NSTA_StPattys_0215

The Chicago River will be turning green during Pitsco’s time exhibiting at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) National Conference. Dyeing the river green is a Chicago tradition, which is part of the St. Patrick’s Day celebration in conjunction with a parade. This event will take place on March 14, 2015, the last day of the NSTA National Conference. If seeing the river dyed green and observing the parade isn’t reason enough to be in Chicago the week of March 9, Pitsco has plenty of exciting things happening during the NSTA National Conference. Stop by Pitsco’s booth 951 to play robot soccer with TETRIX® MAX and PRIME robots, view 3-D printing in action, demo our new Standards Navigator, take a selfie with Mr. Robot, and view our various STEM-oriented products and curriculum offerings. Want to learn more about TETRIX PRIME or how AP Bottle Racers are used in the classroom? If so, mark your calendars for Pitsco’s exciting hands-on workshops listed as follows in the NSTA conference program: A Revolution in STEM Robotics March 12, 4:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m. McCormick Place, W476 Transform STEM robotics in the classroom with TETRIX PRIME, a revolutionary new robotics building system without the construction complexities inherent to other building systems. It is designed to teach a variety of STEM concepts through project-based learning that meet CCSS and NGSS. PRESENTER: Alan Kirby (Pitsco Education) FORMAT: Exhibitor Workshop GRADE LEVEL: 5-12 The Bottle Racer Project: Physics in Motion March 15, 9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. McCormick Place, S501bc Rev up learning in your classroom with this Bottle Racer Project that showcases an engineering-based approach to learning science by constructing and testing air pressure-driven vehicles. PRESENTER: Greg Reiva (Streamwood High School, Streamwood, IL) FORMAT: Hands-On Workshop GRADE LEVEL: 5-12 For more information about registering for the NSTA National Conference, please visit nsta.org/conferences/registration/.

TAG_members_2015

Pitsco's Teacher Advisory Group (TAG) comprises industry-leading educators from all areas in education. The new 2015 members include a few 2014 TAG alumni and several new recruits. This elite group of volunteers provides feedback on classroom activities, products, curriculum, and other ideas for Pitsco Education. Many of the efforts provided by TAG will be displayed on Pitsco Education’s website, in marketing materials, and on social media. The 2015 TAG members teach a variety of subjects and grade levels throughout the country. Coming from diverse backgrounds in different areas of education, this group’s opinions, feedback, and participation are priceless to Pitsco Education. This passionate group of 20 educators advocates hands-on learning with STEM-oriented products and activities in their classrooms. The 2015 TAG members are also involved in a variety of extracurricular activities and organizations that include after-school programs, community service, student competitions, and other industry-specific organizations. The members also will be participating in the second annual TAG Summit in July 2015 at the Pitsco campus. Pitsco Education welcomes the new TAG members and is looking forward to working with them in 2015! To learn more about Pitsco Education’s 2015 TAG members, visit www.pitsco.com/TAG.  

Pi-Day_0315

March 14 is one of my favorite days. It is one of those days that is lurking in the shadows; most people are completely unaware of the significance of this mathematically important day. March 14 is Pi Day. Pi, that constant number that describes the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Yes, 3.14159265358979 . . . well, because pi is an infinite number, I’ll just stop there. Or not. Because, well, I just have to make sure you understand how significant March 14, 2015, really is – especially at 9:26 a.m. Significant? Did you get it? The first eight significant digits of pi are 3.1415926 – aha! 3-14-15 9:26! If you are really geeky, you can take it to the second at 9:26:53. OK, that was really geeky. Sometimes, geeky can be a great way to introduce students to math and geometry concepts. There are some fun things you can do with students of all ages to explore circles, area, circumference, diameter, and radius on Pi Day. An art teacher once told me it was humanly impossible to draw a perfect circle. I’m sure that’s because he didn’t have a Circle Perfect Compass or a Metric/Decimal Circle Template. I can draw great circles now! A simple compass or template can make circle drawing much easier, and more practical, for some Pi Day fun. Challenge your students to draw circles of many different sizes. Encourage them to make really, really big circles and really small circles (that are still measurable). If drawing isn’t your forte, simply provide students with circular objects. Then, have them measure and record the diameter and circumference of each circle. A piece of string might help with the circumference measurement. Finally, have students divide the circumference by the diameter of each circle. Sit back and watch as they are amazed to see 3.14 appear for each circle, regardless of the size. If it happens to be a beautiful spring Pi Day, consider using the outdoors to help get the point across (across as in diameter). Have students predict the circumference of a tree and then use a string to actually measure it. I bet the predictions are smaller than reality. Finally, have students calculate the diameter of the tree using the pi formula. If you want more ideas, simply do an Internet search for “pi day.” I guarantee there will be more than 3.141592653 hits. The Pi Day website is especially fun and includes a page of activities submitted by teachers and students. The site also includes videos that celebrate my favorite irrational number. Personally, I think we should eat pie on Pi Day. Even though the formula for area tells us pi are square (A = πr²), we all know pies are round – and tasty! Happy Pi Day!