Over 800 middle school students experience the wonders of science at 2022 Destination STEM hosted by COSAM’s STEM Outreach Center
Where can students go to observe how astronomers see stars through spectroscopy, watch flames dance along a Rubens tube and visit the largest snake in Alabama? Destination STEM, of course!
The STEM Outreach Center in Auburn University’s College of Sciences and Mathematics, or COSAM, hosted Destination STEM on October 20 in the Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum, giving students the opportunity to explore an array of fascinating scientific exhibits and introducing them to wide-ranging opportunities offered through COSAM.
Over 800 sixth through ninth grade students from 13 rural Alabama schools joined COSAM and Engineering faculty, staff and students for an exciting day of exploring interactive exhibits and discussing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.
Through an open house format, students got to visit Auburn’s campus and browse over 50 interactive stations along the Coliseum’s floor and third floor concourse at their own pace and experience firsthand the many wonders of science.
Along the third-floor concourse, students visited displays featuring the Theremin (an electronic musical instrument controlled without physical contact by the performer), a hair-raising Van de Graaf Generator demonstrating static electricity, rock-solid Geosciences collections, coronavirus in 3D, laser harps projecting DNA imagery, botanical oddities of Alabama and more.
Some displays allowed students to engage in mathematical folding puzzles, play probability games at a math carnival and scope out fruits and vegetables using microscopes.
On the Coliseum floor, students found lively displays featuring biomimicry live animals, an invasion of invertebrates and reptiles of Alabama like the large Eastern indigo snake and the checkered corn snake. Along the floor, students also interacted with different types of robots from the Southeastern Center of Robotics Education (SCORE) and engaged in an interactive natural selection computer game while learning about heritability.
John Henry, a seventh-grade student at W.F. Burns Middle School, was a first-time visitor to the event and used his Destination STEM Travel Passport to document what he observed and learned throughout the morning.
“I really enjoyed the rocks and minerals display. We got to match minerals with the object they make, and it showed me what everyday items were made of,” said Henry.
Henry’s classmate Phillip Albright remarked that he enjoyed AMSTI-AU’s display of The Private Eye, which featured an up close and personal view of everyday objects using a Jeweler’s or Eye Loupe.
“It was neat observing objects like sponges, seashells and rocks up close. Science is my favorite subject!” he said.
In addition to the multitude of STEM exhibits, COSAM’s STEM Outreach Center had admissions, student services, and scholarship representatives on hand to speak with students, as well as a “Career Corner” that featured successful female Auburn STEM graduates to share their career experiences.
Throughout the morning, students gained an increased awareness of opportunities in STEM fields in an exciting, hands-on manner and walked away with a greater appreciation of how scientists can make meaningful impacts throughout the world.
COSAM’s STEM Outreach Center would like to thank the 150 volunteers that made this year’s Destination STEM event a huge success.
Throughout the year, the STEM Outreach Center offers special activities, workshops and programs like Destination STEM to promote scientific literacy and interest among K-12 students and teachers. For additional information on Destination STEM, contact COSAM’s Assistant Director of Outreach Jessica Gilpin at email@example.com and check out the photo slideshow featuring this year’s Destination STEM exhibits.
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