Michael T. Simmons Elementary in Tumwater hosted my Science Magic show to kick off their 2nd annual STEM Night. Thank you, PTO!
Students each went to one of four stations: structural engineering, robotics, life science, and aeronautics. It was great seeing the parents so involved, too, and no wonder – these was were real-life projects. In the aeronautics class the objective was to deliver a “payload” (ping pong ball) to the surface of the “moon” (ground) in a slow and controlled manner, softly disengaging the payload from the vehicle upon landing. Each group came up with different approaches, some that worked well and others that were better in theory than in application. Teacher Mr. Smith suggested that “simple is better” and recommended that students think of devices in real life that they might be able to emulate using their supplies.
The Life Science lab gave students an opportunity to discover the life in a drop of pond water. Daphnia were exposed to small dilute amounts of either Coke or rubbing alcohol to see how these drugs altered the heartbeat of the organism. Wow!
Lego Mindstorms: where were these when I was a kid? Very cool to be able to program your own Lego robot in the Robotics class. Kids learn the basics of programming, writing code, and downloading it from computer to the Mindstorm with a USB cable. More advanced projects can use sensors to allow the robot to follow a line on the floor, stop and change directions before hitting obstacles, and more. Wow!
There were additional stations that I wasn’t able to spend as much time at, including a Structural Engineering lab. Kids and parents all had fun and learned from the experiences. I have to find out how to get invited to more of these STEM Nights!