STEMseeds15: Reflections on Visioning STEM Learning

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This podcast features recorded audio from a videoconference by Vinnie Vrotny (@vvrotny) on May 12, 2016. His presentation was part of a 4 hour workshop at Casady School in Oklahoma City on “Visioning the Future of Computer Science and STEM Education in K-12 Schools.” Vinnie discussed his experiences as a teacher and director working in Chicago-area and Houston-area independent schools helping develop updated computer science / digital literacy courses, curricula, and STEM / MakerSpace learning spaces for students as well as teachers. The podcast concludes with an audio reflection recorded by participants at the end of the workshop, sharing some of the key takeaways and learning points from the day. In addition to teachers and staff from Casady School, we were also joined by several community representatives from higher education as well as a local software design company during this workshop. Many thanks to Vinnie for sharing his experiences, perspectives, and advice to assist our faculty and staff as we work to envision a future program of computer science and STEM learning at Casady School. This podcast was originally posted on and cross-posted to Refer to the podcast shownotes for referenced resources and links from the presentation.


  1. Vinnie Vrotny on Twitter: @vvrotny
  2. Shared Notes from our Visioning workshop (Google Doc)
  3. STEM at Casady website:
  4. STEMseeds (@STEMseeds)
  5. FABlab at Rose State
  6. iThemes of Edmond, Oklahoma
  7. The Div (OKC-area nonprofit promoting coding for kids)
  8. 15 May 2016: Scratch Day in OKC – sponsored by The Div
  9. 15 May 2016: Proposal deadline for EncycloMedia 2016
  10. 6-9 June 2016: STEM “Mission to Mars” Teacher Camp at Casady
  11. Cyber Security/Digital Forensics at Rose State (including KidCamps)
  12. 15 July 2016: Minecraft Challenge Day at Casady
  13. 26-28 July 2016: iPad Media Camp at Casady
  14. Aug 26 & 27, 2016 – iPadPalooza at OU (@iPadpaloozaOU)
  15. 4-5 October 2016 – EncycloMedia Conference (OKC)
  16. 4-5 November 2016 – Digital Sharing Conference at Casady (@digishare)
  17. Original Opinion Podcast created as a summative recording at the conclusion of the institute (a Spanish portion was edited out of the version.)
  18. Cross-posted from

STEMseeds14: Reflection on March 2016 Brazil STEM Institute

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This is an audio reflection by Wesley Fryer following the March 14-15, 2016 STEM Institute at Graded School in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This two day professional development workshop for educators included engineering design projects, hands-on STEM projects in which participants collaboratively designed and built catapults as well as prosthetic hands, discussion and exploration of 3D printing and 3D design, “Curiosity Links,” robotics, green screen videography, and other Maker Studio / Makerspace activity and project ideas. Access the full workshop curriculum, photos and videos from the workshop, and referenced resources on Direct links to many of the resources mentioned in the podcast are also included the the shownotes. The next STEMseeds STEM workshop will be offered June 6-8, 2016, at Casady School in Oklahoma City. Please subscribe to and follow STEMseeds on Twitter for updates and additional STEM lesson ideas as well as resources!


  1. March 2016 STEM Institute in Brazil (main website with agenda and resources)
  2. Follow STEMseeds Institute Participants on Twitter! (Twitter list)
  3. Photos from our March 2016 STEM Institute (Flickr album)
  4. March 2016 STEM Institute Agenda
  5. Why STEM/STEAM? (a presentation created with Haiku Deck)
  6. Marshmallow Challenge
  7. Engineering Design Challenges
  8. Curiosity Links
  9. Makey Makey – (Makey Makey activity links and videos)
  10. Green Screen Videos
  11. Lego WeDo Construction Kits
  12. Info on Vex Robots and other Robotics and Design Technology Resources from Jack Kriss (@jack_kriss)
  13. Katch/Periscope Video of Jack Kriss’ presentation on Robotics options
  14. The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity by George Couros (@gcouros)
  15. Project Lead the Way (STEM Curriculum – @PLTWorg)
  16. Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
  17. ISTE Technology Standards for Students
  18. ISTE Technology Standards for Teachers
  19. The Pentagon’s Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America’s Top-Secret Military Research Agency by Annie Jacobsen (@AnnieJacobsen)
  20. Catapult Project Resources
  21. Prosthetic Hand Project Resources
  22. 60 Minutes VIDEO Episode: Creating the Bionic Arm (from 2009)
  23. Algodoo: Physics-based 2D Sandbox (free software versions)
  24. VIDEO: Overview of 3D Printed Rhino Horn Project by Pembient (3:40)
  25. Tracker Video Analysis and Modeling Tool (free)
  26. TinkerCAD (free tool for 3D modeling)
  27. Wes’ STEM lesson resources
  28. iPad Media Camp Resources
  29. Create, Make and Learn STEM Institute (August 1-5, 2016 in Burlington, VT)
  30. Make Writing by Angela Stockman (@angelastockman)
  31. Silvia Tolisano (@langwitches)
  32. Digital Sharing Conference (@digishare) coming to Oklahoma City Nov 4-5, 2016
  33. Meet the Robinsons: Keep Moving Forward!
  34. Intro audio bumper: The Complex Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License 
  35. Original Opinion Podcast created as a summative recording at the conclusion of the institute (a Spanish portion was edited out of the version.) Audio bumper in the Opinion podcast is “Baja” from the iTunes album “Surfin’ with the Astronauts.”


