Preparing for Robotics

Preparing for Robotics
Students at DC's Whittier Educational Campus with ReSET Volunteer Peter Mehrevari

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

US PTO Volunteers Third Grade Report - Candy Bridges

Hi ReSETers,

I wanted to thank our amazing volunteers who was able to join us at our experiment last Tuesday and especially to welcome one of our new members, Abra Fein, who joined us for her first trip to Whittier and did a great job.

The experiment went very well and the students, as always, had a wide variety of bridge designs and didn’t try to eat too much of the candy until afterwards.  This year we added a new part to the experiment where we used different books having different weights to put on top of the bridges, which provided an excuse for the students to do some additional math when determining how much weight their bridges could hold.  This addition was based on feedback we received from the teachers last year on trying to incorporate  more practical skills into the experiments, for example reinforcing math skills, and we will continue to do so throughout the remaining year.

We are looking forward to our next experiment this coming December, one of my personal favorites – Dry-Ice Ice Cream.  We will be having the dry run for the experiment on Tuesday Dec. 10, followed by the experiment the following week on Tuesday Dec. 17.  Of all the experiments, this one generally requires the most volunteers to make sure the dry-ice is used safely, and so even if you haven’t been able to join us for the experiments so far, we’d love to see you for this experiment, plus the ice cream is always good!

Hope everyone is doing great and happy Thanksgiving week.

Pete, Danielle and Robert

ReSET US PTO Volunteers' Report - 3rd grade fingerprinting

Hi ReSETers,

This is something new we’d like to try out this year to keep everyone updated on the continued success of our outreach.  If reality shows can provide weekly recaps, I think we should be able to for 5 experiments each semester.

Since the beginning of PTOS ReSET three years ago, we have remained committed to the Whittier Educational Campus, a STEM school, in NE DC, and we are continuing that tradition this year.  We had our first experiment of the fall semester this past Tuesday, October 8th, with a new class of third grade students.  There are two 3rd grade classrooms this year, led by Ms. Mann (who we’ve worked with for a few years) and a band new teacher, Ms. Marryshow, with approximately 20 students in each classroom.

Being our first interaction with these students, we spent the first bit introducing ourselves and the USPTO.  While many students had a basic understand of what an invention and an inventor was, this was their first exposure to the idea of intellectual property, how it is protected and why such protection is important.  We followed introductions with the fingerprinting experiment.  The students were successfully able to take their own fingerprints using an oil based pad, put a print on a glass like surface, lift that print using actual fingerprinting powder and a brush, and compare that lifted print to the prints they had already taken and other students’ prints, and conclude their prints were unique.

We also introduced a new teaching tool this year, a large laminated chart listing the elements of the scientific method. Volunteers and students will be filling out this chart for each experiment to reinforce the concepts of scientific and innovative thinking.  In addition, we have been asked by the 3rd grade teachers to try to add some multiplication and measuring into our experiments to assist them with some of the specific skills these students will need by the end of the year.

Finally, I want to applaud our amazing volunteers who made this experiment a success and we look forward to those who were not able to make this experiment to join us for the next exciting opportunity.  The more volunteers we have, the better we’re able to connect with the students and instill these valuable ideas of science and innovation appreciation at such a young age.  Our next experiment will be on solar cars and different types of energy. The dry-run will be Tuesday, October 22 with the experiment to follow the week after on October 29.

Thanks for everyone’s dedicated work,

Pete, Danielle and Robert

ReSET Volunteer Bob Hauptman's Head Start Report

I am meeting with four and five year olds in Head Start, every other Tuesday, starting at 2:30, for a little over a half hour.  So far, we've met twice.  The first time, we did fossils and playdoh impressions.  The activity captured their attention and they enjoyed making the impressions.  The second time, we did sound.  I started with a small guitar like instrument, with four metal fingers, each of which is plucked to create four separate notes.  They then plucked taut rubber bands and string, to demonstrate vibration and sound.  The piece de resistance was going out to the hallway to play with the string/can phones.  They were ecstatic and couldn't get enough of it.  It seems to work best with a small number of children.  We did five, and I will continue to limit it to that number.  Each time we meet, we will perform the same activities, in groups of four or five children, until everybody has had an opportunity to participate.  The key is that they are all very excited, that is all I could hope to accomplish.  I hope that there are some lasting effects.

Bob Hauptman

Monday, July 22, 2013

Kids love Goo!

ReSET volunteers Meghan O'Donoghue and Marion Pavon led a program this past term at E.L. Haynes Elementary in DC on the science of Goo!  They shared write-ups of their experiments, which I've posted on the ReSET website (see below).  John

Hello John,

Our five week class finished last Tuesday, and I think it went stupendously! Thank you for giving Mariana and me a chance to do science with the students. The microscopes were a huge hit. E.L. Hayes made us feel extremely welcome, and they ensured each class ran smoothly. 

