Growing From the S.T.E.M. – Nita & Alex | PPL 5/6th graders

On January 19th, we worked with 5 and 6th graders from Homework and Hoops, the youth program from Project in Pride and Living.

A lot of people say that science is hard, but with a decent background, one can start from the beginning to work through and problem solve scientific ideas.

Alex had a great idea to use origami as a metaphor for science. Like with some scientific ideas, trying to figure out how to build a complicated origami project without any instruction or background is daunting. However, if you start from the beginning and learn the basic steps, then you can .

Alex first taught the students, step by step, how to build an origami swan. We then gave them pre-made origami cups and asked them to make observations and recreate them. Overall, our goal was to help them understand that science builds up on itself and if they understood basic scientific ideas they could eventually build on that knowledge to understand more complicated concepts.

Students test out their origami cups, which they built only by making observations on a pre-made cup.

Students test out their origami cups, which they built only by making observations on a pre-made cup.

Alex uses balloons to help students visualize different atom sizes and how this affects their reactivity.

Alex uses balloons to help students visualize different atom sizes and how this affects their reactivity.

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Students perform mini experiments by adding vinegar to baking soda and making observations on what they smell and see

Students perform mini experiments by adding vinegar to baking soda and making observations on what they smell and see

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Students taste carbon dioxide gas, which they observed tasted a lot of "plain soda"

Students taste carbon dioxide gas, which they observed tasted a lot of “plain soda”

Students making observations of the candle - one activity they did while learning about flammable vapors

Students making observations of the candle – one activity they did while learning about flammable vapors

Alex demonstrates how vapor is flammable, but not liquids

Alex demonstrates how vapor is flammable, but not liquids

...Then they got to try it themselves

…Then they got to try it themselves

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"Oh my god" was a popular response

“Oh my god” was a popular response

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