May 15, 2012
CEO Volunteer Event | STEM in the Schoolyard
News coverage of the CEO volunteer event at Gabe P. Allen Charter School hosted by United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and Texas Instruments included the following pieces in:
- United Way of Metropolitan Dallas Blog
- The Dallas Morning News Education section
- The Dallas Morning News Business section
- Dallas Business Journal
- Dallas ISD
- View pictures from the event >
Executives launch math and science into the spotlight
By United Way of Metropolitan Dallas
Busy little hands fidgeted with potatoes and pizza boxes. Eager eyes looked to Jim Burke, chairman and chief executive of TXU Energy as he began explaining the mechanics of a solar oven.
“Who here has gotten into a car in the summertime after it has sat outside for a long time?” he asked. “What did you notice? It was hot, right?”
An eager group of fifth graders responded with enthusiasm.
Solar ovens, potato-powered calculators and catapults were all a part of STEM in the Schoolyard hosted May 15 by United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and Texas Instruments, in partnership with the Dallas Museum of Nature & Science. The event was an unprecedented collaborative volunteer initiative uniting regional chief executives and emphasizing the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in education. More than 40 top-level North Texas executives shared their time to conduct experiments with students from Gabe P. Allen Elementary School in West Dallas. They support United Way in its work and know supporting elementary education leads to academic achievement, preparing children for future success.
“It was great,” smiled Burke after the event. “Kids like science, but if they can apply it, they love it. That’s why this kind of hands-on experience is so enjoyable for them. Their eyes just light up, and that’s the best part.”
Burke said his decision to represent TXU Energy at the volunteer event was easy.
“North Texas is home for us,” he said. “Events like this allow us to get involved. There’s a lot of recent movement in local education – good movement. Everyone is going in the same direction and we want to be a part of that.”
Rich Templeton, chairman, president and chief executive of Texas Instruments, and the 2012 United Way campaign chair kicked off the event reflecting on the importance of businesses and their communities supporting each other.
He was echoed by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings who spoke of effecting positive change in education, current local progress and the necessity of continuing corporate support.
“We all have a role to play,” Rawlings said. “Now, the business community is going to step up, and the best way to do that is with United Way.”
Executives like Wayne Sanders, chairman of the Board of Directors at Dr Pepper Snapple Group, agreed.
“There is an education crisis in America right now,” Sanders said. “Being here this morning is our message to America: We’re here to help.”
Executives join DISD’s Gabe P. Allen Charter School 5th-graders in science showcase
By Taylor Adams, The Dallas Morning News (source)
Juice coated the penny as 11-year-old Jacob Gonzalez pushed the coin through the skin of a potato. Chris Poinsatte, corporate financial officer at D/FW International Airport, then showed Jacob and some of his classmates how to rig up his potatoes with more pennies, nails and wires to turn them into a battery for his calculator.
And when it worked, Poinsatte was more excited than some of the kids. In discussions afterward, the kids learned how the water-soluble chemicals in the potatoes reacted with copper and zinc to make electricity flow through the potato-calculator circuit.
Poinsatte was one of more than 40 Dallas business executives who joined fifth-graders Tuesday at Gabe P. Allen Charter School as part of “STEM in the Schoolyard,” a CEO volunteer event hosted by United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and Texas Instruments.
The event was the first of its kind for United Way, where Rich Templeton, CEO of Texas Instruments, is campaign chair for 2012-13. Templeton and a team at United Way came up with the idea of bringing Dallas executives to a Dallas ISD schoolyard for the morning.
“This is a great catalyst to bring out leaders in the area together with kids,” Templeton said. “A strong company builds a strong community, and in turn, a strong community helps build strong companies.”
The event had executives and fifth-graders working side by side to learn science, technology, engineering and math — known as “STEM” in education lingo.
“I don’t believe there’s a career field that doesn’t involve that knowledge,” Templeton said. “Regardless of the field they go into, the knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math will help them.”
Jacob said he already feels that education is helping him. “I like it, and I want to be an engineer when I grow up,” he said.
United Way partnered with two agencies that it provided with grants in 2011-12 for education initiatives: the Museum of Nature and Science and Real School Gardens. Real School Gardens is a Fort Worth–based program that supports elementary schools in high-poverty areas with outdoor gardens and other projects.
