The DeHavilland Blog

Thursday, October 13, 2005

More great programs in the news

Still catching up on email after attending last week's Business Education Network Summit in Washington. A few program announcements that stood out as being interesting and possibly good models of education outreach programs:
  • To boost interest in science and math, iRobot and Google are underwriting the RoboNexus Education Outreach program, which covers the costs of transportation and admission for kids in grades K-12 in the San Jose school system to attend RoboNexus, an international annual event featuring personal, service, and mobile robots. Kids will be able to experience robots in a hands-on way, working with the "guts" of real robots and talking with robotics scientists. This kind of program can inspire kids with hands-on applications of science and math skills - very exciting.
  • DA Davidson, an investment firm in Montana, is fronting $1 Million for kids to gain real-world experience in investing. DA Davidson gives $50,000 to 20 colleges and allows students to invest that money - this is real money, with real fees, real losses, and real gains. Students work with a DA Davidson financial advisor (great volunteer opportunity for employees); the company absorbs any losses, and splits any profits above 5% with the colleges. While this is a college-based program, I include it as a great model for a future high school program.
  • iScienceProject is a contest open to schools that have purchased HOBO data loggers from Onset Computers. They recently highlighted one successful project, where 8th grade students solved a real school problem as part of their project. Students wanted to observe the efficiency of the school's HVAC system, and set data loggers in each classroom to track temperature and humidity. They were surprised to see huge increases in humidity after-hours and on weekends, when the AC was turned down. While conducting their experiment, they also became aware of a mold issue in the school, and included mold growth rates in their experiment - as a result, they discovered that the HVAC pattern was a major contributor to mold growth rates, which were starting to become visible within the school and even beginning to affect the breathing of older faculty members. I love to see this kind of program: real-life applications that allow kids to become involved in science in ways that matter to them and to the community.
It's exciting to see good examples of student engagement in real-world learning opportunities - I'll post more as I come across them.


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