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Black Family Technology Awareness Day at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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Programs & Workshops

Programs & Workshops

We plan to use an online system for registration. A complete listing and description of workshop offerings appears below.
Please take the time to review and select the desired workshop(s) that you plan to attend. Most important, when making a selection, please select the age appropriate track for students.

This year, workshop highlights include understanding the importance of computer science by teaching students and their parents how to code; using LEGO robotics to explore software programming; teaching an intro to Latin dance as a means of applying science to help students learn about musculature and the use of electromyography to measure force produced by specific muscle groups while dancing; and designing wind turbines. There also will be a meditation offering, and workshops exploring the power of teams, encryption in today’s world, the basics of particle simulation using examples from Disney’s Frozen, humanitarian logistics through a simulated donation drive, fun play activities that involve simulating the arts of indigenous cultures, and an introduction to augmented reality, among others.

This year, workshops will only be offered during the morning sessions. All workshops will run for up to 45 minutes, unless otherwise noted in the workshop description.

Workshop Schedule
Session One: 10 to 10:45 a.m.
Session Two: 11 to 11:45 a.m.

Some past workshop offerings have included: exploring the science behind music, creating plasma art, designing key chains, building a wind turbine, learning about electric vehicles, uncovering the mysteries of laser technology, designing bridges using gumdrops, getting an insider’s view of the video game industry, investigating different types of engineering, programming LEGO® Mindstorm robotics, experiencing the excitement of a trading floor through a simulated exercise, exploring nanotechnology, learning about safe social networking, making models of nanoscale structures with African Hexastrip weaving, and applying the laws of physics to the game of pocket billiards, and much more!

THE 2016 BLACK FAMILY TECHNOLOGY AWARENESS DAY WORKSHOP INFORMATION
“EXPLORING STEM EDUCATION AND OPPORTUNTIES”

Please review and select the desired workshop(s) that you plan to attend. This year, workshops will only be offered during the morning sessions. All workshops will run for up to 45 minutes, unless otherwise noted in the workshop description.

Workshop Schedule: Session One – 10:00 to 10:45 a.m. Session Two – 11:00 to 11:45 a.m.

Workshop Track Offerings
Please review and select the age appropriate workshop for students. Some workshops have specific capacity based on space and project focus. In most cases, some of the younger students may need assistance with their projects, so we encourage parents or adult chaperones to work with their child/student.

If you have a large group, we ask that you register your students in groups of five to six, with an adult chaperone, to allow other attendees to register for offerings.

Elementary School: programs primarily for Pre-K
Middle School: programs primarily for students in grades 6-8
Elementary & Middle School: programs for elementary and middle school students
Middle School & High School: mixed programs for students in grade 6-8 and high school
High School: programs primarily for high school students
Parents: lecture-based/some hands-on offerings for high school students may be of interest to parents
All Ages: Program for elementary, middle, and high school

*Note: Children 12 and under need to be accompanied by an adult chaperone.

PLASMA ART DEMONSTRATION
(Maximum of 20 participants per session)
Host(s): John Szczesniak, School of Engineering, (RPI)
Location: Jonsson Engineering Center (JEC), Room 3018
Track: Elementary, Middle, and High School
Workshop Session(s): 1, 2
Participants will have an opportunity to see how electricity and plasma are used to cut metals from computer-generated designs. Using plasma cutters both manual and computer numerical controlled (CNC) and MasterCAM programming software, participants will turn their designs into reality – and create a work of art.

WHAT IS ENGINEERING?
(Maximum of 100 participants per session)
Host(s): Alpha Phi Alpha
Location: Darrin Communications Center (DCC), Room 308
Track: Elementary, Middle, High School Students, Parents and Educators
Workshop Session(s): 2
The presentation will provide students and parents with an overview of the study of engineering from a college student’s perspective and experience. Members of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity will share a brief history of engineering, what it involves, along with information about the different disciplines of engineering. Since many high school students aren't exposed to engineering unless the schools offer it, the presentation will also include the opportunities that can be created through becoming an engineer. The session will also include a hands-on activity that will relate to one of the engineering disciplines, possibly civil engineering, or a simple problem that can exemplify engineering. Fraternity members will also briefly talk about the importance of having a strong base in math and science, and will hopefully introduce students to why engineering is an important field to enter, and why it is important to us as people.

