Can you imagine 80 parents of middle-school girls partaking in exciting hands-on-minds-on STEM investigations with their peers? Well check out the video below it includes highlights of the two investigations parents took part in during a STEM workshop I presented at the Expanding Your Horizons Conference held at UCF in February of this year. Parents conducted investigations with super-absorbing polymers, and also took part in the Marshmallow Challenge. I have found the Marshmallow Challenge to be an excellent exercise to use during STEM workshops. Participants must use critical thinking skills, collaborate and communicate with group members if they are to succeed in building the tallest free-standing structure in 18 minutes with only 20 spaghetti sticks, one yard of string, one yard of tape, and one large marshmallow. The parents had a fantastic time, and so did I.
Posts Tagged ‘EYH’
On February 20th UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science was host to the Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) Conference. EYH is a national organization whose goal is to motivate young women in science and mathematics by exposing them to hands-on-minds-on workshops for a day. The unique aspect of this conference is that the parents of the junior high girls can remain on the campus and participate in workshops designed for parents. I provided an interactive keynote presentation workshop for 75 parents entitled “Exploring Patterns, Shapes, and Structures from Nature to Engineering.” The interactive keynote presentation workshop integrated science, technology, engineering, and math principles. Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts. Currently, STEM education is a major focus of reform in math and science education, and I felt that the parent workshop should focus on STEM concepts as well. To explore STEM concepts parents were given a pre-packaged bag that contained a wide-assortment of objects from nature as well as man-made items whose design is based on models borrowed from nature. Parents were asked to observe, compare, and analyze structure and function of the objects using eye-loupes. Parents worked in groups of two which allowed them to develop theories as to why certain objects had a particular structure etc., as well as correlating the natural object to a modern-day invention. Objects and concepts the group explored included: golf balls, bird feather, model airplane wing, aerodynamics, seed structure and dispersal, sea shells, hexagonal nuts and bolts, soap film, architectural design, and geometrical structures. As always, I was very impressed with the group of parents that participated in the parent Expanding Your Horizons session. They were totally immersed in the learning process via hands-on-minds-on explorations, busily jotting down their observations, theorizing, building models, and exchanging ideas within one another. Additionally, parents heard presentations from Megan Clementi, Miss Florida USA 2010 who earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from UCF, and Janet McCulloh, Mrs. Florida 2009 who earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from UCF and a MS in Electrical Engineering from GA Tech. For more information about the EYH Conference held at UCF check this link out.