Gears in Motion           
Fall 2016

Welcome Back!

It was a busy summer, and we hope you had a chance to visit us at our booth at the Troy Mini Maker Faire or attend one of our summer programs at the YMCA.  In this issue, you can read about what we've been up to and what's ahead, as well as challenge your brain with a penrose slitherlink puzzle or have fun creating a prank package using littleBits.  
Be sure to check out our two new features:
       Technology for Good, where you can see how technology is being used to change the world.  This time, we'll be highlighting how 3D technology is being used to solve housing problems around the globe.

       Careers in STEM, where we'll explore a technology-based career.  This time, we'll be taking a look at the field of engineering - something that drives many of us here at SMIST.

As always we're grateful for all our amazing volunteers and sponsors.  We couldn't do it without you!  Check out Volunteer Opportunities if you'd like to get involved.  We'd love to have you!

Remember, you can always find up-to-date information by visiting our website or Facebook page.

From the team,

Looking Ahead

In conjunction with the Capital District YMCA, we are proud to sponsor our 2017 SeaPerch program.  This year, programs will be held at the Guilderland YMCA and the Duanesburg YMCA. Teams will meet once a week and use basic engineering and science concepts to build underwater remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs). While building their SeaPerch ROVs, students will learn about submarine design, naval architecture, ocean/marine engineering principles, tool safety, problem solving and teamwork. 

Guilderland Branch
Meeting:  Tuesdays, 6:15-8:15, beginning January 24th and ending April 8th
(meeting dates are 1/24, 1/31, 2/7, 2/14, 2/28, 3/7, 3/14, 3/21, 3/28, 4/4; regional challenge 4/8; no meeting on 2/21)
Cost:  $80 (members) / $95 (non-members)
Location:  Guilderland YMCA
For students in grades 6-8 
To register, click here.

Duanesburg Branch:
Meeting:  Mondays, 6:15-8:15, beginning January 23rd and ending April 8th
(meeting dates are 1/23, 1/30, 2/6, 2/13, 2/27, 3/6, 3/13, 3/20, 3/27, 4/3; regional challenge 4/8; no meeting on 2/20)
Cost:  $80 (members) / $95 (non-members)
Location:  Duanesburg YMCA
For students in grades 6-8 
To register, click here.

FLL Healthy Humans/Healthy Pets
As part of this year's FIRST LEGO League "animal allies" challenge, our Purple Piggies team is organizing a Healthy Humans/Healthy Pets clinic.  Vaccines for people and their pets will be available, as well as microchipping for dogs and cats and an adoption clinic through the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society.  As part of the event, students will be collecting pet food and toys for local shelters.  
When:  December 3rd, 9:00-3:00pm
Where:  Duanesburg YMCA

This year, the focus is on drones, with other fun activities including biology, computer programming, nano-technology and much more.  For students in grades 4-8 in the Schoharie Central and Duanesburg Central Schools.  More info to come soon.
When:  February 10th, 3:00 - 5:30pm
Where:  Schoharie Central High School


Upcoming Events

Dec 3

FLL Healthy Humans/Healthy Pets Clinic
Vaccines for people and pets
Animal adoption clinic through Mohawk Hudson Humane Society
Pet food/toy collection drive

Duanesburg YMCA
9:00 - 3:00pm

Dec 10

Duanesburg YMCA Open House
One year anniversary celebration.
Come check out our 3D printer in action!

Duanesburg YMCA
9:00 - 3:00pm

Jan 23

Duanesburg SeaPerch Program Begins
Duanesburg YMCA
6:15 - 8:15pm

Jan 24

Guilderland SeaPerch Program Begins
Guilderland YMCA
6:15 - 8:15pm

Feb 10

Schoharie Central School
3:00 - 5:30pm


Latest News

Science Day at the YMCA
November 7, 2016

Our Science Fun Day, sponsored in cooperation with the Society of Women Engineers, took place this weekend at the Duanesburg YMCA.  Students in grade 3-8 had a blast making slime, playing with squishy circuits, and more.  Students learned about tension and compression...continue>>

Rube Goldberg Machines
September 5, 2016

Our summer program wrapped up last week with our littleBits class.  This year, students were challenged to create Rube Goldberg machines using littleBits electronic components, dominoes, train tracks, Lego bricks and a variety of craft materials... continue>>

Troy Mini Maker Faire
August 27, 2016

We had a great time at the Troy Mini Maker Faire, which took place this weekend at the Tech Valley Center of Gravity makerspace and throughout the streets of downtown Troy.  Part science fair, part county fair....continue>>

Technology for Good!

From (

Nearly one billion people around the globe are homeless or live in substandard housing. In the era of 3D printing, some have addressed this crisis through quickly built concrete buildings. While this method would create a secure dwelling, delivering the raw materials and bulky printer increases the cost significantly, reducing its feasibility. The Italian 3D printing company WASP may have solved this problem by developing an easily-transportable machine that can quickly create dwellings out of mud and natural fibers—materials already available where the houses will be built.  Read more >>>


Careers in STEM

Engineers do cool things.  They design, create, explore and innovate.  They solve important problems and invent cool gadgets.  Engineers work in research labs and in hospitals.  They can be found on construction sites and in office buildings.  Some engineers even work in outer space.  