Gabe P. Allen, a West Dallas campus with grades pre-K through five, is Dallas ISD’s only charter school, working under a committee of parents and teachers. Matt Hackler, director of development of Real School Gardens, said his team chose the campus for the event because of the school’s outdoor garden.
“They’re getting all sorts of life cycles that are happening here. They even have a lizard hotel. … They also have a thriving organic vegetable garden,” Hackler said. “They wanted to give the kids here every opportunity that students at other schools have, and they have just optimized it.”
Laura MacNeil, senior vice president at Wells Fargo Bank, helped lead her group of students in converting a small pizza box into a solar oven. “I always learn from the kids in something like this. I think it’s fun to learn together,” she said.
Mariana Manzano, 10, worked with MacNeil in taping the top of a pizza box to have the right angle to reflect sun into the box, which dwarfed the fingerling potato it would soon be baking.
“They helped me learn something new — we could really bake a potato in that,” she said.
The event ended around an energy ball created by TI engineers.
Students joined in groups of three, holding hands in a short line. One student touched one metal part of the ball, while the student on the other end touched the other one, connecting the circuit and illuminating the white ball with a flashing red light.
Some of the CEOs and students then joined in a circle, this time connected at one point with a ball that looked like a hamster wheel, once again, connecting a circuit and making even more energy.
Jennifer Sampson, United Way CEO, said “STEM in the Schoolyard” is an example of how volunteers can help United Way in furthering education. “We want to create that fun energy and enthusiasm that’s contagious about math, science and learning,” she said.
IN THE KNOW: Potato-powered calculations
Following are instructions from the Museum of Nature and Science and Real School Gardens on how to power a calculator by wiring it to potatoes. How does it work? According to the instructions, “The combination of the nail (zinc) and penny (copper) causes a chemical reaction that converts the chemical energy to electrical energy that flows through the circuit to power the calculator.”
- Using a screwdriver, remove the black plate of a calculator to take out the battery (set aside).
- Using a small piece of black electrical tape, cover the small solar panel on the calculator.
- Choose two to three potatoes; insert a nail and a penny in each.
- Using alligator wire clips, connect a wire between the nail on one potato to the penny of a different potato.
- Connect two to three potatoes this way, but complete the “circle” (circuit) by connecting the wires to the metal parts of the battery holder in the calculator.
- Turn on the calculator.
- If the calculator does not turn on, try switching the two wires touching the battery compartment.
- If the calculator still does not turn on, check connections or experiment with adding more potatoes to the circuit.
Dallas executives go back to school to encourage elementary students
By Robert Miller, The Dallas Morning News (source)
More than 40 Dallas business executives will spend Tuesday morning at a Dallas ISD elementary school in a CEO volunteer event hosted by United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and Texas Instruments Inc.
In the “STEM in the Schoolyard” project, CEOs and other volunteers will work with fifth-graders from Dallas ISD’s Gabe P. Allen Charter School, conducting interactive experiments to enrich the children’s knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math.
The event is designed to highlight United Way’s focus on education as a critical issue facing the region.
Rich Templeton, chairman, president and CEO of Texas Instruments and United Way’s 2012-13 campaign chairman, invited the corporate leaders and Mayor Mike Rawlings to participate.
“We care about these students and their future, and today we are standing side-by-side with United Way to improve STEM education,” Templeton said. “We know that strong communities build strong companies, and strong companies build strong communities. Both need our investment and our time.”
With help from the executives, students will rotate through STEM learning stations, creating potato-powered calculators, shooting basketballs into the air with catapults, reviewing the machinery of simple gardening tools and making solar ovens from pizza boxes.
The program will begin at 8:15 a.m. and end about 10 a.m. at the school’s Real School Gardens outdoor learning classroom at 5220 Nomas St. in West Dallas.
Program speakers will include Rawlings, Templeton and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas CEO Jennifer Sampson.
The companies to be represented include AT&T Inc., Atmos Energy Corp., Bank of America, Comerica , Citi, Ernst & Young LLP, Deloitte , Dr Pepper Snapple Group , Fluor Corp., IBM Corp., JPMorgan Chase, KPMG LLP, Kimberly-Clark Corp. , Methodist Health System, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Target Corp., TXU Energy and Wells Fargo & Co.
