On April 3, 2014, over 100 educators had the opportunity to play, learn, and discover at the STEM Exploratorium at the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, CA. During the free event, attendees experienced hands-on STEM activities, using basic and cost-effective materials, which could be easily implemented at their sites and in their programs. There were stations set up that incorporated various STEM concepts such as Physics, Chemistry, and the Engineering design process.
Educators were presented with all kinds of ideas, along with lesson plans stating the activity’s learning objectives, on how to engage their students in meaningful learning opportunities.
They were challenged to design a boat made of aluminum foil to see how many marbles it could hold. They were amazed to blow up a balloon using a simple chemical reaction rather than their own breath. They were dared to balance 11 nails on a single standing nail. They were intrigued by the idea of making a variety of instruments from recycled materials. They were even willing to roll their sleeves up and get a little messy using shaving cream to make impression art.
Aside from these activities, participants had the chance to attend a selection of workshops facilitated by local STEM professionals, educators, and Maker Enthusiasts. These workshops covered topics such as; using theories of design, creating pathways for engagement, game design, using motivation theory to build 21st century skills, Tinker. Make. Innovate, and creating engaging presentations.
Additionally, educators were provided with a host of resources from local businesses and non-profits who support the OC STEM Initiative. These exhibitors included; Discovery Science Center, Tiger Woods Learning Center, Inside the Outdoors, ExplorOcean, PBS SoCal, Vital Link, The Exploratory, Optics Institute of Southern California, and Rocket Science Tutors.
STEM education is imperative in this day and age, in teaching our kids life-long skills that set them up for success in the future. This event proved to be a great networking opportunity for all who attended and a chance to see first-hand just how easy it can be to lead a quality STEM lesson.