• Today is: Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Citizen Science Lab’s hands-on camps make summer fun and educational

Kidsburgh Sponsor
March18/ 2019

Summer camp programming poses a choice for parents and kids: Do we pick a camp that’s fun and active? Or should we look for something enriching that stimulates the mind? The Citizen Science Lab has discovered how to get around this choice, by offering summer science camps that are smart and fun. Their range of camp options include exciting topics, yet every camp is also a hands-on, kinetic experience, with activities inside a real lab and outdoors. It’s the solution for a perfect summer.

“From talking to kids and parents, we’ve learned that when they hear the words ‘science camp’ or ‘engineering camp,’ they think of boring lectures and passive learning in a stuffy classroom,” says Dr. Andre Samuel, PhD, President and CEO of The Citizen Science Lab. “We’re here to change that whole perception. Our camps cover interesting, true science and engineering concepts, but they’re also full of kinetic learning, hands-on activities. Our young scientists learn inside the lab and outside as well — like when the Drone Camp goes outside to fly the drones, or when the SeaPerch Camp goes to a pool to pilot their subaqueous robots.”

The camp topics are diverse, so there’s something to interest everybody. Topics include DNAancestry DNAsea perchzoologydronesouter space, and microbiology. Each individual camp offering is thoughtfully developed for a different designated age range, so students are learning concepts and methods appropriate to their level, under the guidance of professional scientists and educators. Camps are available for students from 4th grade all the way up through 12th grade.

These summer science camps are held at The Citizen Science Lab’s two locations: in the Energy Innovation Center in the heart of Pittsburgh, and at a brand new facility in the South Hills, in Bethel Park. Both locations also offer pre- and post-care, to make it convenient for parents or guardians to drop students off and pick them up on the way to and from work. 

Both facilities are stocked with real, modern laboratory equipment and lab resources.  The labs also are home to resident “pets,” who include reptiles, friendly insects, and a saltwater aquarium of fish and sea creatures. Each lab location helps fulfill the mission of The Citizen Science Lab, to expose everybody to the excitement of laboratory experimentation, and to inspire kids of all ages and backgrounds to develop interest in STEM and STEAM careers and ideas.

Registration for the 2019 summer camps is already open and the labs are filling up quickly. Learn more about these summer camp options, and register your young scientist today. 

What should I do when people post photos of my kid online without asking me first?

common sense media
Common Sense Media
March15/ 2019

Photo by Kiana Bosman on Unsplash

As parents, we are so proud of our kids and what they experience and accomplish! We’re the first to capture the moment and share it with friends and family. Something we have to be mindful of is protecting our children’s privacy and digital footprints. We can’t always control what is posted, but we can start the conversations with others. Here are some tips to get you started. – Jennifer Ehehalt, Pittsburgh Regional Manager at Common Sense Media. You can find her on Twitter @Jehehalt.Common Sense Media.

Sharing photos online has become such common practice that most people don’t think twice before posting pictures of their kids — and yours — on social media sites. Unless the photo violates the social media site’s terms of service, though, there’s not a lot you can do to get the photo taken down. You can’t, for example, call or email Facebook and request that the photo be deleted.

Every family has different rules about posting kids’ photos. Unfortunately, when people who see no issue with posting kids’ photos post your kid’s picture, it amounts to them making a decision to make your kid’s image public, which can be frustrating.

Don’t assume everyone feels the same way about social media — and don’t approach this situation as if your rules are better than theirs. Just be honest that it makes you uncomfortable. The bottom line is: If you don’t want pictures of your kids shared, it’s up to you to let people know.

It can be tough to manage this situation without alienating friends, relatives, and even teachers who see nothing wrong with the practice. Here are some ways to approach others who post pictures of your kids that go against your wishes:

  • Simply, without judgment, ask the person who posted it to delete it, or crop it so your kid isn’t in the picture (easy to do with today’s image-editing tools). Say, “I’m not ready for this yet.”
  • Ask the poster not to tag the photo with names — and definitely not location. That will limit exposure.
  • Ask the poster what his or her privacy settings are. If their profile is private and not public, only their friends can view their images which limits the audience for your child’s photo.
  • If you’re OK with a photo but only want certain people to see it, ask the poster to enable settings that limit who can see the photo to a small circle.
  • Ask the poster to instead use a private photo-sharing site such as Picasaor Flickr that requires a log-in.
  • If you meet with resistance, explain that you’re worried about your kid’s privacy. Once a photo is online, anyone can share it.
Kidsburgh Staff
March14/ 2019

This story first appeared on NEXTPittsburgh, which publishes Kidsburgh.

By Bill O’Toole

The City of Bridges High School doesn’t officially open until this fall, but students are already at work.

In a series of workshops at this new private, progressive high school‘s planned South Side location over the last several weeks, a committee of students and faculty has voted on everything from the start time to the curriculum to the furniture.

