I’ve been spending my externship working with kids! I have been at the Boys and Girls Club of Rupert and have been busy finding ways to engage children of ages 7-10 in activities that feel like play, but have a strong science or engineering concept behind them. I have been doing this through activities like tower and bridge building, aluminum foil boat construction, learning about aerodynamics and lift with paper airplanes, making rainbows with mirrors and water, and of course oobleck and slime! I have been conveying the science concepts through the use of posters and visuals and then turning them loose to create and explore. It has been a pleasure to see these young ones engage in the activities and be excited to participate, with some really taking the challenge seriously! While we were constructing the aluminum foil boats, which we then tested using Play-Doh as weight, I had a little one shout, ‘I want to be an engineer!’
As a science teacher one of the most liberating aspects of this externship has been the freedom to implement an activity without the worry of it being directly tied to a specific unit… I can make posters with pictures to explain the science, compile the materials, and off we go! I feel I have learned new ways to teach some concepts and accomplished the challenge of running a lab/activity every day. Most importantly I have engaged young students in science and play, which is the most important aspect of my time with the Boys and Girls Club. I have been lucky to have access to the “STEM Trailer” full of materials and resources which is provided in part by the Idaho STEM Action Center, the department of education, and the Boys and Girls Club of Magic Valley, as well as others.