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ONU students to conduct STEM workshops for middle-school students

Ohio Northern University students will conduct STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workshops for students attending Washington Intermediate School in Piqua, Ohio, on Oct. 13.
The 34 Ohio Northern students facilitating this program range from freshmen to seniors and represent each of the different engineering disciplines as well as environmental science. The workshop was founded by Sarah Jane Magoteaux, a sixth-grade teacher, and is funded by an Air Force Association Educator Grant, which underwrites the cost of the materials.
The day will begin with an opening assembly and an address from Tom Zechman, assistant dean of ONU’s College of Engineering. All of the fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-grade students will then participate in five different 30-minute mini-workshops. Each workshop will be divided by grade and will be led by two or three ONU students.
The ONU students will help fourth-graders design, build and test paper airplanes, explore the similarities between no-bake cookies and asphalt, and study buoyancy by building boats out of aluminum foil. Additionally, the fourth-graders will make gloop (a new material used for building) and attempt to hit a “lunar” target from a zip-line.
The fifth-graders will build bridge trusses from spaghetti as well as a tower from straws and paperclips. They will test these projects for strength by simulating an earthquake on a vibration table. The workshop also will include instructions on how to clean up an oil spill, a project-management exercise using gumdrops and toothpicks, and the lunar drop.
The sixth-grade workshop will include a lunar drop and oil-spill cleanup, but the students also will build solar water heaters and test the insolation value of different filter media. The sixth-grade class also will build a Mars Rover from LEGO and a robot-arm from cardboard.