SCIENCE OF THE SLAM
(Maximum of 100 participants per session)
Host (s): Biomedical Engineering Graduate Council & 4th Family Inc.
Location: 87’ Gymnasium
Track: Elementary, Middle School, and High School
Workshop Session(s): 1, 2
This presentation will utilize the most exciting play in sports to introduce the audience to the STEM concepts that govern human dynamics. A force plate will be used in conjunction with a projector and screen to make the real time measurement and display of the vertical ground reaction force (GRF) generated when a basketball player jumps off the plate to dunk the basketball. The differences in GRFs between different dunks and different players will serve as a vehicle to discuss physics topics such as Newton’s laws and kinetic vs. potential energy and biomedical topics such as muscle mechanics. After the discussion is finished, each child will get the opportunity to jump on the system to dunk on a lower hoop (with express warnings to not grab the rim) to see how much force they can generate. The presentation will end with a dunk contest between the volunteers where the kids hypothesize on who will have the highest force. 

HUMANITARIAN LOGISTICS
(Maximum of 40 participants per session)
Host(s): Engineering Ambassadors, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)
Location: Jonosson Engineering Center (JEC), room 3210
Track: Elementary, Middle, and High School
Workshop Session(s): 1, 2
An increasing number of disasters affecting communities worldwide has prompted the need to better prepare, respond and recover in order to reduce human suffering and loss of life and money. In response to that: the research community is uniting efforts on the investigation, documentation and analysis of recent disasters to better understand the dynamics and particularities of Post-disaster Humanitarian Logistics. The student presenters will talk about common misconceptions people have of what to donate to survivors and how engineering can be useful in the field of Humanitarian Logistics. Students will then simulate a donation drive in a hands-on activity.

Elementary School
THE KIDS CORNER
Host(s): Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)
Location: Darrin Communications Center (DCC), room 324
Track: Pre-K, Elementary, All ages
Workshop Session: 10:00 to 11:45 a.m.
This is an ongoing drop-in session for younger children and families. The Kids Corner space focuses on simple arts and crafts, science-related activities, face painting, demos, and more!

CNC MILLING MACHINE: KEY CHAIN DESIGN
(Maximum of 15 participants per session)
Host(s): Scott Yerbury, School of Engineering, (RPI)
Location: Jonsson Engineering Center (JEC); Room 2332
Track: Elementary School
Workshop Session(s): 1
People can make computers do really cool stuff. In this workshop, participants will be introduced to basic concepts associated with associated with Computer Numerical Controlled Machining (CNC). Students will learn about milling, drilling, and turning - processes that are controlled by code. In the end, participants will see a demonstration of how to make key chain.

HOUR OF CODE
(Maximum number of participants 20 per session)
Host(s): Association for Computing Machinery’s Committee on Women in Computing, Dept. of Computer Science (RPI)
Location: Voorhees Computing Center (VCC), South
Track: Elementary School
Workshop Session(s): 1, 2
Have you ever wanted to learn how to code? Want to have a good time learning? If so then this is the perfect class for you. The class is designed for those who have never coded before or are very new. We will use the course material from code.org. (Intro to Computer Science).

WIND ENERGY WORKSHOP
(Maximum of 20 participants per session)
Host(s): Sri Sekar, General Electric (GE)
Location: Low Center for Industrial Innovation (CII); Room 3112
Track: Elementary School
Workshop Session(s): 1, 2
Participants, in teams of 3 – 5, will design and engineer a wind turbine. Teams will witness how modifications to blade design, length, width, pitch, and material choice may affect the generation of power

EVERYDAY MATH AND SCIENCE
(Maximum number of participants 18)
Host(s): Analusette Shaello, Community School Facilitator, 4th Family
Location: Low Center for Industrial Innovation (CII); Room 3045
Track: Elementary
Workshop Session(s): 1
During this session, parents and youth will be engaged in hands-on activities and conversation about building math and science interest. The group will work together to identify everyday tasks that incorporate both.

