WWU Students Do Hands-On Math, Science Activities with Gradeschoolers

About 100 Students Learned about Rockets, More

By: Taylor Sarrafian

WWU engineering students share their science and math knowledge with Davis Elementary School students.

WWU engineering undergraduates volunteered their time by doing educational science-related crafts with Davis Elementary School students in College Place during their Force and Motion Day in March. Approximately 100 students in kindergarten through third grade learned physics principles by making balloon rockets, mixing pigments, and designing rubber-band planes.

Ralph Stirling, a WWU engineering professor, demonstrated rocket propulsion mechanisms via a robotic balancing system. Children were able to touch a rod and watch the machine immediately adjust itself; the same machine is used in upper-division engineering courses. Stirling says, "The students seemed to enjoy seeing the practical applications of science and math, and the teachers were glad to have reinforcement that math is good."

"The most positive thing was to see the little kids get excited," said WWU engineering professor Don Riley, a key coordinator of the event. "The kids could see rocket science, if you will, and yet actually physically do the same thing…then watch a computer do it. It's a nice hands-on connection for 'Force and Motion.’"

Carla Houchin, a kindergarten teacher at Davis Elementary School, says “I am so pleased that we could coordinate this event and provide an opportunity for our students to work with your students. It was a huge success."

May 2, 2013

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