t replicate what takes nature a long time to create.

Question 3: Since different soils have different uses, can I still use my soil for whatever I want?

Most of the time, you can use your soil for anything you want, but you will have better outcomes if you use it for its designated purpose. An example of an exception to this would be trying to grow vegetables in incredibly sandy soil. The plants would need far too much water and sand does not hold water (or nutrients) well. The soil we see in the Midwest is great for growing a variety of plants, so get growing! Happy summer and happy gardening!

Content Standards/Topics

K-6 Related Content Standards:  It is helpful to see how these standards scaffold for students through the grade levels.  Knowing when a topic is introduced and how standards connect from year to year allows us to build meaningful experiences that build on background knowledge for our learners.  The K-12 Science and Engineering Process Standards (SEPS) are also relevant to the topic of life science, as they reflect the way students are working and thinking while investigating and learning the various content standards.

Kindergarten

K.LS.3 Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including  humans) need to survive.

K.ESS.4 Communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on the land, water, air, and/or other living things in the local environment.

1st

1.LS.4 Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants and animals (including humans) and the places they live.

1.ESS.2 Observe and compare properties of sand, clay, silt, and organic matter. Look for evidence of sand, clay, silt, and organic matter as components of soil samples.

1.ESS.3 Observe a variety of soil samples and describe in words and pictures the soil properties in terms of color, particle size and shape, texture, and recognizable living and nonliving items.

1.ESS.4 Develop solutions that could be implemented to reduce the impact of humans on the land, water, air, and/or other living things in the local environment.

2nd

2.LS.1 Determine patterns and behavior (adaptations) of parents and offspring which help offspring to survive.

2.LS.3 Classify living organisms according to variations in specific physical features (i.e. body coverings, appendages) and describe how those features may provide an advantage for survival in different environments.

2.ESS.3 Investigate how wind or water change the shape of the land and design solutions for prevention.

K-2 Related Engineering Standards

K-2.E.1 Pose questions, make observations, and obtain information about a situation people want to change. Use this data to define a simple problem that can be solved through the construction of a new or improved object or tool.

K-2.E.2 Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate and investigate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve an identified problem.

K-2.E.3 Analyze data from the investigation of two objects constructed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs

3rd

3.LS.2 Plan and conduct an investigation to determine the basic needs of plants to grow, develop, and reproduce.

3.LS.3 Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.

3.ESS.3 Observe the detailed characteristics of rocks and minerals. Identify and classify rocks as being composed of different combinations of minerals.

3.ESS.4 Determine how fossils are formed, discovered, layered over time, and used to provide evidence of the organisms and the environments in which they lived long ago.

4th

4.LS.2 Use evidence to support the explanation that a change in the environment may result in a plant or animal will survive and reproduce, move to a new location, or die.

4.LS.3 Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction in a different ecosystems.

4.ESS.2 Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and their uses affect the environment.

4.ESS.3 Describe how geological forces change the shape of the land suddenly and over time.

4.ESS.4 Develop solutions that could be implemented to reduce the impact of humans on the natural environment and the natural environment on humans.

5th

5.LS.1 Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.

5.LS.2 Observe and classify common Indiana organisms as producers, consumers, decomposers, or predator and prey based on their relationships and interactions with other organisms in their ecosystem.

5.ESS.3 Investigate ways individual communities within the United States protect the Earth’s resources and environment.

5.ESS.4 Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact.

3-5 Related Engineering Standards

3-5.E.1 Identify a simple problem with the design of an object that reflects a need or a want.  Include criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.

3-5.E.2 Construct and compare multiple plausible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

3-5.E.3 Construct and perform fair investigations in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.

6th

6.LS.1 Investigate and describe how homeostasis is maintained as living things seek out their basic needs of food, water, shelter, space, and air.

6.LS.3 Describe specific relationships  (predator/prey, consumer/producer, parasite/host) and symbiotic relationships between organisms. Construct an explanation that predicts why patterns of interactions develop between organisms in an ecosystem.

