Path Home Shows 2016 Show Archive October 2016 Show 1643 Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1643

Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1643

This week on “Oklahoma Horizon,” we focus on STEM with a look at how educators and industry come together to plant the STEM seeds of interest in students.
Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1643

Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1643

For more information visit these links:

Oklahoma Works

Oklahoma State Chamber


MidAmerica Industrial Park

American Castings

Joy Hofmeister

Stillwater Middle School

STEM Connector

Top Education Degrees

Science Museum Oklahoma

Leonardo da Vinci

Show Details

Show 1643: Oklahoma Horizon TV
Air Date: October 23, 2016



Rob McClendon: Here’s what’s coming up on your “Horizon.” It’s called STEM, a simple acronym for science, technology, engineering and math, subjects that could determine our nation’s future. Today, we begin by looking at the work underway to ensure Oklahoma’s future workers will have the skills needed to meet the demands of a STEM-based economy.

Levi Patrick: It’s not just the K-12 issue to make sure our kids our engaged in science and technology, engineering and math, but it’s all of our concern.

Lori Helton: Education is not the same as it was, even 10 years ago.

Becky Hammack: It’s what engineering is. It’s not people in hard hats with hammers and nails; it’s all of these other things.

Rob: And we end our day at the Science Museum of Oklahoma to look at the science in the art of Leonardo da Vinci.

Clint Stone: He’s using science technology, he’s engineering this thing, and he was using that to get it all done. And he was using the arts as his entry point.

Rob: Stay with us for “Oklahoma Horizon.”

Female Announcer: “Oklahoma Horizon” is made possible by CareerTech – a job for every Oklahoman and a workforce for every company; with additional support from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

Rob McClendon: Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us here on “Horizon.” I’m Rob McClendon. Well, next month is Gov. Mary Fallin’s third annual STEM Summit, a forum that brings together Oklahoma business leaders, educators and other key stakeholders focused on the critical importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in our communities. Now, more than ever, we’re seeing a growth in STEM jobs, and with it a growing skills gap. Now, a new statewide push is targeting not only tech centers and business leaders, but also the rest of the community with a goal of getting STEM to grow and thrive. Our Blane Singletary attended a workshop held just down the hall where those seeds were planted.

Blane Singletary: These professionals were all gathered here for a STEM workshop. But outside of that description, they weren’t really sure why they were invited or why they’re seated with these particular people.

Jennifer Monies: We invited various people from communities all across the state to come and talk about STEM and how important it is to Oklahoma.

Blane: Jennifer Monies is with the State Chamber of Oklahoma, who has put on a few of these across the state.

Monies: Specifically, we wanted to get a really big cross section of different kinds of people – business leaders, community leaders, you know, common ed teachers, principals – all in the same room talking to one another.

Blane: Through small projects and guided discussion, this workshop is getting these people thinking and working like the students they serve, or one day could be served by, and that’s an important first step.

Monies: A lot of times, you know, business talks about STEM, educators talk about STEM, but they don’t talk to each other.

Blane: The goal of today is to get STEM growing in Oklahoma. But there isn’t a one-size-fits-the-state solution, which is why they’re being encouraged to continue this conversation in their own individual communities. Levi Patrick is a former math teacher and now works with the State Board of Education.

Levi Patrick: So the STEM workshop is really focused on bringing folks from communities together to think about how to organize themselves to make sure that they are aligning the education experiences for kids with the career needs that they have in their local workforce.

Blane: Patrick says from his vantage point, things are moving in the right direction. New math and science standards are helping equip students with what they need to know. And the teachers in those ordinary math and science classrooms are finding new ways to keep students engaged with those subjects.

Patrick: We have great and enthusiastic teachers who are focusing on making more kind of real life problem-solving centered experiences available to kids in math and science classes, but also in clubs, after school activities and even integrated courses. So it’s actually, I think, looking strong, and in the next few years we’re really gonna see a great benefit from that.

Blane: But school is only a small part of a student’s day. And so in order to stay effective, it becomes necessary to keep students optimistic about math and science early and often.

