Bringing STEM to Young Future-Scientists

Jeff and other in front 350The concepts of gravity, electricity, and momentum, to name a few, were all demonstrated in a fun and entertaining way at the STEM outreach day on Thursday, Jan. 29.  The UCF Physics Department and the College of Engineering and Computer Science hosted this day of learning.  The Florida High Tech Corridor Council’s techPATH group co-sponsored the event, including a lunch for all the students and busing to and from the event.

Approximately 80 first grade students from the Grand Avenue Primary Learning Center in Parramore had the opportunity to tour and take part in different science and engineering based activities.  The goal of the day was to have each child experience STEM in a way that would inspire them and help them to develop curiosity about all the fields in science.

NAO tai chi

Their day started with an experiment in gravity. They continued on to learn about the motion of object and observe bottle rockets. During their lunch, which included yummy sandwiches from Subway, the NAO robot strutted its stuff for the students.  NAO showed the children many exciting things that he could do, including kicking a soccer ball, demonstrating tai chi, working out including push-ups, and how to do the famous Macarena dance.  NAO also interacted with the children by speaking to them and even responding to one child’s voice commands.

Their day concluded with experiments with electric charges and magnets.  The purpose of this was to find common things that they could use to conduct experiments.  From rubbing balloons to show charging by friction, to using straws that show electrostatic repulsion, the students learned much about science through the use of normal household items.

“I think that the kids will remember most of  the demos that they played with,” Dr. Ahlam Al-Rawi said. “Every time they use a straw when they drink a beverage they will remember that they can explore an important concept in physics.”

With help from physics lecturers Dr. Jeff Bindell, Dr. Ahlam Al-Rawi and teacher in residence Kevin Thomas, the students were able to have a fun filled day of hands on learning.

“This is the youngest group of future STEM students that I have ever worked with.”, remarks Dr. Jeff Bindell.  From the comments the teachers and students gave as they were leaving, the events of the day left a wonderful impression on these young future scientists.


Comments are closed.