STEM Day seeks to stem new technology workers

Rogers students meet the experts

Science, technology, math and engineering (STEM) is fun?

Not a believer? Ask any Rogers Elementary School student who took part in the school’s recent STEM Day, where experts in their fields came into to class with loads of experiments that not only sought to stimulate young minds, but to show them that they can enjoy STEM in the process and have a little fun.

For example, Kevin Jenkins of General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems showed students the science behind using everyday fruits and vegetables to power Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). Students in Denise Wallesen’s scurried about connecting things like pickles, potatoes and lemons, whose acidity packs enough punch to light up an LED.

Other projects included building a paper DNA molecule to see if scientists could combine a firefly and plant; using an Ipad application for software programming; applying engineering skills to accomplish a task; creative thinking in different aspects of engineering; looking at heart valves and porcine tissue to develop life saving devices and biological advances; and using engineering for everyday items like toys, phones and keyboards.

Some of the projects are “cool” such as Jim Glomstad of Sportech’s “How to Make Cool Stuff,” where students learned how to make products by solving math problems.

Scott Kleespies’ “Explosions and Slime and Chemistry! Oh My!” students learned how chemistry is everywhere, and had fun by doing experiments of their own.

And local companies were involved, too, such as Graco of Rogers, where engineer Keith Viggers taught students about the company and its plan for growth.

Even live interaction played a part, as students experienced a “Survivor Glacier Bay” live interactive visit with a park ranger at Glacier Bay National Park, where they learned about mammals, birds and fish.

“We’re giving a real-life example of real-life engineering,” said Donovan Dawson of Turck Technologies. “How we can use the same process in assembly of products. We’re solving problems.”

One problem the students had no problem solving? Science, Technology, Math and Engineering is a promising future and can be “fun” and “cool.”

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