STEM Outreach

District 34 STEM Day

Students from Attea and Springman of the 6th grade and 8th grade. Students were grouped with us high school students based on the scientist that we were all instructed to research before the event. I was given an instant challenge to work on with my group in which we were instructed to craft a precise, accurate catapult from various materials. We were given a “budget” to buy materials from the “Supply Store”. My group members quickly came up with an idea, and I helped them create it. During the physics section of the STEM event, I taught them some VPython and showed them how python can be used to represent physics. I also introduced them to the concepts of vectors, scalars, and “the origin” of physics motion problems. They quickly grasped the concepts and were able to apply their knowledge of negative values in physics (representative of direction) to position their figures on the screen through code. We then all ate pizza, cookies, and salad to celebrate the end of the event.

Incoming Freshman Night 5:30-8:30 PM

Many incoming freshmen came from various schools. I was standing at a STEM “kiosk,” explaining what the class is all about and how it differs from regular PLTW classes and physics classes that can be taken Freshman year. I explained that STEM (SELC, now) is a community where you learn engineering and science with the same people for four years, whilst being exposed to various programming challenges that are not available in standard PLTW and science courses at GBS. I showed them my Penny Hockey Project and walked them through the process of building and programming with the Arduino. I even spoke to some parents in various languages- both Russian and English, as I feel it is essential to tell everybody possible about the program. I also told people about my MakerFaire project, and many parents and students were impressed and likely considered joining the program afterwards.

Hour of Code Event 5:00 ~ 8:00 PM

New photo by Josh Malinkovich / Google Photos

In the Hour of Code event, middle schoolers from various schools attended a GBS event where they were exposed to Arduino programming and an engaging presentation on innovation, creativity, and the use of technology for the advancement of humankind. I taught four kids at the same time. Instead of spending little time on each project that the Arduino offers for beginners, like Blink, I walked them through the entire process of wiring and programming an LED, touching on the basics of the syntax of the Arduino programming language. They grasped the concepts quickly and managed to create a program that switched between various LEDs, all connected to various pins, WITHOUT my help. Thanks to the Hour of Code event, one student in my group even expressed interest in programming outside of the classroom and likely did so after the day ended.