Patrick: And parents need to know that when they have conversations with kids, if they tell their kids that they were bad at math that it’s pretty much contagious. We need to be really careful about the attitude that we portray about mathematics and about science, because if we don’t act like it’s something that’s worthwhile and worth being good at, our students won’t step up to the plate for that.

Blane: And that’s why getting the whole community involved, not just education or business leaders, is essential. Bringing everyone to the STEM table isn’t just helpful; it’s also in their best interests.

Patrick: It’s not just the K-12 issue to make sure kids are engaged in science, technology, engineering and math, but it’s all of our concern. Also as teachers if we don’t know what those kids are gonna go on to do, if we don’t know the reality of where math is used in the real world or where science is used in the real world, sometimes we’re not as able to make those learning experiences relevant. So if we’re in the same place we can start thinking about creating a multitude of strategies that actually support our students.

Blane: Dr. Stephen McKeever, state secretary of science and technology, is one of many minds driving this initiative forward. But when this workshop is over, the ball is in these participants’ courts.

Stephen McKeever: I think the next step is to start asking themselves, “Who needs to be part of this process? How can we organize? How can we get together, form partnerships, and how can we define the goals that we want to achieve and figure out a way of achieving those goals?” We can only point them in the direction, tell them why we think this is important. After that, it’s up to them.

Blane: In the month and a half lead-up between this workshop and Gov. Mary Fallin’s STEM Summit, Dr. McKeever said he’d like to see at least one or two of these communities represented here today step up as STEM communities. A handful of these already exist across the state, in places like Shawnee, Lawton and Tulsa, which is a great start, but we could always use more. He says our work isn’t done until we have a larger, more qualified STEM workforce.

McKeever: One that industry can look to and know that they will be able to find the people they need in that community. Currently, we’re not there. So the end goal will be when the industry turns to us and says, “In this part of the country, we can find the workforce that we need.”

Blane: It’s up to the communities to take these well-qualified parts and build them into a well-qualified STEM machine. Again, Levi Patrick.

Patrick: We know that having a high-quality education system is important, you know, critical in fact. But if that’s the only thing you have, and you don’t have out of school experiences or extended experiences and parental support and so on, it’s just not gonna do the job. We want them from the summit to have a vision for what they can do in their community afterwards.

Rob McClendon: Now, these workshops are happening thanks to the Coalition for the Advancement of Sciences and Mathematics Education here in Oklahoma. Now, for more information on how your community can become recognized as a STEM community, we have a link to the CASMEO program on our website, as well as a link to the registration for the 2016 STEM Summit scheduled for Nov. 1. Just head to and look for both of these links under this story. Now, when we return, we head to Pryor, Oklahoma, to see how one industrial park is investing in the future of their workers.

Rob: And later in our show, the science in art.

Female Announcer: You’re watching “Oklahoma Horizon” with Rob McClendon – weekly insight into your changing world.

Rob McClendon: Well, Oklahoma’s largest industrial park is investing over one point two million dollars in Mayes County STEM Labs. This, the latest push of MidAmerica Delivers, a workforce development program designed to train and attract workers to the MidAmerica Industrial Park in Pryor.

Rob McClendon: For students at Locust Grove High School, class is up in the air. This is the school’s just opened STEM lab – one of five turnkey STEM career centers being built in Mayes County school districts.

Lori Helton: And really it’s all about student engagement.

Rob: Locust Grove Superintendent Lori Helton.

Helton: Education is not the same as it was even 10 years ago. It’s getting kids hands-on with the learning and seeing that there really is a high level of technology out there that they know how to do and at a very, very young age.

Rob: Which is why Pryor’s MidAmerica Industrial Park is creating a pipeline of highly trained workers well before they ever interview for a job.

Mike Fuller: The workforce development initiatives that we have going on in the Industrial Park are, you know, helping to line up the future skills because we have a lot of employees that are fixing to retire.

Rob: Mike Fuller is the general manager of American Castings and says the STEM fields are critical to the future of his company.

