Teays Valley Elementary STEM Club finished its second year of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) programming, engaging approximately 100 fourth and figth graders in after school hands-on STEM challenges and career exploration throughout the 2018-2019 school year.

Judy Walley, Teays Valley High School Chemistry Teacher, and Meghan Thoreau, Ohio State University Extension Educator, co-teach the program, which also involves more than two dozen high school mentor students. The mentors assist with club activities while gaining for themselves both soft and technical skills, leadership, community service, and college/career exploration opportunities. Visit our Elementary STEM Club Blog to learn more at u.osu.edu/tvstemclub/.

We bring in specialists from the community to teach, share, and engage with the students, such as the Scioto Valley Beekeeping Association, OSU Professors, an Extension Energy Specialist, an OSU Health Dietitian, and the Civil Air Patrol.

Sample Program Highlight

The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) collaborated with us to develop an aerospace program highlighting STEM careers in aviation, space, cyber security, emergency services, and the military. The whole organization is powered by a team of dedicated civilian volunteers with a passion for aviation and STEM education. If you know of a student, 12-years and up, that has in interest in aviation, would like a chance to fly a plane, work toward their pilot license, attend leadership encampments, career academies, and more, visit http://www.ohwg.cap.gov/.

Aerospace Officer Donna Herald, Lt Casey Green and Lt. Col. David Dlugiewicz volunteered their time and aviation skills to lead our youth into exploring the history of the Civil Air Patrol, emphasize the value of civic engagement, and underscore the growing deficit of pilots and aerospace specialists in the workforce.

STEM education programs can have a positive impact on students’ attitudes towards STEM disciplines, 21st century skills, and a greater interest in STEM careers. Educators throughout Pickaway County have been busy in supporting a number of problem-based learning initiatives, business-teacher partnerships, and STEM teaching initiatives.

The CAP lessons built on previous STEM Club programming that taught physic concepts, the law of gravity, and re-instilled aircraft principal axes, such as the friction, center of gravity, and coding parrot drones challenges. Lt. Col. Dlugiewicz taught the discussed Bernoulli Principle (an air pressure differential theory) and Sir Isaac Newton and the laws of motion and lift. The students engaged in a hands-on activity such as filling an air bag with one breath, leaving a gap between their mouth and the bag to allow a vacuum to form, demonstrating Bernoulli’s principle.

Lt. Green discussed the parts of an airplane focusing on the components that control an aircraft’s moment and direction. The students broke into groups and rotated between two stations. The students first engaged in building paper airplanes that they cut strategic slits into. They then experimented by folding different components of their paper airplanes to change and control the overall direction of their airplanes.

The second station engaged the students in two different sets of CAP flight simulators to further the students’ understandings of the aviation principles taught in the program. The flight simulators provided a semi authentic experience that helps young pilots learn to fly.

Next year, we’re hoping to bring some virtual reality, 360 photography, and video production challenges to our students. If you’re interested in sharing a skillset, a technology, a career path, or a meaningful life experience to some amazing and eager-minded students, please email, thoreau.1@osu.edu or jwalley@tvsd.us.

Our community has some amazing young minds that are thinking and embrace the many dynamic career pathways of a STEMist. Please get involved and support more STEM programming in your community, it matters.

Judy Walley is a chemistry teacher at Teays Valley High School and Meghan Thoreau is an Ohio State University Extension Educator.

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