A current topic of discussion: What should be the school’s mascot?

In honor of the birds that continuously roost outside the window of their classroom on the fourth floor of 1212 East Carson Street, “there’s a strong vote right now for a pigeon,” says Dr. Randy Bartlett, head of school and humanities teacher.

Dr. Bartlett has spent his career working in public and charter schools in Vermont and New Hampshire. Since moving to Pittsburgh with his wife and two children, he has worked as the principal for Propel Schools and helped start the Pittsburgh Urban Teacher Corps in collaboration with Chatham University.

While Pittsburgh has several primary education institutions dedicated to progressive approaches to learning, Bartlett says, “there is a growing awareness of a need for secondary education with a community and social justice focus.”

This new school will combine standard, state-mandated academics with project-based learning that will take students out into the wider Pittsburgh community. History lessons will be based around recorded interviews with long-time residents, while science classes will study things like local air quality and remediation efforts.

The curriculum is modeled after progressive, student-led high schools like One Stone in Boise, Idaho, and The Putney school in Vermont.

“City of Bridges is not alone,” says Bartlett. “There’s a lot of schools like it, just not in Pittsburgh.”

There are currently eight students enrolled, with 25 being the target for the first freshman class. Standard tuition for students will cost between $14,000 and $15,000 per year, but Bartlett says scholarships and financial aid will also be available.

“We have a strong commitment to making the school financially accessible,” he says.

In addition to Bartlett and his co-founder Paige Wiegman, students will collaborate with local experts in a wide variety of fields on more intensive, short-term projects. The school has already signed on religious scholar and Buddhist Minister Adam Lobel and local attorney Katherine Lovelace for the fall semester.

The school is seeking partnerships with other professionals and community groups, and hopes to announce more faculty and guest teachers in the coming months.

“We’re open to partnerships and collaboration, and finding ways for our students to give back,” says Bartlett. “We really are a school and a community that want to be engaged with all that Pittsburgh has to offer.”

Kidsburgh Staff
March14/ 2019

This story first appeared on NEXTPittsburgh, which publishes Kidsburgh. 

By Kristy Locklin

With the arrival of new businesses and residents, there are plenty of reasons to dance, sing and make merry in Millvale. Soon local high school students could earn college credit through these same unbridled displays of creativity.

The R.E.A.A.D.Y. (Redefining Education Achieving Associate Degrees for Youths) STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) & Performing Arts Charter School is expected to open in 2020 in the former Holy Spirit School on Farragut Street in the borough.

A public forum to discuss this public, tuition-free institution will happen at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, at Millvale Community Library. (Interested in going? You can RSVP to info@reaadyfoundation.org.)

The forum will be “an opportunity for us to share our ideas and visions for the school,” says the nonprofit R.E.A.A.D.Y. Foundation‘s Communications Director Cheryl Aughton, “and to hear from the people about what they want and need.”

From dance, theater and filmmaking to music production and culinary arts, high school students attending the charter school would take courses that might not otherwise be available at a traditional high school, while also focusing on core academics. And eligible juniors and seniors can earn an associate degree from Community College of Allegheny County as they receive their high school diploma.

Kenneth Nickel, a former principal dancer and a dance educator, launched the R.E.A.A.D.Y. Foundation to give students financial and developmental support as they reach for their dreams.

As plans for the school take shape, the foundation is also focusing on awarding partial and full scholarships to current high schoolers in Allegheny, Beaver and Butler counties who need funding to attend workshops, performing arts camps or other art-based programs that already exist in the region. Applications for these scholarships will be accepted March 31 through April 30. Students who apply will receive information about auditions later this spring.

Nickel, 60, of Greenfield, says he was a hyperactive child whose parents — a nurse’s aide and a butcher — enrolled him in dance classes to help channel that energy. Turns out, he was a natural.

He joined Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre at age 16 and by 21 was a principal dancer. He pirouetted around the world, from Japan and Russian to Venezuela, and established performance art degree programs at La Roche College, California University of Pennsylvania and the Community College of Beaver County.

“I’ve been very fortunate in my career,” he says, admitting that it’s not always easy for artists to find a job doing what they love right out of high school.

Through the R.E.A.A.D.Y. curriculum, he says, students will be exposed to an array of opportunities in the arts, including the administrative side of them, all while helping Millvale: Nickel envisions culinary students cooking meals for people in need. He also plans to hire custodians, cafeteria workers and other employees from within the community.

Help your baby (and you) get a good night’s sleep with this Kidcast advice

Kristine Sorensen
March12/ 2019

Did you ever think of sleep as a skill? Dr. Todd Wolynn says you can teach your kids to sleep and set them up for a lifetime of good rest, all while allowing you to rest, too. Hear his advice on getting your baby to sleep in this week’s Kidcast.