Engineers are everywhere, trying out new technology, designing video games, building roads, tunnels and bridges, and much more.  Engineering is a big field of study with lots to explore.  Want to know more about what it's like to be an engineer? 
Meet the Professional

Hope Bovenzi
Automotive Systems Engineer at Texas Instruments

Bradley Hartman
Senior Systems Engineer at Walt Disney Imagineering

Find out More

There are many different fields within engineering:  chemical engineering, biosystems engineering, civil engineering...explore the differences.

Employment Forecast


Ready to work your brain?  

Our challenge comes again from  Krazydad offers free pdf files of mazes and puzzles.  Puzzles are free to download, although donations are gratefully accepted. 
We had so much fun with the last "slitherlink" puzzle, we decided to try it again.  This one comes from the Variety Slitherlinks collection, where things get even more interesting.  In a regular slitherlink puzzle, you connect horizontally or vertically adjacent dots to form a meandering path that forms a single loop, without crossing itself, or branching (see the sample tower below).  The numbers indicate how many lines surround each cell.  Empty cells may be surrounded by any number of lines (from 0 to 3).  There is one unique solution, and you should be able to find it without guessing. You may find it helpful to make small x's between dots that cannot be connected.

In this slitherlink puzzle (from the Penrose collection, book 1), the tiles are not in a grid format.  It may look tricky, but this comes from the easy collection, so jump right in and give it a try! 

Slitherlink puzzle ©2005-2016 

To print, right-click on the photo and select "print picture" or visit this puzzle on our website.

Teacher Corner

Looking for ideas to get your students interested in STEM?  Want to know where to go on the web to find cool games, puzzles, lesson plans and more?  Check here for innovative, educational ideas that are just a click away.

This time, we're highlighting the National Science Foundation GK-12 website.  The NSF GK-12 program works primarily with graduate students in STEM disciplines.  Recognizing that graduate students must be able to communicate science and research to a variety of audiences, they encourage graduate students to bring their research and practice into the K-12 classroom.  Graduate students gain experience, but also inspire and stimulate interest in STEM among K-12 students and teachers.  Their website offers resources and activities for K-12 teachers and students.  

On it, you'll find links to valuable teacher resources like:

1.  Science Netlinks, which offers standards-based lesson plans, searchable by project; and
2.  Science Update, a daily, 60-second radio show covering the latest discoveries in science, technology and medicine.

You'll also find links to online resources for K-12 students from several prominent universities.  Many of these sites are searchable by grade and topic, providing an endless supply of interesting material to get kids excited about STEM.

Another resource listed here is the Secret Lives of Wild Animals website, an interactive site that allows students to read and watch up-close videos and creature cams (videos from the animal’s viewpoint) of a variety of animals.  Global tracking systems and ultraminiaturized sensors provide glimpses of rarely seen behaviors.

Other live, animal cameras can be found on's website and Animal Planet Live, both of which offer feeds from cameras placed at zoos, aquariums, research stations and animal protection organizations.

littleBits Project Spotlight


INVENT A BOX THAT BURSTS OPEN ON COMMAND to surprise unsuspecting bystanders. Get ready to scare your sister and prank your parents with just one tap on your phone or tablet.
To learn how to build it with littleBits, click here.

Haven't heard of littleBits yet?  littleBits is an open-source platform, consisting of small circuit boards, or "bits."  Each bit has a function, such as light, sound, sensors, or buttons.  Because they snap together with magnets, there's no soldering, wiring, or programming required.  Bits can be snapped together in endless combinations, so you can make whatever you can dream up.
Want to get some?  Visit our littleBits store, and a portion of your purchase price will go toward supporting our programs!


Don't forget...November 29th is Giving Tuesday!

Giving Tuesday is celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and the shopping events of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  Giving Tuesday is the start of the season of charitable giving.

As a non-profit, we rely solely upon donations and grants to fund all of our operating costs.  Our success depends on community support from people like you.

Every donation makes a difference and all donations are tax deductible.  To make a donation, please click the Donate button below.  Much appreciated!

Shop through AmazonSmile this holiday season, and Amazon will donate a portion of your purchase price to support our programs. You'll get the same selection of products, low prices and convenient shopping features, and we'll get a little gift from Amazon.

Use this link to shop now.
Or have your browser automatically redirect you to our Smile account every time you shop on Amazon by downloading one of the plug-ins below.


Individual donations are always appreciated!  All donations are tax-deductible.


We love what we do, but we can't do it alone!  We're always looking for people who share our vision.  If you'd like to join us, we'd love to have you!

  Check out what it takes to be a mentor in one of our programs.

We are engineers and educators, dedicated to delivering and supporting STEM initiatives in the communities we serve.

Copyright © 2016 Schoharie Mohawk Initiative for Science and Technology, All rights reserved.

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Schoharie Mohawk Initiative for Science and Technology · P.O. Box 121 · Duanesburg, NY 12056 · USA

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