Valley students explore STEM at YSUValley students participate in program at YSU
Published: 6/26/14 @ 12:02
By Denise Dick
They learned precision and accuracy by shooting basketballs, honed measuring skills by throwing a Frisbee and used Pringles cans to create solar ovens.
Thirty-five sixth- through eighth-graders from throughout the Mahoning Valley are participating this week in the third STEM Explore program at Youngstown State University.
It’s a collaboration between YSU’s STEM College and Beeghly College of Education.
“I really like science, so I was really interested,” Olivia DeSantis, 12, a seventh-grader at St. Nicholas School in Struthers, said of why she signed up for the program.
So far, her favorite activity has been making solar ovens out of Pringles cans, she said.
The group will toast marshmallows in them later this week.
“We’re learning about science, technology and math,” Olivia said.
Kathleen Cripe, professor of teacher education, and Robert Korenic, assistant professor in civil and construction engineering technology, two of the program’s coordinators, said new activities were added this year and some activities continued from the program’s previous years.
The crime-scene condo, new this year, where students learned about analyzing a crime scene, gathering fingerprints and examining blood spatter.
“Blood spatter was the hit,” Cripe said.
Another addition was 3-D printing.
Organizers asked students to write what they enjoy about each aspect of activities.
“One student wrote, ‘I really like 3-D printing. It’s the wave of the future. It’s what I want to do when I grow up,’” Cripe said.
Students eat lunch daily at Crissman Dining Hall on campus, and the instructors incorporated that into the program too.
“We calculated the power output, coming from Oh Wow! to Crissman,” Korenic said.
Students figured — based on their weight, the distance, time it took to walk between the dining hall and Oh Wow! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology — the power they expended on their journey. Then they determined they burned only half of the calories in the Pringles they ate for lunch.
The program ran for two weeks the last two years but was limited to one week this year because snow days lengthened the school year.
Thirty-four students were on a waiting list for the program this year.
STEM Explore runs with the help of eight student teachers.
The students were throwing Frisbees inside the Andrews Recreation at Wellness Center Wednesday morning, allowing another student to measure each toss.
Justin Smith’s two throws measured 23 meters and 16 meters.
Justin, 11, a sixth-grader at Liberty’s W.S. Guy Middle School, signed up for STEM Explore because the activities sounded like fun and he said he’s enjoying them so far.
His favorite was swabbing different items inside the Beeghly College of Education for bacteria.
He and his group swabbed steps, a light switch, the toilet handle in the men’s’ restroom and the toilet seat in the women’s’ restroom.
They dabbed the swabs in Petri dishes and await bacteria growth.
Justin expects the dish with the swab from the toilet seat will produce the most plentiful bacteria supply.