Mariana is going to take a hiatus from ReSet, but because we had such a positive experience these past few months, I will try and recruit another volunteer to teach a class either over the summer or next fall if the scheduling works out.


See Number 30 at:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pre-Kindergarten Science

The report below is from ReSET's Harold Sharlin; it describes his science program for 3 year olds.  ReSET is interested in recruiting volunteers to reach more pre-Kindergarten students.  Unlike ReSET's elementary school program, volunteers need not have an education or background as professional scientists, engineers or technicians - just a commitment to helping young children gain an early foothold on science learning. Please let us know if you know of anyone in the DC area who may be interested in volunteering. 

"I finished my training program at Sunshine Early Learning Center in southeast Washington.  I taught 12 teachers (6 in a group) who teach 120 three year olds. Each group met with  me for one hour over a four week period. The course was an introduction to electricity.
          I gave each teacher a kit consisting of a 6-volt battery, a wall switch, bell wire, a bulb, an electric bell, a screwdriver and a wire stripper.  I demonstrated how to make a series circuit. Then each of them created their own series circuit.  The most fun is using the wire stripper.  They put together and dismantle the circuit several times as I watch so that they are confident enough to create a circuit in their class.
         The circuit is fundamental to the use of electric power from the cell phone to refrigerators.  Each teacher received a four page handbook that I made with instructions on how to make the circuit and suggestions for simple experiments.
         Next I will visit each of the classrooms to see how well the teachers perform with their three year olds and to answer questions.
          I did a similar program at CentraNia a bilingual pre-K center."
 Harold garners some two-dimensional approval at the Sunshine Early Learning Center.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Be There on March 6

Let’s Celebrate!

ReSET celebrates its 25th anniversary at the Hart Senate Office Building on March 6th, 2013, between 5:00 and 7:00 pm, with presentations by renowned AIDS/HIV scientist Dr. Anthony Fauci and groundbreaking astronomer Nancy Grace Roman. ReSET volunteers and students will be on hand to demonstrate some of their experiments and hands-on science activities. The event is open to volunteers, educators, philanthropic organizations, and the media.

Founded by author and educator Dr. Harold I. Sharlin, the ReSET program partners professional scientists and engineers with teachers to help children develop a passion and aptitude for science and math. The goal is to provide children with engaging, interactive experiences with Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM) subjects, to improve the quality of science and math education in the U.S., and to address current deficits in STEM academic achievement and professions. It is estimated that this pioneering program has reached more than 10,000 students with hands-on science programs since it was founded in 1988.

There were seven volunteers in ReSET’s first year of operation, serving mostly inner city schools. Those first ReSET sessions convinced Sharlin that the most effective and meaningful way of teaching children science was through simple, relatable, inquiry-based experiments that got students actively involved.

Since 1988, more than 300 volunteers have participated in the program. Today, ReSET has 95 volunteers, active in nearly 30 schools, representing more than 20 different STEM professions—from neuroscience to forensic anthropology to mechanical engineering. In the last few years, ReSET has broadened its service offerings to include Pre-Kindergarten children, charter schools, DC Public STEM Catalyst Schools, Saturday sessions, and after-school programs.

The Catalogue for Philanthropy formally recognized ReSET’s contribution to the DC area by selecting the organization for inclusion in its 2012/13 Catalogue. A panel of more than 100 expert reviewers from area foundations, corporate giving programs, and peer nonprofit organizations chose ReSET as one of 74 outstanding nonprofits to be featured this year.

Chancellor Kaya Henderson wrote a letter of endorsement on behalf of the DC Public School System (DCPS), praising ReSET for its service and commitment to DC metro area schools. She wrote: “We hope that our partnership will continue for many years to come, and that many DC students will start their pathway toward careers in science and engineering with a ReSET volunteer in their classroom.”

Event Location:
902 Hart Senate Office Building
Constitution Avenue and 2nd Street, NE 
Union Station Metro (parking available at Union Station)
(Take the North Elevators to the 9th floor)

Join us in recognizing this important milestone. Please RSVP by February 21 by emailing or by calling John Meagher at 703-250-0236.

Monday, February 11, 2013

ReSET'ers and Students on NBC

Peter Mehrevari passed this along; it includes NBC News video of him and other ReSET Volunteers (including Christyann Pulliam)  in the classroom at Whittier Education Campus in DC (in Thumbnail 11: What is Innovation?")

Hi John,

Just wanted to let you know that today is the official launch of NBC’s series of innovation in the US and our ReSET team has a few clips of our bridge building experiment that I thought you’d enjoy seeing.  We’re shown in the last episode titled “What is Innovation” and have a short clip near the beginning and a longer one at the end.  The video can be found at: