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Learning Unboxed Ep. 11: #STEMFeedsOhio: How Design Challenges Empower Students to Solve Problems &#

Teaching students how to solve real-world problems, and giving them experience solving real-world problems, is critical to their development as future problem solvers – and that’s why, three years ago, the Ohio Stem Learning Network (OSLN) started hosting statewide design challenges.

The first year, they asked students to come up with solutions to the opioid crisis, and last year, they asked students to develop ideas about how to make their communities more heart healthy. This year, OSLN partnered with Education Projects, Ohio Corn and Wheat, and the Ohio Soybean Council to ask students to imagine, prototype, and design a solution to food insecurity in their life, community, or world. You can find more information and learn how to sign up for the 2019 design challenge at

Luckily, we have two amazing women joining us to unbox this huge topic: Heather Sherman and Jeanne Gogolski. Heather is the Director of Ohio’s STEM Learning Network and Stem Relationship Manager for Battelle Education and Jeanne is the Founding Partner of, one of the industry partners for this year’s challenge.

Follow @OSLN on Twitter for updates as they visit many of the students and classrooms tackling this challenge. You can also follow the hashtag #STEMFeedsOhio to see what students are coming up with, and if you’re participating, we’d love you to use the hashtag so we can see what you’re working on, too!

We unbox:

  1. What is OSLN and what is the Battelle STEM Education Initiative?

  2. Creating relevant learning opportunities in the classroom

  3. How STEM education initiatives help bridge the talent gap, especially in the agriculture industry

  4. How Battelle’s design challenge is helping to solve problems in the agriculture industry

  5. Encouraging students to use the engineering design process, or design cycle: identify a problem, do some research, come up with ideas for a solution to the problem, make a prototype of your solution, and then evaluate your solution.

  6. Why participating students are tasked with building a physical prototype, not just writing a theoretical paper

  7. Giving teachers the resources they need to empower their students on such a science-rich topic

  8. What does learning look like when students participate in a design challenge?

  9. How you can get students to care about a problem so that they really want to solve it

  10. Helping urban and suburban kids really understand where food comes from

  11. How agriculture relates to social justice, equity, and opportunity

  12. Building empathy and awareness through education

  13. The value of giving students authentic audiences (and what that even means)


  1. Learn more & sign up at sign up

  2. Twitter: @OSLN


  4. Agriculture resources for teachers: | Feed the World Ohio | Feed the World Nebraska |

  5. Download the complete transcript here


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