It was a busy Tuesday night last month at the School of Education, where about 80 students in seven grades built, coded and most importantly learned through science and technology activities. They were there as part of STEM+C, an event with activities for students in kindergarten through sixth grade.
Students took turns doing science-related activities, such as building roofs that can sustain a natural disaster, and activities that involved technology, like building a balloon tower.
STEM+C, an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math, plus coding, was as important for the students that participated as it was for the students who organized the event. Instructors included School of Education undergraduate students in elementary science concentration, with graduate students and Associate Professor of Science Education and faculty supervisor Meredith Park Rogers coordinating.
“The elementary concentration students developed the activities and then enacted the activities with the students,” Park Rogers said. “They were involved in putting together the event, marketing and program organization as this was a final project for them. They were learning how to put on a STEM night of sorts potentially to do one in their own future schools someday.”
The event was a great chance to reach out to kids from all backgrounds and teach them how science connects with other related disciplines like technology, engineering and math.
“Having opportunities to reach out to our community and offer these sorts of events to kids of that age who are naturally curious, always wondering, asking a lot of questions and want to interact with these kinds of topics is really important,” Rogers pointed out. “It’s as important as any of our work that we do with our teacher preparation and other outreach programs that we have within the school.”
Students interested in more science programs are in luck: Saturday Science Quest starts February 2, and enrollment is still open.