Driscoll – STEM Field Trip (4.16.2021)

On Friday, April 16th, we hosted the Driscoll Middle School (52 x 8th graders) for a virtual field, teaching about Natural Disasters. Field trip was led by myself (due to the modified schedule), with assistance by Sakura, Sena, Tasha, Tyree, and Anya. This was our first field trip where all the attending students where in their classroom (as opposed to calling in from home), so the dynamics were different. Calling on students for example was difficult, due to the feedback / multiple voices coming through the microphone: instead, we had students submit answers to question in writing via zoom’s chat feature.

The day started with an introduction to the Engineering Design Process, a quick introduction to Natural Disasters and Hazards, and then dove right into students making emergency plans/kits for a pandemic. We then compared students’ plans to each other and to Boston’s hazard mitigation plan. Interestingly, Boston is currently updating their plan (which is from 2014). If you have some insights, the city of Boston is looking for survey responses about this update.

Students then did a civil engineering design challenge: building paper towers at least 6 inches tall that hold as much weight as possible, using just a single piece of paper and 6 inches of tape. A 6″ tower isn’t very tall – I’m definitely re-doing the rules in the future and requiring towers to be at least 12″ tall! This was followed up by a creative writing assignment, in which students use storytelling (in today’s case: poetry, comics, and artwork) to tell their thoughts on a natural disaster (the Covid pandemic). Some really interesting writing: I really liked the comic strips! We then wrapped up with our STEM/College 101 panel, wherein students asked questions about college.

Also – take a look at these presentations (from YSP and PSE) about Climate Change:
“Weathering the Impacts of Climate Change in Coastal Ecosystems” by Brian Helmuth
“Sustainable Building Systems & Resilient Housing” by Kris Govertsen

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