Dads (and Moms!) just aren’t out fixing their tractors and other equipment much more these days, taking away a great opportunity for their kids to get hands-on experience using tools, making mechanical and electrical connections and figuring out how things work. One result of this phenomenon might be the decreasing numbers of students entering the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. This project aims to reverse this trend by involving the entire community – parents, kids, companies and schools – in laying the foundation for understanding their mechanical and electrical world.
The idea is to host an outdoor event that allows all students to interact with and explore a variety of scientific and technical elements as they might be used in industry. Groups of mixed-grade students will rotate through the 10-15 kinesthetic activity booths where they get to encounter and have a hands-on experience with a sampling of relevant technologies from our local company contributors. Each group will be guided by a High School Ag Science docent under the guidance of the Ag Science teacher.
Activities may be silicon-based parts that can link-up, printed circuit boards, digital transfer equipment, and internal – combustion engines: whatever our community can come up with! Each participating company will take on the challenge of coming up with a kinesthetic activity which they feel best represents their core STEM relevancy in the spirit of allowing students to experience that idea.
Thus, this Techsploration Day event will bring students and STEM activities together by the very people who enjoy the activities: community companies whose future employees may very well be these students!
Techsploration Day FAQ
What is Techsploration Day? It is a unique event at Carpinteria Family School, designed to give elementary school kids an opportunity to get their hands onto the tools, parts and devices that make up their world which are normally off-limits and stimulate their curiosity to become science, technology and engineering oriented citizens.
When is Techsploration Day? May 17, 2012 from 12:30 – 2:00 pm outside room 35
Where will it be held? On the Family School campus (co-located with Canolino School), outside room 35 (Lori’s room).
How does Techsploration Day work?
• Elementary students will be organized into mixed-grade groups of 6 (k,1,2,3,4,5)
• Each group will have a guide or docent accompanying them.
• There will be 10-15 stations or booths with different activities.
• Groups will visit each station for about 8 minutes, allowing time for a brief introduction by their docent and time to explore the materials assembled by the sponsoring company.
• After the allocated time, all groups will simultaneously shift to the next station.
How will the groups move between booths? Students will be in small groups, 6 or 7 per group. They would spend about 8 minutes at each station and then rotate to another station. The actual numbers depend on total students attending, docents and the final number of booths.
How do ensure the safety of the participants? This will be addressed in the design phase for each booth. Companies will work with a technical advisor as needed to ensure that the activity is inherently safe (sharp edges, charged electrical devices, chemicals, etc.) Furthermore, there will be a safety board at each booth with information regarding any out of the ordinary safety considerations. The docents will address these safety considerations at the beginning of interaction at each booth.
How do the booths work? Each booth will be “sponsored” by a local company. The docents (Carpinteria High School Ag Science student) will present safety guidelines (if any), give a brief explanation of what that booth is about and describe/solicit where it can be found in our lives. Ideally, there will also be a large poster with photographs illustrating the utility of that booth’s subject. The sponsoring company will supply the posters and materials (enough for 6-7 students simultaneously). They are also encouraged to attend to be available for answering extending questions.
• 1 min intro by docent and about 7 minutes exploration time for kids
What will happen at each booth? Each booth will have a hands-on activity to allow students to kinesthetically explore that company’s product/service as it occurs in the world. To date, the companies aren’t identified. Parent volunteers will enlist and liaison between the project coordinators and the companies.
Who will be the guides or docents? These will be Ag Science students from Carpinteria High School. Each student docent will be trained on the various booths beforehand on a date TBD. Company representatives, the Technical Advisor and project coordinators will be present. Students will also earn community service credits for their part in the event. John Avila, the Ag Science teacher at Carpinteria High School, will coordinate and supervise the docents as he has a personal relationship with each student.
When will the docent training take place? Ideally it will be several days ahead of the event, probably on May 15 in the early evening.
How long will docent have with each group of children? The docents will remain with each group of students for all stations, we anticipate about 8 minutes per station.
What does each company supply? Put together a safe representation of the materials and parts that your industry uses or produces, preferably in areas that the students will have some familiarity with but seldom get to touch or experience in a hands-on way.
Do we provide the box/bag/play kit? Each company is asked to supply all the parts/pieces/materials, hopefully from a nonessential source, such as unusable supplies or broken parts.
How much stuff in the box/bag/play kit? Ideally there would be enough for 6 (7) kids to experience it simultaneously, though this may be unrealistic in some cases.
How much display area will each area have? Probably about the size of a picnic table.
When do I have to have the project to the school for training the docents? The afternoon of the training/safety day would be the absolute latest.
More Information: Who to contact if I am a company that is interested in sponsoring this? Please contact Maryanne Mendoza (AmeriCorps Member) at [email protected]