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ONU students part of STEM in the Park

Five ONU Engineering Education students took part in STEM in the Park, held Sept. 7, 2013, at Bowling Green State University, to introduce engineering to K-12 students and their parents. Over 1,700 students from kindergarten to high school explored different aspects of engineering, math, biology, chemistry and many other topics presented at 65 different booths.

The goal of this STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) experience was to expose students to many exciting things that the STEM disciplines have to offer. Children could hold a snake, explore the power of windmills, learn about centers of gravity, climb into an inflatable planetarium and many other activities. In addition to ONU’s Engineering Education program, participating organizations included BGSU clubs, local businesses, museums, libraries, energy companies and many more.

The Polar Bear booth was dedicated to building “robotic arms.” The children were given a kit of random supplies that can be found in any classroom, including four pieces of cardboard, pencils, tape, paperclips, yarn, rubber bands and other supplies. The goal was to build some sort of device that could pick up a water bottle that is 20 inches away, or 10 inches away for the youngest ones. The ONU booth ended up handing out 194 kits, often with two of the children sharing a kit and building a robot arm together. While the designs varied in success, creativity was very prevalent. Some of the designs even surprised the ONU students! Overall, the students demonstrated a great ability to use imagination and design something within engineering.

ONU students involved in this activity were senior Liz Spingola from Butler, Pa., juniors Tyler Hertenstein from St. Marys, Ohio, and Graham Fennell from Gibsonia, Pa., and sophomores David Reeping from Richfield, Ohio, and John Hartman from Fayette, Ohio, all majoring in engineering education. The five students worked with Dr. Ken Reid to make STEM an exciting experience for the children.