STEMSeeds9: Lesson Ideas with Kevin Jarrett

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This is an archived Google Hangout video and audio recording of a STEMseeds interview with elementary teacher Kevin Jarrett (@kjarrett), discussing STEM lesson plans and project ideas, his educational philosophy setting up his classroom, how he’s been using MinecraftEDU in class and more! Check out our shownotes for links to referenced resources, there are a LOT of great ones from this show!

Show Notes:

  1. Archived Google Hangout Video (60 minutes long – Original Google+ event page)
  2. Kevin Jarrett on Twitter: @kjarrett
  3. NCS K4STEMLAB Promo Video:
  4. Adding a STEM emphasis to a K-4 Technology Program (Resource List)
  5. Kevin Jarrett’s professional blog
  6. Engineering is Elementary Curriculum:
  7. STEM Mom:
  8. Flickr Collections (all): School
  9. Flickr Album: K4STEMLAB Lessons
  10. Flickr Album: K4STEMLAB Space
  11. Engineering is Elementary:  Incorporating a STEM Emphasis Into a K-4 Computer Technology Program Curriculum (Presented at TECHSPO 2015)
  12. Teaching Design Thinking in the Elementary Classroom via 3D Printing (Presented at TECHSPO 2015)
  13. Flickr Album: Minecraft@NCS
  14. Minecraft Edu:
  15. Minecraft Edu Google Group:!forum/minecraft-teachers
  16. Mineways (3D printed Minecraft):
  17. Printcraft (3D printed Minecraft):
  18. Flash Forge 3D Printer
  19. Zeni Kinectic is alternative supplier for PLA to buy for 3D printers (30% cheaper than MakerBot)
  20. MakerBot Design video
  21. Photos documenting the transformation of Kevin’s Tech Lab/STEM space:
  22. #book2read: MakeSpace by Standford DSchool
  23. #book2read: The Language of School Design: Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools
  24. #book2read: The Third Teacher: 79 Ways You Can Use Design to Transform Teaching & Learning
  25. TinkerCAD: Web-based design for 3D printing
  26. Playground Design Project video from Amy:
  27. Students design their own cell phones and pitch to engineers:
  28. Puff Mobile Project via Paula Naugle
  29. Kevin’s pick of the week: Hot Wheels Speedometry (FREE cars, track, curriculum!) | 3D Printed C02 Racers (video)
  30. Amy’s pick of the week: Crayola Color alive
  31. Wes’ pick of the week: Adventure Time Wizard game creation app via EdGamer Podcast 150
  32. Create, Make and Learn (fantastic, week-long July STEM conference in Vermont)
  33. EIE Windmill Project Photo by Kevin (used as featured image for this post)
  34. Our STEMseeds Google Doc of Show Notes (includes past archives too)

The MP3 audio version of this show was created by downloading the recorded Google Hangout video with, and then converting to a 32 kbps mp3 with Auphonic. The mp3 audio file is hosted on AmazonS3 (the most affordable/cheap podcast host available, literally this costs a few pennies per month) and shared on this WordPress self-hosted blog with the free PodLove Podcast Publisher plugin.


Upcoming: Lesson Ideas with Kevin Jarrett

STEMseeds has been podfading for 3 months but we are back! Join us for a 60 minute Google Hangout interview with elementary teacher Kevin Jarrett (@kjarrett) on Sunday, March 1, 2015, at 4 pm Eastern / 3 pm Central / 2 pm Mountain / 1 pm Pacific to discuss STEM lesson plans and project ideas, his educational philosophy setting up his classroom, and how he’s been using MinecraftEDU in class and after school to power student learning as well as collaboration. Please RSVP for this event on the Google Hangout / Google+ page. Show notes for this episode are available on this Google Doc.


STEMseeds8: Lesson Ideas with Bethany Ligon

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7th grade Arizona science teacher Bethany Ligon joined Amy Loeffelholz and Wesley Fryer on Saturday, November 22, 2014, for an hour-long Google Hang Out for STEMseeds discussing STEM lesson ideas including engineering design challenges. Bethany uses a variety of engineering design challenges she has found via Google, on Pinterest, and elsewhere to help students develop their problem solving, creativity, and collaboration skills. In the Google Hang Out, Bethany shared that some of her students ask “When are we going to play again?” when asking about the engineering design challenges. She has started posting about these activities on her blog, “Standing Out In The Middle.” Her students love these activities and do not necessarily see them as part of “doing school” or “learning,” yet there are a rich set of skills they develop through these activities. Check our shownotes for this episode for links to Bethany’s recent Engineering Design Challenge posts as well as other referenced links/resources from the show. The archived video from this episode is available via YouTube, and an audio-only version is available as well. Please follow @STEMseeds on Twitter to stay up to date about upcoming shows! Also follow Bethany Ligon (@ajsciencegal), Amy Loeffelholz (@AmyLoeffelholz) and Wesley Fryer (@wfryer) on Twitter.

Show Notes:

  1. Bethany Ligon on Twitter: @ajsciencegal
  2. Bethany Ligon’s professional blog: Out Standing in the Middle
  3. Design Challenge: Pipe Cleaner Structures (by Bethany Ligon)
  4. Engineering Design Challenge: Straw Structures #1 (by Bethany Ligon)
  5. Lunar Phases Interactive from McGraw Hill (not the same site Bethany mentions in the show, but a cool lunar online interactive none-the-less)
  6. PBS Kids Design Squad (lots of good design challenge ideas)
  7. Engineering GoForIt! – @egfi (excellent connections to Engineering careers)
  8. Science Buddies: Hands-on Science Resources for Home and School
  9. Nepris (great website for videoconferencing with STEM industry professionals)
  10. Video: Playground Design Finalists at Lakeview Elementary School in Yukon, Oklahoma
  11. Nov 1, 2014 Classroom 2.0 Webinar: “Technology Integration in a Junior High School” (Bethany Ligon was one of the presenters in this FANTASTIC show)
  12. YouTube Playlist: Enhanced eBooks on the “Minecraft Geometry Challenge” (47 and counting created by 4th and 5th graders at Independence Elementary in Yukon Public Schools, eBooks exported as videos instead of ePUBs)
  13. Amy Loeffelholz on Twitter: @AmyLoeffelholz
  14. Amy’s grade 4-5 classroom on Twitter: @lesstem
  15. Wes Fryer on Twitter: @wfryer
  16. Wes’ grade 4-5 classroom on Twitter: @iesSTEM
  17. STEMseeds on Twitter: @stemseeds

The MP3 audio version of this show was created by downloading the recorded Google Hangout video with, saving the converted audio file as a 32 kbps MP3 file. The mp3 audio file is hosted on AmazonS3 (the most affordable/cheap podcast host available, literally this costs a few pennies per month) and shared on this WordPress self-hosted blog with the free PodLove Podcast Publisher plugin.


Upcoming: Interview with Bethany Ligon

Join Amy Loeffelholz and Wesley Fryer on Saturday morning (Nov 22nd) for a Google Hangout conversation with Arizona science teacher Bethany Ligon, who was featured in the November 1, 2014 Classroom 2.0 Live show, “Technology Integration in Jr. High School.” Bethany has collected a variety of outstanding engineering design project lessons for her students, which she will discuss along with other practical ideas for engaging students in STEM learning. Please join us live if you can, but if you can’t we’ll archive the video and audio version of the show on We’ll start at 10:30 Eastern / 9:30 Central / 8:30 Mountain / 7:30 Pacific and talk together for an hour. Your LIVE participation during the show is invited and welcome!

Visit our Google Hangout Page to RSVP and join the event LIVE on Saturday!


