Schools Visited

Sioux City Schools (2009 – 2010)

In the Fall of 2009, the Sioux City School District received a grant from Minds of Tomorrow.  They decided to use the grant to send all of the 8th graders from 7 different middle schools in the district to come to Iowa State and spend a day learning about engineering.  In the April of 2010, a little more than 90 8th graders came out to Ames.  Dr Lawrence Genalo captured their attentions with a materials engineering demonstration in Howe Hall.  They actively enjoyed participating in activities with the Critical Tinkers and Team PRISM.  They traveled around campus among all of the older students.  And they received a tour from the College of Engineering about all the different engineering majors here at Iowa State.

Ogden Middle School (2009)

A grant was given to the Ogden Middle School to purchase NXT Robot kits. Their lego team has been successful in the past and they would like to offer robotics to more students! The kits will be used to promote interest in math, science and technology.

In Spring 09, Minds of Tomorrow visited Ogden Middle School to present them with the award. A PowerPoint presentation was given to expose the kids on various fields in engineering. Demonstrations were shown to excite the kids into becoming an engineer. They included the memory wire and a Lego-NXT robot.

We came back to Ogden Middle School in fall of 2009 for an outreach day. We visited the 6th grade science classes and worked with them to build NXT robots. There were three classes in total, and each class was split into groups with each group having their own NXT kit. The first set of groups built the base of the NXT robots while the second set of groups finished building the NXT robots. Then, the last set of groups programmed the robot to do simple instructions. All the students were anxious to see their robot built to completion and looked forward to work with the NXT kits again in the future.

Mercy High School (2009)

In the spring of 2009 Minds of Tomorrow was pleased to award a grant to Mercy High School in Omaha, NE.  The grant was used to purchase VEX Robotics kits and associated equipment to be used in an after school engineering program.  This program is lead by Maureen Davis where she will utilize these kits to enhance the students learning in the STEM related fields.

We traveled to Omaha in October 2009 to put on an assembly for the high school as well as work with some of the students in a classroom setting.  During our presentation we showed the students information regarding the field of engineering and career potentials, the 2050 Challenge, and the variety of engineering majors that Iowa State University has to offer.   Student understanding of these topics was enhanced by engaging them in activates as well as showing several videos.

Working with math classes ranging from algebra I to pre-calculus we designed an activity for them based on forensic sciences.  Students were given a crime scene report and asked to help the police narrow down the list of suspects to find the correct one.  This was done by creating experimental data and fitting it to a best fit line on a graphing calculator, followed by a testing of pH using a sensor and Vernier lab equipment provided by Minds of Tomorrow for the activity.

These events performed by our group at Mercy High School, along with the equipment purchased by them using the grant has given their students a look into what the STEM related field has to offer outside of normal classroom work.

St. Mary's Catholic School (2009)

Mind’s of Tomorrow is pleased to have awarded a grant to St. Mary’s School, in Guttenberg Iowa. The school presented an excellent proposal of Lego kits that are multi-tiered to target students from Kindergarten up to 8th grade. St. Mary’s School tackled this large age gap with a wide variety of Lego products. These include: NXT Mindstorms, Renewable Energy, WeDo kits, and Lego Simple Machines. This diverse range of products allows students to advance their creative thinking, teamwork, and problem solving skills as they grow.

In grade school, Wildcat students have been developing an understanding of simple mechanics with Lego Simple Machines. This kit allows teachers to introduce such topics such as equilibrium of forces, mechanical advantage, balanced, and unbalanced forces. This early introduction allows students to grow naturally into Lego WeDo kits. Here students are allowed to integrate their understanding of simple mechanics with robotics. Students are learning how to program and create a working model with icon based software.

In the middle school, the Lego Renewable energy package is being used to allow students a jump start on engineering solutions for tomorrow’s problems. Teachers are demonstrating areas of renewable energy including waterwheels, windmill, and solar cars. This leads students to investigate ideas, predict results, and considering factors that influence the results. They also obtain and record data, analyze results, evaluate strengths and weaknesses of data, and draw conclusions. The Lego NXT Mind Storms are also designed for the middle school. This is a programmable Lego kit. The kit comes with a 32-bit processor, 3 Interactive Servo motors, as well as sensors for sound, ultrasonic, visual, touch, and light signals. With all this computing power, the Wildcats are left with the sky as the limit.

With this Minds of Tomorrow Grant, St. Mary’s school has become the center of attention within the Archdiocese of Dubuque and has even been requested to give a presentation on Legos within the learning environment. Principle Sister Suzanne Gallagher states “We believe this emphasis and teacher chatter about students being ‘wildcat engineers’ will in turn empower students to move into these fields in college.” This wonderful grant will impact children for years to come, and set the foundation for a skill-set required for the 21st century.

Missouri Valley High School (2008 – 2009)

Minds of Tomorrow is pleased to have awarded a grant to Missouri Valley High School, in particular Ms. Annette Knott and Mr. Roger Kuhlmann.  This grant was used to purchase equipment that will be used in the science and math departments including Vernier sensors, Ti-Nspire calculators, and the supporting software.

We traveled to the Missouri Valley High School in the fall of 2008 to hold an all school assembly and present them with the award.  A presentation covering the scope of the grant given, engineering at Iowa State University, and potential careers in engineering was used to involve and educate students.  During the assembled we used different activities in order to get the students involved and show them that STEM related fields are ones that can be of interest to everyone.

In the spring of 2009 we again went to Missouri Valley High School in order to work in the classrooms with the students.  This was done in both of the mentioned teacher’s classes; those being chemistry, algebra, and algebra II.  In the chemistry classes we assisted the students with an experiment using the Vernier sensors while examining phase diagrams.  For the math classes we designed two different activities applying real-world problem solving that the students completed with our assistance.

With the equipment that Missouri Valley High was able to purchase with this grant students will be able to perform a wide variety of activities and experiments for years to come.