LOGO Simple Programming
(Maximum of 15 participants per session)
Host(s): Upsilon Pi Epsilon & Department of Computer Science (RPI)
Location: Voorhees Computing Center (VCC) North
Track: Elementary School, Parents and Educators
Workshop Sessions(s): 2
This program is a basic lecture to introduce students and parents to computer programming. Students will be taught to use Logo, a very simple programming language aimed to the purpose of teaching. There will be a short introduction lecture, followed by a hands-on lab. Parents will learn to how to use the Logo programming language to teach math and solve problems with their children. Students will learn to use the Logo application on a computer to solve problems.

INTRO TO LATIN DANCING AND THE APPLICATION OF SCIENCE TO DANCE
Mandatory Pre-requisite: Attendees will need dance shoes or an extra pair of socks.
(Maximum of 20 participants per session)
Host(s): RPI Ballroom Dance, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)
Location: Academy Hall Dance Studio
Track: Elementary School
Workshop Session(s): 1, 2
This workshop will start with an introduction to salsa dancing (mambo style). Students will learn the basic footwork and get to try it out to music. No partners or experience is needed for this workshop. There will be short demos of Salsa, Chacha and a ballroom style dance. Then, students will learn about musculature used in advanced dancing, and use electromyography to measure force produced by specific muscle groups. This workshop is an introduction to the concept of bridging science and art through the use of a medical diagnostic tool, and a demonstration of how the information acquired can enhance high level dance training.

Elementary and Middle School

LIGHT IT UP! FUN WITH LEDs ANDN CONDUCTIVE MATERIALS
(Maximum of 15 participants per session)
Host(s): THINQubator, a project of the Tech Valley Center of Gravity
Location: Darrin Communications Center (DCC), Room 318
Track: Elementary and Middle School
Workshop Session(s): 1, 2
Explore the intersection of art and STEM using LEDs, batteries, and conductive materials like copper tape and Play-Doh to Light It Up! Learn the science of circuits and see examples of the kinds of projects our Makers make at the Tech Valley Center of Gravity including a musical Jacob's Ladder demo! Workshop led by a mix of engineers, Makers, and entrepreneurs.

CREATIVE CIRCUIT DESIGN WITH CONDUCTIVE PAINT
(Maximum number of participants 15 per session)
Host(s): Kathleen McDermott, Ph.D. candidate, School of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences, (RPI)
Location: Darrin Communications Center (DCC), Room 337
Track: Elementary and Middle School
Workshop Session(s): 1, 2
The focus of the lesson is to help students think about the way electricity works, and the fundamentals of circuit design- in this case, separating positive and negative. The limiting factors of the design are that positive and negative must not cross, and they must lead from the correct terminal of the battery, to the correct terminal of the LED. From there, students can be as creative as they like! In previous lessons, McDermott has had students draw birthday cakes, with the light acting as the candle on top, or robots with light-up eyes.

Middle School

LET’S BUILD: 3D TOWER BUILDING FROM 2D THIN MATERIALS
(Maximum number of participants 15 per session)
Host(s): Mae-ling Lokko & Nina Wilson, Center for Architecture Science and Ecology, (RPI)
Location: Rensselaer Union, Shelnutt Gallery, Room 3606
Track: Middle School
Workshop Session(s): 1, 2
This architectural workshop, “3D Tower Building from 2D Thin Materials” aims to provide a hands-on interactive engagement with building robust three dimensional structures, like towers, using simple thin ply materials like paper, cardboard, plexi, and potentially ply made from agricultural waste. The goal of the building exercise will be to design and assemble a tower integrating principles of heaviness/lightness and transparency that can support its own weight; in addition to downward & lateral loads that will be applied at the end of the workshop. Towers will be evaluated by their (a) height, (b) ability to resist downward & lateral forces, and (c) elegance of assembly.