Fuller: Because everything we do is with heavy equipment that is making product as quickly as we possibly can make using emerging technology. Today is extremely important to be able to compete with, I mean, most of our competitors are not in the U.S. Most of them are in India, China, Brazil, eastern European countries. So we have to be smarter than what they are to be more efficient than what they are, and that’s how we compete in this marketplace.

Rob: And it all starts in the classroom. Meet Tiger Pride.

Tiger Pride: This is our claw, right here. And what it does is it closes and picks stuff up, so.

Rob: A robotics team made up of students as young as fourth grade already interested in how things work.

Student: I’m still trying to get it back to base without, like, dropping it because it’s hard to grab it in the position that it sits.

Rob: And it’s students like these that brought employers, civic leaders and educators to the MidAmerica Expo Center to kick off the first phase of a $3.5 million investment into the MidAmerica Delivers workforce program. Dave Stewart is the chief administrative officer for the industrial park.

David Stewart: Well, what we find with site selectors and companies, before they make a decision to either expand or move to a location, they evaluate the future workforce. And as we kind of have to compete with other areas around the country, having a good workforce is critical to landing that company here. So that’s why it’s important to us.

Rob: In addition to the $1.2 million investment in the new STEM labs, MidAmerica is committing to spend an additional $2.3 million to develop STEM programming for area students that meets the park employers’ needs. State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister says with state cuts in education funding, programs like this are vital.

Joy Hofmeister: So the public-private partnerships that we see really exemplify today is, here in Mayes County, is a model for what we want to ignite across the state and increase these kinds of public-private partnerships and really work with business in a way that is a little closer than what we may have seen in the past.

Male: I see the future. I see us able to provide them with opportunity and in rural Oklahoma, that’s very difficult because the metro areas typically have more resources and availability of these kinds of things. Rural Oklahoma does not. And so we are giving these kids, literally, the opportunity to compete at a high level and make it exciting and do it different. That’s what we’re doing, we’re doing it differently to get them more involved.

Hofmeister: I think it’s important to remember that for kids, you cannot be what you don’t see. Teachers have the ability to identify strengths and passion in the students in their classrooms and help them really cast a vision for where that student might be able to study and later work. We need to do a better job of helping teachers be that bridge, and then we need a great invitation to the business and industry of Oklahoma and invite them in to our schools and to our classrooms.

Rob McClendon: Now, MidAmerica is not alone in trying to bring education and industry together to meet current and future job demands. Next week, we are going to take a closer look at a state program called OK Works that uses public and private partnerships to ensure Oklahoma’s future workers will have the skills needed to succeed in the high skill, STEM-focused industry sectors of the 21st century.

Female Announcer: Still to come on “Oklahoma Horizon,” the science in art of Leonardo da Vinci, but first, a new take on some old subjects.

Becky Hammack: It’s giving them a better understanding of what that career path is really like.

Rob McClendon: So what do these new STEM-based classrooms look like? Our Austin Moore had Stillwater Middle School teacher Becky Hammack show us hers.

Becky Hammack: This is our automation and robotics class. So they’re learning the basics of mechanical mission. And so they’re learning what each of these mechanisms do so that next week when I give them a very big project, like create a machine that can rotate a solar collection dish and follow the angle of the sun, they can take all of this information that they learned and put that together in an open-ended design challenge.

Student: I think I probably could have made this, like, more stable.

Hammack: This that they are doing is very much a physics lesson. So they are doing math and they are doing science, and we do all of that background first so we develop the math skills, and we develop the scientific concepts and understanding of that. Then they take that and apply it to create a solution to a problem, and that’s the engineering aspect of it. So really, we’re taking all of those things, their science knowledge, their math knowledge, and they’re applying that in an engineering project in order to create some type of technology. So we’re hitting all of the four STEM areas. I honestly feel more like a facilitator than an instructor. You saw me earlier sitting down with a group. They have a problem that I haven’t seen before, and I don’t, I’m not just going to give them the answer, and I might not even know the answer. So we’ll sit down together, and we’ll try to figure it out. And they’re teaching me while I’m teaching them. We’re building critical thinking skills. I give them problems that don’t exist, and they’re real-life based, but they’re something that they’ve never come across. So they actually have to think, not just fill in a bubble and write a correct answer. They have to take the knowledge that I’ve given them and find a way to translate that into a meaningful product. So they are learning how to think outside of the box. They are learning how to analyze a situation and take all the resources they have available and find a way to solve a problem based on all that’s offered to them.

