Taking STEM Out of the Classroom

It can often be difficult to engage students in a traditional school environment.  For Columbus City Schools (CCS), a solution to this problem came in the form of a STEM-centered field trip.  During the month of February, The Ohio State University (OSU) hosted at least two high school STEM-related events: STEM Fest hosted by the Lambda Psi Engineering Honorary and STEM Initiatives’ Breakfast of Science Champions.

The 4th annual STEM Fest took place at the OSU student union and hosted 225 6-12th grade CCS students.  During the event, 15 college organizations presented STEM-related demonstrations and over 50 volunteers instructed students in designing and building hands-on projects.

The Breakfast of Science Champions spread middle school students throughout the entire OSU campus.  This gave students the chance to explore the vast area and visit some of the laboratories and research facilities and view demonstrations similar to those of Bill Nye the Science Guy.

These field trips are refreshing for students and spur their enthusiasm for STEM.  In addition, exposing high school students to their older, college counterparts provides potential role models and insight into the academic possibilities for STEM at a university.  Visits to colleges, research facilities, science museums, etc., provide an experience for students that can never be achieved in a classroom.

Christopher Andersen, the director of STEM Initiatives at OSU, states that “such events take a lot of planning and that schools should utilize an organization (i.e. STEM Initiatives) that connects the university to the schools.”

However, if it’s unfeasible to take students to a STEM environment, teachers, parents and administrators can bring STEM to the students by facilitating interaction with engaging STEM professionals. Without a doubt, interaction between high schools, colleges and professionals has the ability to spark the enthusiasm and creativity that was seen in both events.

— Phoebe Low

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