INTRODUCTION TO THE WORLD OF ROBOTS
(Maximum of 10 participants)
Host(s): Patrick Djan-Sampson, General Electric (GE)
Location: Low Center for Industrial Innovation (CII); Room 3116
Track: Middle School
Workshop Session(s): 1, 2
This session will be a fun, hands-on learning experience for the middle school students to use the Lego Mindstorm EV3 robotic kit to explore the fundamentals of software programming and engineering in solving real life problems.

EV3 LEGO® MINDSTORM ROBOTICS
(Maximum of 20 participants per session)
Host(s): Center for Initiatives in Pre-College Education (CIPCE) Student Mentors, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)
Location: Low Center for Industrial Innovation (CII); Room 3112
Track: Middle School
Workshop Session(s): 1, 2
Are you ready to begin your mission? In this hands-on workshop led by student mentors from the Center for Initiatives in Pre-College Education (CIPCE) at Rensselaer, students will view a brief presentation that shows the various applications of robotics found in the real world including: advanced manufacturing (GlobalFoundries), military, agricultural, and health. Following the presentation, students will participate in a hands on activity focused on exploring the advantages of different gear ratios using an EV3 LEGO Robot. The students will work in pairs and modify the gear ratios on their robot and then test them on ramps that have different grade settings. Concepts and terms explained to students will include slope, input gear, output gear, gear ratio, and gear rates. Each session will culminate with a review of learning outcomes and an EV3 robot race if time allows.

THE PHYSICS OF LIGHT
(Maximum of 20 participants per session)
Host(s): UPAC Lights, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)
Location: RPI Playhouse
Track: Middle School
Workshop Session(s): 1, 2
This workshop will focus on light. Members of the Rensselaer Union UPAC Lights student organization will talk about the physics of how it works, especially involving wavelength and color. They will also talk about the basics of how lenses work, discuss a few specific ones we use frequently in lighting, talk about how the body interacts with light, and how the eyes perceive it. Following the discussion and demos, students will have a chance to experiment with different lens types by making predictions about how they think each lens might shape the light and then observing what really happens. The interactive part will also focus on how the eyes perceive color. UPAC Lights will use some of their LEDs to show how red, green, and blue light can be perceived by the brain as other colors depending on the amounts of each type present.

UNDERSTANDING THE WORLD: PARTICLE SIMULATION, COMPUTER GRAPHICS, & DISNEY’S FROZEN
(Maximum of 50 participants per session)
Host(s): Science Ambassadors, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)
Location: Low Center for Industrial Innovation (CII), Room 4050
Track: Middle School
Workshop Session(s): 1, 2
Using examples from Disney's Frozen, students will discuss the basics of particle simulation and show how art intersects science. Topics covered include why snow is particularly difficult to simulate (with an accompanying activity), a specific method of particle simulation, and how particle simulation is used in various scientific fields. The presentation focuses specifically on the mathematics and computer science behind particle simulation, and various applications outside of entertainment. The accompanying activity will allow participants to explore a particle simulation and change various constraints to understand how changing inputs changes the final product.

ENCRYPTION IN TODAY’S WORLD
(Maximum of 30 participants per session)
Host(s): Science Ambassadors, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)
Location: Low Center for Industrial Innovation (CII), Room 4040
Track: Middle School
Workshop Session(s): 1, 2
In this presentation, students will learn about the mathematical principles behind encryption and how it is vital to the existence of the Internet. The Science Ambassadors will have a small group activity during the beginning of presentation that highlights the topic and encourages student participation. After the activity, the class will begin to apply the problem solving aspects of the activity to the real world. Starting with a brief history of the Enigma machine and WWII, the fundamental theories of encryption, decryption, and cyphers are introduced on a very basic level. Students will learn about the first computer virus and how it affects computer performance, which will lead into discussing why encryption is important, and strong encryption is crucial. Following this discussion, the mathematical principles behind encryption including topics such as multiplication, factoring and basic number theory are introduced. After the presentation, students will participate in activities surrounding the creation of their own cypher. Three different methodologies will be used in each activity to encourage a well-rounded understanding of encryption.

