It’s easy to lose track of all the great things going on in the area and at Weber State specifically.  Two weeks ago we hosted the “Principles to Practice” conference, giving teachers and others from around the state a chance to engage in the foundations that they will build into Utah’s revision of Science and Engineering Education (SEEd) standards in the coming years.  We were pretty focused on that event, but there are many others:

  • This Friday, the Physics Department hosts its annual Open House, from 6 – 9 PM.  That event is free to all comers and includes hands on activities, planetarium shows, and demonstrations including the Circus of Physics.  See their webpage for a detailed schedule and directions.
  • Soon, we’re planning to debut a new Science Discovery Trail just above campus (more details to follow).  This trail is “cut” and accessible, and in the future there will be educational trail signage to help the general public and school groups incorporate science into their walk on the trail.
  • On Saturday, October 11th, the Utah Science Teachers Association invites all science teachers and their families (including elementary teachers and pre-service teachers) to the Spiral Jetty from 10 AM – 1 PM (note: this time has changed from an earlier announcement). There will be engaging resources for teachers and art projects for kids, including oolitic sand, microbe ecospheres, and a salt crystal watercolor activity. Teachers just need to pre-register here: http://utsta.org/event-1767195
  • The successful Faraday Lecture returns on December 15 and 16th, at 7 PM. This engaging collection of demonstrations features WSU President Charles Wight, Dr. Michelle Paustenbaugh and Dr. Carol Campbell. Watch the College webpage (weber.edu/cos) for location and more information as the event nears.

Certainly, there will be other events and projects to announce in the near future.  We’re especially excited that this year we have welcomed Dr. Jennifer Claesgens as our full time CSME Director, and we’re excited for her energy and expertise to continue to move us forward in the years to come.

getting dirty

I’ve been trying to figure out how to encapsulate many different goings-on in the CSME over the summer.  All told, there was so much happening all at once that there was hardly a moment to pause, not to mention make sense of it all.  Then someone pointed out this commercial and some of the thinking behind it, exposing a bit about how our usual discourse with girls discourages science and engineering pursuits.  Instead of telling them to dig in with both hands, we often praise their beauty and chastise them for getting dirty.

So I was proud to see so many youth in our camps and parks programs really getting dirty. In fact, I think that sums up the last few months pretty well.  A group of high school students with some of our science faculty camped in the rain and spent a week exploring the science of Yellowstone National Park.

Spring reflection

Kids were in Strong’s Canyon with their feet in the creek and their hands in the mud, getting water and critter samples.

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They were up on the hillside removing invasive weeds.

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They outside with various goos literally dripping from their fingers … and hands, and arms, and …

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And moms and daughters were together getting blood samples, swabbing for microbes, and spilling chemicals.

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We’re proud that the science we get to do around here is messy.  It’s a short description of some of what we can do during our summers — more photos of the parks, the Pathways camps, Math camps, and the Mother/Daughter Science week are now compiled on our Flickr page.

camp registrations

I’ve promised subscribers to this newsfeed that you would be the first to know when our summer camps will open registration.  I have been told by university programmers (small, hardworking elves who code on computers in small, basement closets, perhaps — I’ve never seen them personally) that registration should be available this Friday for all our camps.  And that registration link is right here:


If you open this page on Friday and it says something like “Page not found,” try again later.  But, truly, hopefully, Friday it will come alive.  And since I’ll be in the midst of graduation ceremonies here at Weber State on that same day, I thought I would do all I can to help you anticipate the registration beforehand.  Once I see that registration is running and I’m back to my desk, I’ll post the registration link on our individual camp pages as well.  For now, you are the first to know.

Looking forward to seeing you this summer!  Link to our camp pages for more information about our offerings.  And feel free to contact Adam (ajohnston@weber.edu) with any questions in the meantime.

Science Saturdays

Ott Planetarium is hosting Science Saturday again this coming weekend, April 12, from Noon – 5:00 PM in the Lind Lecture Hall here at Weber State.  Free planetarium shows, fun hands-on activities, and open doors at the Museum.  I have it on good authority that we’ll have biology students and members of science teaching club mentoring families on various bugs.  If we’re lucky, you can even train termites.  (I’m not kidding — it’s marvelous to see.)

That’s the good news.  The bad news is that this may be our last Science Saturday for a while as we brace ourselves for construction.  The upper floor of the Lind Lecture building is getting a small facelift so that we can make better use of classrooms.  This is important so that we can get some elbow room while we’re waiting for the new science building.  It’s still a little painful, though.  Get in some fun science this weekend, and then look ahead to a summer with some camps and parks activities.

summer preview

The official start of spring is just a couple days away.  For us, that means it’s time to start thinking about summer.  We have lots of behind-the-scenes projects, as well as some campus construction that should be taking place.  It keeps us on our toes, especially since we’re not even sure where our offices are going to be while classrooms get renovated and some office space starts to get carved out around us.  We’ll just duck and cover while buildings are demolished to make way for the new Tracy Hall Science Center — our new home in just two years!

In the midst of this, we’re happy to announce that we’ve scheduled some of our favorite programs for summer 2014.

Science in the Parks will run again with the same progression of Ogden City Parks, through a partnership with Ogden School District’s free lunch program.  We’ll be visiting the following locations in Ogden:

June 9 – 13: Lorin Farr Park
June 16 – 20: Liberty Park
June 23 – 27: Monroe Park
June 30 – July 3: Mt. Ogden Park
July 7 – 11: Jaycee Park
July 14 – 18: West Ogden Park

Each weekday of each week (with the exception of Independence Day) we will have free activities for all ages from 11:30 to 1:00; and, each day of the week has its own special theme.  You can come to the same park for an entire week and get completely different science activities each day.  See our Parks page for more information.  Stay tuned to this blog for updates — just subscribe in the box at the right.

Oh, and it’s worth noting that Arts in the Park will visit the same locations.  They’ll be at each of these parks the week before us.

In addition, we’re delighted to announce our second year of science camps!.  We’ll run two different camps in June, and each camp will be offered twice.  Registration will be available soon and announced here.  In addition, if we can find space to run any other camps in July, we’ll try to do that as well.  For now, we have to hunker down and see what spaces are going to be available.

There are some other fun projects taking place, including an Advanced Physics Course for teachers;  a trip to Yellowstone National Park with some local high school students, teachers, and faculty; and perhaps another workshop if we can fit it in.

More to follow, soon!