We offer STEMinars (STEM Workshops) throughout the year to bring new STEM technologies to light and new students into STEM. In response to social distancing measures, we are launching Virtual STEMinars, led by STEM staff and faculty, so you never have to distance yourself from project-based learning! Many of these video-recorded or virtually live sessions are offered for FREE and cover a broad range of STEM topics.
STEMinars are designed to be an online resource for the community and will walk you through sample projects and design challenges (utilizing free software) so that you can develop STEM skills. Registration is required at least 24 hours before a session starts. Sessions run from 30-60 minutes.
NOVA staff are working remotely to make additional STEMinars available in the coming months so be on the lookout for new offerings on our website and social media.
Current/Upcoming Virtual STEMinars
- Cybersecurity Workshops - Free
- Intro to Programming with Python - Free
- Coding and Micro:bit - Free
- Bubbles & Math: Design a 3D Printed Bubble
- Introduction to SketchUp - Free
- Robotics Competitions: A Strategic Approach - Free
- VEXCode VR: Play and Code a Virtual Robot – Free
- LED Emojis & Electric Circuits
- Cloud Computing Series - Free
- Inkscape - Free
- 3D Scanning - Free
- Arash’s All Things Cool About 3D Printing – Free
- Build a Solar Car
Cybersecurity Workshops - Free
Tuesdays & Thursdays 3/19 through 4/16 at 12:00 p.m.
Check out our popular virtual Cyber Workshops, presented in partnership with
ISACA and NOVA faculty and staff. All sessions have different topics and speakers and are recorded for future playback. Topics include Continuity of Operations for the Home, Personal Security Tradecraft, Cyber for High School Students, Teachers, & Parents, and more.
Intro to Programming with Python - Free
Wednesdays 4/8, 4/15, 4/22, 4/29 at 2:00 p.m.
Python is a programming language used to develop software on the web and in app form, including mobile. It's easy to learn and can be used to process text, display numbers or images, solve scientific equations, and save data.
Intro to Python: Mad Libs (I/O, variables) - 4/8
Learn about basic keyboard input, terminal output, and variables by writing a simple Mad Libs game.
Python Branching: Text Adventure Game (if/elif/else) - 4/15
Explore how to make decisions on the y with if/elif/else statements to create a simple text adventure game.
Python Looping: Guessing Game (repetition) - 4/22
Examine and use ‘while’ loops to have your user guess a random number until they run out of tries or get it correct. We’ll explore the dynamics of user feedback as well as scoring.
Python Collections: Hangman (managing lots of items) - 4/29
After a brief intro to Python’s built-in list collection, we’ll use these data structures to implement a simple version of the classic word-guessing game Hangman.
Missed a Session? Watch past sessions here.
Coding and Micro:bit - Free
First Series (3 sessions): Thursday 5/14, 5/21, and 5/28 (4: 00 p.m.)
Bubbles & Math: Design a 3D Printed Bubble
Thursday 4/9 (10:00 a.m.) & Tuesday 4/21 (7:00 p.m.)
Cost: $15 for Bubbles & Math Project Kit
Participants design a bubble wand in TinkerCAD and then their design is 3Dprinted and shipped! An instructor will guide the participant step-by-step through the process of designing in TinkerCAD via recorded video or live webinar. TinkerCAD is a free, user-friendly computer-aided design software that allows for the design of 3D structures. Final bubble wand designs will be sent to the instructor for 3D printing. Then, the custom bubble wands and supplemental learning resources will be mailed to the participant. Additionally, participants will learn about calculating the dimensions of a circle (circumference and radius) and factors affecting the surface tension of a liquid.
Learning Outcomes - Participants will be able to:
(1) Design a bubble wand in TinkerCAD.
(2) Calculate the circumference and radius of a circle.
(3) Describe factors that affect the surface tension of a liquid.
