Sunday, January 26, 2014


Over 400 visitors attended this year's Expo!
                              The  3rd Annual Think Tank and STEM Expo Math Problem:

What do you get when you mix 44 scientists, engineers, educators and professionals from national leading STEM organizations with 40 volunteers, then add in 200 excited elementary learners and 250 (just as excited )adults?  You end up with ONE amazing night of THINKING AND LEARNING!

AEOP brought their night vision lab! How cool! They also gave away waterproof notepads.
The cold and snow didn't slow this event one bit! Words can't possibly begin to explain this year's event so I'll rely on the pictures to tell the story!While not every table is represented in the pictures below, many are! As more pictures come in, I'll be sure to add them!

(For a more detailed description of the event, visit The Hill is Home for a post by a visitor!) 

3-D Printer at work. Special case even created by engineer Erik Donald so kids could get up close and personal!
Erik Donald shows off the model rocket his printer printed during the Expo... and a lucky student took home!

Families start to stream in, kids have their "swag bags" in hand. This area held Metro Warriors STEM Robotics!
4th Grade student  helps PK student "fix" a remote control car he built!
Maury Librarian and Technology guru focused on helping students learn how to code with !

The District Architecture Center table was hit!

Anacostia Watershed Society's engages families in activities about our own back "yard"

During the Expo there were three presentations in the my classroom from amazing raptor expert Jo Santiago from Flying Higher LLC's! Thanks to the National Forest Service for bringing this amazing presentation

One of 3 packed houses for the hawks and owls.

STEM "Wizard" learns through CAPSDC

Volunteers from 5 Divisions of National Institutes of Health share their work with students!

Toby Ratcliffe from National Defense Education Program and Engineering is Elementary for her awesome submersible experiments with students!
Toni Burnham with DC Beekeepers  shares her expertise with future beekeepers!

The National Forest Service team had one popular (and messy) station! Students made "milkweed mud balls" allowing them to take home seeds to start their own Monarch waystations!

DC Department of Environment's Dan Rauch, Laura Washington, Michelle Lewis and Teresa Rodriguez led nearly 100 students in making their own bird feeders, examining live amphibians and sharing the many resources DDoE's Aquatic Resource Center has to offer!

Lindsey Williams from NOAA shares "shoebox nautical charting" with interested students.
Labyrinth Games and Puzzles Owner Kathleen Donahue welcomes early visitors to the ever popular game tables. These games stimulate problem solving, spacial skills and more!

Master Astronomer Guy Brandenburg from National Capital Astronomers braved 3 hours in the single digits to allow visitors a clear view of Jupiter and it's 4 moons! He MADE that telescope himself! You were lucky to catch it without a long line, even in the cold!
NOAA's Center for Atmospheric Sciences at Howard University allowed students the chance to become young chemists!
Living Classrooms had awesome bridge building activities for students.

DC Water's LaDawne White and "Wendy the Water Drop" get students excited about water conservation!

NOAA and National Science Foundation prepare their station all about fresh and salt water!

TuVa Labs showed students how to find real life data using their great online platform!

Thank you to Camsie McAdams, Senior Advisor on STEM Education at the US Department of Education for visiting our event! She brought along colleague Marisa Bold (not pictured) and I loved seeing them engaging with students and families.
Thanks to Maya Garcia, Director of STEM Education at OSSE, Mary Lord, DC Board of Education and Brian Pick, Chief of Teaching and Learning for DCPS for visiting our Expo and engaging with students and families!

Many thanks to ALL involved, to my amazing principal for valuing the Think Tank program and my initiatives and to each and every visitor for making this night a success.

Now Maury families get ready.... your children are about to embark on huge engineering units in all grades! Info coming soon:)

-Vanessa Ford

Friday, January 17, 2014

What exactly IS the Expo? May I have flyers?

The 3rd Annual Maury Think Tank and STEM Expo is Thursday, January 23rd from 6-7:30pm! Learn more about it below or HERE!
Would you like this flyer for your people in your school or community? See below!
What IS this Expo anyway?
From presentations with live hawks and owls and wearing night vision goggles to planting personal milkweed plants and using a 3-D printer, visitors to the 3rd Annual Maury Elementary STEM Expo will get to experience STEM careers first-hand from the scientists, engineers, educators and professionals who do the work each day! Designed like an exhibition hall, experts from over 20 STEM organizations will engage students, families and community members in activities that represent their work. The Expo is designed to make STEM accessible to ALL learners, from preschool up! Past years have only been open to Maury students, but this year we are opening our doors to all DCPS staff, families and community members! This event is completely free and most  organizations also bring items that visitors can take home with them ( much like the "swag" adults get at conferences)! If you have any questions, feel free to contact Vanessa Ford at You can also print out flyers for your school or community!

Do you have flyers I can print to give to my school or community members?

YES! Feel free to print and share and I look forward to THINKING, LEARNING and EXPLORING with all of you next Thursday at 6pm!
                     CLICK HERE FOR THE FLYER PDF!!!!

Are you planning to attend and are not a Maury family? 
Yay! I'm thrilled you will join us! Please consider emailing me at to help me make an estimate of how many people are coming! I want to ensure I have enough "Swag Bags" and other goodies for all our visitors!

-Vanessa Ford

PS: Follow on Twitter @maurythinktank for updates on our program!

Thursday, January 9, 2014


Flying Higher LLC will represent the National Forest Service with live Birds of Prey! 
                               HAVE YOU EVER WANTED TO....

Use night vision goggles ?                                           Get up close to LIVE birds of prey?  
 Make a bird feeder ?                                                   Wear a beekeeper outfit ?
 Problem solve with games ?                                       Use a 3-D Printer?
 Learn about neurons and your body ?                         Explore the Anacostia River Watershed ?
View Jupiter with a large telescope ?                           Get up close to live birds of prey?                    
National Capitol Astronomers!
 Hold local aquatic wildlife?                                 Meet “Wendy the Waterdrop” ?
 Become an architect ?                                          Build bridges ?
Explore with magnets ?                                         Learn about submersibles ?
See how data impacts our world ?                         See how your eye works ?
 Hold real aquatic animals ?                                  Dissect owl pellets ?
 Use real Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to see how your brain and muscles interact... AND MORE?
3D Printer from Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab!
It will be printing out something special for the raffle!!

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you will LOVE this year's Expo! With our most extensive list of exhibitors yet, the range of activities for you and your child seems almost endless. (Don't forget! We are welcoming ALL students and families in Washington, DC to our Expo! If you need flyers for your school or community group, please contact )

Would you like to learn more about the organizations who will be providing hands-on, engaging STEM activities for you when you arrive? Click on each link to go to their website... and get excited!


Anacostia Watershed Society
American Institute of Architects-DC (Architects in the Schools)
Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP)
 * Army Research Lab
 * Night Vision & Electronic Sensors Directorate
 * Natick Soldier Engineering, Research & Development Center  
DC Beekeepers
Engineering is Elementary
Flying Higher LLC
Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory 
Labyrinth Puzzles and Games
Living Classrooms Capital Region
Metro Warriors STEM Program
National Capitol Astronomers
National Institutes of Health ( 5 sectors and exhibitors)
  *   National Institutes of Health, Office of Human Resources : careers at the NIH

-Vanessa Ford

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