“I’d like to personally thank Mayor Rawlings and these many corporate leaders who are taking an active role in improving our communities and addressing these critical issues,” Templeton said.
Developed in partnership with Real School Gardens and the Museum of Nature and Science, United Way and Texas Instruments organized the event to promote volunteerism and the United Way’s commitment to STEM.
According to the Third International Mathematics and Science Study, American high school students ranked close to the bottom in mathematics and physics. Less than a third of the students performed at the proficient level, and more than a third scored below the basic level in mathematics and science on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
“When you have fundamental knowledge in math and science, you’re able to solve problems and think critically — two things we definitely want for our community’s youngest minds,” Sampson said.
“Strengthening math and science is one of United Way’s key strategies in making sure students are graduating high school better prepared for further education.”
Is TI's Rich Templeton smarter than a fifth-grader?
|Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Texas Instruments CEO Rich Templeton observe fifth-graders at work at Gabe Allen Charter School.|
By Bill Hethcock, Dallas Business Journal (source)
Potato-powered calculators and solar ovens made from pizza boxes mixed with CEOs and fifth-graders at a Dallas ISD elementary school Tuesday morning for "STEM in the Schoolyard," hosted by United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and Texas Instruments Inc.
Rich Templeton, chairman, president and CEO of Texas Instruments and United Way’s 2012-13 campaign chairman, invited other corporate leaders and Mayor Mike Rawlings to join him at Gabe P. Allen Charter School to work side-by-side with fifth graders on interactive experiments involving science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.
I got a chance to talk with Templeton on Monday about STEM in the Schoolyard and the importance of science, technology, engineering and math education to companies such as Texas Instruments.
"In our world, it's getting more technologically complex every day," Templeton said. "People with these basic skills in science, technology and math will simply be better prepared in the world."
The goal of the event at the charter school was to encourage volunteerism from the top level down and highlight United Way’s focus on education as a critical issue facing the region.
"Strong communities don't just happen," Templeton said. "You have to invest to make them happen. Strong communities lead to strong companies and strong companies in turn help build strong communities."
United Way is committed to STEM as part of its United 2020 Community Education goal to increase by 50 percent the number of students ready for success after high school, said Jennifer Sampson, CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.
Less than one third of U.S. students performed at the proficient level, and more than one-third of students scored below the basic level in mathematics and science on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, according to the Third International Mathematics and Science Study.
“When you have fundamental knowledge in math and science, you’re able to solve problems and think critically — two things we definitely want for our community’s youngest minds,” Sampson said. “Strengthening math and science is one of United Way’s key strategies in making sure students are graduating high school better prepared for further education.”
Executives participating in STEM in the Schoolyard represented companies including AT&T Inc.,Atmos Energy Corp., Bank of America, Comerica, Ernst&Young LLP, Deloitte, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Fluor Corp., IBM , JPMorgan Chase, Kimberly-Clark Corp.,Methodist Health System, TXU Energy and Wells Fargo.
CEOs unite to highlight STEM education
By Dallas ISD (source)
|Top: Texas Instruments CEO Rich Templeton watches as Gabe P. Allen Charter School fifth-graders use a catapult to launch a ball. Bottom: Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings talks with CEOs including Templeton and Fluor Corporation CEO David Seaton.|
CEOs and representatives from several area companies helped lead scientific experiments with Gabe P. Allen Charter School fifth-graders on Tuesday, May 15, in the school's courtyard. The event was meant to highlight the importance of corporate cooperation in boosting opportunities for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.
The project was coordinated by Texas Instruments, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, REAL School Gardens and the Dallas Museum of Nature and Science.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Texas Instruments CEO Rich Templeton and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas CEO Jennifer Sampson discussed the importance of STEM education and working together to educate Dallas children.
Stations were set up to demonstrate several activities. Students were guided through an experiment to power a calculator using potatoes; a project to build solar ovens using pizza boxes; a game to match up garden tools with the simple machines they best represent; and a catapult to determine how far they could launch a ball.
The event concluded with an experiment that involved an "energy ball" to demonstrate the power of working together. One person placed fingers on the metal contacts on a pingpong ball, and when the group joined hands to complete the electrical circuit, the ball lit up.