Blog Archives

Gearing Up for Innovation Nation


The district-wide Innovation Nation STEM festival  is only one month away and we’re starting to gear up.

You’ll be hearing more and more about the Innovation Nation as it gets closer.

I’ve got some great news to share with you about the events taking place on May 14th.

  • Currently we have fifteen (15) outside presenters confirmed with a half-dozen others tentatively confirmed.  See the poster below to see some of the people coming.  We will also have 15 WUSD interactive student presentations.
  • Cradleboard Elementary has donated STEM-related prizes to be used for student prizes during Innovation Nation.  Thank-you Mr. Tom Shafer.
  • The WMAT Education Department JOM program has come through with 100 Papa John’s Pizzas for the winners of the Innovation Nation Contest held at each school.
  • The John Hopkins NARCH Youth fund has come through with $900 in student incentives which we plan to use to purchase:
    • $20 Walmart Gift Cards for the teachers whose classes win the school contest and participate in Innovation Nation.  To be used for classroom supplies
    • STEM-related prizes for students to award the winners of the two engineering/math challenge contests that we hold during the Innovation Nation Event.
    • STEM-related raffle prizes to be raffled off every thirty minutes starting at 2:30.  All these prizes are geared towards children.

It would be great if we can encourage as many students to be there as possible.  We’ve been blessed with lots of student incentives and we would love to have lots of student participation.

Here’s what the tentative schedule will look like on May 14th.



STEM poster3





STEM@home is a series intended for parents and caregivers of our students at WUSD.  Feel free to pass on the links or print the articles that are appropriate to your students.

Is your student always asking questions? Why is the sky blue? How does our TV work? Where does our drinking water come from? As a parent, there are many different ways to respond. One way is to investigate the answers together in a way that encourages your student to think like a scientist.

STEM which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math is a term used by teachers to encompass lessons and projects which include these subjects. STEM units usually start with a problem.  The teacher guides the students through discovery and experimenting to find solutions.  STEM does not just happen at school. In fact, STEM can be very effective, engaging, and fun at home.

Over the next few weeks, we will be looking at the various aspects of STEM and how you can encourage your child at home.


Although there are many ways to explore science at home, TV is probably the easiest because it helps build background knowledge.  Background knowledge is a term that teachers use to refer to what students already know about a subject before the teacher begins to explain it in depth.  For instance, if a teacher were to do a lesson on quantum physics, students would need to know about algebra.

How do I help my child?

You can help your child build background knowledge in two ways.  One way is to flip through the channels until you find something sciency (I’m declaring that a new word).  Given cable and satellite services, there is bound to be a science program on at any given time.

Another way to help your child is to find specific programs.  What are your students interests?  Bugs?  Outer-space?  Mechanics?  The world of science is broken into three main specialties: Life, Earth, and Physical.  Life Science encompasses everything from human life, to animals, and even plant life.  Earth Science revolves around our planet and the universe.  Finally, Physical Science explains how and why things move.  If your child loves making her toy cars go down a ramp, chances are that she will enjoy shows like “How It’s Made” and “How Do They Do It”.

What science programs are on TV?

Many channels provide at least one science program.  Some channels, such as The Discovery Channel, provide more.  Some of the more common channels and their programs include:

That last channel probably through you for a loop.  Turner Classic Movies?  Science?  In the month of January, TCM is broadcasting “Science in the Movies” on Friday nights.  Click on the link to be directed to a page with the lineup of the movies and their showtimes.  For instance, last week the channel featured movies about Madam Curie.

So, tonight, pop some popcorn, curl up with a blanket, and learn about science with your child, at home.