Introduction to SketchUp - Free
Thursday 4/23 at 7:00 p.m. (Ages 10-17)
Friday 5/8 at 2:00 p.m. (Ages 18+)
Take part in a free, live tutorial on the basics of SketchUp Free – “the simplest free 3D modeling software on the web.” The tutorial will cover accessing the website and setting up your online account, understanding the virtual workspace and all the standard tools, saving and exporting files, materials, shadows, and the free warehouse. By the time the tutorial is over you will feel comfortable exploring your own designs and grasping the basics of 3D design. For beginners with no prior 3D design experience.
Robotics Competitions: A Strategic Approach - Free
Mondays 4/13, 4/20, 4/27, 5/4 (4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.) - VEX IQ
Wednesdays 4/15, 4/22, 4/29, 5/6 (4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.) - VEX VRC
Learn how to start the robotics season right! Afnan Ali, a world champion roboticist, will spend an hour each week working through game strategy. Participants will learn how to analyze and breakdown the previous year’s games as well as document strategies that lead toward successful robot prototypes.
This introduction on how to apply the engineering design process to competitive robotics is a great introduction for students, parents and mentors.
Suitable for ages 10 and up.
VEXCode VR: Play and Code a Virtual Robot – Free
First Series (3 sessions): Monday 4/27, Wednesday 4/29, Friday 5/1 (7:00 p.m.),
Second Series (3 sessions): Monday 5/18, Wednesday 5/20, Friday 5/22 (7:00 p.m.)
Learn how to use the VEX Robotics new Virtual Robot! In this 3-session series, participants will learn how to incorporate sensors and block coding to complete a variety of challenges with their virtual robot. Ages 10 to 17 with no experience needed.
LED Emojis & Electric Circuits
Monday 4/13 (10:00 a.m.) & Monday 4/27 (7:00 p.m.)
Cost: $15 for LED Emoji Project Kit
Learn about basic circuitry through the amazing world of sewable electronics with this hands-on STEM Challenge. In this project, participants create a light-up emoji with conductive thread and sewable electronic components. An instructor will guide the project via a recorded video or live webinar. All materials and support resources will be directly shipped to participants before the live webinar (or video access).
Learning Outcomes - Participants will be able to:
(1) Build a basic circuit that includes a switch and an LED.
(2) Describe a short circuit and electrical conductivity.
Cloud Computing Series - Free
Mondays 4/20, 4/27, 5/4, 5/11, 5/18, 5/25 (12:00 p.m.)
Session 1: Cloud Computing 101 - 4/20
In this session, we will discuss the basics every general user should know about the cloud. We will debunk cloud computing myths and go over the fundamentals of Cloud Computing.
Session 2: Cloud Computing Models - 4/27
In this session, we will discuss the cloud options every business leader should know when considering the cloud as a business solution. We will review and discuss the differences between the four types of Cloud Deployments (i.e., Public and Private) and three Service Models (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS).
Session 3: Cloud Computing Roles and Responsibilities - 5/4
In this session, we will discuss the primary cloud roles and responsibilities every student and technology professional should know. We will review the key roles, responsibilities, career paths, competencies, and certifications.
Session 4: Cloud Computing Services and Capabilities - 5/11
In this session, we will discuss the primary services and capabilities that all IT students, professionals, and leaders should know. We will review AWS Core Services and Capabilities.
Session 5: Cloud Computing Security Framework Fundamentals - 5/18
In this session, we will discuss the Cloud Security, Compliance, and Risk fundamentals that all IT and Cybersecurity Students, professionals, and leaders should know. We will review Security Control Frameworks, Risk Management Frameworks, the fundamentals of Legal/Regulatory Compliance, and the key AWS Security Services.
Session 6: Cloud Computing Architecture - 5/25
In this session, we will discuss the fundamentals of designing cloud architectures that all IT and Cybersecurity Students, professionals, and leaders should know. We will review the fundamentals of cloud solution architecture, AWS Well-Architected Framework, and the AWS Architecture Tools and best practices.
