NYC students make STEM learning cool

Mayim Bialik's smarts aren't just for show on "The Big Bang Theory": the actress is also a neuroscientist who is working with STEM Hollywood.
Mayim Bialik’s smarts aren’t just for show on “The Big Bang Theory”: The actress is also a neuroscientist who is working with STEM Hollywood.

A number of New York City high school students have been busy getting a jump on the Silicon Valley scene this summer, attending workshops and competitions geared toward developing skills in science, technology, engineering and math, known as STEM.

Zombies on your iPad

If your kids aren’t old enough to design mobile apps or “MacGuyver” a Morse code transmitter, you can download a new series of science videos and lessons designed by Texas Instruments with the National Academy of Sciences’ Science & Entertainment Exchange Program.

The videos and lessons, available at Stemhollywood.com, cover topics like zombies, superheroes and space. They feature Mayim Bialik, neuroscientist and actress from “The Big Bang Theory.” Bialik is joined by several leading scientists and mathematicians, including Dr. Steve Schlozman, a Harvard medical professor and zombie expert.

STEM Hollywood’s videos and lessons can be downloaded to tablets, PCs and Macs, as well as Texas Instruments’ TI-Nspire CX graphing calculator (pictured above).

Studying zombies is a great way to learn about how the human brain functions and to think about the way that contagious diseases spread in terms of math, according to Schlozman. But don’t worry about an actual zombie apocalypse happening.

“It won’t,” Schlozman said, “I want to be absolutely clear about that.”

‘Burn Notice’ Science Challenge

Three rising sophomores attending Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School placed second in the first “Burn Notice” Science Challenge, a national competition inspired by USA network’s successful spy series.

According to Drew Tomback and twin brothers James and Hugh Savoldelli, friends and classmates are “kinda jealous.” The boys won $5,000 for their device: a set of garage door openers that they converted into Morse code transmitters and receivers. They designed a tool that “Burn Notice” characters could create using an everyday household item and that could be deployed quickly, they said.

“This allows spies to talk to each other through Morse code by using ordinary household products,” said Tomback. ”Obviously a portion of [the money] may be used towards college,” said Tomback, “and another will go to fund our future science projects.”

The competition was the brainchild of Matt Nix, creator and executive producer of “Burn Notice,” said Toby Graff, the senior vice president of public affairs at USA Network. The challenges were designed to be exciting and creative but also safe, she said. And the boys assured us that safety was the name of the game. “You can’t get your hand blown off doing this,” the boys said. See more of the challenge in their video:

BNSC DrewTomback&JamesSavoldelli&Hugh&Savoldelli from USA Network on Vimeo.

Samsung Mobile App Academy

Nomi Kaplan worked with 30 New York City high school students in a two-day workshop where they learned how to design and pitch ideas for mobile apps last week. Students learned how to create design briefs for apps that could improve the education system or streamline medical care.

“We have them work on projects exactly as we would in the real world,” said Kaplan, who works as a creative project manager in mobile app development. In addition to receiving their own own Samsung Galaxy Note tablets, attendees now have two weeks to pitch their own apps and win up to $20,000 in academic scholarships, Kaplan said.

Kaplan said the workshops were designed to generate an interest in careers in technology. ”There’s a lot of room to play and a lot of room to be very innovative,” she said.

Cool toy alert: LittleBits Exploration Kits

These kits give curious boys and girls all the tools they need to build their own flashlights, alarms, glow-in-the-dark iPhone cases and more. The kits come with simple color-coded electronic “bits” that fit together with other pieces to become objects that light up, rotate, pulse and perform other functions — no wiring required.

“Our mission is to make the world of electronics fun and accessible to everyone by breaking modern-day technology down to its most fundamental parts,” says LittleBits founder Ayah Bdeir, an MIT Media Lab alumna and TED senior fellow. New kits launch Sept. 14 at Littlebits.cc. — Meredith Engel



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Ebola worries end for dozens on U.S. watch…

Weeks of worries about Ebola infection ended for dozens of people who came off watch lists in the United States on Monday.

National

Humans should thank ancient Scottish fish fossils for…

By Kate KellandLONDON (Reuters) - Scientists studying fossils have discovered that the intimate act of sexual intercourse used by humans was pioneered by ancient armored…

National

Comet makes rare close pass by Mars as…

By Irene KlotzNEW YORK (Reuters) - A comet from the outer reaches of the solar system on Sunday made a rare, close pass by Mars…

Local

NYPD: Man found hanging in Brooklyn subway station

A man was found hanging inside a Brooklyn subway station on Saturday morning, police said. The man, who still had not been identified on Sunday,…

Television

9 things we learned about 'Hannibal' Season 3…

There’s plenty of fall television to be excited about, but the crowd inside the Paley Center for Media on Saturday night only wanted one thing:…

Going Out

Watch home cooks try to impress Tom Colicchio…

Is what you’re making for dinner tonight good enough to serve “Top Chef” judge Tom Colicchio? That’s the standard that some of the city’s best…

Television

‘Homeland’ recap: Season 4, Episode 4 ‘Iron in…

Carrie Mathison, what are you doing?! Don’t seduce virgins! More on that later: Lots of crazy stuff went down on the "Iron in the Fire" ep of "Homeland"!

Movies

Box office: Brad Pitt kills Nazis, also Nicholas…

This weekend, Brad Pitt's second WWII movie, "Fury," rolled into the lead, while the latest Nicholas Sparks movie, "The Best of Me," got little love.

College

College football AP Top 25 rankings: Mississippi State…

College football AP Top 25 rankings: Mississippi State holds off FSU

NHL

NHL Power Rankings: Sharks, Canadiens, Blackhawks out in…

NHL Power Rankings: Sharks, Canadiens, Blackhawks out in front

NFL

DeMarco Murray carries Cowboys to win over Giants

The Giants knew they would need to stop DeMarco Murray if they were going to leave Dallas with a win. It didn't matter.

NFL

Jets trade for wide receiver Percy Harvin: Report

According to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, the Jets have sent a conditional draft pick to the Seahawks for wide receiver Percy Harvin.

Wellbeing

Gabby Bernstein: The 3 questions I always get

For the last decade, I’ve been writing self-help books and preaching the Gospel of Gabby to audiences throughout the world. And no matter what country…

Wellbeing

Health News: 5K for lung cancer, free yoga,…

Get some fresh air to benefit lung cancer research On Friday, the first-ever Brooklyn Free to Breathe Run/Walk will take place Oct. 26 at Cadman Plaza…

Education

Can these two college students come up with…

Two Atlanta college students say they have an idea for a simple test that would quickly diagnosis the Ebola virus - and it all started…

Education

Chances are, the average college student isn't taking…

As a bachelor’s degree becomes more expensive than ever, one new report is criticizing colleges for the content of those pricey educations. The American Council…