ETHOS Innovation Center is proud to announce a $170,000 grant award by the Community Foundation of Elkhart County. The funds will support Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) activation in all schools in Elkhart County and beyond. The grant allows ETHOS to expand professional development programming, including the hiring of a new Director of STEM Education position to provide auxiliary support to area schools in science education, inquiry-based curriculum, and educator resources for teachers.
To meet the needs of a growing demand for STEM-skills related jobs, ETHOS has partnered with the Community Foundation of Elkhart County to deploy subject-matter experts to develop professional development programming, reinforced by evidence-based learning materials like Science Kits and e-learning modules to elevate STEM literacy in our community, and our region. We are confident the investment in top of mind, subject matter expertise in inquiry-based, argument-driven teaching methodologies are key to advancing STEM education and elevating our local talent as the future workforce.
The staff and leadership of ETHOS Innovation Center are grateful to the extraordinary leadership and foresight of the Community Foundation of Elkhart County for investing in the future of our community through STEM Education and skills-based training to support the jobs of tomorrow.
As a result of these special funds, and the generous support of our wonderful donors, we are proud to announce the following positions will be added to our team: Director of STEM Education and Science Teacher. If you or someone you know are qualified and interested in fulfilling our mission, please refer to the job descriptions for information on applying.
We are so grateful to the Community Foundation of Elkhart County and grateful for our donors who are contributing to our year-end fundraising efforts through the Full STEM Ahead campaign to make this happen. If you have not yet contributed, we urge you to join this movement and make a year-end gift toward this initiative during this season of joy and giving.
Educational gifts and specifically, ones focused on developing S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) knowledge are not only great surprises to unwrap but can also play a large role in the development of your child.
Toys that focus on shapes, puzzles, and open-ended, active play help children develop important skills that help them later down the line when they are encountering complex concepts like math or science.
ETHOS hand-selected a list of the top 28 S.T.E.M gifts for the curious young minds in your life:
Book "How to Survive Anything" $12This illustrated guide teaches your child how to navigate some of nature’s wildest experiences like volcanoes, tornadoes, or even thin ice. The group at National Geographic created this book to help young adults face any obstacle.
3-D Engineering Puzzle $40This precisely made, laser cut wooden engineering set is the DIY kit to look into for some hands-on work with mechanical concepts like gears and interlocking mechanisms.
Rainbow Nesting Puzzle $17This rainbow jigsaw is ideal for toddlers and kids being introduced to colors, shapes, and sizes for the first time. This puzzle cultivates imagination and helps your child take the first step into thinking abstractly.
6 Space Explorer Craft Projects $26Made for kids that are interested in the world beyond our planet Earth. This space explorer kit touches on our solar system, constellations, and rockets as well as many other fun space topics.
Clean Science Mini Water Filtration $14Contribute to your child’s understanding of chemistry and the environment with this clean water science kit. This kit teaches your child the basics of water filtration and desalination.
National Geographic Mega Gem and Fossil Kit $25National Geographic’s home learning kit for budding archaeologists includes 15 real fossils just waiting to be excavated by your curious scientist.
Potato Clock Experiment Kit $14Bring science into the kitchen with this experimental kit that teaches children the power of green science. Spend the afternoon building clocks from grocery store potatoes and challenge your child’s imagination.
Book "Awesome Science Experiments for Kids" $12For those with kids that are always exploring, this book covers over a hundred experiments and goes in-depth as to why and how they work. Written with step-by-step instructions, this book is easy for kids to follow along with and conduct experiments of their own.
Water Rocket Kit $21Teach your child about the power of water pressure with this bottle rocket kit. This is especially great for those interested in space flight and engineering.
Solar Thirsty Plant $6This kit helps kids make sensors that will let them know when their plant needs water and introduces them to concepts of solar power and electrical circuits.
Mechanical Robot Coding Kit $35This is a great starter robot for young engineers who are just getting into the world of design and coding. This robot is capable of kicking, drawing, and throwing, making it a rewarding project for first-time engineers.
800-Piece Construction Straws $35This construction toy comes with 800 modeling pieces and connectors that help kids build upon their construction skills and creativity.
Binoculars $17Compact, waterproof binoculars help your child explore the world around them. Non-slip grip keeps it safe in your kid’s hands while the design allows your child to see objects from 100 yards away.
Book "Paper Airplanes" $15This book explores different paper airplanes design that your child can create with plenty of extra paper and clear instructions to walk them through each design.
Marble Run Set $26This interactive toy challenges kids to think about shapes and directions by having them build race tracks for their marbles. It’s great for teaching logical thinking and hand-eye coordination.
Wooden Geoboard $22A great toy and tool for practicing fine motor skills and visual skills, this wooden geoboard gives your child the option of piecing together pre-designed patterns or the freedom to make their own creative shapes, letters, or designs.
Brain Teasers Jigsaw Block Puzzle $10This jigsaw puzzle is a real-life game of Tetris for your children to experiment with. Fit the pieces together to fill the surface or let them create their own designs.
LEGO Chain Reactions Kit $19This set of moving balls, modules, and string takes LEGO pieces to the next level. Get your child’s thinking cap on through building moving machines.
Snap Circuits Exploration Kit $54This circuits kit helps your child explore the world of physics. Using wires, switches, resistors, and capacitors, your child can build fun, working projects like lamps, radios, and many others.
Hand-Operated Drone $30This drone uses infrared sensors to avoid running into obstacles and is controlled completely by your hands. It changes direction based on the placement of your hands and can be flown in a variety of settings.
Suspend Family Game $14This family-friendly game is perfect for developing hand-eye coordination, cognitive skills, and interpersonal skills. This balancing game helps children with important developmental skills.
Flakes Interlocking Building Blocks $17These building blocks are a creative and educational alternative to traditional building block sets. Brain Flakes can be used to build plants, cars, and animals simply by connecting pieces together.
Physics Laws Building Set $26This kit helps kids explore the laws of physics through six experimental assemblies. Walk your kids through theory testing and physical concepts and help turn complex concepts into fun and educational experiences.
Vehicle Building Toy $23Aimed at teaching kids knowledge while developing their S.T.E.M. skills, this vehicle building toy comes with a variety of builds that challenge and excite the most innovative of learners.
Bridge Structure Construction Model $33This structure kit comes with nine building models that teach kids all of the facts and theories behind bridges and why they are able to work the way they do. These models let them explore the science behind bridge building and the forces supporting massive amounts of weight.
AmScope Metal Body Microscope $90This set helps kids investigate the microscopic world around them and includes brine shrimp eggs that let them observe the life cycle of tiny ocean creatures.
Fisher-Price Code-a-Pillar $35This caterpillar is an early learning tool for future coders and computer geniuses. There are 1,000+ different combinations for caterpillar’s movement, making for hours of visual, audio, and mental stimulation.
Construction and Engineering Building Blocks $30This construction and building set covers a wide range of basic tools like nuts, bolts, and wheels and uses your child’s imagination to create different tools while using logical thinking and engineering skills.
For this article, I'm turning our subject from instruments to look at the sky, to the sky itself, for a very special event. More specifically, to the planets Jupiter and Saturn.
On December 21,202O, about forty-five minutes after sunset, the two planets will stand about 14 degrees above the southwestern horizon and will appear to be much less than 1 degree apart in the sky! Your pinkie-finger, held up against the sky at arm's length, is 1 degree, and the span between your pinkie-finger and your pointer (index finger) is roughly 15 degrees, again with your outstretched arm held against the sky That's not far above the horizon, so you might want to find a spot with a clear view of the horizon (around Michiana, Lake Michigan would be an ideal spot, weather permitting).
This celestial event is known as a conjunction (more precisely a non-solar conjunction, since neither of the objects is the sun). Two non-solar objects are in conjunction if they have the same Right Ascension. Right Ascension corresponds to longitude on earth, but instead is reckoned on the celestial sphere. Another term for locating objects in the sky is Declination, which corresponds to latitude on the earth.
Through a telescope at moderate magnification, both Jupiter and Saturn (and their brighter moons) will fit into your eyepiece's view.
According to one Steve Albers, the last conjunction of these two planets that was closer and readily observable occurred in the year 1226, (nearly 800 years ago). Of course, though they appear so close together in the sky, they are, in fact, about 4O3 million miles apart. Jupiter orbits the sun at an average distance of 484 million miles and takes about twelve years to go around the sun once, and Saturn averages 887 million miles from the sun and its orbit around the sun takes about 29 1/2 years.
So, though they are physically separated in space by nearly a half- billion miles, they still line up in the sky visually "every once in in a blue moon" (oops, the Moon's not involved!).
George Drake, M.D. ETHOS Volunteer
Michiana Astronomical Society Member
1. Observer's Handbook 2O2O The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
2. The Backvard Astronomers Guide 3.d ed. Dickinson and Dyer, Firefly books 2008
3. Solar Slzstem: A Visual Exploration Of The Planets. Moons. And Other Heavenly Bodies That
Orbit Our Sun Chown, Marcus, Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers, Inc. 2016 4. Sky and Telescope American Astronomical Society Vol 140, No.6, December, 2O2O
Learn more about conjunctions at 1 Degree of SkyTime: https://youtu.be/DILtQlBPF_4