STEMseeds 7: OTA / EncycloMedia 2014 STEM Presentation

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This podcast is an audio recording of a presentation by Amy Loeffelholz (@AmyLoeffelholz) and Wesley Fryer (@wfryer) on October 7, 2014, at the Oklahoma Technology Association / EncycloMedia Conference in Oklahoma City. The title of the session was, “Practical Lessons for Elementary STEM Integration.” Referenced links are included in the accompanying Google Presentation slideshow. The accompanying photo in this post is our Yukon District “STEM Team” along with Ginger Gregory and Tammy Parks, at a rare (& very valued) lunch collaboration meeting!


Practical Lessons for Elementary STEM Integration

Here are the slides, links, and videos included in the October 7, 2014, presentation at OTA/EncycloMedia in Oklahoma City: Practical Lessons for Elementary STEM Integration by Amy Loeffelholz (@AmyLoeffelholz) and Wesley Fryer (@wfryer). An audio podcast recording of this session is also available.


Upcoming: Back to STEM School with Amy and Wes

Plan to join elementary STEM teachers Amy Loeffelholz and Wesley Fryer on Saturday, September 13th at 11:30 am Eastern / 10:30 am Central / 9:30 am Mountain / 8:30 am Pacific online (via a Google Hangout) to talk about STEM lesson ideas, Maker Studio lessons, and lots more “back to school” updates as the 2014-15 school year has started. Please RSVP for the Google Hangout if you plan to attend or might attend. (That way the event can be added to your Google Calendar.) Check out past archives of our almost-monthly webcast on We hope you’ll join in our STEM conversations on Saturday! (Note: Time has been updated to start 1 hour later than originally announced. Google Hangout time is updated too!)


STEMseeds 4: Lesson Ideas with Henry Ingwersen

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In our fourth STEM seeds webcast Henry Ingwersen, Amy Loeffelholz, Crystal Butcher and Wesley Fryer discussed STEM programs, classrooms and lesson ideas on Thursday, April 17, 2014, in an after-school Google Hangout. Henry is a grade 3-4 elementary classroom STEM teacher in Wells, Maine, and maintains a blog about some of his classroom STEM lessons. Links to referenced resources are listed in the shownotes below and on our Google Doc for STEMSeeds show notes.Thanks to our Google Hangout viewers for sharing lots of additional links! We did have some audio echo challenges about 20 minutes into our show but we got them resolved, so please don’t give up when you hear that part!

Show Notes:

  1. YouTube video archive of our Google Hangout
  2. Google Plus Event for our Google Hangout (with audience chat / links)
  3. STEM blog of Henry Ingwersen (@henryingwersen)
  4. Vital Signs Project (Citizen Scientists of Maine)
  5. Cornell Lab of Ornithology Birdsleuth K-12 Project (@BirdSleuth)
  6. Why Citizen Science? (by Cornell Lab of Ornithology Birdsleuth K-12 Project)
  7. Smart Citizen Weather Crowdsourcing Project
  8. Engineering is Elementary – @EiE_org (Boston Museum of Science)
  9. Leif Catches the Wind: A Mechanical Engineering Story (book)
  10. Picture Perfect Science Lessons Book (NSTA Press)
  11. YouTube Videos of US National Medal Laureates in Science and Technology Innovation (@NSTMF)
  12. 3-D printing and its impact on the medical implant industry
  13. Energy is Electrifying Unit (PDF) – via Maureen Tumenas (@bcdtech)
  14. Citizen science: Real-world applications for science students – via Maureen Tumenas (@bcdtech)
  15. 10 back-to-school projects for young citizen scientists – via Maureen Tumenas (@bcdtech)
  16. Tulips for Kids from Journey North – via Maureen Tumenas (@bcdtech)
  17. NASA S’COOL (Students’ Cloud Observations Online – @NASASCOOL) – via Maureen Tumenas (@bcdtech)
  18. March 2014 Newsletter of MIT STEM PALS – past archives – Facebook Page – via Maureen Tumenas (@bcdtech)
  19. Earthbridges Earth Day 2014 Webcast – via Peggy George (@pgeorge)
  20. Kevin Jarrett’s K-4 STEM Lab Blog – @K4STEMLAB – via Vicky Sedgwick (@VisionsByVicky)
  21. Sphero for Education – via Maureen Tumenas (@bcdtech)
  22. Follow Amy Loeffelholz on Twitter: @AmyLoeffelholz
  23. Follow Amy’s STEM class on Twitter: @lesSTEM
  24. Follow Wesley Fryer on Twitter: @wfryer
  25. Follow Wes’ STEM class on Twitter: @iesSTEM

The Google Hangout on Air YouTube video for this episode was converted to an audio-only format with and normalized using the free online service, Auphonic.

Featured image source: