USAARL Provides Education Outreach to Fort Rucker Children
Posted September 20th, 2016
Story by: Catherine Davis, USAARL Public Affairs Officer
Personnel from the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory science, technology, engineering, and mathematics office taught hands-on science experiments to children at the Fort Rucker Child Development Center during summer 2016.
Dr. Lori St. Onge, STEM education coordinator, and Jessica Cumbee, STEM research education assistant coordinator, taught approximately 80 four- to six-year-olds about hydrophobic and hydrophilic materials, chemical reactions, and magnets.
The children experienced some of the same practices as real scientists, donning safety glasses and gloves before making hydrofoil boats, mixing table salt and white vinegar to cause a chemical reaction, and testing different objects to see if they were magnetic.
"Many students perceive STEM concepts as intimidating. Through early familiarization and engagement, we hope to create an excitement for and nurture students’ interest in STEM. By introducing STEM concepts through exploration and demonstration in unique, fun environments, students are not as intimidated and are more likely to ask questions and problem solve," said Cumbee.
USAARL’s involvement in STEM education outreach is a result of U.S. Executive Order 12821 – Improving Mathematics and Science Education in Support of the National Education Goals. The STEM programs offered at USAARL, the Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science program and the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education program, support the advancement of STEM-related initiatives and disciplines to achieve National Education Goals.In addition, USAARL is authorized by the Education Partnership Act, Title 10 U.S. Code 2194, to transfer excess defense laboratory equipment to educational nonprofit organizations. Transfer of excess equipment is intended to facilitate and nurture the study of science, art, and mathematics by students. USAARL has participated in eight equipment transfers in the past five years.