Teacher training students at Oklahoma Baptist University recently hosted a special day of learning for local elementary school students. The event was themed “SPACE: A STEM Study” and brought together 62 grade four students from Sequoyah Elementary School in Shawnee.
STEM is a common acronym representing the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The event began with OBU students posing as NASA engineers meeting during a space shuttle launch. Elementary school students were encouraged to join the education majors as they counted to take off. Following the excitement of the launch, students were asked if they would be interested in becoming junior space engineers or space scientists.
Each team of students then asked several science questions, and when they couldn’t answer, they were invited to attend training on STEM Day. The students then walked through four different stations including station 1: “The Landing”, station 2: “The Take-Off”, station three: “G Force” and station four: “Our Galaxy”.
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For Station One: “The Landing,” students watched a spaceship land and explained what it took for it to land. The students then tried their hand at slowing down an object and cushioning the fall through an egg drop activity. They used the engineering process of designing a safe way to land an egg from a high position and tested and evaluated their idea. This was followed by a redesign and retest. This station was created and taught by Ashley Chambers, Anita Claxton, Zoë Jennings and Avery Delano.
“We chose our spatial theme by discussing in class and presenting ideas for things fourth graders were learning in class,” said Delano. “When we landed in space, everyone started to come up with ideas and that was the obvious choice. “
Delano commented on what she hopes the fourth graders learned from the experience.
“I hope the fourth graders have learned about everything that happens in space and what it takes to launch and land a rocket,” she said. “I also hope they have learned that many of us are supporting them here at OBU and we are delighted to walk alongside them as they learn.”
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At Station 2: “Take Off,” students watched a rocket launch and discussed some of the scientific principles needed to launch a rocket, such as a source of energy. They then used the engineering design process to design a small straw rocket with a small power source, and then a larger bottle rocket with a larger power source. Then the students each launched their rockets. This station was created and taught by Abigail Boren, Jacqui Denny, Leavi Everett and Gracie Pipes.
Station Three: “G Force” discussed the concepts of gravity, force and motion. Magnetism was used as a way to demonstrate gravitational pull. Students first experimented with magnetism, then completed an engineering challenge using magnetism to move a steel ball along a path without touching it. This station was created and taught by Ivanna Covarrubias, Hannah Ellis, Devyn Jones and Allison Pankiewicz.
Finally, Station Four: “Our Galaxy” provided basic knowledge of the planets in our solar system and our galaxy. Students were treated to a STEAM (STEM plus art) activity where they could create and paint a model of the order and distances of the planets. This station was created and taught by Brooke Newby, Hannah Mehlhaff, Macie Kester and Grace Vernon.
Delano enjoyed the STEM Learning Day and all that it involved.
“My favorite part of STEM day was seeing how excited all the kids got as they went from section to section. They were all very excited when they started to connect the dots and grew in their knowledge. “
She believes that working to create this day of learning will benefit her as a future educator.
“I think this experience will make me a better teacher because of the possibility of planning a thematic unit and then teaching it. I learned a lot from this experience and also how to work with others in my group who all teach the same thing.
Dr. Jeanne Akin, Mary A. White education teacher, teaches the scientific methods course in which the students created the event.
“STEM Day provides a great opportunity for OBU teacher education students to practice a planning program that promotes STEM at a young age and provides them with a teaching experience,” said Akin. “The day was a hands-on learning opportunity for children that encouraged interest in careers related to science, math and STEM. It was a very fun day while learning. “
For more information on the Henry F. McCabe Family School of Education and studying to become a teacher at OBU, visit okbu.edu/education.
For more information on OBU, visit okbu.edu.
This article originally appeared on The Shawnee News-Star: OBU Education Majors Host STEM Day For Local Fourth-graders