Inkscape - Free
Inkscape 1 - FREE
A basic introduction to Inkscape, a free source drawing and design software program. Learn how to use some basic commands on the Inkscape interface. Draw some simple shapes by following along with live instruction.
Tuesday 5/5 at 7pm (Ages 10-17)
Wednesday 5/6 at 7pm (Ages 18+)
Inkscape 2 - FREE
Builds on the knowledge learned in Inkscape 1. Participants learn how to use new commands to expand their knowledge of the Inkscape interface. Draw more complex shapes by following along with the live instruction.
Tuesday 5/12 at 7:00 p.m. (Ages 10-17)
Wednesday 5/13 at 7:00 p.m. (Ages 18+)
Inkscape 3 - FREE
Participants work on creating complex shapes and then convert their designs into laser ready files. Must have completed Inkscape 2
5/19 at 7:00 p.m. (Ages 10-17)
5/20 at 7:00 p.m. (Ages 18+)
5/26 at 7:00 p.m. (Ages 10-17)
5/27 at 7:00 p.m. (Ages 18+)
Inkscape 4A: Culinary Design Challenge
Participants work on creating complex shapes and designs to create personalized cake/cupcake toppers. The participants final design will be produced on a laser engraver/cutter and shipped to participant. Must have completed Inkscape 3. For ages 10+
6/2 at 7:00 p.m.
Inkscape 4B: Engineering Design Challenge
In this session participants design and produce a personalized picture frame using the skills learned in the previous sessions. Each design will be produced on the laser system and shipped to participant. Must have completed Inkscape 3. For ages 10+
6/9 at 7:00 p.m.
3D Scanning - Free
Friday 5/1 at 1:00 p.m. (Age 16+)
3D scanning allows users to copy real objects for editing on software. Learn about the present and future possibilities of 3D modeling. We’ll discuss the current technologies such as Photogrammetry and 3D scanners and more emergent technologies such as NeRF (Neural Radiance Fields). 3D scanning allows users to copy real objects for editing on software. These methods allow users to cut costs and time without the need to design the object form scratch. Come join us and find out what engineers, artists, and scientists are using to bring their projects to life!
Arash’s All Things Cool About 3D Printing – Free
Tuesday 4/28 at 10:00 a.m. (ages 8-14)
Tuesday 5/5 at 10:00 a.m. (ages 15+)
Tuesday 5/26 at 10:00 a.m. (ages 8-14)
Tuesday 6/2 at 10:00 a.m. (ages 15+)
In this live session, Arash will discuss and show you how much he loves the 3D printing world! You will watch 3D printers in action, be able to see some of his projects, learn about real life applications and ask questions about 3D printing.
Build a Solar Car
Friday 4/17 (10:00 a.m.) & Friday 5/1 (10:00 a.m.)
Cost: $25 for Solar Car Project Kit
Participants will build a solar car with a 3D printed chassis (car frame) that they designed in TinkerCAD. An instructor will guide the participant step-by-step through the process of designing in TinkerCAD via recorded video or live webinar on April 17th. TinkerCAD is a free, user-friendly Computer-Aided Design software that allows for the design of 3D structures. Final solar car chassis designs will be sent to the instructor for 3D printing. Then, the 3D printed chassis, solar car parts, and supplemental learning resources will be mailed to the participant to build their car!
Learning Outcomes - Participants will be able to:
(1) Design a solar car chassis in TinkerCAD.
(2) Build a working solar car.
(3) Describe how a solar panel generates electricity.
Coming soon! Similar to Project-Based Learning, our series of optional STEM Challenges will elaborate on the skills learned during our STEMinars. Thoughtful and appropriate design challenges will be presented, requiring tangible and practical solutions. Although each STEM Challenge will relate to a specific STEMinar, previous participation in the parent STEMinar is advised but not required.
Online STEM Resources
Check out these STEM activities and websites for virtual learning that include challenges, tasks, and games for students from PreK to College.