|Newsletter No. 6 - November 30, 2009 |
Festival Dates: Expo on the National Mall:
10/10/10 - 10/24/10 10/23 & 10/24
Science Performers Wanted:
Calling Magicians, Jugglers, Musicians and others to perform on one of three Expo stages. Fill out our online form or read more below!
|Wait a minute! |
Is that Larry with President Obama???
The USA Science & Engineering Festival got national
attention last week when President Obama announced his major Science Education
Initiative. In a Forrest Gump like moment, the LA Times caught a glimpse of Larry
Bock in this photo with President Obama.
Last Monday, a select group of leaders in
science education were invited to join President Obama as he announced the
government's new "Educate to Innovate" initiative, designed to move our country
from the middle to the top of the pack in science and math education over the
"The key to meeting these challenges -- to
improving our health and well-being, to harnessing clean energy, to protecting
our security, and succeeding in the global economy -- will be reaffirming and
strengthening America's role as the world's engine of scientific discovery and
technological innovation. And that leadership tomorrow depends on how we
educate our students today, especially in those fields that hold the promise of
producing future innovations and innovators. And that's why education in
math and science is so important," explained President Obama as he launched
this historic effort to inspire and educate a new generation in math and
Among the invitees were the founder of the USA Science & Engineering Festival, Larry Bock, as well as many of the Festival's exhibitors, including the National Institutes of Health,
the National Science Teachers Association, the American Chemical Society, the American
Society of Mechanical Engineers, the National Science Foundation, the National
Society of Black Engineers, FIRST Robotics and many others.
The entire text of the president's inspiring
"Educate to Innovate" speech is available here.
do Comedians, Magicians, Cheerleaders,
Musicians, Jugglers, Rappers and Actors
have to do with Science?
Find out for yourself at the USA
Science & Engineering Festival Expo on the National Mall, which features
over 40 stages shows on three different stages!
One highlight not to be missed will
be the TalkingScience Cabaret, which combines
scientist-musicians and stage acts that illustrate scientific principles. The
nationally popular Cabaret, a project of the Science Friday Initiative
(the nonprofit partner of Science Friday - host Ira Flatow - on National Public Radio, NPR),
includes a science quiz show with prizes and other chances for the
audience to contribute to the performance. A hit at clubs, schools,
and science institutions, "the Cabaret can't wait to come to Washington
for the Festival!" exclaims Ann Marie Cunningham, Executive Director,
Science Friday Initiative. TalkingScience Cabaret acts will include The Amygdaloids - a rock band of four
neuroscientists from New York University; and The Jersey Guys - two Broadway-bound
physicists from Rutgers University who perform physics demos.
Then tap your feet to the tunes of
the popular eco-band Banana Slug String Band. "Music creates
a hook and a rhythm which serve to highlight the wonder of science and the
world around us," says singer-songwriter Steve Van Zandt. Dubbed the
premier eco-band in the country by Chicago Parent Magazine, the Banana Slug
String Band will be performing a wide range of their environmentally-themed
tunes -- from "Water Cycle Boogie" to "Ruminant Chew" to "Dirt Made My
Lunch" -- all with scientifically accurate lyrics to teach youngsters to
understand and care for our precious Earth.
Science at the Expo will take on an
athletic theme when Darlene Cavalier, an academic professional
from the University of Pennsylvania and former cheerleader for the Philadelphia
76er's basketball team, partners with Going Pro Entertainment, a nationwide
network of cheerleading and dance consultants, to showcase professional
cheerleaders-turned scientists. Their performance is designed "to
make science sexy, engaging and just plain awesome...and to get people pumped
up for science as they are for sports!" says Cavalier.
Be sure to check out these cool performances as well:
-The Comedy of Science
-The Magic of Chemistry
-Science Comedy Central
by University of
Texas El Paso
-The Versatile Mr. Freeze
National Accelerator Laboratory
-Magic Tricks-Science Facts
Prof. Bob Friedhoffer
If you know of other science performers we should invite to the Expo, please email
Ruth Kiefer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Making Math Cool for
(Okay, we are NOT renaming the Festival the USA
Science, Engineering & MATH Festival, but Math will play a major part in the event!)
There is not a school year that goes by that K-12 teachers aren't asked this
question by students: "Why do I need to study math anyway?"
To be sure, mathematics has long been the academic nemesis and source of
anxiety for many a student. In an effort to change students' perceptions of
math, we are assembling some of the leading math organizations in the nation to
show Expo-goers that math is both exciting and relevant."Those
of us who chose mathematics as our career know that math is fun" says Tina Straley, Executive Director of the Mathematical
Association of America. "It is
fascinating to find that mathematics is everywhere. We know it is used in
rocket science, but it is also found in juggling and computer circuitry.
Mathematics uncovers patterns where there seem to be none such as in the
distribution of snowflakes or the organization of the universe."
Experts will tell you math is important because it is the most widely used
subject in the world. Every career uses some sort of math, and more
important, none of us would be able to function effectively in everyday living
In essence, math is about problem solving, and learning math teaches us to be
better problem solvers and analytical thinkers. What's more, in the
increasingly technical and complicated world in which we live, problem
solvers are highly desirable in the competitive, high-paying careers of
tomorrow, such as science and engineering.
But try telling all this to a high school sophomore who seriously questions the
importance of knowing how to use the quadratic equation or find the volume of a
The key for math teachers is showing in concrete terms how math and problem
solving is intricately interwoven and relevant to everyday life. Kichoon Yang, Executive Director of the National Council of
Teachers of Mathematics, agrees: "Math teachers are always looking for
interesting and current contexts to engage students in their learning,
reasoning, and sense making of mathematics. An event like the Science &
Engineering Festival can get students excited about math by showing them how
relevant and exciting math can be."
And when it comes
to careers in mathematics (or in professions that use a great deal of critical
thinking), the future is indeed bright, especially its potential to help
develop new technologies and solve societal problems.
"Mathematics underpins many
technologies such as: artificial heart values, arterial stents, speech recognition,
fingerprint storage, weather forecasting and internet communication," says Samuel M. Rankin, Associate
Executive Director of the American Mathematical Society.
Mathematics will also play a
significant role in addressing climate change, finding new sustainable energy
sources, and addressing problems in ecology, genetics and in the social
sciences, including political science, law and criminology. "I would encourage any young
girl with an interest in math to explore it as a career option"
says Maeve McCarthy, Executive Director of the Association for Women in Mathematics.
Here's a brief rundown of some of
the exciting hands-on math activities these participating organizations have
for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
Alive:Come and experience living mathematics. The engaging
activities will demonstrate how mathematics connects with many aspects of real
life including science and technology, medicine and health, sports and
Council of Teachers of Mathematics
Teen Talk Barbie: Teen Talk Barbie may have thought
"math class is tough," but Bungee Barbie thinks math is cool! She also thinks
that jumping from tall structures while connected to an elastic cord is
exhilarating! Join us for an experiment and help us figure out how to give
Barbie an awesome, yet safe, thrill ride.
for Women in Mathematics
Sonia K? Come learn about how Sonia
Kovalevsky challenged the mathematical community to accept women and how we
celebrate her life today.
Powered by Math: Explore the
intrinsic power, patterns and passion of mathematics!
Association of America
Math is Everywhere: Explore math in
the world through fun interactive activities such as card shuffling, magic tricks,
juggling, origami, and more!
Sign Up! We are looking for additional math organizations with interactive presentations that show the importance and relevance of math.
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