6.LS.4 Investigate and use data to explain how changes in biotic and abiotic components in a given habitat can be beneficial or detrimental to native plants and animals.

Literacy Links

The following books are useful in engaging students in thinking about and exploring the topics of rocks, minerals, and soil science.


A Rock is Lively by Dianna Aston


How to Dig a Hole to the Other Side of the World by Faith McNulty


Exploring Soils: A Hidden World Underground by Samantha Grover


Dirt by Steve Tomecek


Dirt: The Scoop on Soil by Natalie Rosinsky


Leaf Litter Critters by Leslie Bulion

Lesson Links:

The STEM Connection

Connecting STEM to the Natural World

A place where STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) are encouraged through hands-on activities and exploration of the natural world.
Copyright © 2018 The STEM Connection, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you submitted a field trip request.

Spring Celebration Open House

Join us at the farm to learn more about The STEM Connection and celebrate our Earth!  Go for a hike, try some hands-on STEM activities, and learn more about the programs we offer for educators, parents, and youth to empower and engage participants in science, technology, engineering, and math.

When?  Friday, April 27th, 4:00-6:30 pm

Where?  Moore Road Farm

8407 Moore Road, Indianapolis, IN 46278

Who?  Families, educators, administrators, program directors, and anyone else interested in checking out the farm and learning more about The STEM Connection.

Why?  STEM is fun and everyone can do STEM!  The STEM Connection offers a variety of events and programs for youth, educators, and youth workers.  Come see what we’re all about!

Children are Curious

Children are curious. They seek answers, notice patterns and see the world as new and amazing. As educators, we walk alongside children on their journey to make sense of the world around them. Where do we start? How do we decide what to teach? The children themselves guide us. Watch a young child experiencing the natural world and take time to notice what interests them. The sound of rain on the window, the mud puddle, the rabbit in the grass, the flowers in the field, the clouds in the sky, and pebbles on the path all hold wonder.

These experiences are a place to begin. In addition, the Environmental Literacy Guidelines (ELG), Indiana Science Content Standards and the Indiana After School STEM Speciality Standards reinforce and aid in framing learning opportunities so they are both appropriate, meaningful and appealing. Children are capable of so much! Beginning with concrete concepts in the youngers grades helps them gain content knowledge and sets them up for successful abstract thinking as they take on new experiences and real life problems.

The Content Standards, After School Standards and ELG focus on information, processes, systems, skill development, curiosity and questioning so youth learn, experience and discover while connecting with the natural world. In addition, these resources help educators speak a common language as they learn alongside other educators and the children they serve. Join a child on their learning journey, begin with experiences that engage and seek out these resources and share with other educators what is working for you. Let’s learn together and stay curious!

Vera Vander Kooy, Executive Director – The STEM Connection https://thestemconnection.org/

 

Resources:

http://www.eeai.org/resources/Documents/ELP/Indiana%20Environmental%20Literacy%20Guidelines.pdf

http://www.doe.in.gov/standards/science-computer-science

https://www.indianaafterschool.org/quality/standards/

A STEM Brief with Jessica Manta Meyer

Delivering a high-quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) summer program can seem daunting, especially when front-line staff may have limited STEM experience.

Read more from Jessica Manta-Meyer, here!

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donate to STEM




The STEM Connection is part of Giving Tuesday 11/27! #givingtuesday

2018 Awards

-SYPF Grant recipient 2016, 2017, 2018

-River-Friendly Farmer Award from the local Soil and Water Conservation District. This award recognizes farmers who, through good protection management practices, kelp keep Indiana’s rivers, lakes and streams clean.

-2018 McKinney Family Foundation Scholarship award recipient to attend Fundraising and Advocacy for Environmental Nonprofits offered by The Fund Raising School

IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

2017 Awards

-Joe Wright Recognition of Excellence Award by the Environmental Educators Association of Indiana

-Hoosier Chapter Soil And Water Conservation Society’s Education and Communications award for 2017!

-SYPF grant recipient 2016, 2017

-Intern, Madeline Anderson – 2017 Excellence in Summer Service Education Award Recipient

STEM News

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