Welcome to the Tuolumne County Virtual STEM Expo!
An event is to showcase individual and classroom STEM projects for students of Tuolumne County.
Virtual STEM Expo Handbook
The purpose of this handbook is to give you, the teacher, some inspirational ideas for activities and projects that will engage your students in a fun and interactive way.
This handbook is not an exhaustive list of ideas and you may find inspiration elsewhere.
Use your creativity, use student-choice, and have fun!
STEM Expo Categories
Science Fiction Writing
Scientific Illustrations/Nature Drawings
Rube Goldberg Device
Biomimicry (Biomimetic Design)
- Science Fiction Writing
- Scientific Illustrations
- Rube Goldberg Device
- Biomimicry (Biomimetic Design)
Definition: Science fiction is a fiction genre dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible (or at least non-supernatural) content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities. Exploring scientific innovations’ consequences is one purpose of science fiction, making it a “literature of ideas.” This is a non-competitive category, and students will receive a participation award for submissions if minimum requirements are met.
PDF format is preferred, but we can handle just about any electronic document format. Document with accompanying illustrations can be submitted in May 2021 to the Virtual STEM Showcase.
Minimum Requirements: A Successful Science Fiction Story Entry Must Have The Following:
- Minimum of one handwritten page per grade level of participant (12 font, 1.5 space if typed) except grades TK-3. (1/2 handwritten page minimum for TK-1 and one handwritten page minimum for 2-3.)
- Illustrations are encouraged but are optional and can be drawn by someone other than the participant as long as credit is given.
- Knowledge and understanding of the topic are conveyed.
- Thinking includes creative use of ideas and imagination.
- The story keeps the readers’ attention.
- Dialogue (if present) is used well and flows appropriately.
- Writing Process
- Writing is organized with a clear beginning, middle, and end.
- Sentences are clear, spelling is accurate, and structure is grammatically correct.
- The use of details, adjectives, and examples is well done and appropriate.
- Presentation is clean and well laid out (Title page, typed/printed in 12 point font, with 1.5 line spacing if applicable).
- If illustrations are used, they are appropriate and add to the story.
Definition: Scientific Illustrations is a genre of drawing that captures the scientific and technological world. Scientific Illustrations can be created using pencil, colored pencils, watercolors, etc. The Guild Handbook of Science Illustration states, “As art reflects culture, scientific illustration reflects the findings of science and technology.” This is a non-competitive category, and students will receive a participation award for submissions if minimum requirements are met.
Original scientific illustrations only will be accepted and need to be scanned and electronically submitted to the STEM Showcase in May 2021.
Minimum Requirements: A Successful Science Illustration Entry Must Have The Following:
- The illustration must be an original work completed by the student.
- The illustration must be related to science or technology and should include detail.
- Photographs are not accepted.
Definition: A Rube Goldberg assembly, contraption, invention, device, or apparatus is a deliberately over-engineered or overdone machine that performs a straightforward task in a very complex fashion, usually including a chain reaction. The expression is named after American cartoonist and inventor Rube Goldberg (1883-1970). This is a non-competitive event for students in grades TK-12. Students who participate and meet the minimum requirements will receive a participation award.
Video of the Rube Goldberg device running its task can be submitted in May 2021 to the STEM Showcase.
There are no minimum requirements for participation. However, we encourage you to challenge your students and allow them to design and re-design their device as an individual, small group, or whole class.
High School students should be able to design a successful device that has a minimum of 10 ‘cause and effect’ steps and uses at least three simple machines (e.g., lever, wheel, and axle, pulley, incline plane, screw, wedge)
Middle School students should be able to design a successful device that has a minimum of 7 ‘cause and effect’ steps and uses at least three simple machines (e.g., lever, wheel, and axle, pulley, incline plane, screw, wedge)
Elementary School students should be able to design a successful device that has 3-5 ‘cause and effect’ steps and uses at least two simple machines (e.g., lever, wheel, and axle, pulley, incline plane, screw, wedge)
Students are also welcome to draw a simple machine cartoon.
Definition: A robot is a mechanical or virtual intelligent agent who can automatically perform tasks with guidance, often by remote control. Robots can be autonomous, semi-autonomous, or remotely controlled. The robotics category teams must design a robot or a robotic device that accomplishes a specific purpose. The team identifies the purpose. This is a non-competitive event, but teams will receive an award for participation if minimum requirements are met.
If you would like to receive information about the 2021 Virtual Robotics Challenge, contact Tricia Dunlap, STEM Consultant, firstname.lastname@example.org
Biomimicry is applying lessons from nature to the invention of healthier, more sustainable technologies for humans.
Have fun with this and let your students think “outside the indoor box.” Use nature to design something that helps to make the world a better place. A great place to start is by scrolling through http://asknature.org/ Innovators are full of questions. Nature has the answers.
Learn more from the Biomimicry Institute https://biomimicry.org/education/
Get inspiration from the Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge https://biomimicry.org/youthdesignchallenge/
30 Days of Reconnection
In the wake of COVID-19, our global society was faced with a moment for a forced, collective pause. In this time of uncertainty, we created an opportunity to try a new practice built on reconnecting to nature. Whether you’re online or able to go out safely in nature, this series of activities will get your students started or continue your biomimicry journey. What might we learn after 30 (or more) days of observing how a leaf works, how a spider senses, how ants assign duties to one another, or how energy and mass are linked in a perpetual life cycle dance? https://biomimicry.org/30days/#Day%201