Middle and High School

ADINKRA! CREATING A TRADITIONAL AFRICAN STAMPED CLOTH
(Maximum of 16 participants per session)
Host(s): GK-12 Triple Helix & Professor Ron Eglash, School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (RPI)
Location: Low Center for Industrial Innovation (CII); Room 3051
Track: Middle & High School
Workshop Session(s): 1
¨Students will work in pairs to use 3D printed replicas of traditional African adinkra stamps to create their own cloth patterns. Then we will simulate the same pattern on a computer. From the hidden algorithms of these African patterns we can learn exciting lessons about everything from nature's mathematics to the importance of sharing.

DIVERSIFYING STEAM WITH GENERATIVE PLAY
(Maximum of 10 participants per session)
Host(s): Associate Professor Audrey Bennett & Professor Ron Eglash, School of Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences (RPI)
Location: Sage Laboratory, VAST Lab, Room 4211
Track: Middle & High School
Workshop Session(s): 2
During this workshop, students will learn fun, play activities that involve simulating arts of indigenous cultures using concepts shared among STEAM disciplines. Information regarding alignment of activities with academic standards will be provided.

INTRO TO MOBILE APP DEVELOPMENT
(Maximum of 30 participants per session)
Host(s): Laine Powell, Executive Director Tech Sassy Girlz; & Courtney Powell ’00, President of AceApplications, LLC
Location: Russell Sage Laboratory, Room 4510
Track: Middle and High School Girls
Workshop Session(s): 1, 2
Have you ever played a game on your phone or tablet? Have you ever wondered “how was that game built?” Do you want to develop your own mobile app one day? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then join us for “Intro to Mobile App Development.” The presenters will teach you the basics in creating a mobile app. You’ll also learn about the design process, mobile app ecosystem and understand the technology behind the app.

NURSING – THE SURPRISE STEM OCCUPATION
(Maximum of 30 participants per session)
Host(s): Susan Birkhead, Director, Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing
Location: Low Center for Industrial Innovation (CII); Room 3039
Track: Middle and High School Students
Workshop Session(s): 1, 2
In providing patient care, doing their jobs every day, nurses constantly use science, technology, and math. In most instances, much of one’s nursing knowledge is based in the sciences: biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and physiology.  In health care today, technology is all around us.  Nurses use sophisticated equipment to obtain information, record data, and to provide certain aspects of patient care.  Nurses also use math skills all the time – everything from calculation of medication doses or body mass index to programming pumps for delivery of medicine. In addition, nurses work in hospitals; ambulatory care settings; physician's offices; schools; colleges; summer camps; state, county and local health departments; in the military; for pharmaceutical companies; for insurance companies; and in many other settings.
High School

TEN80 STEM EXPO
(Maximum of 125 participants)
Host(s): TEN80 STEM and Cynthia Smith, assistant dean of students, (RPI)
Location: Darrin Communications Center (DCC), Second Floor Rooms 232, 235, 236, 239
Grades: High School
Workshop Session(s): This program will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
In this workshop, students will have an opportunity to join TEN80’s team of STEM professionals and regional leaders in a half- day version of the “Innovators-in-Training Challenge.” Students form teams of four or five, then split up to attend workshops that focus on one or more of the four critical aspects of innovation: the engineering process, enterprise process, content & skills and leadership. The team comes back together to learn about intellectual property (IP) and to work on phase one of the challenge: the 30-second elevator pitch.

