What better way to experience STEM in action than to take part in learning it hands on. STEM Education continues to grow in popularity because it is a type of learning that focuses on the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics together. These fields are deeply intertwined in our current world so it is great to explore them together!
The UNCP Science Education Club President, Cameron Troutman, and Faculty Advisor, Dr. Rita Hagevik, hosted two STEM workshops that were held at UNC Pembroke on 29-30 March 2016. These workshops featured Hummingbird Robotics and the Basics of 3D Printing. In the robotics workshop, teachers of science experienced programing first hand by assembling lights and motors. After learning the basics of programing, participants then had the opportunity to take it one step further. One group of participants worked together to engineer a working hand out of cardboard, straws, and string.
The 3D Printing workshop proved to be a big hit with the students in Dr. Bill Brandon’s graduate physics class, which is offered as a part of the Science Education Master Program. His students witnessed first hand 3D printing with the Printrbot machine. The students were first instructed to create a letter “I” with a hot glue gun. This introduced a creative way to represent how 3D printers function and why certain methods of printing are more successful than others. Dr. Brandon was so intrigued by the workshop that he plans to assist the Science Education Club with scheduling a future workshop within the next month or two.
The Science Education Club, Science Education Masters Program, and the UNCP Department of Chemistry and Physics would like to thank Mr. Joel Bonasera from the Discovery Place for making the STEM workshops possible. The participants in these workshops learned the beauty of engineering and the importance of problem solving when working with the printers. Future plans include hosting a workshop to assemble our own 3D Printrbot machine. Knowing how to use a printer is one thing, but learning how to assemble the printer, modify it, repair it, and to create new ways of “making” will be the next step!
Article submitted by Cameron Troutman and Dr. Rita Hagevik