For more than 60 fifth-graders studying science at The Discovery School at Bellwood in Murfreesboro, not much could top homemade ice cream made in five minutes and s’mores … both at the same time.
Oh, how about more science experiments like the ones making the midmorning goodies gobbled up by the energetic 10- and 11-year-olds at the school on Middle Tennessee Boulevard?
Eighteen University Honors College students — all non-science majors taking an honors physical science class this spring— put on quite a presentation that is the first experiential learning STEM Extravaganza carried out to the community.
STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math, was the impetus behind the MTSU class taking the chemical reactions to the Discovery Center at Bellwood Students April 7.
The experiments included “Lava in a Bottle,” “Self-Inflating Balloons” and “Penny Water Drop” “Solar Pizza Box Oven,” “Dry Ice Cream,” “How Strong is an Eggshell?” and “How Low Can You Go?”
Moyin Onafrwokan, 11, shined in the “Penny Water Drop,” placing 66 drops of water on a penny.
“I was trying to concentrate and block out all other sounds,” she said.
Caroline Meredith, 10, said it “was really awesome (MTSU) students are putting this together. A lot of them you can do at home and you can do them with family whenever.”
All but one of the experiments was held in the school cafeteria. Using salt to lower the temperature, the “How Low Can You Go?” experiment was held in the science lab. One group of children got the chemical reaction to reach minus-15 degrees.
The honors students are in professor Judith Iriarte-Gross’s physical science class.
Not only did the MTSU students work in groups of three with their projects, they brought information showing the science behind the hands-on experiments.
Iriarte-Gross said she will require each student write a 500-word paper “on what they learned from the children.” She added that by “just hearing the noise — the kids talking — is wonderful, and we’ve already been invited back.”
Camisha Tapscott, a sophomore music business major from Chattanooga, Tennessee, said the experiential learning aspect was for their contemporary issues in science class, “which means getting more hands-on experience — going out to schools and doing things like this.”
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— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)