BELOW STAIRS: AUGMENTED REALITY HISTORY ADVENTURE
Pre-requisite: Attendees will need to bring an iOS (Apple) iPhones or iPad tablets. Attendees are also encouraged to download Argon3, which is FREE in the Apple App store. Here is a link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/argon3/id944297993?mt=8
(Maximum of 25 participants)
Host(s): Assistant Professor Rebecca Rouse & Kate Tyrol, Ph.D. candidate; School of Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences (RPI)
Location: Rensselaer County Historical Society, Hart-Cluett House
Track: High School, Parents and Educators
Workshop Session(s): Program will be held from 10 to 11:45 a.m. Shuttle transportation from campus will be provided.
This workshop session will take place off site at the Rensselaer County Historical Society. In this workshop, students and parents can learn how to create an augmented reality (AR) interactive panorama on your own phone or tablet! Then they will have an opportunity to participate in “Below Stairs,” an AR history adventure in the Hart-Cluett house. Based on the true history of the house from the 1850s, individuals play the part of a new under-servant in the household, working on a trial day as the staff prepares for a Winter Ball. The AR experience was designed for the Rensselaer County Historical Society's Hart-Cluett House by Professor Rouse, Ph.D. student Katherine Tyrol, and the students from Professor Rouse's Mobile AR Design course at Rensselaer. This workshop gives participants both hands-on and immersive experiences of the type of interdisciplinary humanities (arts, design, and technology) projects created in Rensselaer's HASS programs.

RENSSELAER FIELD TRIP: A VISIT TO THE ELECTRON MICROPROBE LABORATORY
(Maximum of 10 participants per session)
Host(s): Jared Wesley Singer, microanaytical laboratory manager, School of Science, (RPI)
Location: Jonsson-Rowland Science Center, Room BC09
Track: High School
Workshop Session(s): 1, 2
In this workshop, students will have an opportunity to discuss and observe electron images and elemental maps using the Electron Microprobe. Electron bombardment creates characteristic x-rays. The measurement of x-ray wavelength indicates which elements are present in a sample. Electron imaging and elemental mapping are important tools for studying environmental and technological materials.

THE POWER OF TEAMS
(Maximum of 20 participants per session)
Host(s): LEAP Peer Facilitation Team, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)
Location: Rensselaer Union, Mothers
Track: High School
Workshop Session(s): 1, 2

Understanding how to work in teams is essential. In this workshop, students will participate in various activities that demonstrate the importance of teamwork and effective communication when working in teams. The activities will require the construction/completion of some task as a means to identifying good communication and teamwork skills to use when working in a group.
Parents and Educators

MEDITATION SEMINAR: A PATH TO PERSONAL AND COLLECTIVE POWER
(Maximum of 50 participants per session)
Host(s): John D. Coleman, Ph.D., JDC Consulting
Location: Mueller Center Classroom
Track: Parents and Educators
Workshop Session(s): 1, 2
How do we empower ourselves and our communities? This seminar connects eastern meditative disciplines to western dynamism and efforts in social transformation, and demonstrates how such disciplines can be employed to unleash wellsprings of creative and transformative energy. Whether your goal is mastery of STEM, arts, sports or any other area of human endeavor, self-mastery is the key. The seminar includes a slide show and an introduction to meditation.

NAVIGATING THE STEM COLLEGE ADMISSIONS PROCESS
(Maximum of 150 participants per session)
Host(s): Admissions Counselor Meghan Griggs, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)
Location: Darrin Communications Center (DCC) Room 330
Track: High School Students, Parents and Educators
Workshop Session(s): 1, 2
Interested in heading to college to pursue a future in science, technology, engineering, math, (STEM), or the arts?  Today, a STEM education is challenging, interactive, and highly relevant. In this workshop led by the Rensselaer Office of Admissions, students and their parents will have an opportunity to get an overview of the college search, admissions, and financial aid process. The workshop is also designed to provide students and parents with insight into the research, academic, and campus life offerings at Rensselaer.

BEST PRACTICES FOR GETTING INTO MEDICAL SCHOOL 
(Maximum of 30 participants per session)
Host(s): Michael Wilhite, vice president of development, Mentoring in Medicine
Location: Low Center for Industrial Innovation (CII); Room 4034
Track: High School Students, Parents and Educators
Workshop Session(s): 1, 2
Since 2007, Mentoring in Medicine has helped nearly 300 students gain acceptance into health and science professional schools. The organization’s success is based on a leadership team that has industry experience coupled with years of service on admissions committees. In this workshop, students will learn how to: uncover summer internships, present skills during an interview, describe any setbacks in the personal essay, get an “A” in key courses, cultivate a relationship with a mentor, receive a “strong” letter of recommendation, work with pre-health advisors, study for standardized exams, and more.

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