On Friday, October 26th, 50 fourth grade students from the Mendell Elementary School came to visit Northeastern. The Center for STEM Education has partnered with the Mendell for the past three years as part of the EFA robotics initiative, and this was also the third consecutive year in which teachers from the Mendell have come for a field trip. The theme for the day was Energy, which the students are learning about in science class right now, so the topics for the day were a nice extension for the students. The day started off with an introduction to energy: what is is, where it comes from, what we use it for, etc. The Energy 101 video was a hit, and the students seemed to enjoy playing with the snap circuits kits and analyzing their solar panel circuits.
During lunch, the students had an opportunity to ask our four student volunteers (Francheska [BioEngineering ’21], Michael [CS/CE ’18], Sakura [Pharmacy ’23], and Marissa [Comp. Eng ’20]) questions about College and STEM. The students had so many questions; unfortunately, more than we had time for. As part of the College/STEM 101 session, we’ve created an “Ask Us Anything” Q+A process, so students who have additional questions can ask us.
After lunch, with the departure time coming up quickly, we wrapped up the day with a wind turbines activity, in which half of the room competed with the other half to build a better wind turbine, i.e. one which could lift a weight faster than the other (i.e. generating more energy). The results were interesting: one group’s wind turbine lifted the weight much faster, but not to the full height, whilst the other group’s wind turbine spun slower, but not quite as high.