Student: I think it’s, I think it’s belt-drive.

Hammack: My next seventh-grade class that is coming, I actually have more female students than male students, first time ever. So the number of girls we’re seeing in this program is getting greater, because they are seeing, “Oh, this is what engineering is. It’s not people in hard hats with hammers and nails. It’s all of these other things.” And they’re really, it’s giving them a better understanding of what that career path is really like instead of the stereotypes that most people see.

Student: Can you draw an imaginary line and tell me when I’ve done it?

Hammack: My background is in science. I’m a scientist by training. And so this is the kind of learning that’s going to get them where they need to be if they go into STEM. I know that because that’s the field I came from.

Student: We might want to take this out for a little bit.

Female Announcer: “Horizon” is at your fingertips – join us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to catch the segments you may have missed and our latest new content as it happens.

Rob McClendon: Well, Leonardo da Vinci is the epitome of the Renaissance man. While he may be best known for his great works like the “Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper,” he brought science into his art. Through Jan. 8, Science Museum Oklahoma is showcasing an exhibit of his work and the ideas he conceived that were well ahead of his time. And curator Clint Stone took me for a look.

Clint Stone: When Grande Exhibitions approached us about an exhibit about Leonardo, it was really perfect for the museum. He is really that STEM or that STEAM artist, that great mind who was thinking so far ahead of his time. And his designs still have a huge impact on what we do today.

Rob McClendon: Yeah, and I want to play off of something you just said. You said STEAM, and really he was one of the very first that showed that correlation between the arts and science.

Stone: He did. During his time, Leonardo was well-known as an artist. He was the artist of his time. He was so well respected that in his journals, in his notebooks, what we call his codices today, he was designing. He was using science. He was naturally curious about birds, flight, how they work, how we work, technology, inventing things that other scientists have thought about before but advancing them. He was thinking about all those things back then, so he’s using science technology, he’s engineering these things, and he was using math to get it all done. And he was using the arts as his entry point to really explore these ideas.

Rob: Let’s go take a look.

Stone: Oh, fantastic, let’s do. We think of Leonardo today as the painter, as this great mind, as the designer of things that would ultimately become the helicopter, his obsession with flight. He had to do things to pay the bills, just like we all do. One of those things he did was basically a stage designer, a party planner. He did whatever he needed to do to appease his patrons at the time. And one thing he was incredibly adept at was stage design and prop design, and what we have right here is a self-propelled car. Now, on cue, this design would drive across stage in a curved or straight path, whatever it needed to be at the time, but this idea of a car that could drive itself on a predetermined path is really not that different than what we’re looking at today where we’re looking at self-propelled cars.

Rob: Yeah, and I am so fascinated not only by this but other things in the exhibit, that these are things that did not exist before he came about.

Stone: They did not exist. And he was not above looking at what other scientists and other minds did before him that he would take that information, advance it, he would look at what’s next. How can this be more efficient? How can this be more practical? How can I look at this thing that does this and make it do this other thing? And he did that through continual research, continual dreaming, looking at what he was doing and advancing that, always thinking. One of the byproducts of this is he didn’t always finish everything he started, but that was just part of the way his mind worked as he was always looking at what’s next..

Rob: So I want to see the things that didn’t work.

Stone: I’ll show you those. There are several things in this exhibit that really didn’t work, but what he came across ended up being great ideas for the next thing.

Rob: OK, let’s take a look. Now, these look like water skis.

