Teacher education students at OBU hosted a special day of learning May 3 for local elementary students. The event was themed “Science and the Olympics: A STEM Study” and was attended by 58 fourth-grade students from Grove Elementary School in Shawnee. STEM is a common acronym representing the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The event highlighted how science is an integral part of every Olympic sport in numerous ways. The day began with the Olympic theme song and a lighting of the torch. Students then rotated through five stations, each featuring different science content, a different Olympic sport, and a hands-on STEM activity. The activities at each station ended with a mini competition in the spirit of the Olympics.
Students explored pole vaulting and created catapults while discussing kinetic and potential energy, as well as the engineering design process. They also examined surfing, where they discussed center of gravity and worked with the concepts of balance by creating a scale and making predictions. At the gymnastics station, students learned about centrifugal force and Newton’s third law of motion while experiencing some gymnastic moves and testing a balance beam.
They also explored sailing and discussed wind energy, and they also created and raced a sailboat using the engineering design process. The final station examined the heart of a champion where the focus was on training and the function of the heart, creating a heart model that demonstrates pumping. The day ended with students earning their own gold medals by correctly answering questions from the day’s learning.
The STEM day project was created by teacher education students Lauren Coker, Joryn Derry, Darra Lamar, Britney Mace, Kenzie Murphey, Emilee Robinson, Jordan Sonsel, Reagan Tidwell, Emily Trimble and Paige Witt.
Dr. Jeanne Akin, Mary A. White Professor of Education, teaches the science methods course in which the students created the event.
“The beauty of the STEM Day is that it is a win-win for everyone,” Akin said. “The OBU teacher candidates get to plan curriculum and practice their craft, the Grove students get to enhance their science knowledge in an engaging manner, STEM careers are promoted and highlighted, as well as the notion that furthering education at the collegiate level is possible and fun. And of course, we hope they loved their day at OBU and will consider us in a few years when they are considering their college choice.”
Learn more about the Henry F. McCabe Family School of Education at OBU.