Friday, February 14, 2014

I'm headed to Washington, DC this weekend. Follow along!

I'm headed to Washington, DC this weekend as part of my work with DiscoverE, a 24/7 resource for engineering information, resources and inspiration. I'll be reporting from the national finals of their middle school engineering competition, Future City.

On Sunday the 16th I'll be sharing live updates through social media, highlighting the young participants and showcasing their efforts. In related news, I finally joined Instagram! Follow me there @KimMoldofsky. (And let me know if I should be following you.)

I'll be joined by a few of my old blogging besties on Sunday afternoon as they come by (with their kids!) to share in the fun.
Leticia from Tech Savvy Mama
Amy from Teach Mama
Stacey from Justice Fergie
Thien Kim from I'm Not the Nanny
Jill from Musings from Me
Sandie from Teen Lit Rocks

This year's Future City theme is transportation. How does the city of the future make transportation safe, sustainable, efficient and reliable? I don't know, but I'm certain these kids will have a lot of great ideas.

As someone who likes to be in the know about STEM competitions, I'm eager to get to see Future City up close. One especially intriguing bit is that it only costs $25 per organization to enter. Which is to say that a school can have one, five (or more) teams and they still only pay the one $25 fee. Which is to say: amazeballs. Each team incurs an additional cost in building their Future City model, but they are supposed to use recycled materials and top their budget at $100. Check these out. Teams can get pretty creative with their budgets.

With an eye toward finding solutions to the year's challenge, teams also make virtual models with SimCity software, complete a research paper and create a narrative "sell sheet" on their cities. They also prepare a presentation. That's a whole lotta technical and soft skills wrapped up in one competition. (And in even more STEAM, I'm told some teams make costumes for their presentations.)

Follow along with me this weekend and who knows? Maybe you'll be in line when registration opens in March for the 2014-15 competition year.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

At least the sun is shining

February in Chicago is the cruelest month. This year is no exception with continued snowfall and frigid temperatures, not the mention the occasional bitter wind. Still, it's been a fairly sunny month. The gray winter skies make everything feel worse, so I'm taking solace where I can.

Because the sun has been out, I'm aware that we get just a little bit more light each day. Hooray!

There's a saying to make hay when the sun shines. Although there is nary a blade of grass to be seen, we did the winter equivalent. No, we didn't make snowmen from the several feet of snow on the ground, the boys piled it up so they could jump off of our second story deck. into a big pile.

When I was a girl and we had the blizzard(s) of 1978 or 79, my dad climbed up to the roof of our split-level house to shovel off the accumulated snow. After he was done, my brother and I were allowed follow him up and jump down. I don't remember my actual leap as much as I do the excitement of doing something that would normally be verboten.

If my boys forget the time we let them jump off the deck, they just have to turn to YouTube (if it's around in 30 years).