K-12 and Community Involvement and Outreach

To request WISE involvement at your event or to suggest an activity for WISE, email us or call 319-335-3530. Please provide advanced notice so we can work with you to make this a successful and fun experience!

WISE Resources Available to K-12 Teachers and the Community

WISE Resource Library

DVD, VHS, and CD List (Pdf document)

Samples of Resources Available to Science and Math Educators (Pdf document)


WISE Provides K-12 Outreach to Grant Wood AEA Schools to Promote Science & Engineering

(Visit the WISE Ambassadors webpage for more information about our goals and activities.)

In February and March, 2008, WISE teamed up with the Grant Wood AEA to help encourage curiosity and interest in science and engineering in school age children. Our first group of kids was from Cedar Rapids McKinley - seventeen eager 6th-8th grade girls came to the IMU to see a presentation by Professor David Wilder (BME) on the fragility of the spine. Professor Wilder and his Graduate Assistant, Lauren Graupner, used a Slinky, rubber bands, Oreos, and marshmallows as educational props to lead students through activities and examples. The girls also had a chance to talk with 6 WISE students about their life in college and what it's like to be a woman in male-dominated fields.

Our second group was from English Valleys Elementary in North English - twenty-two 4th-5th grade girls joined us at the UI Hydraulics Model Annex and the Nursing Clinical Education Center (NCEC) on Saturday, March 8th. Engineers Troy Lyons and Dan Ceynar led the girls though a tour of the UI hydraulics lab where they saw 6 different scale models of various projects the Annex is currently researching, including the new women's rowing facility. The girls especially liked when colored dye was added to the water so they could see the different patterns of water flow. At the Nursing Clinical Education Center, Teri Boese and Peg Hyndman, along with two Nursing students, led the students through several fun activities, during which they cared for patients in simulation labs and tried on real scrubs, gloves, and booties (they looked like real nurses!). Prior to the activities, the girls were also able to talk and ask questions of 3 WISE students, 2 nursing students, and the 2 directors of the Nursing Clinical Education Center about their school and careers.

Our third group was from Hills Elementary, which included two separate groups (fifteen 3rd-4th graders and sixteen 5th-6th graders) with both boys and girls attending. The 3rd-4th graders met with Professor Steve Hendrix (Biological Sciences) to learn about research done on bees and pollination. Steve brought a collection of bees, butterflies and bee mimics to show as examples, and the kids were even able to take some of the specimens out of the cases and hold them. The 5th-6th grade students learned from Structural Engineer Jane Driscoll (VJ Engineering Company) about structural engineering. Jane talked about the bridges she has helped design and some advantages and disadvantages to different bridge designs. The students then made bridges out of straws and tape and tested their designs to determine their maximum weight limits. Five WISE students joined the two groups for the afternoon.

WISE had an excellent time with these groups of children, the teachers and parents, and our contact at Grant Wood AEA, Lori Kriz. We hope to see you all next year!

Girl Scout Badge Day 2007Girl Scouts - WISE Badge Day

On February 18, 2007, the WISE Ambassadors and K-12 Outreach Liaison (Lisa Jones-Hall) saw the rewards of their hard work as over 50 local Girl Scouts aged 10-12 met in the IMU to learn about science and engineering.

The scouts were exposed to six different science-based activities from a variety of science fields.  WISE Ambassador Emily Thomas presented a chemical reaction activity in which the girls made their own silly putty. Cori Thompson and Sarah Minner conducted an activity that explained the effect of cardio activity on pulse and heart rate; Maureen Naughton and Kendra Meyer taught the Girl Scouts emergency preparedness and how to build a first-aid kit; and Courtney Smith’s, Courtney Fleenor’s, and Wesley Pollpeter’s activity explained the negative effects of loud music on the ear drum.  WISE Ambasadors Erin Wymore and Megan Kinen were the Masters of Ceremony. Areeba Fatima performed administrative and general event duties and Courtney Fleenor stepped up to the plate as photographer.

Surrounding the activities were presentations by two guests speakers.  Iowa City Firefighter Jim Humston gave a very informative presentation on general fire safety and Professor Linda Boyle gave an interesting and insightful slide show on the many different engineering fields open for study. By all accounts, the Girl Scouts learned a lot and had a lot of fun during the afternoon.  Some of their comments included: “Fun!!!”, “I thought you all did a great job”, and “Are you doing this next year?” We sure will!


Occupational & Environmental Health PhD student speaks at Coralville Central Elementary Career Day

On April 11, 2008, Coralville Central Elementary School held a Career Day, at which a special emphasis was placed on bringing in as speakers women and minorities who are underrepresented in their fields or who are doing jobs outside of traditional gender roles. PhD candidate Londa Vanderwal volunteered as a WISE representative and wowed the audience with her experiences in agricultural health and safety, including her position working in food hygiene with the United Nations Food and Ag Organization in Rome, Italy. After the event, Londa said, "I enjoyed talking to them about the importance of agriculture, public health, taking science and math classes, etc." Thank you for your great work, Londa!

WISE Students Show the Fun in Engineering at Outside the Box Career Conference

On February 26, 2008, the science department at Mid-Prairie Middle School hosted the Outside-the-Box Career Conference for Girls, to help inform young girls about the variety of opportunities available to them in the sciences and engineering. Sarah Vigmostad, a recent PhD graduate in Biomedical Engineering, volunteered her time to speak to the girls about her career path and academic background, and then guided the students through an activity in which they all made their own finger casts. The girls had fun making their casts, learning about bone strength and injuries, and hearing all about Biomedical Engineering! Thank you, Sarah!

In 2007, WISE Ambassadors and graduate students Emily Thomas, Chemical Engineering, and Adina Chuang, Environmental Engineering, each gave presentations at a this same career conference.  The conference took place at Mid-Prairie Middle School in Kalona, IA, where fifty Mid-Prairie Middle School girls learned about science and scientific careers from professionals in the local area. 

First-year WISE Learning Community Members Visit Hometown Schools to Promote College and STEM Careers

Typically over fall or winter break, residents in the WISE Learning Community visit a school in their hometown to share with the students their experiences being in college and studying in the sciences. Read more about the LC Outreach Program.

K-12 ProgramK-12 ProgramK-12 Program


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