Posts

May 17th ~ A Whole Summer Filled with STEMin Fun!

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Howdy all! Summer is quickly approaching and I wanted to quickly give an update on some exciting programming coming your way from TRA STEM!  Firstly, let me remind you in addition to this blog, TRA STEM has a Facebook page, YouTube page, and Website filled with fun, hands on, and STEMulating activities and experiments! The links to these great resources can be found here: Facebook Page: STEM/k12 Programs - TRA Extension   YouTube Channel: STEMin with Steph TRA Extension STEM Website: STEM/k12 I encourage you to follow the links above and check out our resources for yourself! This summer, we are releasing weekly STEM activities and videos on our Facebook page! Mondays and Fridays are STEM Bucket List releases with a count-up to our 20 top bucket list items we want to explore all summer long!  Wednesday's have become our STEMin Vids release days! We will premiere vids that were produced by our STEM team and partners that vary on topics from engineering to mathematics and gardening to

April 7th ~ Spring Gardening and Soil Preparation

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Soil Test Collecting April has hit and those of us who are really excited and itching to get outdoors are thinking about the best ways to get the garden going for the 2021 growing season!   I'm always excited for this time of year because I love working in the garden to grow my own produce and enjoying the fruits of the labor all summer long.   Even more exciting?!?!  When a school program gets on board to start school gardens and teach young youth the joys of working hard to produce their own food.  It teaches a lot of pride and satisfaction to young kids when they see what they can accomplish with a little sweat and dirt under the fingernails! This spring, Pomona Elementary has decided to revive their ailing garden beds and start a combined 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade school garden for the remainder of the school year.  Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting the kids on a sunny Friday afternoon and starting the conversation about gardening! Combined Classes Learning About Starting

Feb 2nd ~ The Basics of the Sewing Machine

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 Another fun Life Skills group took place today!  Since we are beginning to grow in numbers, and still wanting to be socially distant, we made the decision to split up into small group sessions.  My group was the 'Never Before Used a Sewing Machine' group.   Later this season, all the girls will be doing a fun sewing project to make tie-dye, handkerchief pillows, but before we get to that point, I needed to give a course on some of the machine basics to the girls who have never used one.  Because even if you have the best sewing machine you can buy from your super discount store (i.e. my model), it won't do you any good if you don't know the basics about Thread, Bobbins, and Needles, Oh My! Mint Sewing Machine - Basic Model  For beginning sewers, it's important to start with the basics of the the machine.  I had a machine for each girl, but the machines ranged from super simple, to mid-grade, to digital master!  Even with the differences between them in functionalit

Jan 20th ~ Home Butter Making with a Twist!

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Earlier this month, I taught a class on homemade bread and butter making. The bread was made by mixing ingredients in a bag and hand mixing each step. Of course, hand mixing bread batter is a lot of work - but it's worth the effort! But homemade bread isn't at it's best unless it's covered in rich, creamy butter!  Butter making, also an arm workout; but since we were already warmed up, I figured a little more arm exercises wouldn't hurt anyone! The original Bread in a Bag and Butter recipes can be found in an older blog from (Nov 25th - STEM-Giving Fun!). Below find my instructions for a twist on your butter; how to make your own Homemade Cinnamon-Honey Butter! Finished Butter! What you will need Heavy Whipping Cream ¼ Cup Powdered Sugar ¼ Cup Honey 1 Teas. Ground Cinnamon A Mason Jar with Lid (Qt.) Instructions: Add honey to mix.  Butter Mix Pour in the heavy whipping cream. Use enough to mix the ingredients well but leave at least 1/3 of headspace in jar to allow

Dec 31st - A STEM Year in Review

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2020 has been quite the year! From politics to pandemic, it seems there has never been a day when there wasn't something new to capture our attention and get us worrying about what the future would bring. However 2020 brought many good memories and changes as well, and I think it is always important to reflect on the positives of life! February: This month I participated in a couple fun events including: 4 unique swab dishes with Bacterial Cultures (1 week after swabbing!) 1. Teaching Kindergartners about Germs 4 classes of Johnson Elementary kindergartners were able to swab their classrooms and grow bacteria cultures. This lesson helped students identify dirty areas and find solutions to making these areas more "germ free". 2. Mesa County Safety Fair The CSU STEM Energy Trailer With help from our Mesa County 4-H Agent, we spent two days at the Mesa Mall meeting with over 1500 3rd-5th graders. We showed them alternative energy forms and had a ton of hands on activities

Dec 9th - The Life and History of a Christmas Tree

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Whether your family chooses to celebrate the holidays or not, one thing I think everyone can agree on is December is the month of the Christmas Tree! Due to the excitement of the season, my family decorated our tree a few weeks early (like Nov 1st-ish...). However many families wait until after Thanksgiving before pulling out the garland and ornaments. If you are getting a live tree for Christmas (which I think everyone should experience at least once in a lifetime!) then the longer you wait, the longer your tree will last past Dec 25th. Upon decorating early this year, my child asked me how Christmas tree decorating even began as a tradition, and how a perfect tree is grown? Great questions, and I'll admit at the time I didn't have the answers, so I did a little digging! History behind the Tree The evergreen tree has been used to celebrate both pagan and Christian festivals for a couple thousand years. Pagan's would use the trimmed off branches of evergreens to make wr

Classroom Embryology! - Nov 17th

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  The month's of October and November have been pretty exciting! I have had the pleasure of partnering with a class of Pomona Elementary 3rd graders to explore the world of chicken hatching! For the last 21 days, these kids have been learning all about chicken development from start to finish. Even more exciting; the teacher was able to use our embryology program materials and incubator to raise about 20 eggs in the classroom! Day by day record of chick development Youth have been learning about development each day. After about 4 days, they candled eggs to check for signs of both fertilization and growth. Eggs that were unfertilized were taken out of the incubator as unfertilized eggs will start to rot and fumes from bad eggs can lead to the death of live eggs. Views of egg candling over different days As growth occurs, eggs will get darker and darker with the increasing mass of the chick. After day 18, candling becomes almost impossible for healthy eggs. But durin

Sept 3rd - Fall Food Preservation with Youth!

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I love the fall! The colors start changing and the leaves begin to cover the yard. Kids go back to school, family gather for holidays, and a light, crisp chill hits the air reminding me to enjoy the season before winter comes to erase the year away. But the biggest reason I love fall is for all the bountiful fruits and veggies that abound! Fresh produce is one of things I enjoy about living in rural Colorado.  You don't have to go very far to find a veggie stand with zucchini, squash, vine ripened tomatoes, and lettuce. Or just take a short drive east and you'll find a sign for "You Pick..." apples, peaches, pears, apricots, berries, etc.... But the thing about fresh is - fresh isn't fresh forever! Sad Day... Thankfully my folks were both avid food preservationists and instilled in me the knowledge to preserve fresh food for my own family. Thus was born my passion for canning! A passion I happily can pass on to the youth I work with! Life Skills Girls Learn to