Stone: They do, they look a lot like skis we use today. They look a lot like cross country skis with the poles on the side, but his idea here was, how are we going to cross the water? What if we could walk across it? Now, these floats for walking on water didn’t exactly work as planned, but they led to other ideas, like if you can’t walk over the water, maybe you can walk under the water.

Rob: Which is right behind us.

Stone: Yes, and this design here, I just absolutely love, because it didn’t work as is, but it brought us to what we call scuba gear today. And also doesn’t look that much different than a fire suit. So you can see the way he’s got the hand flippers, he’s got the breathing apparatus. It was a great step to the right direction.

Rob: So we’ve done on water, under water, what about up in the air?

Stone: He was very curious about that as well, very obsessed with birds. He would go and he would buy the birds, and there are many stories about him going to the square and just releasing all these birds and watching them fly. He was so curious about flight. He watched those birds, how were they getting lift? How were they flying? From watching those birds he thought, what can I do to help man achieve flight? And so from that step of watching birds and then really not just watching them but figuring out what parts were making the bird fly. As you walk around you’ll see lots of pieces that remind you of birds, from the way that the bones in the wings work and how those make great structures for wings to how the wings operate, what they need to flap. And so he made all these devices to try to help man fly.

Rob: And this reminds me of the modern day helicopter.

Stone: Yes, very much. His ideas were not only obsessed with the glider, not only obsessed with what we would consider being a plane today, but also the helicopter. He had a design called the aerial screw. He wanted man to fly.

Rob: So looking at this exhibit, Clint, you know I’m struck by just how much Leonardo did with the human form.

Stone: He was very curious about the human form, in a time when it wasn’t necessarily encouraged to be real curious about the human form and how everything worked. A lot of the drawings that he did, a lot of the research he did, he had to have friends who worked at hospitals where he was able to see these bodies of the deceased. And he had to do a lot of this in secret. Years later though these same drawings or the drawing style would be used in medical books – things like “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Rob: Well, nothing is more iconic than the “Mona Lisa” but you have a lot of Mona Lisas here.

Stone: We do, we have a lot of Mona Lisas here. When we think about Leonardo, you cannot think of Leonardo without thinking of the “Mona Lisa.” And the word that often comes up when people think of “Mona Lisa” is enigmatic, like from that smile to the lack of eyebrows. People have many questions about “Mona Lisa.” So what we do in this part of the exhibit through the research of Pascal Cotte is we look under all those layers of paint, all those years of history and we get a better understanding of not only the “Mona Lisa,” but Leonardo himself.

Rob: So you have the black and white, the color, the infrared even.

Stone: The infrared even.

Rob: What are we seeing?

Stone: Well, as we go through there, all the different layers, we see different things. We can see under the varnish layer. We can the pigments used. This blue used in the sky here was a very expensive color to be used at that time, comparable to using gold, right there on the painting. So we see that this was a painting that he really treasured, that he wanted to make very special through that use of blue.

Rob: This is a traveling exhibit, so people need to come out and see it while they can.

Stone: People need to come out. They have until Jan. 8 to see this exhibit. And it’s very inspiring. You really see science and art together. This is a great exhibit for the whole family to see.

Rob: All right. Clint Stone, thank you so much.

Stone: Thank you.

Female Announcer: Want to see more stories like this? All our segments are streaming on our YouTube channel at OklahomaHorizonTV.

Rob McClendon: Next time on “Oklahoma Horizon,” we look at the impact of globalization on your job and how you can have the skills to stay globally competitive.

Jim Jones: The way we grow an economy, basically, is to develop export markets. We can’t consume everything we need to grow as an economy.

Rob: Meeting the demands of a 21st century economy, on Oklahoma’s show for the heartland, Oklahoma Horizon.

Rob McClendon: Well, that is going to wrap us up for today, but you can see more of any of our stories on our website at Follow us throughout the week on Twitter at okhorizontv, or just like us on Facebook, where we do post our weekly stories. Thanks for including us as part of your day. I’m Rob McClendon, hope to see you back here next week.